Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Review: Super Metroid - Wii U Virtual Console

Until July 2013, Nintendo is celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Famicom by releasing "classic" titles for the new Wii U Virtual Console. As an added bonus, you can get these games for 30 cents during the first 30 days of each title's release. This month's release is Super Metroid. Does this game still inspire 19 years after its release? Find out after the jump. 

Even the cover art is classic (note the "only for Nintendo" tag in the corner).

Nintendo sends the Virtual Console into deep space with this month's release of the beloved Super Metroid. This game changed the side-scrolling adventure genre forever. Many games that followed owe their success to the innovation provided by Super Metroid; most notably Castlevania (which earned the moniker "Metroidvania" upon the release of Symphony of the Night). There is a sense of discovery and immersion in Super Metroid that comes darn close to breaking the fourth wall. Every time you see a new trick revealed by the "demo cinemas" before you start your game or come across creatures like the "dancing monkeys" while playing, you get the feeling that the game is as alive and organic as the world within it... and that it is watching you like one of the strange "scanners" Samus  encounters on Zebes.

Check out a cool speed run of Super Metroid.

I remember getting my copy of Super Metroid on my birthday in 1994. I was immediately hooked. I played it until I fell asleep in my chair, woke up the next morning with the controller still in hand, and started right back at it again. Everything about the game is permeated with "coolness." Matter of fact, this game brought the "cool factor" to the SNES. Until its release, Sega had become the #1 choice of all the cool gamers with software like Sonic the Hedgehog and Road Rash. Then, like a 10 ton super-bomb comes Super Metroid. Suddenly Nintendo fans had the coolest game in the world and there was nothing else like it on any other console. I remember inviting friends over to watch the intro screens and play the game until the first landing on Zebes... everyone was blown away. The graphics, sound, and gameplay were top of the line in 1994 and they still work well today. The varied locations, full screen bosses, and scrolling backgrounds still look futuristic. Speaking of the audio, Super Metroid has a soundtrack that rivals those of Final Fantasy 3/6 and Chrono Trigger. Yes, it is that good. Controlling the game used every button on the SNES controller and still even uses the "select" button on your Wii U Gamepad. Which got me to thinking, has any company ever been more successful at creating games that utilize their controllers better than Nintendo? In this regard, I am reminded of everything from Super Mario Sunshine to Wii Sports.

Even the U.S. commercial spot for Super Metroid shows off its "cool factor."

The Wii U Virtual Console port holds all of Super Metroid intact and then some. In addition to super sharp graphics and sound, the additions of  Off-TV play, restore points, and Miiverse make this the definitive version of a definitive game. Plus, it's only 30 cents until June 11! This is one of the greatest bargains in the history of video games. I checked around online and a beat up copy of the original SNES cartridge will run you close to 50 bucks. Not only is Super Metroid the most expensive title in Nintendo's 30th Anniversary Campaign, it is also the highest rated and most revered. Super Metroid is the only one of the "30 cent games" that consistently appears in the "top 10 of greatest games off all time" lists (and it has often occupied the top spot on said lists). 'Nuff said - buy this game now.

The only thing that could make this game better is if all of us who have beaten it had the power of self-induced amnesia. That way, we would be able to experience Super Metroid for the first time again and again.

As usual, Japan got the better commercial. Check it out here while you download Super Metroid.

1 comment:

  1. I highly suggest going to the Wii U menu and changing the control scheme to assign the 'select' button to ZL on the Wii U Gamepad. Doing so makes switching weapons much easier.


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