A game series guide takes a look back at the history of the classic gaming series which have built the gaming industry into what it is today. While some series may not directly relate back to the MyMedia site console many of these series have made their mark on the industry and contributed to the quality of titles you play today. For this reason the article will be placed across all MyMedia gaming sites but as a news item where there is no direct link to the site focus console, let's take a look.
Metroid has been a servant of Nintendo, selling over 21 million copies worldwide. Described as a mixture of a platform, shooter, action and adventure game Metroid is one of Nintendo’s darker series, aimed at a more mature audience, a game craved by those looking for an adult experience on a Nintendo platform. The series is popular for its female lead character, one of the first when the game made its debut on the NES in 1986.
During the 1980's Nintendo created two titles for the Famicom Disk System simultaneously in Kid Icarus and Metroid. These companion games were released side by side on the same day in 1986 and introduced the password save feature in the North American release. Metroid was designed to combine the successful platforming of the Super Mario series with the free-roaming exploration gameplay of The Legend of Zelda along with shooting elements thrown into the mix. Halfway through the development of the debut title it was suggested that the character inside the suit be revealed to be a woman, the idea was accepted and remains one of the series signature features. While never officially admitted it is believed that the Alien films played a large role in the inspiration for the Metroid series.
The main figures involved in the Metroid development are Yoshio Sakamoto, who has directed every game in the series with the exception of Metroid II and Gunpei Yokoi who was in charge of Nintendo’s Research & Development 1 team before he passed away in 1997. Shigeru Miyamoto has rarely been involved with Metroid as his only involvement has been acting as a producer for Metroid Prime 1 & 2.
The Metroid series revolves around female bounty hunter Samus Aran. The games are noted for their non-linear progression and solitary exploration as Samus rarely comes into contact with any other characters. Taking inspiration from the Platforming of Super Mario Bros. and the exploration of The Legend of Zelda the games consist of shooting, platform and adventure elements conveyed in a darker mood than a majority of Nintendo’s titles. The series began in a 2D format but made the extremely successful transition into the 3D arena with Metroid Prime and its subsequent sequels. The games moved into first-person, taking strong first-person shooter elements but retaining the exploration and puzzles from the previous games to become labelled by Nintendo as a "First-Person-Adventure" game.
Samus generally begins with limited features available on her powersuit which she can upgrade along her adventure. These upgrades including missiles and the morphball, which allows the bounty hunter to roll into a small deadly ball, are often required to move into a new area. Metroid was one of the first games to allow the player explore to the left as well as to the right of screen. Players were often forced to backtrack and take a new path which has been unlocked due to Samus acquiring a new upgrade to her suit.
The first game in the Metroid series was released in Japan for the Famicom Disk System on August 6, 1986 and in 1987 for the Nintendo Entertainment System in the US. Metroid was one of the first non-linear games to make its way to the home console. It was a mix of an action/adventure, shooting and platforming, it also granted the player the freedom to explore in both directions, considered revolutionary at the time. Players acquired power-ups which would allow access to a previously unavaliable areas, introducing an element of backtracking.
The year is 2003 on the Cosmic Calendar, Earth has come into contact with life from another planet who share their superior levels of technology with the humans. This rapid advancement in technology leads to the invention of spacecraft which are encountered by an alien group known as the Space Pirates, striking fear into the hearts of humankind. In the year 20X5 C.C a spacecraft travelling with an unknown life-form is attacked by the Space Pirates, and the life-form dubbed ‘Metroid’ is stolen. Desperate to stop the creation of a biological weapon the Galactic Federation send the best space-hunter available, Samus Aran, to defeat the Space Pirate Leader on the Planet Zebes and destroy the Metroids. At the time of the release Metroid was critically received well for its non-linear gameplay. However it has not received as much praise as subsequent sequels and the Virtual Console and Gameboy Advance versions were criticised for unfixed glitches and flickering graphics.
Metroid II: Return of Samus
Metroid II: Return of Samus is the second installement in the series, appearing on the Gameboy 5-years after the original. The gameplay remained similar to that of the Metroid but was less restrictive in terms of being able to advance without having to acquire every power-up. All of the items in the debut title made a return along side the inclusion of some of the series essential power-ups such as the space jump, plasma beam and the spiderball. This is the only game to include the Metroids in all of their incarnations evolving in the order of Metroid, Alpha Metroid, Gamma Metroid, Zeta Metroid, and Omega Metroid. Metroid II was the first title to introduce save models into the series with locations scattered throughout the planet.
