Wednesday, May 26, 2010

NES #3 Metroid

Look at how awesome Samus looks on that cover, now imagine you are a ten year old boy looking at it for the first time and how bad ass it must have looked. However this is not the original box art, but the reissue. I'm using this one because it's the one I owned, plus the original was very bland with in game graphics instead of artwork.

Little did I know that the slick looking bounty hunter on the cover that I admired so much was actually female. Hell the instruction booklet even calls Samus a "he" but if you were able to beat the game within a certain time limit you were rewarded with an image of Samus outside of her armor revealing she was in fact a woman. This makes Samus the first major female character I can remember playing as in video games. You would have thought as a young boy I would have been crushed by the revelation cause girls are stupid and can't be awesome bounty hunters, but instead I embraced the character. So what if Samus was a chick? She still had sweet armor and kicked a lot of ass.

Now onto the story of Metroid. Samus Aran is a bounty hunter sent to the Planet Zebes to stop a group of Space Pirates from using the lifeforms known as Metroids as biological weapons. It's a rather complex plot for an NES era game, though nearly all of that is told through the booklet and not the game itself. Samus must face the space pirates Ridley, Kraid, and their leader Mother Brain.

Metroid plays as a side to side platformer with a single large world, instead of being broken up into stages that must be defeated in succession you are given freedom to explore the planet's various zones as you like. Each zone has a primary color and design to identify it from the others, but this can also lead to confusion as portions of each zone begin to look alike. This can leave you lost and wandering for hours. With no in game map how do you manage to navigate this world? Do what I did as a kid, make your own maps! Grab some paper and a pencil and get to drawing.

With no option to save, and an awkward password system that barely seemed to work, this was another game that required an all nighter to defeat. I remember staying up with a friend until the crack of dawn fighting our way through Ridley, Kraid, and finally defeating Mother Brain. So we beat the game right? Wrong! After killing Mother Brain the planet is set to explode and you must escape through a vertical shaft of platforms. This was our downfall. All that hard work and we couldn't make it out in time before the planet blew up. The fact that I still remember that moment of defeat proves Metroid is worthy of my number three spot. A great game that I'll never forget.

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