Monday, October 01, 2007

Super Metriod

Super Metroid is an adventure video game developed by Nintendo R&D1 and published by Nintendo for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System video game console. Super Metroid is the third installment in the Metroid series of video games. With its 24-megabit cartridge size, it was the largest game available for the console at the time of its release.

Super Metroid is a 2-D platform video game with action and adventure elements. Game progression revolves around sequentially gathering power-ups that allow Samus Aran (the main character) to overcome obstacles in order to access new parts of the world. Like most 2-D Metroid games, the world has a non-linear design and features many hidden areas, making exploration a central concept of the game.

Super Metroid was also made available on the Wii's Virtual Console service on August 20, 2007 in North America, as part of the "Month of Metroid" Wii Shop Channel event.

Contents

Gameplay

Samus in the aquatic world, Maridia
Samus in the aquatic world, Maridia

Super Metroid shares many aspects of gameplay with other games in the Metroid series. It takes place in a large, open-ended world with different areas that are connected via doors and elevators. Samus traverses the planet through its complex cavities to hunt down the Space Pirates. In order to progress in the game, Samus must defeat four main bosses: Kraid, the giant lizard whose base makes up a large part of Brinstar; Phantoon, a spectral entity that controls the desolate Wrecked Ship; Draygon, a crustacean monstrosity that occupies a submerged pirate lab in Maridia; and Ridley, who controls Norfair.

Items

From the inventory screen, the player can enable or disable weapons and other abilities.
From the inventory screen, the player can enable or disable weapons and other abilities.

There are two uses for items and equipment found in the game world: to defeat enemies and to overcome obstacles found in the environment. Some items augment the type of weapon the main character uses. Some items help facilitate the progression of the game by gaining new abilities that allows the player to explore areas that were previously inaccessible. Other items, like energy and reserve tanks increase Samus' maximum life total.

Plot

After extinguishing the Metroids on their home planet of SR-388 in Metroid II: Return of Samus, bounty hunter Samus Aran brings the last surviving Metroid larva to the Ceres Space Colony. There, scientists conduct research on the larva and reach the conclusion that the powers of Metroids could be harnessed for the benefit of mankind. Confident that things are in order, Samus leaves Ceres in search of a new bounty to hunt. However, shortly after leaving, Samus picks up a distress call from Ceres and returns to investigate. As Samus explores the space colony, she is attacked by the dragon-like Ridley. Samus and Ridley engage in battle, but Ridley soon flies off with the larva in his talons. At the same time, a countdown sets off for the self-destruction of the space colony and Samus has 60 seconds to return to her gunship.

Samus follows Ridley to planet Zebes, the home of the Space Pirates. The base was destroyed in the first Metroid game, but has now been rebuilt. It should be noted that a whole section of Crateria, the first section of Zebes, looks like Tourian from the first game (dubbed Old Tourian), with Mother Brain's old control chamber. She sets out to locate the Metroid larva and prevent the Pirates from gaining use of its powers. After defeating the four main bosses, Samus battles her way through Tourian, encountering newly bred Metroids. After passing through several corridors filled with crumbling enemies, she encounters a Metroid of incredible size. Before she can escape, the giant creature drains most of her life force. However, it seems to recognize Samus just in time; it appears that this huge Metroid is the larva taken from SR388. According to the Nintendo Power Player's Guide, the huge Metroid is aptly named "Super Metroid". As in the beginning of the game, "The Metroid followed [Samus] like [she] was its mother."

Samus fighting the first form of Mother Brain.
Samus fighting the first form of Mother Brain.

After the Metroid departs, Samus recovers her energy and confronts Mother Brain. After Samus shatters the creature's stasis tank and inflicts enough damage, Mother Brain attaches itself to a giant mechanical body and the battle begins again. During the battle, Mother Brain uses a massive burst of energy from its eye, nearly destroying Samus. Samus finds herself unable to move while Mother Brain charges up to finish her off. Before the final blow can be inflicted, however, the Super Metroid suddenly attacks Mother Brain, draining its energy until it appears dead. The Metroid then attaches itself to Samus and begins feeding its energy to her. However, Mother Brain soon recovers and begins firing upon the hatchling, weakening it until it lifts off of Samus. A final shot destroys the hatchling, leaving its remains to fall upon Samus.

