Title: Super Metroid
First Released: March 19th, 1994
Available on: SNES, Virtual Console
Super Metroid was developed by a staff of people from Nintendo's R&D1, managed by Gunpei Yokoi, the creator of the Metroid series, though this game was directed by Yoshio Sakamoto. It was produced by Makoto Kano, and the music was composed by both Kenji Yamamoto and Minako Hamono. Upon its release, Super Metroid was known well for taking the Metroid concept and running full force with it. From the amazing graphics creating lush environments to the fantastical bosses and enemies, the game had it all. Nintendo Power, back in May of 1994, gave the game a 4.425 score out of 5. To this day, it is one of the most appreciated titles of any console or handheld.
The game takes place immediately after Metroid II: Return of Samus and features, for the first time, a monologue from Samus herself setting up the story. The game, whether this is considered a flaw or not, had a decent amount of what is called "sequence breaking" which makes it a favorite among speedrunners. Following in traditional Metroid fashion, the sense of isolation is deep with a mix of subdued music and excellent level design.
I began playing the Metroid series around the time Fusion and Prime came out, and I've been a fan ever since, and I've tried my best to play all of the games in the series. This entry, however, blew away my expectations when I played it. The freedom the player has in this game to explore is unmatched by many modern games, even other Metroid games can't match it. There are a ton of power-ups and items to scavenge across planet Zebes, one of which I wish they would bring back to the series: the Spazer beam.
There are so many memorable moments too, such as defeating the Crocomire, with it's body melting in Norfair's intense magma, and then when I thought I saw the last of it, CRASH! It's skeleton pops out of a spiked wall and scares me. There's also the frustration of trying to get back to Maridia from Brinstar, only to find out you needed to break the 'n00b tube' as fans like to call it. Truly, right from the beginning of this game, from hearing the 'new' Brinstar music pick up for the first time, to finally defeating Mother Brain and seeing the Metroid baby give its life for you... this game will stick in my memory forever and it will live on as the greatest in the series for me.
Metroid, for me, was a gaming franchise I chose to ignore once upon a time. I heard it was pretty good but I just never ended up playing it. That changed when the Prime games started releasing and I finally understood what was so amazing about Samus and the world she existed in. So once Super Metroid was released on the Virtual Console (having missed the original release by over a decade...) I decided to take the "risk" and purchase it. To this day it stands as one of my most prized purchases sitting on my Wii. I wasn't surprised when the most popular title ofthe third pillar in the Nintendo Holy-Trinity turned out to be amazing.
I played it thoroughly and found everything I had ever read about it to be true. Discovering new moves and accessing the new worlds were so rewarding. The game was close on par with the Metroid Prime series I had already loved, but it was all in glorious 2D. Super Metroid, to me, is a game that is a prime example of the greatness Nintendo is as a game developer. They've had an understanding about game design and game theory that for many years was unmatched. At the time of Super Metroid's release, few games in the genre seemed to come even a little close. In the end, the Metroid Prime Trilogy still stands as my favorite trip into the Metroid universe, but Super Metroid uncontestually deserves to be in any gamer's Hall of Fame. It deserves every last energy pellet of respect from every last creature of that galaxy.