I, like many gamers of my generation, hold a special place in my heart for the Super Nintendo. The 16-bit animation felt a bit more lighthearted than the hyper-realistic games of today. Super Metroid was one of my favorites of the generation, and rightfully so. It cemented the open-world exploration style that is still favored by most 2D platformers today, and is still a highly sought-after title itself.
System: SNES, Virtual Console, Nintendo eShop
Developer(s): Nintendo R&D1, Intelligent Systems
Release Date(s): March 19, 1994 (Japan)
April 18, 1994 (US)
July 28, 1994 (Europe)
Price: $7.99 USD (Nintendo eShop)
Our story starts off directly following the events of Metroid 2. Samus Aran, the heroine of the series has all but eradicated the metroids from the galaxy, save one. This metroid larva has been transported to Ceres Space Station for research on the creatures regenerative properties. Shortly after leaving the metroid in the custody of the Federation, Samus witnesses an attack on the station by unknown assailants. Our adventure begins…
Control-wise this game handles beautifully. Like other platformers of the time, Super Metroid allowed for 8-directional shooting while moving. Samus’ movements and jumping are fluid and easy to control, unlike the NES original. The different landscapes and immersive soundtrack really draw you into the world. Samus’ arsenal is bigger than ever utilizing classic abilities such as the Screw Attack and Morph Ball, and also new abilities like the Grapple Beam and Gravity Suit (would become mainstays in future titles) to traverse this alien planet. There are even abilites at her disposal that aren’t explained in-game. I remember the Crystal Flash (Hold L+R and down on D-Pad and press fire, while at 50 or less total health) was an awesome secret.technique, but I never really found a practical use for it. Still, it was impressively animated and an all-around cool secret.
Exploration is really the heart of this game. You will find yourself returning to previous areas frequently with new abilities as you progress through the game. Soon you find yourself shooting and bombing walls in hopes of finding a new power-up item. There are 6 individual areas in the game. These include classic areas like Brinstar and Norfair, and 2 new areas, Maridia and the Wrecked Ship. You can literally spend hours trying to explore the areas of this game if you are a completionist, but this game is also liked by the speedrunning community. Skilled players can sequence break and access areas that would otherwise be unavailable at that point in the game(The world record stands at 44 minutes, 26 seconds!).
Final Grade: 95%
This game is a masterpiece. A huge map, awesome abilities, and a fantastic soundtrack, make this game an experience like no other. If you’ve never had the opportunity to play this gem, you’re missing out on one of the finest games ever made. The prologue mission brings new players up to speed, and the setting provides a sense of familiarity for veterans of the series. If you’ve never played this game, stop what you’re doing and find a way to play it. It’s that good.
- Expansive world encourages and rewards exploration
- Beautiful graphics stand the test of time
- Vast abilities allow players to take a different approach to scenarios, adding replay value
- Story is kind of cliché
- No objective markers makes it easy for players to become lost
- Certain abilities are never demonstrated or explained
Bonus nostalgia! Here’s the original US commercial for Super Metroid!