Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Super Metroid (SNES)

By request, Super Metroid (aka Metroid 3 according to the intro text). It's always nice to get another game with 'Super' in the title onto the site.

It's not often you see a SNES title screen featuring corpses lying in pools of their own blood.

The intro cutscene begins with a full speech narration explaining that the last Metroid has been captured and the galaxy is at peace. Potentially 10 billion habitable worlds, and these Metroids were the last things causing any trouble on any of them.

Then after 6 seconds they run out of speech and space bounty hunter Samus Aran takes over as narrator, speaking in green text and constantly blinking.

She tells the story of the first two games, of how she went to planet Zebes to fight space pirates, and I get to see the ending to Metroid reimagined with SNES quality graphics.

It apparently ended with Samus blowing up a brain in a jar with her rocket launcher, then running away.

Then at the end of Metroid II she wiped out the remaining Metroids, except for a newborn larva which she brought to a research base for the scientists to study.

Hopefully they're the good kind of scientists, not the evil movie scientists that want to turn everything into a weapon.

Hey it's the computer monitors from the title screen, only viewed from the opposite side. Damn, that doesn't bode well for these guys.

Samus hangs around the space station just long enough for them to make an incredible discovery that might lead to a way to harness the Metroid's powers for good, then leaves them to it.

Damn, I'm not even out of the intro cutscene and they've already sent a distress call out to Samus' ship. It seems that this game is going to take place right after Metroid II.

As SNES era intros go this isn't bad at all. I'll award it 10 points for style, but then I'm taking 30 points away for being unskippable.

Well I've found the room from the title screen, but I was too late to save anyone. Too late to prevent the Metroid larva being taken too. It seems like whoever did this is long gone, the place is totally abandoned now.

I'll award the game 10 points for letting me redefine the controls when I started the game, it's always great to have options. But then I have to deduct 30 points for not letting me redefine the controls in-game, after I've had a chance to try them out.

Oh wait, I've found the Metroid larva. Well that's one crisis resolved at least. There doesn't seem to be anything left for me to do here but grab the Metroid and go find another space station full of scientists to leave it with.

Son of a bitch. This thieving bloody space dragon beat me up and stole my Metroid! Then finished his combo by setting off the space station's auto destruct.

It seems that if I learned anything from the other two Metroid games I played, then I've already forgotten it, because I was crap in that boss fight. They've given me a new ability since then, firing diagonally with the shoulder buttons, and I haven't gotten the hang of it yet.

I'm going to have to write these people a strongly worded letter about the shoddy nature of their auto destruct. I've still got almost 34 seconds on the countdown, yet the place is already swaying wildly and falling apart around me.

What's the point of giving people a timer if no one can make it to the escape pods alive?

Well apparently we're going back to Zebes then, the planet from the first game. I guess Samus is following the evil space dragon, or maybe she just knows he hangs out there.

Though for all I know she's just sick of monsters and Metroids and scientists, and she wants to take a break from it all somewhere she's already cleared out.

I'll award the game 10 points for bringing back the cool looking ship from Metroid II, but I'm subtracting 30 points for not making Samus's sprite bob up and down with the ship when she's standing on it.

This place seems as badly designed as every other base I've visited in a Metroid game, with the same 'shoot to open' doors. Well to be fair the science station had automatic doors. Humanity is apparently the only space-faring race to have invented a door that you can open without a firearm.

The game keeps giving me paths I can't get to and doors I can't open... yet. I have no Morph Ball so I can't roll under this gap, I have no missiles so I can't blast open pink doors, there are ledges too high for me to jump to... it's making me very eager to upgrade my suit.


Whoa, this is the room in Metroid where you fight Mother Brain at the end. (I never finished the game, but I recognise it from the flashback in the intro).

Damn, if this really is the same underground complex as in Metroid, then I'm in trouble. I cleaned that place out, there'll be no upgrades left to collect!

I've definitely been here before; it's the beginning of Metroid. I had no idea the ending room in that game was just above the starting room.

I'll give this room a 10 point nostalgia bonus, but I'll subtract 30 points for still looking a bit ass. Though the new parallax background in an improvement.

