A trip down Super Nintendo Memory Lane isn't complete without remembering this gem. Super Metroid was another one of those crowning jewels in the SNES library that will cement it as one of the, if not THE greatest system of all time.
When the Super Nintendo hit, a lot of sequels or what were later thought of as "remakes" got the "Super" prefix added to it. Super Metroid, Super Castlevania, Super Bomberman, Super Doubledragon, so on and so forth and Nintendo followed this trend into it's Nintendo 64 days, but I'm getting ahead of myself there. Super Metroid is a sequel to the previous two Metroid games with Samus Aran learning that the space pirate Ridley has captured your Metroid hatchling and taken it back to Planet Zebes for breeding and other evil acts and it's time to find out whats going on.
The game play is classic and smooth, jump, roll into a ball, shoot and switch weapons and shoot some more. The game play is a marked improvement over the old NES version, which while a trend setter was a pretty obtuse title in terms of finding your way around and getting powered up. Here, recharging your health and getting missiles is easy as hell with recharge stations and with new accessories like the infrared sight to find passages and new weapons like super missiles and spazer beams, fighting off Mother Brain's armies got a lot easier. Other great changes are the absence of the ANNOYING and ENDLESS upward corridors that never seem to end or that you can only have one gun. You can have the Wave Gun AND Freeze Gun and while you can't have the Spazer after getting the Plasma Beam, it's such a similar weapon, you won't mind.
The game will have you going between different sections of planet Zebes from the floral Brinstar, into the fire caverns of Norfair, a wrecked ship, Tourian the enemy stronghold among other sections. Picking up new powerups allow you into more sections of these worlds where more weapons and boss monsters await you till you can break into the Tourian Stronghold and battle Mother Brain. Hostile monsters that need a thumping and power ups abound along the way.
Graphics are colorful and textured with colored monsters and layered backgrounds. The sound quality is good with all the bzts and blams with firing your guns, missiles and other weapons to destroy enemies. The controls are good but some take a little getting used to. The grapple beam, for example is great for latching onto key sections of walls but your swinging is odd and you have to time your release WITH hooking onto another wall piece. Another is getting stuck in places with gaps too high and watching animal creatures do something to give you a hint to get out. One is the ostrich thing doing a speed run, stopping and doing a super jump and then the three critters doing wall jumps. It's a little obscure to figure out at first but it will teach you new techniques.
The fun really comes from doing your exploring and collecting your power ups and there is no shortage of in this game since you come across power ups pretty frequently, especially as you backtrack to open up new sections of worlds that you missed before or weren't strong enough to get into before.
A popular game for speed runs, Super Metroid may have been the only entry for Metroid on the SNES, but like many of it's contemporaries of the time, it's entry is considered by many the best. I only wish Kid Icarus got this kind of treatment on the SNES.
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