Review: Metroid

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I love looking back at the these old games. When I think of classic NES titles, Metroid is one that immediately comes to mind. I received my first NES as a Christmas present and Metroid is one of the games I received along with it. It has captivated me ever since.

In Metroid, you play the galactic bounty hunter, Samus Aran. Samus is sent on a mission to infiltrate a secret base of Space Pirates on the world of Zebes. The pirates have stolen a batch of organisms known as Metroids from a research lab, and are illegally breeding the creatures for warfare. Samus’s mission is to sneak into their stronghold, exterminate the Metroid, and destroy the pirate’s base.metroid_nes-5B1-5D

Samus begins the game equipped only with an upgrade-able suit of armor and an arm cannon for defense. As you explore the planet, new weapons and enhancements are added to the arsenal, thus unlocking new areas to explore. The planet is home to two “mini-bosses” known as Kraid and Ridley. But, the whole space pirate operation is actually controlled by a cybernetic organism known as “The Mother Brain”. After much exploring and problem-solving, Samus eventually defeats the Mother Brain only to a planetary self-destruct sequence. If Samus manages to escape, the game is won.

The challenge of Metroid lies in search and discovery the various items needed to progress further into the title. As you continue to dive deeper into the mysterious planet, you uncover various areas, each with their own unique atmosphere. As you continue play the game, you will constantly move back and forth between these various environments.

The game uses a password-based system to allow players to save their progress. This method seems antiquated by today’s standards, but worked very well at the time.

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If you manage to complete the game in a certain period of time, it will be revealed that Samus Aran is actually a female. These days, that may not seem like a very big deal, at the time of the game’s release a female bounty hunter was something that surprised many players.

Many games have since been released that have copied the Metroid formula for success. What makes Metroid truly stand out is the fact that it was the first and arguably, the best. The developers did an amazing job of creating a truly alien environment for the player to explore. Everything from the strange creatures, to the unearthly soundtrack make for a great experience. This is one title that I certainly recommend for any gamer. It’s makes for a great latenight play-a-thon.

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Difficulty: Medium –  In early parts of the game, before Samus is equipped with a decent arsenal of weapons and energy tanks, things can be dicey. Patience is key. If you take your time, and don’t rush headfirst into a room of aliens you will be ok. The players that takes the time to explore and uncover a good amount of loot won’t have too much of a problem. Most the minibosses have their own tips and tricks that make them easier to defeat. Weapon selection is key.

Story: At first, the story seems just a little bit shallow. It’s good backdrop to the game, but provides little else at first glance. However, as the series developed later, the story behind Metroid is expanded and becomes quite a complex tale.

Originality: At the time it was released, Metroid was hands down a new experience. Nothing like it had ever been seen. The formula behind the gameplay proved to be so popular that many titles in the future would imitate it.

Soundtrack: Weird, alien, fitting. Again, another first. The music in the game is so unlike anything I had encountered before. Very ambient, with strange reverberated notes and mechanical noises. The tunes are still catchy today. I love it.

Fun: By now it’s no secret that I’m a big fan of the game. I never fail to have a good time when I put it in.

Graphics: This was a launch title for the NES and in a way, it shows. The graphics are clear and the characters are distinguishable. But there’s not much going on in the background of the levels. Most of the backdrop is just solid black. That is my only real complaint.

Playcontrol: Spot on with the original release. After a few hours with the game, you really get a feel for what Samus is capable of. The Virtual Console version suffers from minor imprecision, but this, as usual, is due to the difference in the controller and not the emulation. I have never experienced this on my 3DS version

Overall rating (out of four stars): 4 – Metroid is a classic NES title and one that I feel everyone should experience. I introduced my son to it when he was about 6 years old and he’s loved it since day one. If you have never played it, you’re really missing out. It stands the test of time well.

Available now on: Wii Virtual Console, 3DS eShop

Other Reviews In This Series:

MetroidMetroid IISuper Metroid – Fusion – Zero Mission – Prime – Prime II – Prime III – Other M

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