Metroid II takes place in an undetermined time frame after Metroid Prime 3, Samus has defeated the Space Pirates on several occasions at this point in time. The Galactic Federation sends teams to the home planet of the Metroids, SR388, to ensure they cannot be used for evil purposes. Metroid II: Return of Samus DX was announced in 1999 as a coloured remake for the Gameboy Color but the title never saw the light of day.
Super Metroid was released for the Super Nintendo in 1994 and was the biggest game on the console at the time of release in terms of file size. The game takes place on Planet Zebes in a large open-world with different areas connected by a series of doors and elevators. New concepts were introduced including the ability to disable/enable items, combining beams and the ‘moon walk’ named after Michael Jackson’s signature dance move allowing Samus to move backwards while firing. Super Metroid allowed players to resume progress from any save point around the planet and restock ammunition via the Gunship.
A Metroid Larva has imprinted itself on Samus, believing her to be its mother. Bringing the creature to the Ceres Space Colony it becomes apparent that Metroids can aid mankind as well as being harnessed for evil. Ridley invades the colony killing the scientists and stealing the Metroid, the last of its kind. While searching the rebuilt Planet Zenes Samus is confronted by the giant “Super Metroid”, she then must go on to defeat the Mother Brain, with the aid of the Metroid Larva.
Super Metroid is universally praised by fans and critics alike and to this day remains one of the most popular games on the Super Nintendo. 1.4 million units have since been sold as the title constantly remains in ‘best games of all time’ lists. Super Metroid was the last Metroid game to be released in series creator Gunpei Yokoi's lifetime.
After the death of Metroid series creator Gunpei Yokoi it was 8 years before the sequel to Super Metroid appeared. Metroid Fusion was originally believed to be a remake of its predecessor, but the dark, muddy graphics shown at E3 2001 disproved this rumour and resulted in disappointment among fans due to the outdated Gameboy Color style apparence. Metroid Fusion was officially revealed at E3 2002 and received a much more positive reception. The game introduced connectivity with Metorid Prime and Metroid Zero Mission allowing new features to be unlocked for those owning other games in the series. Fusion was more linear than previous titles due to its storyline focus. Samus encounters "Navigation Rooms" along her journey where she receives valuable information on how to proceed from her commander.
Taking place after the events of Super Metroid Samus returns to SR-388 where the eradication of Metroids has overwhelmed the planet's ecosystem as parasitoids, known as "X" have become the dominate species. The species X have the ability to replicate their host creature's physical appearance and possess their memories while at the same time slowly killing them. While searching the planet SR-388 Samus is infected by the X parasites affecting her central nervous system on her return to the Galactic Federation. Using the cells of the Metroid Samus had previously saved the parasite is countered resulting in Samus taking on Metroid-like characteristics. Samus takes it upon herself to destroy the X including the SA-X, a parasite mimicking her, aboard the B.S.L. station.
Metroid Fusion initially received some criticism for moving away from the open-ended gameplay that the series was known for and adopting a more linear storyline focus. Overall Fusion received generally positive reviews for being an "outstanding achievement on the Game Boy Advance". Fusion sold over 100,000 copies in the US on its first week of release and has gone on to sell over 1.25 million copies.
In 2002 Metroid successfully made the transition from a 2D platformer to the 3D arena. After Super Metroid fans were awaiting a sequel on the Nintendo 64 DD, although it never eventuated which Nintendo later stated was due to a "lack of concrete ideas."
Prime takes place in a large open-ended world, from the first person perspective. Introduced to aid the evolution to 3D was the lock-on targeting system, allowing Samus to circle an enemy while keeping a steady aim on them. The HUD is presented on the insides of Samus’ helmet, it displays health, ammo and a radar as well as the ability to change beam or visor. Making use of the ‘scan visor’ Samus is able to obtain valuable information about the environment and creatures surrounding her.
Metroid Prime is the first installement in the ‘Prime trilogy’. Receiving a distress call from the Space Pirate Frigate Orpheon, Samus boards the ship to investigate where she defeats the Parasite Queen, who falls into the ships reactor upon her demise. The Orpheon self destructs destroying Samus’ Varia suit in the process. She then encounters Ridley who she follows to Tallon IV where she discovers the Chozo Ruins, the remains of an ancient society destroyed by a corrupting substance known as Phazon. During her exploration of Tallon IV Samus must recover the 12 artifacts, scattered across the planet before she can encounter the phazon-mutated beast Metroid Prime.
Prime was critically acclaimed for taking the exceptional 2D series and improving on it with the move into the 3rd dimension. It received many game of the year awards for 2002 and was praised for its detailed graphics, with special effects and varied environments, immersive atmosphere, excellent level design as well as its moody soundtrack and sound effects while staying true to the Metroid formula. Prime did receive some criticisms for unusual controls and lack of focus on what could have been a decent storyline, but generally faired extremely well. The game has gone on to sell over 1.5 million copies in the US along with 250,000 in Europe and 78,000 in Japan. Prime was the second best selling US game of 2002 and the 8th best selling Players Choice game in Australia.
