The classic review is where we examine gaming gems from yesteryear. It’s a trip down memory lane and an opportunity to see how some of gaming’s most beloved titles have held up over time. In addition, we also suggest similar titles for gamers to try once they’re done with the title in discussion. For this go-around, we’re looking at the SNES classic,Â Super Metroid.
Like most ladies, Samus understands the importance of matching accessories.
Super Metroid was released in Japan on 19th March 1994, in North America on 18th April 1994 and in Europe on 28th July 1994.Â Directed and written byÂ Yoshio Sakamoto, the game also saw Makoto Kano and the father of the Gameboy, Gunpei YokoiÂ serving as the producer and general manager respectively.
Super MetroidÂ is an action-adventureÂ gameÂ which primarily takes place on the planet Zebes. It features a large, interconnectedÂ open-world for the player to explore. Controlling intergalactic bounty hunter Samus Aran, the player Â searches Zebes for aÂ MetroidÂ that was stolen byÂ Ridley, the leader of theÂ Space Pirates. Gameplay is centred around exploration and the discovery of power-upsÂ that grant Samus special abilities, thus allowing her access Â to areas that were previously inaccessible. This design decision proved to be the game’s strongest aspect as it allowed the developers room to impose some modicum of structure, whilst affording gamers a great deal of freedomÂ and flexibility in their individual playing experiences.
In addition, Super Metroid saw the return of the save systemÂ from the Gameboy titleÂ Metroid II: Return of Samus.Â This ability to save the game at any of the save points scattered across the game world supported the game design’s emphasis on exploration. Freed from the need to jot down passwords or other archaic mechanisms of the time, players could focus on searching every nook and cranny of the planet, further Â immersing themselves in Samus’ world. Playing through the game today instantly ignites that same sense of isolation and immersion. As evidenced by more recent titles such as Konami’s Castlevania: Symphony of the Night and Chair’s Shadow Complex, Super Metroid established a timeless blueprint which is still being used today. There’s very little one can do to improve on perfection.
The more you explore, the more powerful you get.
The visuals were cutting-edge for their time, featuring large and detailed character sprites against an evocatively designed series of levels. This was brought to life by fluid animation and visual flourishes such as weather effects and the dazzling fireworks resulting from Samus’ arsenal. Generally, the game holds up well and only minor instances of screen tearing and jaggies pull the score down. It’s a testament to the brilliant art direction that the game continues to look as good as it does almost two decades later.
Composed byÂ Kenji YamamotoÂ and Minako Hamano, Super Metroid’s sublimely atmospheric score is a masterclass in immersion. From the haunting title theme to the eerie silence of the opening stage, the game’s score creates a foreboding atmosphere which sets the tone of the game perfectly right out the gate. Not once does a piece feel out of place with each and every track perfectly suited to the area and situation. From Crateria to Brinstar to Norfair… it all just works. If you’ve never heard any of the tracks from the game’s score, you’re in for a treat.
Super Metroid is a genuine classic. Its release laid the ground rules for an entire genre of games and set the bar incredibly hire. Later games in the genre have had a difficult time measuring up to the brilliance of Samus’ early-90s adventure. In fact, only one other title has come close; the previously mentioned Symphony of the Night. Today, the genre is often referred to as Metroidvania, a reference to the two titles which have come to represent the very best that action-adventure has to offer.
So… is Super Metroid worthy of the modern gamer’s time? The answer is a resounding ‘yes’. Few games can claim to be truly timeless, but Yoshio Sakamoto’s masterpiece is wholly deserving of that label.
Once you’ve blasted Mother Brain into space dust, consider giving these spiritual successors a shot.
- Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (PS1, XBLA, PSN)
Konami adopted Metroid’s design for its debut on Sony’s Playstation and created one of the greatest games of all time. Alucard’s title exhibits similar strengths in art direction, music and atmosphere.
- Shadow Complex (XBLA)
Built using Unreal Engine 2.5, Shadow Complex is probably the prettiest Metroidvania game ever released. It’s also a lot of Â fun and features Mr Uncharted himself, Nolan North.
- Aliens: Infestation (NDS)
From the strong female lead to naming the leader of the Space Pirates ‘Ridley’ after Alien director Sir Ridley Scott, the developers were obviously fans of 20th Century Fox’s sci-fi franchise. Although it plays things a little too safe to be considered great, it’s a must-play for fans of the movies.