Metroid is one of the absolute best franchises in video gaming, producing some of the greatest video games ever made, and if you disagree with that obviously true statement you are no friend of mine. However, it isn’t exactly as prolific of a Nintendo franchise as Mario or Zelda, and in fact, disregarding re-releases, a trilogy compilation, and a pinball game (yep, there was a Metroid pinball game), there are only ten Metroid titles released to date. Coincidentally, there are only ten spots in a top ten list. I think that we can all agree that this is god’s way of telling me that I had no choice but to put together this list. Or the aliens telling me. Either way works.
As with the last few lists, this is not a list of my personal favorites, or a list that a small group of Negative World editors have put together. Instead, this is a list based on the average scores of the Metroid games as rated by Negative World members in our video game database. So if you don’t like the order, don’t blame me! Blame Negative World! Which I just happen to be a part of...
And exactly like last time you will see a few numbers in the header for each game in the last. The first is the average score (out of 10) for that game calculated from all member ratings, and the number in parenthesis is the amount of members who have scored this game (IE the amount of ratings that went into the calculation.)
Metroid Prime: Hunters may be the lowest rated Metroid game at Negative World (and that is counting the pinball game), but that doesn’t mean that we have a clear consensus on its quality. With scores from our members ranging from a 9.5/10 to a 5.0/10 and everywhere in between, Hunters is a very divisive game.
On the plus side, Metroid Prime: Hunters was praised for its tech, smooth FPS controls and its extensive online multiplayer mode, a rarity for a DS game. On the minus side, many felt that the core game felt like a Metroid Prime lite, complete with a series of repetitive boss battles where you fought the same boss in slightly different ways. So for us it falls somewhere in the 7s.
A collaboration between Nintendo and Tecmo, Metroid: Other M is perhaps one of the strangest Metroid games that exists. For starters, it is a game set in a 3D world that (generally) plays more like a 2D game, so much so that it uses the sideways Wii remote with its digital pad to control the action, and this was definitely a love it or hate it control choice. It also has some odd, detective-like pixel hunt sections. And of course, it notoriously has a much larger focus on story and presentation than the previous Metroid games did which, among other things, led to a drinking game revolving around the concept of taking a shot every time Samus says the word “baby”. Yep, that exists, apparently.
Metroid II: Return of Samus (GB) - 8.41/10 (27)
For the second Metroid game (and the first handheld Metroid game), Nintendo decided to mix things up a bit and give Samus a clear goal that worked itself into the way she had to progress; eradication of the metroids. Although it was limited by the tech of the Game Boy, the creamed-spinach-colored Metroid II is still a pretty solid game in its own right, and there are even a few dedicated fans who consider it to be the best game in the series.
Much like the original Metroid, Metroid II does not have a map to help you progress, but it is easier to find your way through the game this time around without one. Or is it? I actually found it more confusing, but apparently I’m wrong and insane. Not necessarily in that order.
Metroid (NES) - 8.47/10 (40)
Apparently we have a thing for putting the original game from a series in our #7 spot. Metroid came to the scene as equal parts platformer, shooter, and adventure game, and was largely inspired by the movie thriller “Alien”, resulting in one of Nintendo’s darkest, yet most satisfying games of the NES era, spawning an entire beloved franchise.
It would be remiss of me, however, to not point out that a large part of why the original Metroid struggles to remain as accessible to gamers as later iterations in the franchise have is that it contains a huge, interconnected world without a map system. It is easy to get lost in Metroid, which can be a plus or a minus, depending on your perspective, but certainly turns many people off from completing this game. (Or in my case, turns them towards a FAQ to complete it with.)
Metroid: Fusion (GBA) - 8.84/10 (40)
Metroid: Fusion was the first 2D Metroid released after a certain much-loved Super Nintendo Metroid that shall not yet be named (you know of which game I speak), so there were, understandably, a lot of expectations for the game. While it would be tough to say that Fusion completely met those very high expectations, it is generally accepted as a very solid 2D Metroid game that is well worth playing for fans of the series.
Some complaints about linearity exist, but some new additions like stealth gameplay revolving around avoiding the deadly SA-X, as well as a deeper than usual storyline involving a former commanding officer named Adam Malkovich, result in a unique and satisfying Metroid experience.
Metroid: Zero Mission (GBA) - 9.02/10 (42)
Metroid: Zero Mission may technically be a remake of the original Metroid, but man, what a remake it is! Although some areas of the map will look a tad familiar, Zero Mission is essentially a brand spanking new Metroid game completely updated on every level, from the “modern” gameplay reminiscent of Super / Fusion, to updated graphics and music, to a much more expanded map with tons of new areas. Zero Mission is the blueprint on how to successfully remake a classic title.
It is also the last truly 2D Metroid game, released almost 10 years ago back in early 2004 on the Game Boy Advance. I don’t know how anyone else feels, but whether “Metroid Dread” was a real thing or not, I think it is well past time for another 2D Metroid. Get on it, Nintendo!
Metroid Prime 2: Echoes (GC) - 9.09/10 (62)
It says something pretty positive about the console Metroid Prime trilogy that our lowest ranked of the three is our 4th favorite Metroid game ever. As the follow-up to Metroid Prime, Metroid Prime 2: Echoes could, perhaps, be considered a tad bit of a disappointment. Complaints generally revolve around the uninteresting dark world, as well as more linearity, a pointless ammo system and less interesting boss fights.
