Northern Ireland Gaming
game reviews29 Nov 2008 09:11 pm

If you haven’t played Super Metroid, you have a problem. Quite a big one, but it’s pretty easy to deal with.

Super Metroid came out in 1994, so this is a little late as well. It was good, even considering the number of brilliant games that came out on the SNES. Of course, due to the way history works, Super Metroid will never be thought of in the same way as Super Mario World, Link to the Past or Donkey Kong Country, because of the simple fact that Nintendo have never bothered publicising the Metroid series, resulting in less than half a million sales in North America. Which is a shame.

That’s a metroid, just for reference.

Basically, there is nothing that stands out in this game. The opening scene in an abandoned space station above the planet Zebes (also seen in the first game) creates an atmosphere which never quite reaches scary, but is still always present, as if some thing’s watching you at all times. The sense of isolation is completed by the complete absence of NPCs or even any dialogue. Plot is kept to a minimum, told mostly through the opening. In short, you’re all on your own, and it is amazing.

The actually gameplay is impressive in a subtly sort of way. It combines exploration with platforming and shooting. It doesn’t

sound like anything special now, but the controls are perfectly balanced, with Samus just so heavy and slippy that you feel like you’re controlling a woman in a huge metal suit, but not so much that you feel like you’re trying to control a hippopotamus on ice

The boss battles are intense and each one is different. My personal favourite would have to be Crocmire, who has to be pushed into lava, but the game doesn’t bother telling you that. You just need to guess.

The only flaw in this game, which isn’t really a flaw for most people, is that it’s a little obscure at times. If you’re not careful, you could end up wandering around, shooting walls in the vain hope that they’ll crumble and let you past, or rolling round the floor dropping bombs just in case it’ll let you into the room below, but if you’re observant, you’ll notice that there’s some logic behind the hidden rooms and passages, and soon you’ll be able to make accurate, informed guesses.

Obviously, if you’re used to games which hold your hand and tell you exactly where to go all the time (*cough*Corruption*cough*), this’ll be like a cold shower, but in a good way, if you’re willing to persevere.

One final note, the game looks great considering it’s age, with nice and detailed 2D backgrounds, but obviously not up to this gen’s HD standards (if you’d rather have good graphics than good gameplay). The music is brilliant, and a couple of themes will be recognisable to anyone who’s heard the remixed versions used in Metroid Prime. I mean, just listen to this.

9.5 out of 10

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