Monday, August 23, 2010

Retro Review - Super Metroid (Wii VC)

In honor of Metroid: Other M's release next week on Wii, I decided to bring back an old GameSpot user review to get the G Unit Ver1's World treatment, which is Super Metroid for the Wii Virtual Console.

It was 1994 when the first console Metroid since the original on the NES came out. Fans of the series have waited patiently for Super Metroid's release on the Super Nintendo and it eventually became one of the greatest games of all-time. It was an evolution of the Metroid formula that started on the NES and turned out to be the perfect Metroid game for its time. Since Super Metroid's release, Nintendo has not re-released the game in any form other than illegally downloading it on an emulator. Now it is available on the Wii Virtual Console for 800 Wii Points and arguably the best game on that service since most of the other Nintendo games have been released before in other forms.

Super Metroid begins after Metroid II: The Return of Samus when a baby Metroid found bounty hunter Samus Aran as her mother at SR-388. All of a sudden at a space station, the baby Metroid gets captured by one of Samus's infamous enemies, Ridley, as Samus rushes to Zebes, where the whole franchise started to rescue the baby Metroid and eliminate the legion of Space Pirates once for all. Once Samus lands on Zebes via her spaceship, it is basically Metroid again, but bigger and better.

Samus starts out only with her Power Beam, but as like Metroid, you progress through the game by collecting new weapons and upgrades. The staples from Metroid return such as the Morph Ball, Missiles, Ice Beam, and the Varia Suit. The new additions in Super Metroid are the Grapple Beam, Gravity Suit, Plasma Beam, Space Jump, Super Missiles, and Power Bombs. These new additions are one of the major reasons Super Metroid is a way better sequel. Other noticeable additions that made the game easier than the original Metroid are save stations throughout areas of Zebes, energy and ammo recharge stations, and the helpful map. Those additions made Super Metroid less frustrating than the original Metroid in a big way, which is why it is a more polished game.

Other than Samus's new abilities, the planet Zebes is not the same as seen in the original. It is definitely better in terms of variety and scope as Samus wanders around Brinstar, the lava-filled Norfair, the Wrecked Ship, and the water-filled Maridia. The Metroid formula was at its best in Super Metroid with progression limited by a certain item, collecting missile expansions, and facing big bosses. Speaking of bosses, the boss count in Super Metroid was increased to four major bosses, numerous mini-bosses, and the finale with Mother Brain. Samus had her limits in the original Metroid firing only in three directions and in Super Metroid, she can fire in eight directions, which subtracts more frustration that players had in previous Metroid games before it.

There are two controller choices to play the Virtual Console version of Super Metroid, which are the Classic and Gamecube controllers. The Classic Controller is the one to go with because of its SNES familiarity. The controls can also be changed before starting a game, which is also a great addition. The emulation feels perfect on the Wii as it is the Super Nintendo version we all know and love. Even on a widescreen HDTV, Super Metroid is a great 2D game to look at even with today's 2D standards. The sound is also untouched and accurately emulated in this version as level themes go along with where you at in the game. The soundtrack is still one of the best soundtracks during the 16-bit era and remains that way today.

Super Metroid on the Wii's Virtual Console is highly recommended for Metroid fans and those playing it for the first time. Those who missed it back in the Super Nintendo days can finally play a legal version on the Wii. For those who played it to death, this is still a must buy considering it is like the second official release of the game ever. Super Metroid is still considered one of the greatest games of all-time and it is definitely the best game to buy on the Wii's Virtual Console right now.

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