Where and when did you first play this game?
I admit it; I didn’t care for Metroid when I first played the game in 1986-7 on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). The first time I played the game I had no idea about where I was going or what I was doing. For those of you who are not familiar, Metroid is a huge side scrolling adventure game where you play the character of Samus, a kick-ass soldier in a space suit. The game contains a vast labyrinth of interconnecting tunnels and shafts to explore. The areas are very open ended for exploration with lots of hidden items. Open ended exploration was one of the things I loved about Legend of Zelda, so it now seems little odd I didn’t care for Metroid.
I remember playing Super Mario Bros and Kid Icarus more often because the games were more accessible, more linear in their design. Metroid just wasn’t that straight forward, but it was hanging in the background waiting for it’s moment to capture my attention.
How many times have you played this game? Have you replayed the game since you first played it?
When I finally got around to playing Metroid, I remember playing it all the way through, completing the final battle with Mother Brain. But it wasn’t until I got a copy of a map for Metroid, I really realize how truly large the game really was. I ended up going back into the game and playing through to find many of the items and weapons.
It became a mission to try to find all the hidden items and discover all the hidden pathways between tunnels. It was quite interesting in that way. I own the game on Wii virtual console and GameBoy Advance. I’ve played the GameBoy Advance version quite a way through, but I haven’t completed it since I originally purchased the cartridge.
What is it about this game that you loved?
There are tons of objects to collect like missiles, energy tanks, and lots of great weapons along the way. Some of the weapons that you end up getting are interesting like missiles, bombs, the freeze ray, the long jump, and the spinning jump are all pretty cool. As you add these weapons to your arsenal the game gets easier and can end up open new areas to explore. For example, the bombs allow you break rocks in the floors or walls which allow you pass through to another area you couldn’t reach before. Some of them are very hidden but some of them are in plain sight.
What is the best (or worst) moment in this game? Or what about this game made it memorable?
I originally played through a portion of the game, I came across and elevator and started exploring a new area with the purple goo for walls. I just remember getting killed over and over as I explored. And because there’s not a specific goal or object to reach, not so much as I knew anyway, I got extremely frustrated with the game and turned it off.
You’d wonder into an area and have absolutely no idea where to go or what you were looking for in the end. There are no other characters or dialogue in the game, so you had to rely on magazines like Nintendo Power in order to get the information you needed. Personally, I think that’s a failing for this game. When you had to get outside sources, like magazines, complete the game, that isn’t a good design. But it got me thinking, why did Legend of Zelda work for me right away and Metroid didn’t? I think Zelda had the first dungeon pretty much right around the corner from the starting point. You could find it quickly without a lot of searching. That gives you something to focus on, making the game seem far less … random.
Is there a special story about this game? Maybe an event in your life or some thing memorable you associate with this game?
Another thing about Metroid, was it some what coincided with my Star Trek: The Next Generation obsession. I started playing it more heavily because I imagined this being a star fleet mission to destroy an evil monster. It joined my video gaming and Star Trek interests together into a single game. Star Trek is kind of a stretch, but it reminded me of that Star Trek feeling with airlock/doors, elevators and space theme.
One of the other things that I remember really well about the game is after you destroy the final boss, a timer is set and the base is set to explode. You have to scale a long shaft jumping from platform to platform to make it up to an escape elevator.
The platforms get very narrow and widely spaced apart so you have to jump from platform to platform. I was already tense from the final battle with Mother Brain so I wasn’t very well at making my jumps. I’d make it up the shaft and then fall back down. It got very frustrated racing against the timer. The good news was the timer was for 999 seconds, so you have a lot of time but I still remember the tension playing the end of the game. I didn’t care for the platform jumping coming off the final boss battle and Metroid swarms.
The most interesting moment came at the end of the game, after you finally make it the elevator and Samus, depending on how you did during the game, will reveal herself. The hero of the game is a woman; I don’t remember that happening in a game before Metroid, well except Ms. Pac-Man. Since there’s no specific dialogue or conversations in the game, you never get an idea about her gender until you complete the game.