Top 100 SNES Review: #2 – Super Metroid (1994)

Enter The Flow

An immediately immersive game. 

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Sydlexia’s Ranking: #2/100
My Rating: cropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-star

Gahh. I’ve been ill all week.

Since I was quarantined in my bedroom on the third floor, I decided that I needed to simulate some kind of social interaction. I ended up playing Super Metroid where you are a sole explorer on an isolated planet with no intelligent life forms. I did end up making friends with a larva, though.

While it might have been an overdosage of Dollar General Store Brand Effervescent Cold Relief, the draw into planet Zebes core was immediate — all I wanted to do was explore, be rewarded, and explore more. You could say that the gameplay was almost as contagious as my flu 😷.

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[plot/spoilers.]

Following the events of Metroid II: Return of Samus (a gameboy adventure), Samus brings a Metroid Larva to a research facility. Shortly after leaving, she gets a distress signal from that very same facility and returns to find that the larva was stolen by Space Pirates and taking to the planet of Zebes.

Samus lands on the planet, deeply isolating and alone, and begins to descend into the bowels of Zebes, full of puzzles, power ups, and pitfalls.

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If you beat the game in a certain amount of time, Samus takes off even more clothes. A game with an empowering female sneaking in sex appeal 😶.

[analysis.]

I buried the original in my NES review. It was a repetitive grind with a lack of work-reward system and no map feature. This game fixed all of it. Every. Single. Thing. 

I don’t recall the last time I had to tell myself to stop playing a video game; I’m usually quick to reach a threshold and want a break. With Super Metroid, each new level up came with an immediate call for adventure — “you know that ledge back there that was too high, I probably can reach it now!” 

Upon retracing your steps, a multitude of venues open up before you, almost too many. 

That ledge that you finally ascend leads down three possible hallways, and those hallways each lead down to three tunnels as your options for exploration exponentially grows. I would often want to retrace to a certain spot in the game, but before even getting there, I would realize so many nuggets that I missed that I would massively get side tracked before having to orient myself with “Now, why did I come this way again?”

The fun in Metroid is twofold: the sense of adventure and the sense of isolation. I’m not usually one to comment on the mood or atmosphere of a game (this ain’t yelp!) but I couldn’t help but feel alone as you descend further into the endless labyrinth.

Even with the upgrades to ease gameplay, the game does expect you to work a little — you have to be willing to get frustrated a couple times looking for where you need to go next, examining each room with greater detail than before. This often times leads to the discovery of hidden weapons, items, and upgrades making no exploration, directed or idle, go unrewarded.

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Occasionally things get complicated.

[conclusion.]

For such a quick game (I swear I was in this alternative reality for more than 5 hours), it quickly sucks you in. The amount of areas open to exploration is seamlessly endless, with huge swaths of hidden real estate suddenly becoming available with different power ups. This makes Super Metroid one of the best adventure games I’ve played; leave no block unbombed!

Other People’s Takes:

  • The Jam: The final entry and list topper for my favorite video games is the game that I also believe to be the best ever made, Super Metroid for the Super NES”
  • 3PStart:I’ll just get this out there ahead of time: Super Metroid is a pretty near perfect game.”

Author: Casual But Smart

I review the top 100 books, movies, albums, and games of all time.

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