Retro-Spective #1: Super Metroid

Super Metroid has always been a game lingering in the back of my head, but I have never taken the time to play it. Now that I have, I can easily say it is one of the most well-crafted gaming experiences I have ever played.

For those who listen to our Nintendo Podcast Podcasting With Power, you are aware that Zachary Davis is a huge fan of the Metroid Franchise. He has often told me that Super Metroid is the best 2D Nintendo game in his opinion, and I have always been skeptical. However, after syncing many hours into this well-crafted game, I’m beginning to agree.

Super Metroid has some of the best game design I have ever seen. Not only does the atmosphere evoke a sense of loneliness and confinement, but the design of the progression makes one feel like they are exploring and scrambling together and making through unknown territory on their own.

Having only played Metroid: Zero Mission, I did not exactly know what I expected going into Super Metroid. The thing I immediately noticed was the difference in the weight of Samus herself. I have dabbled in a bit of the original NES Metroid, so I understand the floatiness of it, but playing Super Metroid made me understand how weighty Zero Mission feels.

But the weight aside, Super Metroid feels amazing to control. Later in the game when you have multiple power-ups, the platforming gets increasingly fun. I thought it felt good at the beginning, but these upgrades add to the fun.

I want to take a second to appreciate the overall formula of the Metroid series. Exploring the unknown to find upgrades to progress further in areas you previously visited; that is such a good gameplay loop. While “Metroid-Vania” games have become a solidified genre by now, going back to the roots of the genre lived up to my expectations entirely. Metroid-Vania has always reminded me of the exploration and discovery of an adventure game, while requiring the dexterity of action platformers. Games I love like Guacamelee have taken inspiration from Super Metroid, and man, now I see why.

I’m definitely going to be playing the rest of the Metroid franchise now. Not only did Super Metroid show me how magical the design and gameplay the series is, but I have not had this much fun with a game in a long time.

What did you think of the first installment of Retro-Spective? Let me know on Twitter @quesobros.