Super Metroid

Super NES

Review by Garrett Elder

Nintendo

Platform/Shooter

Graphics: 10

Sound: 10

Gameplay: 10

Overall: 10


There are games, loads and loads of them.  So many, in fact, that playing all of them has gotten nearly impossible.  Unless you happen to be rich, and have more time on your hands than a used watch salesman, chances are you wonít.  However, there are those very few, very outstanding classics that not only stand the test of time, but test all other games released henceforth.  Games that can be played through over and over again, and never seem any less rewarding, or more importantly, fun.

Super Metroid, in recent years, has thankfully been recognized as one of these stellar pieces of software.  With many notable journalists, editors and publications citing the game as one of the best, and even the best game ever created.  It has been my favorite game since the day I first played it, back in 1994.  These were the glory days of not only the SNES, but gaming itself.  Back when quality was almost a necessity, and system rivalry was cause for heated arguments among fans who actually knew what they were talking about.

Amidst all this though, Super Metroid stood out.  And how could it not?  Super Metroid is an artistic masterpiece; an odyssey both alien and human.  A glorious, eerie, and strangely alluring story is told.  And told in a way that only video games can tell them: in-game character development.  There is something to be said about a game that not only succeeds in creating a believable, highly detailed alien planet, but makes the player yearn to conquer it.  You are Samus Aran.  Your mood transcending the worlds themselves.

I donít want to get into an abstract interpretation of what I think the game evokes emotionally; I imagine it is different for everyone.  But, no game to this date has so seamlessly blended together all the various elements of video games this perfectly.  Itís a feeling hard to describe, but somehow, whether it be by the gameís amazing soundtrack, the spot-on control that puts you in charge of Samusí god-like powers, or the handsome, colorful backgrounds that are still visually appealing nearly 10 years later.

Perhaps though, to the casual player anyway, it is the unparalleled exploration aspect that sets this game apart from all others.  The game, so confidently designed, almost beckons to be explored.  The items, integral to the overall enjoyment of the package, are easily some of the coolest, most creative ever used in a video game.  Thatís including A Link To The Past, and Super Mario Bros. 3 mind you.

Like all other Metroid titles, Samus begins her adventure naked, stripped of all her powers.  She gains new abilities and weapons by defeating powerful monsters, and exploring every single nook and cranny of whatever planet she happens to be spelunking through at the time.  In a style all its own, the Metroid series has the player bomb, blast, and scan every single room, hoping to find more goods.  Itís a unique feeling, that can only be understood by playing a Metroid title.

But itís more than just finding secrets.  In order to advance, you must find and use items, cleverly hidden away, and often guarded.  Of course, the level and game design is top-notch.  Each corridor giving the player some new challenge or, at the very least, a surprise of some sort.

There are loads of great monsters, most notably the metroids themselves, which are parasitic energy sucking beasts.  Oh, and they fly.  Like any great villain, they have a weakness though.  The creatures on this game all require different tactics to defeat them, and doing so gets far easier the further you progress.  As Samusí immense power grows, you also feel energized; the rewarding feeling of such is the gameís biggest merit in my opinion.

Super Metroid is such a beautiful, engaging experience, but sadly, it can be completed in just a few short hours.  While this may sound discouraging, getting every item (there are 100 total) will easily take your average player 20-40 hours.  Finding new items is so fun, that replay incentive is actually quite high, let alone reliving some of the classic boss battles (Kraid and Ridley are easily some of the best bad guys ever in a video game).

So, in case you havenít figured it out yet, Super Metroid is well worth owning.  It is a visionary masterpiece, in both brilliant game design, and atmospheric perfection.  There are dozens of secret items, secret moves, secret endings, secret passages; I could easily talk all day about this game.  Just make it a point to play this through-and-through classic.  Whether youíre a tech-junkie who gets off on the latest leaps in technology, or a hardened old schooler, with thumbs like marbles, you will find something to love about this game.

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Last updated: Thursday, December 25, 2003 09:17 PM