Metroid

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JaySevenZero
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Metroid

Post by JaySevenZero »

Here's where you can contribute your thoughts and opinions for Metroid for potential inclusion in the forthcoming podcast.

A friendly reminder that where the feedback for the podcast is concerned, we love it - but keeping it brief is appreciated. We do want to include a breadth of opinions where appropriate, but no-one wants a discussion podcast that’s mostly reading out essays. Better to save yourself time and cut to the chase if you can.

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Pconpi
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Re: 480 - Metroid

Post by Pconpi »

More so than any other long running series I find looking at the original Metroid objectively difficult as the later 2D games and the genre it created loom so large. The features it is missing that later games instituted make it more difficult to enjoy the game today, namely a map and an easy to use save system. Luckily, both can be utilized today through an online map and save states which is how I played through it recently. Doing so I could enjoy the brilliant seeds of gameplay that were sown in 1986/7.

I remember trying Metroid a few times in the early 90s at friend’s houses and being turned off by the lack of immediate gameplay satisfaction that Mario and Sonic provided. It was harder, I was lost, and the lonely tone was wasted on a 7-year-old looking for a quick arcade experience. It actually put me off trying Metroid II and Super Metroid as I thought the games just weren’t my cup of tea even though they were lauded and loved. Now, having experienced all the 2D offerings, I can appreciate the vision and template the original laid out with its permanent upgrades, space exploration, and hidden secrets.

Some of my detractions from the game include the boss fights which lacked engaging mechanics and boil down to “how can I unload all my missiles into this alien before it kills me.” The Mother Brain level layout is memorable, albeit frustrating, and still is about pumping it full of missiles before the constant damage Samus is incurring kills us. I am also not drawn to the look and animation of Samus. The truncated high stepping run and the big helmet looks especially awkward when compared to how the redesign in Metroid II on the Gameboy turned out. The Metroids on the other hand are perfection, they nailed an iconic alien design.

The soundtrack is outstanding and is essential to the atmosphere. Kraid’s Hideout is 45 seconds of pure brilliance with its ending flourishing into a series of repeated, solitary, tension building notes before repeating back to the undulating beginning. These songs combined with the black backgrounds and endless caverns filled with alien creatures form such a distinct experience of lonely space exploration on the NES.

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Minowese
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Re: 480 - Metroid

Post by Minowese »

You know how it is when you grow up with very little money but the family gets a console for Christmas? Metroid was one of those few games we owned and played over and over again. I’m not sure it was even ours, it may had been a cousin’s copy that just lived at our house.

Due to the graphical limitations of the time so much was left to the imagination. And the idea that you could GO LEFT to get a power up?! Completely innovative. It was an open world! I was so young and bad at video games. I loved that I could just run around until the game became too hard. And Samus was a girl! I always wanted to play as the girl! And if you put in the code, “Justin Bailey” you got a souped-up Samus, in a colorful suit, with majestic hair! Of course, even with all that power I still couldn’t get to the end. I still have trouble freezing those little platform guys and jumping higher and higher to get to that out of reach door...doors? Who knows, I never got that far.

But the music, the atmosphere. It all felt so mysterious, exciting, and dangerous, with so much to explore. Once I discovered that after Mother Brain was defeated you had to make a race for the exit, I knew this would be a game I would never finish. The idea that you have to make a timed escape still fills me with anxiety. I’m sure I’ve met greater video game challenges since but I’ve hyped it up so much in my head (maybe I’m wrong). I have such love for those early NES games. For some of them it’s pure nostalgia but Metroid had some solid level design. You don’t even want to know how many hours childhood me put into Super Pitfall.

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Buskalilly
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Re: 480 - Metroid

Post by Buskalilly »

Like other folks have said, Metroid's incredible sequels and GBA remake cast a big shadow.

That said, the music and lonely atmosphere are present and correct all the way back here in the original. I'm not going to play through it over and over like Super Metroid but going back for a little taste now and then is satisfying.

