Next month is October and I’ll be doing some horror themed reviews for that, but let’s start a little early. Some say Nintendo games are cute and cuddly (though I repeatedly use the term Nintendo dark, think about the lore you find, this stuff is dark) but there is one franchise that repeatedly breaks this, the Metroid series.
Set in space in the future, it stars Samus Aran (best female character in video games) bounty hunter as she faces off against space pirates, other alien forces and the deadly Metroids.
Metroid Fusion ( no I have no idea what the fusion stands for) on the Game Boy Advance is set after the superb Super Metroid (one of the best games of all time, no really it is). We start as she returns to the home world of the Metroids planet SR388. In the second game you wiped out the Metroids but one and now a scientific team has asked for your help researching the planet since you have been there before, then everything goes wrong.
After killing one of the enemies from the second game it turns into this strange floating blob thing that soon attacks Samus, though initially there is no sign of what happened when flying back she loses conciousness, the being that attacked her is the deadly X parasite! A terrifying being that infects life forms, kills them then copies them. Samus is so infected they had to surgically remove part of her power suit, and it’s only when given a vaccine made from the last Metroid that she survived. Turns out the Metroids were created to destroy the X, and now with them gone they were free to multiply (woops).
The game starts proper as you fly off to the space station your infected suit and other life forms from the planet were taken too, there was a large explosion and they lost contact. Since a lot of your suit had to be removed you lost all your powers and are much weaker than you were before (first time this happened in the franchise but it became somewhat prevalent later). There you essentially are thrown into a sci fi horror movie setting, the X have over run the station infecting and copying everything, there are even zombie like beings made when X parasites that previously infected slime creatures infected them creating slime zombies, and whats more…. you are being hunted.
The game play is a lot more linear than Super Metroid as you are heavily guided on what rooms you need to go to for specific upgrades or where the boss you need to kill is. This is thanks to the AI that aids you that Samus names Adam. This also means this is the first time we see Samus’s inner thoughts (though the next time she did people seemed to forget this existed and complained). Controls for those that had played previous 2d Metroid will be happy that they are basically the same though they did lower some hidden abilities’ power to prevent sequence breaking (using abilities to get things out of order) which is most likely due to being more story driven.
Once you beat the game you get a screen showing how well you did, showing how many items you found and how long it took to complete the game. Get a better time gets you a better ending, and beating it in under two hours gets you the best time (beat it in 1:37 minutes for my most recent run). That’s not to say the game is short, just you can speed run it and it takes a lot of time if it’s your first run through OR are trying to get all the power ups. The game is not easy either, (especially if going for a speed run as you do feel pushed for that 2 hour mark) and there are moments that also feel genuinely chilling. When I said you were going through a horror movie I was not joking it sets a chilling mood, and some areas you were safe in before become much more dangerous later on as you are hunted by a far more powerful foe that is merciless.
While probably not what I would recommend for the first game in the Metroid series (mainly because it is quite different from the rest and is as of still this day the final one lore wise) I still list it as a must for anyone that likes the franchise, plus it’s not hard to get a hold of. It’s on virtual console release.