However, none of that kept Echoes from being a great game in its own right, and it even does some things better than the original Metroid Prime, such as its increased focus on interesting puzzles and its excellent mini-boss battles. Echoes also introduced gamers to Dark Samus, one of the greatest “dark” versions of a hero in a Nintendo game. And there are a lot of dark versions of heroes in Nintendo games.
Metroid Prime 3: Corruption (Wii) - 9.36/10 (85)
Whether we considered Echoes a disappointment or not (personally, I loved it), most of us at Negative World considered Metroid Prime 3: Corruption to be a step back in the right direction (not me, but I still loved it.) For one, there was no dark world to drag the game down. The game also utilizes the Wii remote and nunchuck very effectively, with smooth pointer controls and context-sensitive motion controls merged to create the best control scheme in a Metroid Prime game yet... especially during combat. Flicking the nunchuck forward to attach your grappling hook to an enemy shield and then yanking it back to rip their shield away has to be one of the most satisfying uses of motion controls on the Wii.
There were some complaints about the game, including even more increased linearity and a larger focus on story and characters without much quality in those areas to back it up. However, Corruption remains one of our favorite Wii games, and I can’t help but hope to see Retro Studios take on Metroid Prime 4, eventually.
Metroid Prime (GC) - 9.61/10 (109)
After seeing both Metroid Prime 2 and 3 in our list, you had to know this one was coming. Metroid Prime is the game that started off the Prime series, and is generally considered to be the best of the trilogy. I remember getting a chance to play Metroid Prime before it released, stepping up to the demo unit full of anxiety, and walking away with all doubts obliterated. Metroid Prime succeed in large part by borrowing heavily from the 2D Metroid formula, creating a vast and varied interconnected world to progress through by obtaining various power-ups, while focusing on the strengths of 3D gaming as well, including 1st-person shooting and adventure elements. It didn’t hurt that the visuals and soundtrack were stunning.
Metroid Prime is sitting at #7 (#6 if you ignore the duplicate Ocarina of Time) on our all-time greatest games on a Nintendo platform list here at Negative World, a very well deserved spot (although I’d put it even higher myself.) However, it is only #2 on our top 10 Metroid games list, which means that we still have another amazing Metroid game to talk about…
Super Metroid (SNES) - 9.67/10 (92)
It’s a close call, but Super Metroid just edges out Metroid Prime to stand as our top rated Metroid game… for now, anyway. Released on the Super Nintendo way back in 1994, Super Metroid took the basic concept of the previous Metroid games (Metroid and Metroid II) and threw things into overdrive, creating what was, at the time, one of the most mind-blowingly awesome video games to hit the scene. The graphics, music, action, exploration, power-ups, boss fights, etc. all combined to create a powerful game whose excellence was hard to deny. It might be nearly 20 years later, but Super Metroid is still, to this day, considered not only one of the greatest 2D video games ever made, but one of the greatest video games ever made, period.
Also, it finally added a much needed map system to the series, but did so in a way that still kept the players on their toes, exploring every nook and cranny to find not only power-ups but, often enough, the way to progress through the game. Super Metroid is a masterpiece in gaming and sits as our #2 rated game on a Nintendo platform ever (again, ignoring duplicates) right behind The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Can a future Metroid game ever top Super Metroid? It’s hard to imagine, but I look forward to seeing Nintendo give it a go.
I didn't even know there were ten Metroid games, but here we are. I can't really argue with this list, the things I would change are only one slot. I would swap MP3 with MP2, and Fusion with Zero Mission. I'd probably put Other M above Metroid II, but maybe not NES Metroid. I have never played Hunters so I can't comment on that one.
I'd personally put Metroid Prime at the top over Super Metroid but that is almost because that is the Metroid that got me hooked to the series. Super Metroid for whatever reason didn't click with me back in '94 but has since become one of my three favorite SNES games.
@Shadowlink I agree, it's splitting hairs because I think Super, Fusion, and Zero Mission are all damn-near perfect 10s, but if you take the nostalgia factor out of the equation the GBA games have much better controls/movement, they're just more refined.
Agreed on the controls. I played Metroid Fusion first, so when I got around to (finally) playing Super Metroid, Samus felt all...slow and kind of floaty. And because of that, the game as a whole just seemed a bit "off" - for lack of a better word. Still totally playable though, and still great enough to still be enjoyed years later. But not quite as refined as the GBA game, as you said.
Speaking of Metroid on handhelds, how would you guys feel about Metroid Prime being released on the 3DS?
They could enhance it and pretty up the graphics, make Samus all shiny and normal-mappy and stuff, controls could be "legacy" (same as GCN), "stylus" (similar to Hunters), or "dual analog" (using the CPP), that way everyone could play how they like and everyone wins.
What say you? Isn't this the best idea ever? Why has it not happened? Who is to blame? Iwata? Should I throw a brick through his window?
But seriously, playing Batman Blackgate has made me realize how fun and perfectly suited the 3DS is for a game like this. Explore, solve puzzles, be dazzled and oohed by the beauty and majesty. I think it would be amazing.
Aaaahhhhhh I'm dying for a handheld Metroid, it's been soooooo long.