Metroid (NES)
Yeah, this is definitely the same place. Fortunately those little wall crawlers seemed to have died out in the mean time.

I wonder, if I go over to the left will the Morph Ball upgrade be back again?

Awesome, now I'm making some progress. If replaying something I've already done actually counts as progress.

As I go to leave, a device on the wall scans me. Though I'm sure it's nothing to be worried about. It's probably just checking to see if the Morph Ball dispenser needs refilling. Probably.

And I'll grab these missiles too while I'm down here. These should come in handy against those pink doors. Now I can backtrack and start exploring all those places I couldn't access before.


Aww crap. Just as I was starting to enjoy the peace and quiet, it seems the whole place was woken up by that sensor I tripped. Now I have to shoot my way back out.

These little wall crawlers from Metroid are back now too. But they weren't here a minute ago, this place was completely deserted. That means these things don't actually live here naturally, they were put here by the space pirates. Those bastards.


Another helpful statue with an essential power up. Of all the places in the galaxy these evil space pirates could have made their home, they had to choose a ruined base full of upgrade statues only their arch-enemy can use. Twice.

Uh... I don't think I like this statue any more. Damn these guys are cranky when they wake up.

I eventually made it out alive with my bombs, but now I need to remember if I went past anywhere I can use them.

Fortunately this game actually has a map for once! I can see where I am, where I've been, where my ship is, and I can even find a map room to fill in the areas I haven't been.

The game's easily earned 10 points for this. Though I'm deducting 30 points for taking three games to finally get around to adding it.


And then, an hour into the game, I find my first real secret passage. Fortunately it's optional, it just leads to another map room. They haven't got me attacking the scenery to find the way out... yet.


It's amazing how crap I'm playing during this boss fight, and yet I'm actually getting away with it. I'm still struggling a bit with these controls for some reason. I'd try redefining them, but... then I'd have to start from my last save game.

Fortunately I can stay in the fight by shooting these little enemies that keep raining down, and grabbing their purple health balls.

The guy's got a pattern. First he bobs around for a bit trying to hit me, then he lets me have a turn and opens up so I can fire missiles into his weak point. Which is pretty decent of him actually. I almost feel bad about killing him off now.

The boss fight leads to a room with pipes. Every pipe in the game so far has been spitting enemies out, so I've learned not to go near them. All except THIS ONE. This pipe is in fact the only way out, and must be jumped into.

Mario got away with this shit because it has optional secret shortcuts in the pipes. Plus in Mario enemies don't pop up from a pipe you're standing on, so it's always safe to check if it's a secret passage.

And now the game's gone from making me jump down enemy pipes, to straight blowing up parts of the scenery. Fortunately there's at least a crack on the floor to tell me... nah I'm joking, there's no indication this was breakable, I just had to drop bombs everywhere until I found the right path.

Maybe this is actually a genuine secret shortcut, I don't know. I'm just struggling to find any way out.

Hmm, I think that passage up there is a little too narrow for me to get into by jumping. But maybe if I morphed into a ball then used bombs to bounce my way up I could... OH SHIT, my health is disappearing! Bad room!

Well this isn't the right way either, I'm not fast enough to run past these doors before they close.

Is this the right way maybe?

I wonder what part of the scenery I have to bomb/shoot to get through here. (Answer: It's the pipe at the top).


The statue gave me a hi-jump boots upgrade, and didn't even try to kill me as I was leaving. Which was nice. But now I have no idea where to go next, so I'm trying to find anywhere I can use my higher jump to reach.

This seems like it might be the right way. According to the minimap there's a missing wall on the left, and a blue room on the right. That's usually the clue I have something to do here. But no amount of bombing or shooting is opening up a hole.


Ah, here's the way out. Hidden in this wall, where any idiot could stumble across it just by systematically shooting and bombing every single part of every single accessible room. It took me over a quarter of an hour to find this.

This game seems to be in everyone's SNES top 10 list, and up to this point I was beginning to see why. But how the fuck is this in any way good game design? I feel like I must be missing something here. I bet Super Metroid fans are laughing their asses off at me right now for walking past the 'secret passage goggles' upgrade or something.