Metroid Zero Mission
Metroid Zero is a remake of the original title designed to retell the story. As is the nature with remakes the game is very similar to the original Metroid with improvements to items, the introduction of a mini-map and an entirely new area to explore called Chozodia. Zero Mission includes a new feature in which the player must control Samus without the aid of her Power Suit. During this period she is more susceptible to damage and only has a stun gun to defend herself with.
The game’s background is presented to resemble a hand-drawn comic which is carried on throughout the cut-scenes. Samus is presented in more detailed than her rendition in Metroid Fusion as the game makes the most out of the Gameboy Advance's technology. By linking Zero Mission to Metroid Fusion players were able to unlock various extras depending on the percentage of game finished. The game received critical acclaim, including multiple review scores over 90%.
Metroid Prime 2: Echoes
Metroid Prime 2: Echoes continued the Prime trilogy in 2004 and was the first Metroid game to include a multiplayer feature. Echoes features 2 parallel dimensions, Light and Dark Aether, changes in one dimension are reflected on the other. Samus obtains the Dark, Light, and Annihilator beams all of which have a limited ammunition, resulting in the power beam becoming the only unlimited weapon. Prime 2 allowed for up to 4 players to duke it out in either the Deathmatch, or Bounty mode. The multiplayer featured the same control system as the single player mode, to the disappointment of some fans as it retained the lock-on system.
Taking place 6 months after the events of Metroid Prime an advanced race known as the Luminoth are protecting the energy of a planet called the Light of Aether. The planet is split into 2 dimensions with the opposite known as the Dark Aether, home to the Ing, a race of dark who are locked in a fierce battle for survival with the Luminoth. The Ing lead the race to survive by taking the energy from three of Aether's four temples, as the energy cannot support both worlds the first to gain access to all 4 temple's energy will be the victor. Samus must assist by returning all energy to their rightful place and restore peace to the Luminoth. Travelling between dimensions Samus must face-off against her mysterious counterpart Dark Samus and return the energy to the Light of Aether.
Metroid Prime 2: Echoes received positive reviews receiving many scores upward of 85%. Although it received positive scores the multiplayer was criticised and subsequently omitted for the next title. It was also noted that there was too much back-tracking required once a new item was acquired and that the save stations were too infrequent.
Metroid Prime Pinball
Platform: Nintendo DS
Straying from the tradition roots of the series in 2005 Metroid Prime Pinball was released, using graphical styles and story elements from Metroid. Prime Pinball came bundled with the Nintendo DS rumble pack accessory, one of the few games supporting rumble play. The game played like a traditional Pinball game with the ball being replaced by Samus in her Morphball form and the table representing Metroid locations such as The Pirate Frigate and Tallon Overworld. The Chozo Artifacts act as prizes and bosses must be defeated at the end of every second stage in order to progress to the next table. The multiplayer option requires only one copy of the game for download play and allows for up to 8 players to compete in a race to reach a target score. While there is no plot in the traditional sense events are loosely based on those of Metroid Prime with the goal to acquire 12 Chozo Artifacts, gain access to the Impact Crater, and defeat Metroid Prime in both its forms. The game faired above average in positive light although was often overlooked in favour of the upcoming Metroid Prime Hunters, also to be released on the Nintendo DS.
Metroid Prime Hunters
Platform: Nintendo DS
Arriving on the Nintendo DS in 2004 Metorid Prime Hunters: First Hunt was initially offered as a demo for those who pre-ordered the Nintendo DS before the full version, Metroid Prime Hunters, was released in 2006. The game removed the lock-on aiming of the console games and replaced it with touch screen controls, although the option to use only buttons is included. While the single player is impressive it’s the multiplayer where Hunters really shines, allowing 4 player single card, multi-card and online play. Gamers can play as Samus or any of the bounty hunters she encounters in the single player journey including Kanden, Spire, Trace, Noxus, Sylux and Weavel.
Metroid Prime Hunters takes place after the events of Metroid Prime but before those of Metroid Prime 2: Echoes. The Galactic Federation receives a message stating "ultimate power" resides in the Alimbic solar system. Bounty hunter Samus Aran is sent to investigate and destroy any possible threats. Samus discovers the Alimbic a highly advanced society has died out many years ago, but just prior to this they formed a seal around a monstrous creature named Gorea and placed it on a spaceship called Oubliett. The ship was sent to a dimensional rift called the Infinity Void, only to be opened when eight keys known as the "Octoliths" were collected. Competing with rival bounty hunters Samus must be the first to collect the 8 pieces of the Octolith.