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BlueWeaselBreath
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Re: 480 - Metroid

Post by BlueWeaselBreath »

I have great memories of renting Metroid as a kid and enjoying the first several screens before not being able to find the bombs and getting stuck. On my second rental, I finally made it deep into the game, only to get stuck further in, unsure of where to go. I think it was only after beating Super Metroid as a teen that I decided to go back and complete Metroid. I still felt the game’s ambience and gameplay held up pretty well, although I needed to map everything out (which was part of the experience back then). I probably used the Game Genie with the unlimited damage code to win, but I can’t swear to it.

Mother Brain is a bizarre but awesome concept for a villain: a space pirate leader that is a completely stationary grotesque organ in a giant jar. As an American child of the late 80s and early 90s, it’s worth noting that my first experience with Mother Brain was not from the game itself (because few of us were skilled enough to reach the end of the game), but from the cartoon Captain N: The Gamemaster. Mother Brain in this cartoon was female coded but voiced by one of my favorite soul singers, Levi Stubbs of the Four Tops (the same voice as Audrey II in the Little Shop of Horrors movie).

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Toon Scottoon
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Re: 480 - Metroid

Post by Toon Scottoon »

Metroid, along with Link's Adventure, the original Castlevania, and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom belong to a special club of games my brother and I begged our parents to rent for us to play on our NES, only for our feeble six and eight-year-old selves to turn them in a few days later completely defeated by the challenges these games afforded us.

Three decades later I sat down with Metroid again, and although I think I could conquer Metroid, having just conquered its most modern relative Returnal, I doubt I'll ever know for sure, because after logging a two hours session dinking around Zebes, a good chunk of which was spent trying to refill my energy bar by farming zebs, I'm throwing in the towel.

Nintendo's ambition with Metroid is clear. The introduction of the game's complex and engaging lore, the criss-crossing of the planet using the different skills at your disposal, and the soundscape all feel innovative and original for gaming at the time. And although the franchise seems inspired by the Ridley Scott Alien film, it does not to my eyes seem like a cash grab trying to leverage a trend, or a cheap 8 bit knock off, but a statement of purpose that games may not have been prepared to rival film as an artform in 1986, but that they were lurking under the surface, evolving, and waiting to emerge as a vehicle for important and interesting intellectual exploration in the years to come.

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Re: 480 - Metroid

Post by duskvstweak »

It's been a long time since I played the first Metroid but the one thing I've always taken away from the NES game was loneliness. It's that atmosphere created by the lack of backgrounds, that constant black behind Samus adding no life to the world, just a vast emptiness. I think, like the fog in Silent Hill, the technical limitation that prevents those backgrounds from being filled in actually gives this first game it's own identity apart from the gorgeous Super Metroid. The NES game is more like the smaller, creepier Alien compared to the SNES' Aliens. As I became more and more lost in those 8-bit caves, it really did feel like Samus was all alone and only getting further away from the surface.

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Re: Our next podcast recording (31.7.21): 480 - Metroid

Post by The_Pensky_File »

Metroid is a series that I endlessly try to convince myself that I enjoy, but every game from the original onwards leads to me quickly becoming frustratingly lost and then giving up. I've never completed any of them. Or even made it very far.

What I remember most about the original are the haunting music and the creepy solitude of the alien planet. It's surely one most memorable environments from the NES era.

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Alex79uk
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Re: Our next podcast recording (31.7.21): 480 - Metroid

Post by Alex79uk »

I thought I'd try to give this a fair crack for the podcast, but after an hour or so of frustration I gave up. I just can't really see any reason to go back this far in the series now the SNES and GBA games exist. I can imagine playing it back in the day and being amazed by the openness of the levels, the atmosphere and the music, but not even being able to crouch and shoot was enough for me to throw in the towel. In summary, I think it's a good prototype, but has been improved upon in every conceivable way in later games.

THREE WORD REVIEW: What, no map!?

