In any given genre of games, there are a handful of benchmark titles, games that all lesser cartridges would give all their silicon chips to be. In the side-scrolling action/shooter category,
Super Metroid is king. Combining addictive and challenging game play with some of the best audio and visuals ever seen on
SNES, Super Metroid is a high mark for the system.
For those uninitiated with the Metroid series, you play as alien-wrangling galactic bounty hunter Samus Aran (who also happens to be a woman- something that old-school gamers found out the hard way at the end of the original Metroid on NES). The beautiful Samus has many abilities at her disposal, including jumping, running…oh, and the suit. Samus’ suit can be upgraded with tons of gadgets and gizmos, which you gain in the form of power-ups scattered throughout the game world. You’d better keep the manual handy, however, since there’s no training mode and literally every attack or weapon at Samus’ disposal is needed at some point in the game.
Therein lies the genius in Super; the level designs are incredible. The bulk of the game takes place on one map, and as Samus progresses through the game, earning more power ups, defeating bosses, and finding more secret areas, more of the map becomes available. Running errands to collect weapon upgrades and power-ups may sound boring, but surprisingly it never grows tedious. The controls are smooth and function perfectly, but to remember all the buttons for each move may intimidate some first-time players at first. The difficulty is challenging, but not frustrating -fighting bosses is actually fun- and unlocking more pieces of the in-game map is a very satisfying feeling.
This baby pours out Mode 7 goodness by the bucket-full, and is still regarded as one of the best-looking games ever to grace an SNES cartridge. The atmosphere is goose bump-inducing; the character animations are flawless; and the frame rate stays rock-steady, even in the stickiest situations.
The background music complements the feel of the game perfectly, and the quality is excellent. The sound effects are hardly annoying; and the music never gets repetitive- no easy feat in a game where hours could be spent trying to unlock the next area.
Super really doesn’t innovate too much game play-wise. The novelties in this game are the fact that it basically takes every good aspect of the first two Metroid games (on NES and Game Boy) and seamlessly combines them with razor-edge (16-bit) technology. The result? A “Super” Metroid, of course.
Well, this game’s hella long, but the combination of Super’s solid and overall addictive game play will keep you coming back for more; for completists, there’s always the daunting task of filling in all the gaps in the game map to look forward to, and for the casual gamer, the game’s pick-up-and-play approach and the draw of the game’s sci-fi ambiance makes for a great weekend-killer.
If you’re looking for a futuristic action experience on SNES, look no further. Super Metroid’s “like riding a bicycle” game play, awesome sounds and sights and unbelievably huge in-game world make in a must-have for any SNES owner. Be ready to burn the midnight oil, however: the game’s absolutely huge game area and the incentive to check out every last inch of it adds up to hours and hours of game play. But platformer fans will love every minute of it.
Ratings (out of 10)
Replay Value: High
Fun Factor: 10