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After Zero Mission, I figured I'd play the other GBA Metroid. Thanks for the recommendations, everybody!
Going from Zero Mission to Fusion feels like a step down in almost every way. This is to be expected since Fusion came first, but I wasn't expecting the gulf between the two titles to be as big as it is. Zero Mission does practically everything better. That isn't a condemnation of Fusion- rather, it's an testament to Zero Mission's quality. Metroid Fusion is a solid title, with its high points and low points.
My least favorite thing about the game is how restricted it feels. The game's world is sizable, but instead of freely exploring a hostile environment (or at least maintaining the illusion that you are), Fusion has you taking a guided tour in which you follow the orders of a computer. This, combined with the poorer level design, makes the gameplay feel less rewarding or engaging.
My favorite part was the late-game twist. I'm fairly familiar with major events in the Metroid timeline thanks to Nintendo Power, so the revelation wasn't lost on me.
I'll probably play Metroid Prime next after I get through some other games on my backlog. Plus, Metroid 2 still has my attention for some reason. I look forward to both.
What I was talking about was the Metroids being exterminated in Metroid 2 except for the baby that saves Samus in Super Metroid. Cloning Metroids wouldn't be a big deal if they weren't extinct, so I'm glad that twist wasn't wasted on me.
But yeah, I knew about Adam too. It was quite a surprise to see his name pop up 10 years before Other M, since I thought he was created specifically for that game.
I take it from your post that you finished the game?
Yeah, Fusion is definitely more linear than Zero Mission (and pretty much all the Metroids, really). I think it's still a solid game for what it is, even if I replay it much less often than the others (the unskippable dialogue is kind of annoying on replays). One element that works to its advantage is the feeling that Samus and Adam are gradually losing ground and have to improvise, like with the blackout and the damaged doors and stuff. Feels like the X and SA-X recognize you as a threat and are constantly trying to retard your progress, which gives the game almost a bit of an "Alien" feel at times.
Have fun with Metroid Prime! Go in blind if you can, it's a real treat.
I liked the reveal that the federation was doing Metroid experiments of their own. It's like...oh no, they're back! You'd think that this was going to be a plot device to fuel the next game, but they never followed up on it. Metroid 5 could have a completely different context from the old games. Samus can't trust the good guys anymore. She can't trust the bad guys. What does she do from there?
I also thought they could've easily done some sort of spinoff due to the fact that Samus' body all of a sudden was part Metroid. They could've went all Batman Beyond and had some daughter of hers, FAR in the future, that had abilities of a Metroid and a human. It would be unlinked from the original games for the most part, so nothing would be ruined or anything. Her name could even still be Samus for all I care. Metroid: The Next Generation.
What's a shame (OTHER M SPOILERS AHEAD) is that the Metroid reveal in Fusion seems to be redundant now that Other M basically did the same schtick. I think I read that the Bottle Ship wasn't really officially the Federation, but rather a rogue subsect of the Federation's R&D or something like that, but it's like, come on. Other M already had way too many similarities to Fusion, and then they use the same reveal, creating almost zero impact on the player. But I guess that's that game's story in a nutshell anyway.
Fusion is my favorite game of all time, I like it much better than Zero Mission, I prefer Fusion's creepy atmosphere and tone over the comic-book stylings of Zero Mission (which I found totally inappropriate for the series).
I get the criticism that it feels a bit hand-holdy and linear in the way it's structured, but I don't see this as a major flaw because it was designed to be a handheld game played in short spurts, my first playthough of this game was on my commutes and stolen minutes at work, having Adam there to remind me of what I was doing, and having the levels broken down into digestible chunks made the game super playable and enjoyable.
Since the I've played the game through probably a dozen times, sometimes in 1 or 2 long sittings, and when played that way it does seem a little linear, I still don't mind though, I love Metroid on NES which is the least linear feeling, but I kinda appreciate how Fusion is just so damn tight. It's a short game but it's packed with content, the length isn't extended by long periods of traversal or getting lost.
Has anyone here seen the secret message or done the 1% run in Fusion?
I'm...currently working on getting the secret message. It's tough and pretty annoying! And I have a lot of practice shinesparking from ZM but geez.
I did do the 1% run a few years ago though! That was quite the challenge. You get the major upgrades but can't get any of the Missile, E-Tank or Power Bomb expansions (except a single Missile that's right in your path--that's the 1%).