Super Metroid

released on Mar 19, 1994

The Space Pirates, merciless agents of the evil Mother Brain, have stolen the last Metroid from a research station, and once again Mother Brain threatens the safety of the galaxy! Samus Aran must don her awesome array of high-tech weaponry to retrieve the deadly Metroid hidden deep within the cave-riddled planet Zebes. Super Metroid features excellent graphics, with a huge variety of enemies and worlds to explore. The side-view action will be familiar to many players, only now there are new weapons and items, including the Grappling Beam, which allows Samus to swing across large chasms, and the X-Ray Scope, which reveals secret passages.

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This is a tough review to write because it's hard to say what hasn't already been said. Growing up, I wasn't as keen on Search-Action games as I am now but my recent playthrough of Super Metroid a few years ago changed that.
The exploration is very well done here as many others have said, the detail on the spritework is astronomical for the SNES, and the atmosphere is otherworldly. The boss fights are pretty challenging and fun. My only draw was that I didn't like Maridia and found it very frustrating but every other area, especially lategame Norfair, was very enjoyable. An amazing game for surely.

Probably still the best 2D Metroid entry to this day. Several mechanics were introduced with this game, which is a timeless classic.

What is the best game?
What could the best game even be? It's hard to think of, isn't it? Maybe you would want good mechanics? A gripping story with very well-written and likeable characters? Lush environments with an atmospheric soundtrack that drags you straight into it's universe? There's many more you could want that would be more tailored to your personal tastes, which at that point your best game becomes my mediocre game and vice-versa. Arguments and debate about influence are often used as sticks of measurement as to what the best game possibly is, but influence is something that can be lost in time like many other things in life. After all, nothing is truly original, and would it be fair to give an award to one who was simply....first? I'm not entirely sure on that myself.
Metroid on NES was different from the other games I had played on that system, where as I played other stuff like Super Mario Bros. or Duck Hunt for childish entertainment, I felt a much different array of emotions. I was scared, I was curious, I was confused, and I was intrigued. It was due to this, and my sudden discovery that I enjoyed music coming from a little electronic piece of equipment, that Metroid was something I couldn't really forget, nor would I not find it's ambition to be truly commendable for such an early title. I liked it, but it wasn't my favorite NES game. Samus would notably spend a long ways away from my personal gaming timeline, Metroid II just being that Super Game Boy box was again my only memory, and in Super Smash Bros on Nintendo 64 I would play as Samus wondering where she's been this whole time, being reminded of her existence as I played as her, because she just seemed cool. She was cool, but I noticed something when I would look at her character profile in there....
What is that? In 2023 it might be a bit hard to believe, but back then I did not have internet, or even cable. The only games that were out on Super Nintendo to my knowledge were just whatever was at the local Hollywood Video and such. Maybe I saw Super Metroid at Toys r' Us and just never registered it? Who's to say? One thing is for sure though, at one point I started getting into gaming magazines, and my dad eventually had a cable package with G4 among it's listings. It was in places such as these where I would hear the combination of the words "Super" and "Metroid" a lot. I was already interested, but in these same pieces of media, many would cite Super Metroid as "one of the best games of all time" and other such words of grandeur. It knocked me off my feet to hear about it or even see footage of it, Samus was in...the best game? I... wasn't there for it.
For years, it would be a bit of a white whale of gaming for me, especially after having enjoyed games that renewed my interest in the meantime such as Zero Mission and the Prime games. I had played pretty much every major release that came about on the SNES too...
Super Mario World? Of course.
Donkey Kong Country? Was my jam.
Link to the Past? Yeah, I played it at a friend's house.
Super Metroid? Wha-what?
It wouldn't be until I started browsing GameFAQs where I would eventually learn of this thing called "emulators". What are those? One google search later, I would find it... a program that would help this penniless child play a game they had stuck in the back of their mind for what seemed like a decade. It was during a time where emulation was a bit dodgy, certain things would look off and sounds could come out pretty warbly. Back then though, we were just happy to have something work at full speed. I was thankful enough just to see that famous intro, albeit with German subtitles attached to it. I couldn't believe it, on my family's kitchen computer I was about to play it, the best game...
It seems our little friend from our adventure on SR388 has been kidnapped by familiar foes, those we hadn't seen since they were but adorable 8-bit caricatures. They have rebuilt their base, and have grown far more fearsome. It's time to visit Zebes again, our old stomping ground. We trek across familiar landscapes, recalling the memory of escaping during the countdown of the original destruction of Mother Brain and find our morph ball....right where it was last time. All too familiar, until we are spotted and suddenly we find Ridley's henchmen swarming the innards of Old Tourian. This Zebes is different, it's been expanded and they are much more prepared for us this time it seems, and Kraid has gotten.....larger.
....but we were ready, for we are SUPER Metroid!
I always thought it would be seen as odd to have nostalgia for an emulator. It's not a real system, it's a fake, a phony. A shoddy imitation of what was my little grey and purple friend I had next to my little cable-less hand-me-down TV in my bedroom. To top it all off, there is no reason to ever use it anymore, it is obsolete and has been for some time now. It's existence means nothing anymore, but it lent me a sudden helpful hand and let me experience games that I had missed out on...and allowed me to finally revisit old favorites during a time it felt impossible. Oh, Star Fox how I had missed you so. It's difficult to believe they were once so guarded from young online eyes, and now they are commonplace. It's hard for me to imagine a world without them...a world where those younger than me wouldn't be able to easily experience that of which I had grown up with.
Thank you for your time ZSNES my old chum...and thank you Nintendo for making this apparently behind my back, and thank you Zeric, maker of this map on GameFAQs.
That leads us back to the question I asked from the beginning, what is the best game? Is Super Metroid the best game? Well my friend, I've played many a "best game". Many have not survived my trials, whether it was due to factors like "I didn't care for the thing" or a simple "I just don't play well with RPGs I'm afraid", but... Super Metroid has legs. It's a horse in this race of highly-acclaimed classic titles that I would get behind. It walks that aisle, and styles and profiles. Upon finishing my return to this game that I played very much legally as a youngling, I found myself playing again right away, and my entertainment somehow doubled as I was utilizing wall jumps to find alternate quicker paths to upgrades and energy tanks. It's a rare breed of game that somehow gets better the more you play it, just like a true Metroid adventure. What was once a clunky feeling is now just second nature, no longer do I care about the controls or Samus' physics of actually feeling like a person in a space suit jumping around on an alien planet. It is all just second nature, and now I am Samus, and I fuckin' rule.
The high I get from seeing that small amount of inventory I start with getting larger, and eventually taking up all that space on the top of the screen? Unfathomable.
Imagine making something that was so good that developers didn't want to even follow up such a game. That begs the question, could you in fact make a better Metroid? What is the next step for the series then? If Sakamoto could not imagine a way to utilize the Nintendo 64's controller, then what hope is there for the Dolphin console? There is maybe one about, now bear with me on this...two fantastic games, at the same time. Would that be sufficient? Hrmph, unlikely that such a thing would be done. Regardless, it seems we would need to wait a while to go on another adventure with our favorite bounty hunter. I suppose another round of matches with the boys would be okay in the meantime. Until next time Samus, take care.
See you next mission.
Save the animals.