Saving the best for first: Super Metroid

Before writing this post I thought “should I really start with my favorite game?  One that makes many other games pale in comparison?”   Hell yes, I decided, because sometimes ya just gotta have dessert first.

So, it’s been said before and I’ll say it again.  Best. Game. Ever.

Super Metroid cover art © Nintendo (source)

Super Metroid, released by Nintendo in 1994, has all the elements that make up the greatest of great games: story, action, intensity, the chance for exploration, the discovery of new abilities, and replayability to the nth degree.

In the Metroid mythology, Super Metroid lands near the end of the spectrum, but it’s the first of the series I ever played, and I’m pretty sure it was my first video game obsession. Even as I’m typing, thinking of the incredible joy I get from playing the game sets my heart all a-flutter!

Now THAT’S a metroid! (source)

We had the game for our Super Nintendo. Years later after moving away, I bought a Super Nintendo on Ebay just to play Super Metroid, which I also bought on Ebay. And in the recent past, I bought Super Metroid through the Wii shop. Did you think I was joking when I said obsession??

Super Metroid is a 2D side scroller.  You make your way through various levels, killing baddies and fighting some fairly formidable bosses.  Samus can jump, shoot, drop bombs, and grapple, and receive power-ups to make all those things stronger. On the outside, it’s a standard point-shoot-run game; but there are several things that make it stand out as fantastic:

1. The hero, Samus Aran, is a girl! Ha, girls rule.  (Since I hadn’t previously played Metroid, this reveal at the end of the game was pretty awesome.)

Samus in her power suit. (source)
What any normal bounty hunter wears under her power suit, no doubt. (source)

2. The music and sfx. Super Metroid’s soundtrack is pretty much the best thing going.  Each world or level in the game has a specific theme that ranges from minimal and moody to deep and evocative. And though there’s a certain, dare I say 90s cheesiness that prevails at time, each song is unique and fits the mood of each level.  (For copyright reasons, I can’t post any of the songs here, but you can find some of them on Kingdom Hearts Insider.) The sound affects are pretty great too.  Many of the bad guys “cry out” when you hit them, which lends to them a bit of sympathy.  (I don’t really want to hurt you, you blue and white bug-like, four-legged creature, but you are so in my way.)

3. The renderings.  This game is colorful, to say the least.  The backgrounds and characters are rendered in just the nicest looking brightly colored 16-bits. Granted, the characters do not harness the most complex movements, but they don’t need to.  Everything just needs to move seamlessly, and it does.  Whether you’re making your way from one level to the next or fighting a boss there’s always something pretty to look at.

It all looks rather civil…until the shooting starts, that is. (source)

4. The replay factor.  This was the first game for which I ever kept notes.  There is so much to remember and each level map only shows so much.  There are tons of secret areas to find and explore; and to this day, I still haven’t found them all.  I’ve also yet to master some of the special moves needed to find said secret areas.  Unfortunately, I don’t have my original “game notebook” anymore, so now-a-days I have to wing it on memory.   But each time I’ve play through the game, I find or figure out at least one new thing that I hadn’t discovered before.  There are also different endings depending on how fast you beat the game or how many items you’ve found.  I’m not much of a completionist, but someday I’ve like to achieve 100% on this game.

The end boss before the actual end boss; because in video games, one end boss is never enough. (source)

If you’ve never played this game then, well…for the good of all that is holy, find some way to play it.  If you have played this game then you know just what I mean.  Best. Game. Ever.

14 thoughts on “Saving the best for first: Super Metroid”

  1. Love this post. It’s all so true, and I think practically every nintendo gamer ever has a special spot in their heart for Super Metroid. My favorite thing, however, about this game, is how the plot is completely wordless. There’s the long monologue at the beginning, and then everything that happens after is without dialogue… yet, the plot is totally clear, and has lots of twists and turns you don’t expect.

    By the way, it is not mandatory to get the gravity suit before you fight the 3rd boss. I found this out and literally went ALL THE WAY through Maridia in slow motion. Yep.

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    1. I could never bear to go through Maridia in sloooow mooootion; but bravo, sir, on your patience! And yes, the fact that you’re really left on your own to figure out the game, but still the plot is clear as ice, is a true plus. It’s a hard game to hate and an easy game to love — the best kind!

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  2. I love all things Metroid. I found a Super Metroid cartridge at the local GameStop about 8 years ago and borrowed my cousin’s SNES just to play it. It was so worth it. What a beautiful game… everything from the story, the music and atmosphere is just really wonderful. With all the advances in gaming over the last 18 years, it stands as a great testament to Super Metroid that it’s still such a strong title.

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    1. It’s great to know that the old Super Metroid cartridges are out there still, and that they still work! (I do wish I still had mine, just for posterity.) It’s the one game I recommend to anyone who claims to hate video games. It’s a truly fantastic game that’s really enjoyable, easy on the eyes, and not overly difficult.

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  3. Never played this game, but I must someday. I have played newer Metroid games, though, like the Metroid Prime trilogy and Other M (which is a super weird title). They were awesome, and I got 100% in at least the first Metroid Prime and Other M, but maybe the others, too. I can’t remember. They’re some of the best games, and Samus is one of the coolest video game characters.

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    1. YOU MUST PLAY THIS GAME. That is all.

      (P. S. I never enjoyed the 3D Metroid games as much as the 2D ones. But I should really give them a try again. Samus is great in any form.)

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  4. Love this game! I can even remember what the music is like when I look at those pictures. My husband is much better at playing it than I am so I love to watch him play. Sounds crazy, but I think it is still interesting. We haven’t played it in 2 or 3 years though. Hmmm….maybe he might have time this weekend.
    PS We haven’t found everything yet either and discover new things each time.

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    1. It’s amazing how this game has stood the test of time – I see it listed on many top ten favorite video games lists. It restores my faith in humanity’s ability to produce good things. Good luck on you’re husband’s next playthrough whenever it happens!

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