Review by Gilthanis
"Dear sweet Gunpei in heaven!"
That is what I thought to myself as I played through the first level of the game, also known as the store demo. I had played this part before, but I hadn't ever gotten far because I had been too busy admiring how detailed the entire effect turned out to be in 3-D, and that was even before you get most of the upgrades.
I have been a long standing fan of the series, having played the original for the first time at 4 years of age. This game blew my expectations out of the water leaving the message of ''don't call me, I'll call you'' where it used to be.
Controls 4/10, rated for newcomers only
Before any of the extremists say anything to say that I'm way off, this is for people new to the game to read. The controls are far from the way a person would expect if approaching this game as a FPS rather than a FPA. There is no dual-analog view control, you cannot strafe without holding down the L button, and aiming can be a bit of a pain on some occasions where lock on doesn't work. However as soon as you get truly familiar with how you should play this game you will realize that you don't need those options, and you will easily get used to tweaking your grip so that you can self-aim quite easily at enemies or creatures where lock on doesn't work. Ex. Blastcap mushrooms aren't considered thretening enough to count as enemies, but they can damage you so getting them out of the picture is a great idea. Controls become almost intuitive after an hour or so of playing
Graphics 10/10, universal
Retro went so far out of their way to add detail to this game that it's absolutely mind boggling. Rain drips onto Samus' visor, sheets of water run down it after you exit a lake, if said lake isn't poisonous you have time to admire this. Steam clouds it up, volcanic vents tint it red, electrical attacks can make it short out a little, static interference comes from other sources as well. You can see Samus' bones through her armor with the new version of the X-ray Scope from Super Metroid. Thermal vision will not detect automated guns, jetpacks glow a bright yellow. As you use the translocational elevators you will watch a short cinematic in which you can see through Samus' visor from outside and occasionally when a particularly bright flash lights up the area, such as an avoided missile, the illumination will make a reflection of Samus' eyes appear on the visor as well. Charging shots to certain beams also have a graphical effect, the most noticeable being a thin sheet of ice forming over the arm canon while charging the series mainstay known the world over as the Ice Beam.
Gameplay 7/10 newcomer, 10/10 veteran
I give this two different scores for a VERY important reason. Newcomers to the series will find themselves complaining about having to backtrack so much, about having so few missiles to use since they don't understand the exploration aspect and about the enemies being nearly invariably idiotic. Series veterans however will applaud the fact that they have kept the backtracking element in place, that they're so used to looking for out-of-the-way areas that finding hidden things is fun but still a tad challenging, and they will be happy that many of the simpler native creatures are quite a bit on the dull side. Most of the enemies you encounter only attack because they're territorial, the ones that you have to worry about are the space pirates. I know they're pretty easy in the demo level, but most of those are already injured, and the pirates are INTELLIGENT! They will hide, duck, invent cloaking devices, create armors only vulnerable to certain weapons and more. Vets however may find themselves complaining that they miss having to shoot walls to find expansions for missile capacity and/or health, but newcomers will be very glad that they don't have to be THAT thorough in their explorations.
Sound 8/10 universal
I personally love that some older tunes have been revamped and make a triumphant return to this game wearing their badges of nostalgia proudly, however a little bit of updating has never hurt, the only problem I have with the music is the same problem I have always had, that being that the music does get a bit annoyingly repetitive. Looking at it from the other side of the coin though you have to wonder why the music would change in an area that's been nearly uninhabited for quite a few decades if not a couple centuries. And though it may damage my credibility to admit this, I have found myself just staring vacantly and listening to the music in the caverns and loving how much it reminds me of the old Norfair region. The sound effects balance out the downside to music with perfect accuracy, so much so that you can hear your enemies solidify after a solid hit with the ice beam. Close listeners will be able to hear the sound of enemies breathing and jetpacks charging from a good distance.
Value 10/10 universal.
Even newcomers will probably find themselves playing through this game over and over simply to find everything they can, seeking out the powerups andscan files they missed the first times through, I know for a fact that I will be playing this game for years to come. Value is exponentially expanded if you posess a LEGAL copy of Metroid Fusion and a GBA as well as a link cable as you will unlock the first Metroid game ever if you have a completed save file on your Fusion cartridge when you link up, thus granting you three games, one a hard-to-find classic, for the price of two. I have seen actual NES Metroid cartridges sell for as much as $30 even now so you do get a GREAT value for owning both games. There is thankfully absolutely no such thing as multiplayer in the Metroid universe and thus you will not be able to freeze your friends, but it wouldn't be any fun even if you had the option as it would simply be a contest to find out who could spam the lock-on the fastest.
Overall Score, not an average, 9/10
I couldn't bring myself to give this game a perfect score even though I absolutely LOVE the series and the game by itself. Newcomers must have points of concern adressed such as the lack of ''conventional'' controls and repetitive music, even though those downfalls have their counterbalances. All in all I am thoroughly impressed with the outcome of all the development and time that was put into making this blockbuster of a game, I am not let down at all.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 11/23/02, Updated 11/23/02
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