Nintendo is 100% taking a retro route with the Nintendo Switch with the Super Nintendo Entertainment System Online addition to the Nintendo Online service. My uncle owned a SNES and it was a system that me and my brother would sneak out of his room to get some game time, so I felt this was the perfect opportunity to go down memory lane and give some updated thoughts 15 years on from when I last played any SNES title. So every Monday I will doing a small review on a title from the SNES Online catalogue on the Switch, first up is Super Metroid.
Super Metroid is the third instalment in the franchise following Metroid and Metroid II: The Return of Samus. Metroid is never a franchise I really played until I owned the Gamecube in 2001, so this was a relatively new experience for me. In this instalment, you return as Samus, who has taken a Metroid hatchling to a science lab, which is quickly attacked by the returning Space Pirates. You are tasked to travel to Zebes to retrieve the larvae.
Released back in 1994, the 2-D side-scrolling action-adventure is considered a game not to be missed by any gamer. Super Metroid perfected the exploration and run and gun style of gameplay, resulting in many games incorporating the mechanics into their own gameplay. As you explore the ruined planet of Zebes, you gradually build up an arsenal of gadgets and skills which allows you to unlock the next area, each with a new challenge waiting for you to beat.
Upon arriving on the rainy planet, you are met with emptiness, a planet void of life until you discover the morph ball where you then are introduced to the numerous and never-ending hordes of enemies that plaque Zebes. I loved that initial moment of emptiness. For some reason, it just hit home, there was going to be no help going into this mission to rescue the Metroid.
Super Metroid is the first game in the series where you can fire in eight different directions and whilst on the move. However, despite the simplicity of the controls, it’s actually difficult to get used with the Switch’s joy-cons. I even ended up dusting off the D-pad after a bit of trouble using the analogue stick to aim. Luckily, the developers put in a control button configuration on the main menu or you could purchase the SNES controller Nintendo is planning on releasing in the nearby future. However, the game lacks any tutorial, so trial and error is the way forward in this game, it took me several reloads to realise how to unlock each door. Despite being incredibly frustrating at first, it actually made for quite a refreshing experience as it was quite nice not to see a map marker.
You can almost feel the birth of the speedrunner in this game, the 2-D side-scrolling, the amount of freedom and exploration, the optional pick-ups to help defeat your foes. It really allows you to create your own path to victory. On top of this, the game’s ending is dependent on how fast you complete the game. With the cannon or best ending apparently happening if you complete the game in under 3 hours. This is what gives the game a great sense of replay value as well, you can challenge yourself to complete the game in the quickest time or with the fewest optional upgrades.
Overall, this was a really fun experience and I can see why it’s one of those games that shouldn’t be missed. You can envision playing the game for the first time back in 1994 and just being lost in it for hours, that sort of arcade sense of challenging yourself to beat your quickest time just really engulfs you into hours of commitment to the game.