Metroid in the Second Dimension

When Metroid Prime was released in 2002, Nintendo finally had their answer to western First Person Shooters. Golden Eye and Perfect Dark were legends, but NOW! Nintendo had one of their core franchises in the FPS spotlight. And felt they had something that contended with the Halo crowd on the Xbox.

Metroid Prime was the first Metroid game since Super Metroid released 8 years prior, so it was a pretty big deal considering the success of Super Metroid. Nintendo created Retro Studios, an American based developer who jumped at the chance to make this game. Shigeru Miyamoto and Yoshio Sakamoto were in regular contact to make sure the game was within Nintendo's vision.

The third dimension worked great for Nintendo and Metroid Prime became the Gamecube's #6 best selling games of all time with 2.7 million units. 2.7 million doesn't sound like a lot, but keep in mind only 21.7 million Gamecubes were sold worldwide. Over 10% attach rate is not bad. (Side Note: Super Smash Brothers Melee is the best selling Gamecube game at 6.1 million units sold, which is a little over 25%.)

2 years later, Retro Studios released Metroid Prime 2 which continued where Metroid Prime 1 left off. The FPS gameplay had become iconic for the Metroid series and the idea of a 2D side scrolling adventure became more of a treasured memory of Super Metroid.

Though, those traditional roots have not been forgotten! They've been merely overshadowed by the graphical splendor.

Metroid Fusion

Metroid Fusion is the actual sequel to Super Metroid. In fact, the opening credits say Metroid 4. I think this game get overlooked because it was released on the exact same day as Metroid Prime. Gamers were far more interested in the new fresh look on the Gamecube, rather than an outdated gaming experience on the Gameboy Advance.

Metroid Fusion's development was headed by Yoshio Sakamoto and everyone else who worked on Super Metroid. Nintendo still wanted a traditional follow-up to Super Metroid, so they did. And on November 17th, 2002, fans got a traditional sequel with Metroid Fusion and a fresh perspective on the series with Metroid Prime. But gamers made their choice. Where Metroid Prime ultimately sold 2.7 million, Metroid Fusion sold just a little over 1 million. Metroid Prime was the star.

Metroid Fusion and Metroid Prime are interesting entries in the series. It's interesting in that Metroid Prime had a radically different way to play the game, but the design was incredibly traditional. It had the familiar look of Samus and all the same items you remembered from Super Metroid. Metroid Fusion played the exact same way you remembered from Super Metroid, but the story and character designs were quite different than what you remembered.

Metroid Fusion has a bunch of cutscenes, text and dialogue that progress the story. There's actual plot! The environment, characters, and enemies are all very cohesive and build a decent story. Unfortunately, the game is incredibly linear which is a big negative for a traditional Metroid. The game opens up once you beat it, but there are power-ups you can miss! What the hell is that crap?!

Through and though, Metroid Fusion isn't half bad. If you liked Super Metroid, I'd totally recommend it. ^_^ Now that I know what happens in Metroid Fusion, I'm pretty interested to see how Metroid Other M fits in to the story. Though, as a big fan of Super Metroid, Metroid Fusion was a let down. It's good, but not Super Metroid good.

Metroid Zero Mission

Metroid Prime 1 was pretty sweet and made Metroid Prime 2 just as highly anticipated. So much so, that you may have overlooked the very fantastic Metroid Zero Mission released 6 months prior. You may have also overlooked it because it's a remake. You may have also overlooked it because word of mouth said Metroid Fusion wasn't so great. You may have overlooked it because it's on the Gameboy Advance and not the Gamecube. Whatever...

Metroid Zero Mission is a remake of the first entry in the series, the original 1986 Metroid. It's nearly identical through and through, but with tighter graphics, faster, more responsive controls, and more weapons than Super Metroid and Metroid Fusion. Plus, Zero Mission extends the original Plot to fit better into the overall time line of the Metroid series.

Metroid Zero Mission is fantastic. It is every bit as good as Super Metroid. And it's sad that it's one of the poorest selling titles in the series at around half a million units sold worldwide.

After finishing Metroid Fusion, I played a little Zero Mission for the first time in a while and it is so smooth. Metroid Fusion is like a step back. Half the time, Samus doesn't move how I want her to move. The same is with going back to Super Metroid. Those controls are outdated and Metroid Zero Mission is incredibly modern.

Much like Super Metroid is to the Super Nintendo, Metroid Zero Mission is one of the best games the Gameboy Advance has to offer. If you're a fan of Super Metroid, you've got to play this game.

Metroid Other M perspective

Playing through these Metroid games only feed my hype for Metroid Other M. This is the first game that Yoshio Sakamoto has been deeply involved with since Metroid Zero Mission. But I don't want to get my hopes up too much.

It seems like Sakamoto's development team can't really handle the 3rd dimension. Their original Metroid game for Nintendo 64 Disk Drive was scrapped because it was a mess. Then, Retro Studios picked up the project and basically started completely over. The same thing was probably going on again with Project M, until they brought in Team Ninja to bring the 3D nature of the game up to quality.

I really wonder where Metroid 64 fits into the time line. Did they take the story and recode it as Metroid Fusion? Or Do you think this story will finally see the light of day as Metroid Other M? I think it's probably the latter. I'm guessing that Metroid Other M is the final product of Metroid 64. Since it's story was probably too big for the Gameboy Advance. And Sakamoto probably wanted to keep this story close by rather than let Retro take it.

Anyways, I'm thinking too much into this. Metroid Other M won't even be released for another year, and all this speculation and conjecture is really only based on the trailer and Jeremy Parish's interview. It'll really just build it up to something that won't fit my dream. Who knows, though. It's fun to be surprised.

Previous thoughts on Metroid Other M: June 3rd.

Anyways, check out Metroid Zero Mission. ^_^