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DeadpoolNegative
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Re: Our next podcast recording (31.7.21): 480 - Metroid

Post by DeadpoolNegative »

Dateline! Christmas 1987! I had received an NES for Christmas and for reasons I cannot immediately recall, my 10 year old self was allowed to pick three games for the system. I remember my parents driving me out to the local Clover in Andorra (a township just on the edge of Philadelphia) to pick up said games. One of these games was the not very good Top Gun, another is lost to my memory, and the third was a little game called Metroid. I remember being struck by the weird, pixelated visage of Samus Aran facing off against some strange shell beings with what looked like a cool gun arm, long before I had discovered Mega Man.

(Also, my memory being crazy what it is, I recall going to the book store that same night to pick up some comic books, one of which was the legendary Amazing Spider-Man #300, the first appearance of Venom. But that's another story)

I still remember reading that sparse but pretty cool story the instruction manual told, about a band of Space Pirates who had discovered an alien life form, the titular Metroid, capable of draining the very life from anyone. Their hideout, Zebes, which was a maze of strangeness. THe tough as nails bounty hunter, Samus Aran, tasked with taking the Pirate lieutenants Kraid and Ridley and their mysterious leader The Mother Brain. Remember when games never let you see what the final boss looked like? The true visage of Mother Brain was quite the payoff.

The world of Metroid didn't feel like the sprawling, fascinating overhead world of The Legend of Zelda. It felt caustic, claustrophobic, the sense of discovery intitially replaced by a sense of dread. I'm sure it all feels quaint now, but back in 1987-1988 it was brand new. Nevertheless, like players felt compelled to uncover every inch of Hyrule, players of Metroid were compelled to push on further through Zebes, trying to discover where the Pirate leaders and the Metroids were.

"Metroidvania" started here; i tunneled through very nook and cranny of the Zebes to find more missiles, more Energy tanks, and more strange weapons and abilities. The need to poke, prod, bomb every wall, use every trick in the book to make sure there wasn't another passage we missed, another catacomb holding a treasure. Thirty years ago, it was exhaustive, but it also encouraged a sense of community with players sharing ideas, just like they did with Legend of Zelda or Castlevania II: Simon's Quest (more on that one later). Back then, I think I eventually surrendered, though and tracked down a convenient password so I could see the ending. Probably Justin Bailey.

Metroid is not a perfect game, however. As I played it on my 3DS Virtual Console for this episode, It struck me how very difficult the platforming is, how much of it relies on precision and getting the ice beam to freeze and enemy just right. And how much backtracking you'll have to do if you mess it up. How frustrating using the bomb correctly to boost your jump can be. And kids, if you thought there was too much backtracking in classic Resident Evil, wait till you play Metroid. In fact, I'm not really sure I can recommend the original, when games such as Super Metroid and Metroid Prime have done such a stellar job perfecting the formula.

But if there's one thing the original Metroid has going for it, it's the eerie mood it creates, the sense of loneliness, the idea that Samus Aran was the only thing that was keeping the Metroids from escaping and consuming the galaxy. Sure, it may sound ridiculous now, but to a ten year old's fertile mind... well, at it takes is the sound when Samus discovers a new item, and I'm there again.

And hey, back then, We were genuinely surprised that she was a girl.

--Dan

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kj_
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Re: Our next podcast recording (31.7.21): 480 - Metroid

Post by kj_ »

I hadn’t ever played more than a handful of games before having a few go’s with Metroid at a friends house as a kid.

The dense atmosphere, stark graphics and excellent soundtrack certainly made an impression on me. In a way, by showing that games could be something different than the playful and lighthearted experiences I had encountered up until then, it was one of the earliest experiences that sparked my fascination for games.

I didn’t make meaningful progress in the game until years later however. After playing and later replaying Super Metroid I got curious to take another stab at the original.

With the help of emulator save states and a guide at hand, I made it through. It was fascinating to see how much of the now well-recognized formula was already in place here.

It does suffer from some of the common issues for a game of its vintage though. The nonexistent signposting, high level of difficulty and lack of an in-game map makes it a less than palatable experience these days. Overall I’d frankly rather just play Super Metroid again, or one of the many fantastic games that was inspired by the series, rather than to return to the original.

Still I’m happy to have experienced this groundbreaking game, particularly at such a formative time, even if I can’t really recommend spending much time with it today.

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