When I bought this game about a year ago, I wanted it to be a good game. I was pretty harsh on the NES counter part, and I felt that in order for the series to not sink into the realm of "overrated," this installment had to perform at a high level. And I'm happy to say that it did. Super Metroid not only manages to improve on all of the faults created by the original game, but it also has a few extra tricks up its sleeve as well.
One of the most important improvements that I feel deserves to be addressed immediately is the play control. If you've read my Metroid review, you know that it was this facet alone that forbade the game from receiving the classification of Classic. Well, forget about that here. Samus controls as cleanly as can be, with the recoil subdued, the ability to crouch and shoot, and best of all, special techniques that can be implemented without excessive effort. Truly, this was the biggest setback of the series, and for the programmers to correct it adds to this game's quality immensely. The only real fault is the fact that the game doesn't pause automatically; while the screen fades out to show the map, the action is not suspended. Needless to say, pausing while an enemy is right next to you is not a good idea.
Another terrific part of this game is its presentation. Unlike the original, Zebes truly feels like a planet instead of one gigantic pipeline. The backgrounds used in each of the areas makes them all look even more exotic. Samus herself is animated terrifically, especially when it comes to her special maneuvers like the Super Dash and Space Jump. Not quite on par with the graphics, but still great, is the music. While none of it is very reminiscent to the NES game, it still adds to the ambiance of each region. And Ridley's lair music is just as daunting as was Kraid's theme on the NES. The only music I could do without is the boss music. Not the "crisis" music, mind you, but the theme that plays while fighting the earlier bosses. That tuba really gets on my nerves. As for the sound samples, they're much more subdued in this game, and that's another strong point. On the NES, Samus' footsteps were constantly drowning out the music, and they're much softer here.
The plot is pretty average. The Metroid is a central point of the conflict, and for risk of giving away the plot, I wouldn't be surprised if the series stopped here (that is unless, the writers turn to cloning for the next wave of Metroids). Of course, there's no plot forwarding for most of the game, but chances are you'll be too busy shooting, jumping, and running to notice. On the other hand, the game knows when to add various special touches to the story. For instance, on defeating Ridley, you'll find in the next room nothing but the broken jar in which the Metroid prototype was once kept. With that, you know what's going to happen next.
When I previously reviewed this game, I believed the challenge to be pretty difficult, especially near the end of the game. Well, after beating it legitimately (without the Game Genie, that is - and BTW, 98% of the items in 4:53), I don't think that remark is totally accurate. In fact, in some cases, the game is actually easier than it should be - near the late game, you'll have so many Energy Tanks and offensive weaponry (if you know where to look, at least) that even beating the tougher bosses isn't too difficult. The only bosses that might give you some trouble are the Chozo boss in Ridley's lair and the mini-boss in Norfair, but that's only because defeating them requires more strategy than just guerilla tactics.
Needless to say, I enjoyed this game a lot more than the NES version. There's much more of a sense of exploration, largely in part because the world iso so large. The frustration level is very low, too. The improvement in the play control is the biggest reason for that; no longer will you be shouting at the TV because you got knocked down a long shaft. And once you've gone through the game once, the second time around is a lot more fun. The replay value is immensely better because of that.
This is another must-own cartridge for those who possess an SNES. If you are a fan of the Metroid series, you'll just eat this up. If you aren't, this game might just make you one.
|Play Control: ||
|Technical Score: 16
|Aesthetic Score: 20
|Overall Score: 86%|