Metroid Prime Hunter’s received high reviews and was praised for its mutliplayer modes, becoming one of the most played game on Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. The customisable rooms, rankings and being one of the only DS games to support online chat earned it acclaim. The game was criticised for having a very linear and easy single player with very little variety between levels and bosses in the single player mode. It was noted as being different than any other Metroid game in that it was a lot simpler and focused more on combat than puzzles.
Metroid Prime 3: Corruption
Platform: Nintendo Wii
Metroid Prime 3: Corruption was originally planned to be a Wii launch title in 2006 but was delayed several times for a variety of reasons, including the perfecting of the control scheme. After the game was delayed after its revised release date of June 2007 Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime stated "when we release it, it will be perfect. And if that's a little later than folks would have liked, I'm hoping they're going to be happy. "
The controls alone, making use of the Nintendo Wii’s Wii Remote and Nunchuck, took over a year to develop, causing many frustrating but worthwhile delays. The Wii Remote and Nunchuck allow for precision aiming and showed off what the Wii is capable of in the first person genre if implemented to it's potential. Metroid Prime 3: Corruption
is the first game in the Metroid series in which the game characters use full voice acting, although Samus still remains tight lipped.
Metroid Prime 3: Corruption takes place 6 months after the events of it’s predecessor Metroid Prime 2: Echoes rounding out a time frame of 1 year for the Metroid Prime trilogy. Samus and three other bounty hunters of the Galactic Federation are deployed to the planet Norion, where the Space Pirates are concentrating an attack on a nearby Federation base. A Phazon asteroid, called a Leviathan Seed, is on a collusion course with Norion, after being severally wounded by her nemesis Dark Samus the game's protagonist manages to activate the planet's defense systems.
This is even more painful that it looks
Samus later learns that the Phazon-based attacks of Dark Samus have corrupted her, as a result the Federation equips her with a "Phazon Enhancement Device", allowing her to harness the Phazon energy. Samus discovers other planets and their inhabitants are slowly being corrupted by the Leviathan seeds and it becomes her task to save them by destroying the seeds. As she progresses Samus is slowly corrupted further by the Phazon inside her despite the aid of the PED. Along with the Galactic Federation she travels to the planet Phaaze, the source of all Phazon in the galaxy. Samus must travel to its core, where she will finally confront Dark Samus once and for all. Metroid Prime 3 concludes the Prime trilogy although at the end of the game a mysterious spaceship is seen following Samus flying into hyperspace.
Metroid Prime 3: Corruption received extremely positive review scores, including a 10/10 from Nintendo Power, making it the first game to receive a perfect score with the introduction of their new scoring system. Many reviews praised the motion controls saying "After playing Metroid Prime 3 you'll never want to play a shooter with dual analog controls again" as well as the quality of the graphics using the Wii hardware. As of March 31 2008 Metroid Prime 3: Corruption has sold over 1.31 million copies worldwide and remains one of the Wii’s best selling titles.
- Metroid was one of the first games to use the password save system
- A Metroid title for the Nintendo 64 making use of the 64DD accessory was planned but never eventuated.
- In 2003, the live action movie rights were acquired but expired, they were re-acquired for a release in 2006 but the film is yet to see the light of day.
- It is possible to finish Metroid Zero Mission with a completion level of 9%
- Gunpei Yokoi’s last title was Super Metroid, the series would not see another entry for 8 years.
- Rumors circulated in 2005 about the development of a title called Metroid Dread, supposedly a 2D side-scroller for the Nintendo DS. A message in Prime 3 said "Experiment status report update: Metroid project 'Dread'
- The composer of the NES Metroid, Hirokazu Tanaka, stated that he wanted to make a musical score that made players feel as if they were encountering a "living organism" and had no distinction between music and sound effects. The Metroid theme was heard only when Mother Brain was defeated at the end of the game. No melodies are present at any other time.
- Kenji Yamamoto, Super Metroid composer, came up with some of the game’s themes by singing them while riding his motorcycle.
- Metroid Prime 3: Corruption was intended to be a Wii launch title in 2006 but was delayed multiple times finally seeing a release in August 2007.
- Nintendo released the Metroid Prime 3 Preview Channel as a free download from the Wii Shop Channel showing off gameplay videos in a new marketing attempt by Nintendo.
Super Metroid Japanese Commercial
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Sources: WikipediaNintendo.com youtube.comign.com
Written By Ben Salter / ICC_06