Pulsating with light, Samus now finds that she possesses the Hyper Beam, an incredibly powerful weapon that has replaced her other beams. With it, she easily destroys Mother Brain, who falls to the floor and turns to dust. This in turn triggers a self-destruct sequence, giving Samus a mere three minutes to escape through the emergency evacuation shaft of the original base. Along the way, Samus rescues several Etecoons and a Dachora, then she makes it to her gunship just in time and takes off, watching the planet explode in a flash of light.

Development

Super Metroid was the third game produced in the Metroid series. The game's early planning began in 1990 with Nintendo's Nintendo Research & Development 1 (R&D1) headed by Yoshio Sakamoto. The first-party developer Intelligent Systems, consisting of former members of R&D1, was asked to program the game. With a total of 22 people, the game was completed in 1993.[4]

Reception

At the time of its release, Super Metroid was universally praised. To this day, it remains one of the most popular and critically lauded games not only for the Super NES, but in all of gaming history. It has sold 1.4 million units (780.000 in Japan and 460.000 in North America)[citation needed], becoming a Player's Choice. It frequently appears in "best games of all time" lists; Electronic Gaming Monthly has named Super Metroid the best game of all time,[5], it came in 4th place on the reader's choice edition of IGN's 100 greatest video games of all time, and IGN ranked it the third best game of all time in its 2003 "top 100" list, and fourth best game of all time in its most recent 2006 list, with the motivation:

"Hailed as one of the best 2D adventures ever, Nintendo's sci-fi epic still provides one of the most thought out and intriguing gameplay experiences around. Ranging from extensive platform challenges to gigantic boss battles to a comprehensive power-up system, Super Metroid has attained a divine place in the hearts of longtime gamers. Certainly, it stands as something players and developers can idolize for years to come."[6]

Swedish game publication Super PLAY ranked Super Metroid number 6 in the "top 100" list its March 2003 issue, commenting on its atmosphere (the following is a translation from Swedish):

The graphics and sound form a wonderful symbiosis, creating an almost tangible atmosphere. Concerning the looks, there is no individual part that sticks out; the game maintains an even, stable, and thoroughly crafted graphical style. The music mostly consists of reserved, dark and mystical melodies that lurk in the background. After a while they consume you, fully immersing you in the Samus role. And the role is indeed an exciting one to play. The pure joy of exploration is on top and constantly makes you thirst for more.

In a Metroid feature in its December 2002 issue, Super PLAY also noted the game's care to detail:

Super Metroid remains one of the most well made adventures ever produced. Every detail, from the echoing ice shafts to the statue that shifts color to illustrate which of the game's four bosses have been defeated, is indicative of an almost manic dedication among the developers at R&D1.

In the July 2006 issue of GamePro, Super Metroid was listed as one of the "15 Retro Games For The Nintendo Wii You Must Play".

Legacy

Super Metroid served as a formula for subsequent 2-D games in the Metroid series, as it refined and provided a definitive version of concepts introduced in the first two Metroid games.

The two-dimensional Castlevania games beginning with Castlevania: Symphony of the Night on the PlayStation/Sega Saturn and continuing on the Game Boy Advance and DS borrow elements from Super Metroid, such as the "retraversal" style of gameplay involving items that grant new abilities to access new areas, as well as the style of map. This has led to the creation of the terms "Castleroid" and "Metroidvania", used when describing similar action-adventure games.

Speedrunning

Super Metroid's open-ended gameplay style has made it a popular choice for speedruns. Due to unintended sequence breaks, many players compete to see who can complete the game fastest, or with the fewest items, or both. This has caused Super Metroid to be a major contributor to the speedrun phenomenon, and one of the most popular games for both assisted (assisted: using an emulator to play the game, and using tools like single frame advance, or slowdown) and unassisted speedruns.

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