Super Metroid in 2013 – Worth It

I’ve just had a life-changing experience – playing through Super Metroid from start to finish. It had its ups and downs but overall it’s one of the best games I’ve ever played. Matto has an excellent review up here but I figured I’d write some quick impressions while the experience is fresh. This is the first time I’ve played it.

supermetroid

The game is a giant maze of chaos and beauty. The progression in Super Metroid is probably the most seamless experience I’ve had in a game, because the environment is alive and always responds when you poke it. The game doesn’t talk much, but it always answers you when you ask it questions. I got lost a few times but never felt bad about it, I enjoyed being lost because bizarrely it felt like the right thing to do. I’m exploring some weird planet by myself, of course I’m going to get lost! “Let’s just keep going and see what’s there. Hmm nothing, might go back! There’s a funny looking spot on the map, could be nothing… I hope it’s nothing.” The game takes you through different phases where it feels like you’ve seen everything, then you get a powerup and suddenly there’s 10 places you want to go at once.

The graphics are some of the best I’ve seen. I don’t care about technical limitations, I don’t care that it’s a SNES game or that it’s from 1994 – it looks amazing on the GamePad and on my High Def Widescreen Futuristic TV. Good design is the only thing that ever matters. The backgrounds are vibrant and full of energy, and enemies are fast and vicious. You can shoot an enemy in Call of Duty Black Ops 2 and not know if you actually hit them or not, but in Super Metroid they flash white and scream like death is actually a bad thing. Everything here is alive, even the ground you’re standing on throbs with glowing lights and strange flora. What the hell is it? I don’t know, but I respect it. The music brings it to another level; I had already heard half the tunes remixed in Metroid Prime, but they still have a unique eeriness to the way they were output on the SNES. Thundering tones and haunting melodies made my entire living room feel like an alien crash site, when I left the game paused and walked around at night it was surreal.

That’s about it, I’m not even going to talk about the gameplay, the bosses, the abilities or the areas. Read Matto’s review. I’m not done with the game, I just felt like yelling how awesome it is. It’s such an amazing world that gives such a grand feeling of comfort and wonder with nothing holding you back. The controls are janky at times and I still can’t figure out how to space jump consistently, but you don’t need to be perfect to enjoy Super Metroid; just interested.

6 thoughts on “Super Metroid in 2013 – Worth It”

  1. Yeah, the controls can be strange at first. But once you get used to them they are precise. Then once you’ve mastered them, you feel like a caveman who just discovered fire (aka the smartest man in the world). Because then you’re flipping around, pulling off stunts that you couldn’t even dream of in the beginning of the game.

    This is one of the few games that I think deserves the magnitude of praise it’s given. And one of the few games I would actually call a 10 out of 10 despite my hatred of numbered scores. It’ll have the odd quirk here and there, but ultimately it’s one of the best examples of truly brilliant game design the industry has.

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  2. I know it is a damned good game since I only really played through it 7 or 8 years ago and it quickly vaulted up into my top 3 SNES games list. Which says a lot since there were a lot of SNES that I loved quite a bit in the way. But it is one of those games that I play through on a fairly regular basis because it is just that fun to play. Particularly in one sitting.

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  3. I played through Super Metriod for the first time a couple years back, on my original SNES, and I had a blast. Took me a couple of months of on and off playing and I got lost countless times (sadly had to resort to GameFAQs a few times), but I had a blast. I managed to get the ending with Samus removing her helmet, but I’m not OCD enough to go back and try to get the best ending just for a different ending sprite… after all, that’s what the internet is good for, right?

    An excellent game… you don’t still see it on “Greatest Games” lists two decades after its release for nothing. Thankfully, Virtual Console gives a new generation of gamers a chance to check it out… even if they can’t figure out how to make Metroid crawl…

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  4. Yeah I used to groan whenever someone declaring the death of modern gaming brought up Super Metroid as the pinnacle of design. Now I know it’s a valid example, even if I don’t support the attitude behind it.

    Just to clarify I didn’t beat it in one sitting, “start to finish” I guess was poor wording. Took me 4-5 nights and every session was pretty long. I got 81% of items which I’m pretty happy with, I have no intention of speed-running it but I’m sure my next playthrough will be quicker anyway as it becomes familiar.

    I never properly dived into the Wii Virtual Console, but with Wii U it’s a lot different. The GamePad and Miiverse communities make it such an inviting experience. Mainly the GamePad being the most comfortable controller ever made, especially compared to the sideways Wiimote.

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