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One of the best games of all time, or the best game of all time? I won't listen to any discussion that doesn't acknowledge one of those two options.
Metroid has always been a kind of strange Nintendo franchise to me. Most of the other franchises (at least from Nintendo internal developers) have a sort of similar tone... cartoonish, colorful, etc. Metroid though is just a straight up slick sci-fi thriller.
Anyway, I remember renting this game with my cousin and not really knowing what to expect, because to be honest, I never really got into the original Metroid game much don't kill me. Super Metroid, however, changed my world. I played through like half of the game in a single rental, and then went out and bought it later to play the rest. And then played through it a few more times. It's just so freaking brilliant. Awesome progression mechanics, awesome boss fights, awesome music... awesome everything. The controls are a tad bit awkward to go back to, but they still work.
I finished at 6 hours (deliberately took my time) and 76%. Haven't played an honest (not abusing emulator save states) game of that since it released on the Wii VC. I got nicely stuck for a little while though. I somehow missed the whole left side of Maridia as well as the hidden path where the insect alien thingys are crawling that leads into the Mochtroid area.
Surprising! Dropping multiple bombs is easy enough to do accidentally, and isn't the ice shield shown in the demo reel when you don't touch anything on the title screen? It's very difficult to discover how to do it, though. How likely are you to unequip the phazer beam at this point?
At this point, have you looked up other techniques? Do you know that each weapon has its variation of the ice shield?
Oh yeah, I've been playing this game since I was 8 and I never once did that crazy force field looking special move. I have no idea how to do it. The bombs one is just charging a shot and going into morph ball right?
So I'm replaying the game... again. And I really don't remember the spring ball. Is this an optional upgrade?! Even if so, I feel like I wouldn't have left that area uncharted on my map. So maybe I have gotten it before and just don't remember it?!
Hmm. It's weird all of these small details I'm noticing now. Like, Maridia has doors that just plain don't open until the boss is beaten. Do any other areas have doors like this?! Even having played through the game several times at this point (like 4-5 maybe?) I still got a bit lost and confused in Maridia, lol. Was running around aimlessly for like an hour last night until I figured out where to go.
A couple of Maridia's locked doors lead to the last two upgrades there. Brinstar has a locked door unlock after you beat Kraid (to the single room with the life-draining bugs and the E-Tank) and the Wrecked Ship opens up lots of doors after Phantoon.
Yeah it's funny how older games do seem surprisingly cryptic after a long time. New game design is very different.
I finally recontinued my game of WWHD after....2 years (??) and I got stuck quite a few times at the Wind Temple. I'm amazed there's no clues! I also died once and used up a Fairy in combat! Like, WHAAAAAT?
Also, do certain enemies only drop certain items? Because at one point I had run out of super missiles and was trying to get through a lock that required them and seriously killed like 30 or 40 enemies in that area without getting a single super missile drop. I finally just had to leave that area and go to another one and find new enemies and then I instantly got a super missile drop. Annoying.
@carlosrox Yeah that's the thing, once you get lost in Super Metroid there aren't really any clear hints on where to go next, often you can check the map to find out, but not always. I remember last time around I got stuck at a part where you have to power bomb in a room to find a new path below the room because on the map it looked like I had already done everything that could be done in that area, it was all filled in with pink or whatever since the room below was a "secret" room that wasn't on the map. A modern game would probably at least have an icon on the map or something showing what is needed there. Not complaining though, I think Super Metroid found a good balance between the not even a map to check in the original Metroid and the hand-holding of modern games.
So what got me stuck in Maridia is that room near the boss where there are spikes on the ground but they are fake spikes and there is a path below them. Same thing happened as above where I had been there once and left so my map was already filled out for that room, and the room you go to next is a "hidden" one so it's not on the map. The only thing that pointed me back in the right direction there was me thinking wait, I had to fight a mini-boss to get to that whole area and then I didn't actually find anything there, they probably wouldn't have you fight a mini-boss if you weren't ready to do whatever you had to do after the mini-boss yet, RIGHT? So that led me back down that path and I found the secret that time. But that was after like an hour of running around confused.
I finished this game about 4 or 5 days ago and I liked it quite a bit. Super Metroid offers a strong sense of atmosphere and mood, and I love how the story is told with almost no dialogue. Returning to some areas from the original Metroid was a nice surprise. Finding items is as rewarding as ever, and it was nice to return to having a map after Metroid 2 (although I do wish the map was as informative as Zero Mission's map). The soundtrack is also great. Super Metroid definitely has this sort of "classic Metroid" feel to it that I also got from Zero Mission. From the bosses, to the enemies, to the upgrades, to the areas, it all feels like quintessential Metroid- as if those two games represent the essence of the series
The only things I can think of that I didn't like about the game were the times when I didn't know what to do or where to go. There's too much of a reliance on shooting through normal looking walls to reveal hidden pathways, which led to me wandering around aimlessly on more than one occasion. Zero's aforementioned issue of some doors not opening until bosses are defeated threw me off as well.
Playing this game and Metroid 2 helped me to realize how much Zero Mission is a culmination of everything learned from the series's past 2D games. That game got so much right and avoided most of the things that held back other Metroid games.
So how do I think Super Metroid compares to the rest of the series? Pretty dang favorably. In fact, I'd probably say it's my second favorite Metroid game so far behind Zero Mission. While it didn't necessarily blow me away, I had an enjoyable time where the fun rarely wavered. It doesn't quite reach the heights of Zero Mission for me, but Super Metroid is a consistently fun game. It must have felt like a revelation to play this game back when the only Metroid games were 1 and 2. Perhaps if I played this game before Zero Mission it would be my favorite instead. Who knows?
Now, onto Metroid Prime 2! Actually, I started the game days ago and have made it to the third area: sanctuary fortress.