Super Metroid (Available exclusively on Wii U and Wii Virtual Console)
ESRB Rating: E
Number of Players: 1
Developer: Nintendo R&D1, and Intelligent Systems
Original Release Date: April 18th, 1994
Wii VC Release Date: August 20th, 2007
Wii U VC Release Date: May 15th, 2013
Parent Talk: The ESRB rates Super Metroid E for Everyone because of cartoon violence. Back when the game was originally released it was actually one of the most adult-oriented videogames Nintendo had published. It featured a creature slowly melting to death, and dead bodies, which was incredibly daring for its time. Today the game is considered suitable for two-year olds, but back then it likely would have been rated T for teen.
Plays Like: Today you could say it plays a lot like the GBA and DS Castlevania games, but the truth of the matter is this is the game that started the whole Metroidvania genre. You move around a giant maze, acquiring power-ups which grant you access to areas you couldn’t traverse before. While technically the original Metroid featured the same gameplay, it was the inclusion of a map system that really established the genre as we know it today.
Review Basis: Finished the game about a thousand times over the years. Having played through the game at least once a year for the past 19 years, I believe I have enough experience to write a review on it :-P
I can guarantee you one thing, this review is going to be omega biased. I’ve loved this game since purchasing it in 1994, and my love for it hasn’t diminished one iota in all that time. I believe it’s one of the very best videogames ever created, and it’s on my list of top three videogames of all time. The mood, gameplay, storyline, graphics and soundtrack remain just as awe-inspiring today as they did when I first plunked the game into my SNES all those years ago. If you’re ok with that, sit back and let’s take a look at greatness!
Improving on the original in every way, shape, and form. From vastly superior gameplay, to the inclusion of a brilliant map system, Super Metroid improved on the original two games in every way possible. Samus could now shoot at an angle, or jump up and shoot downward, she had access to a wider array of weapons, and exploration was much more refined than ever before. The power of the SNES allowed each new area to look and feel distinctive, unlike the black backdrops of the original. By mastering more advanced techniques players could even sequence break and finish the game in under 30 minutes. All of these different elements came together to make Super Metroid something truly special for its time, and a game that feels just as fresh today, which is pretty amazing.
+ Beautiful graphics. Some games just don’t age well, other are apparently timeless. Super Metroid is one of those games. From the little details like the way Samus makes splashes with her boots as she runs through damp areas, to the Mode 7 special effects, Super Metroid looks just as detailed and impressive today as it did back in 1994.
+ Incredible soundtrack. Super Metroid not only featured voice acting, which was mind blowing for its time, but had one of the very best soundtracks. From the moody intro to the incredible themes that play as you progress to each new area, Super Metroid never ceases to amaze.
+ Feeling of isolation. While the original Metroid had certain elements where you felt like you were alone, SM took it to a whole new level. From the moment you step foot on Zebes you know you’re alone. The Wrecked Ship also enhances this feeling of isolation because it’s clear no one has been here for a very, very long time. Scatter a body or two here and there, and again, you realize you’re completely on your own.
+ Fantastic storyline. I know it seems absurd for a game with one page of story dialogue, but it works incredibly well. You begin where you left off, literally. Even certain areas from the original Metroid return, which was such an amazing touch. There’s only one Metroid left in the universe and it’s your job to rescue it for the good of galactic civilization. Oh, and the ending of this game is one of the most powerful of all time.
+ Creative and useful upgrades. Some of the items you acquire are so well thought out it will surprise you. From the X-Ray scope, which allows you to see secret areas, to the Speed Booster which allows Samus to run so fast she can destroy enemies and break through walls, Super Metroid has items that are constantly fresh and exciting to use.
+ Secrets worth going after. It’s entirely possible to finish the game without finding a couple of really neat weapon upgrades and items. By searching every nook and cranny of Zebes you’ll be amazed at just what you can find.
– The ending of this game said “See you next mission” and that was a blatant lie. Everyone thought it would be a few years before Samus’ next mission, not eight bloody years!!!
Defeating Crocomire and watching him slowly melt to death. This was pretty harsh for 1994, and remains so even today. His skin literally melts off his bones and his screams still haunt my dreams.
Super Metroid is one of a few games that is just as fun and impressive to play through today as it was when it was originally released back in 1994. That says everything. This is a classic in every sense of the word. It ushered in an entirely new sub-genre to action games and helped shape the future of the Castlevania franchise. The only sad thing about Super Metroid is that it brings back memories of just how long I had to wait for a follow-up. When Metroid Prime and Metroid Fusion were both announced I remember vividly saying “Thanks Nintendo, it’s about F-ing time!” If you own a Wii or a Wii U, do yourself a favor and download this game right now. It’s incredible, and a true masterpiece.
Final Score: 10/10