And now we’ve come to the end of the what will be the first Month of Metroid. Don’t worry, the Prime games will be reviewed when I get around to playing them…even Other M…oh boy, have I got a lot to say about that game. Speaking of Prime, this game was released in the same year as this game, so if you didn’t have a GameCube, but had a Game Boy Advance, I don’t think you’d be frowning in the slightest. With that said, Super Metroid, what a game that was, I think I have a good chunk of favourite SNES games like Earthbound, Donkey Kong Country 2, Actraiser, Super Mario World and now Super Metroid. So after that game and it’s success it seems that we’d get a lot more from Samus Aran…eight years later.
Yeah, it seems that the Metroid series took a break, heck; there wasn’t even an N64 game apart from Samus being in Super Smash Bros., other than that…nothing. That was until 2002, though we got two Metroid games and the first one released is the one I’m reviewing now. Metroid Fusion (メトロイドフュージョン Metoroido Fyūjon), developed and published by Nintendo and was released in 2002 in the US, Europe and Australia, and in 2003 in Japan.
Samus Aran, along with a crew from the Biologic Space Laboratories (BSL), explore the planet SR388 from Metroid II. There’s an alien, Samus shoots it as she does, but then something virus-looking known as the X Parasites appears from the dead alien and starts to attack Samus, but it’s no biggie right? So Samus returns to the BSL Station for a job well done. That is until Samus loses consciousness and crashes her ship into an asteroid belt.
The Galactic Federation eventually recover the body of Samus. It seems that the X Parasite wasn’t attacking her, but infecting her, entering her central nervous system. Because of this, Samus’ iconic Power Suit has to be surgically removed, leaving her with the Fusion Suit. Someone manages to find a cure for her so that she doesn’t die from the infection, in fact, the cure will allow her to absorb X Parasites to be used as power. And what was in that cure? One piece of cell from the baby Metroid from Super Metroid, thus it saved Samus twice. This worked because the Metroids were deadly to the X Parasites back at SR388.
Samus wakes up, alive and well, but there’s no rest for the bad asses here as the BSL Station has an explosive issue and it’s up to Samus to investigate it. She hops onto her new ship to fly there. The ship’s computer oversees the mission from here on out, though Samus nicknames the computer Adam, after Adam Malkovich, a former commanding officer of Samus. Upon arrival, she realises that the X Parasites have infected the entire station, so she investigates by doing what she did in Super Metroid, explore, shoot and collect. However, there’s an enemy about, something deadly…and it’s Samus? Well, her old infected power suit has got a mind of its own; it’s called SA-X (Samus Aran-X, I guess), and has all the power-ups Samus doesn’t. Can Samus destroy the X Parasites…whilst absorbing them? Can she defeat SA-X with any of the power-ups she collects?
It seems there’s more plot to this one here, I get an Invasion of the Body Snatchers with this one, with a little more sci-fi, a bit of the horror and the lacking of the cheese.
So it’s near enough the gameplay of Super Metroid on a handheld. So what’s new? Well Samus can now grab ledges, it’s such a cool feature until you get the Space Jump and the Screw Attack, I wish the ledge grab was in Super Metroid but hey-ho, got to add something new. Of course, because she loses her suit, she doesn’t have much apart from her blaster, so at least she has an good enough excuse as to why she doesn’t have any of her stuff for now.
There are Data Rooms, these will give you the ability to use different types of missiles like Super, Ice and Diffusion, but instead of manually selecting them, it just adds more power to your missiles, that’s fantastic and the flow of the gameplay has been improved because of this. In terms of power-ups, you got to defeat the many bosses in this space station, and some of them are really hard, harder than any Metroid game I’ve played so far, just make sure to get full health and total missiles so far to get a surviving chance. You may have defeated the boss, but it ain’t over as the bosses will turn into a Core-X, defeat it and you get your brand new power-up.
So, what’s new? Nothing, nearly all the power-ups you got in Super Metroid are in this game, minus the X-Ray Scope. If you want to know more about the power-ups, feel free to read my other Metroid reviews from this month. Though all the weapons you collect like Wide, Plasma and Wave Beam will stack up, giving you a deadly blaster overtime. Unfortunately, unlike Super Metroid, you can’t choose which one to turn on and off, but it’s no issue for me, I like massive firepower, but feel sorry for the ones who may have wanted to experiment. So where’s the Ice Beam you say? Well Samus is unable to use the Ice Beam because the cure is made from a Metroid and Metroids are susceptible to the cold (if you remember how to defeat Metroids in the first game and Super Metroid), which is why you get the Ice Missiles to make up for it.
So how’s the gameplay? Well…it’s no longer a non-linear game, basically doing objectives instead of powering up and accessing places you couldn’t; that sense of exploration is gone and I don’t know why? You might say that “Well, it’s a handheld so they were probably limited”. OK, so explain Metroid II, explain Metroid: Zero Mission, a remake of the first Metroid game, I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, it’s just glaring in a way. Anyway, since this is a space station, you travel across six sectors in no particular order. When you go to your required sector, the navigation room will always tell you where to go and what to do, you can explore the place but it’s at times a waste of time since you’ll either face blocked doors, not having the required power-ups or not having the correct suit to explore. Though thankfully, you automatically get a map of the sectors so you won’t be lost to an extent.
But there is one part of the game I enjoy and they’re quite tense, SA-X, with the creepy music and loud ominous footsteps. At times, you’ll come across it, and sometimes you have to hide from it. But then there’s a moment later in the game where you have to run away from it and by GOD was this a nightmare, from a lack of health in my part, to SA-X’s weapons packing a ton of power, saving to think fast to avoid it and finding an area to find health afterwards because the other enemies hurt you big time, the hours I had to not screw up…thankfully it was over and done with and I was able to progress on. When you finally battle SA-X, you should be much stronger and have a weapon that causes massive damage to it, and it really feels good to tackle what you feared throughout the entire game.
I got to talk about the music, it’s a close to being my favourite in the Metroid series, but a fantastic soundtrack for the Game Boy Advance. At times it can be atmospheric, but when a sector has a theme, the music will go well with a sector and all the rest of the areas. The sound design is just great, when blasting away, it’s loud but satisfying. The graphics and level design I got to say is better, it’s just as memorable as Super Metroid, whilst I like the graphics and level design in that game too, I don’t really have an opinion on which is better, I like them both as much in that regard.
Overall, Metroid Fusion is a great game, though if you like Super Metroid with its non-linear exploration and being more story-driven, this might not be for you. As for me, whilst I enjoy Super Metroid, Metroid Fusion is just as great as that game…mostly because of its linearity, I know Metroid II did the same thing but I would play Fusion ten times over that game. So I recommend it nonetheless.
And that’s it for Month of Metroid, I had a blast with this one and I hope I encouraged you to try these games out, especially Super Metroid…come on, what are you waiting for?
So next week, you’re getting two reviews involving Halloween, one good game on Saturday and one on the 31st October that’s…UUUUHHHH!!!
You can get it on the Game Boy Advance and Wii U Virtual Console.