Whoa, the game suddenly got hard. I probably could have beaten those guys but I would have lost more health than I'd gain back from the pick ups they drop. Fortunately I'd moved to 'plan B', bombing the shit out of them, and it opened an escape route in the floor.

There ought to be rules against enemies shooting me when they're off screen. There must be at least two of them over there firing spikes and energy beams down the corridor, but I can't do anything about them until I've gotten close enough to see them. So I'm jumping and diving under everything they throw at me, trying to push forward.

My first death, 80 minutes into the game. Killed by an enemy I couldn't even see. And then to add embarrassment to injury, my clothes blew up too.

Fortunately the game's got a half-decent number of save rooms scattered around so I haven't got far to go to get back.


There's the little bastard who's been firing spikes down the level at me. I don't care how much health I have, this spike dragon thing's going down right now.

Oh shit, the little spike dragon's got a big brother.

I am really struggling here. The guy likes to hang around offscreen to the right where I can't see him. I've been trying to use his roar to let me know when to fire off a missile, but he puts his hand up to block it. Plus I accidentally fired off all my ammo at nothing because I thought I'd switched back to my gun.

I've got no ammo and only a fifth of my health remaining, but if I can just stay alive long enough to harvest another 15 missiles or so, I think I still have a chance...

Well... fuck. You know, if this fight had happened earlier in the game I think I would have given it another shot. But I've been in a bad mood ever since I had to find those secret passages, so I'm just going to turn it off.

Okay, I've added up all those points, and the final score is...

The game looks fantastic for its time, it's slick, it's atmospheric and the music suits it perfectly. They even put in a map and save rooms for me, and I appreciate that. I was enjoying jumping around and exploring the base... right up to the point where I had to go bombing the scenery to find the next room. Of course maybe I just went the wrong way, it's a big place and the game never leads you around.

Anyway I'm sure I'll play Super Metroid again at some point, but right now I'm moving on to the next game.

Metroid series:
Metroid (NES)
Metroid II: Return of Samus (Game Boy)


  1. Fantastic game, and yes there are indeed secret-passage-goggles in the game! (x-ray visor)

  2. Great review for a great game!
    Now I want to play it again.

    I hope that you do take the time to go ahead and play this one some more. I'll bet that this'll be one of the few games that you actually finish.

  3. Best game ever.

  4. "Plus in Mario enemies don't pop up from a pipe you're standing on, so it's always safe to check if it's a secret passage."

    Piranha Plants?

    1. Piranha plants pop up from pipes for sure, but if you get close enough to their pipe they'll keep their head down until you're gone. At least that's how it works in the Mario games I've played.

  5. "I bet Super Metroid fans are laughing their asses off at me right now for walking past the 'secret passage goggles' upgrade or something."

    Yep. Also for not having the spirit to "systematically shoot and bomb every single part of every single accessible room" until you found them.

  6. Wow, I totally didn't notice until today that the space station had dead bodies lying around... I always thought they were... something else... hell, I don't know. Weird how you miss stuff as a kid. Also, I always tried to kill Ridley in the beginning, I thought if I was fast enough I could do it... I always failed.

  7. 2 Words. Super Bombs. Super Bombs are like missiles for morph ball form, and if you drop one, it launches as screen-clearing attack which is the same as if you used a normal bomb on every tile on the screen simultaneously. And its not a secret upgrade its pretty easy to get to, you get it shoved in your face after the first quarter of the game, but you can get it even earlier. I think you actually get it naturally right after the boss you stopped at, Kraid. So if you had played just a little further you could have just dropped a super bomb and it would clear every destructable tile on screen at once, and if there was one that it couldnt clear (ie. a missle block, a dissolving block, or a screw attack block etc) it would at least wipe the scenery off it and show you what you needed to get it.

    I thought the same thing as you first time I played, that you were required to bomb your way around everything, but after a little bit I started to realize, though they dont use cracked scenery most of the time (they sometimes do actually its just hard to notice because everything is made to be so old and fucked up, you have to look for the deep cracks) almost all the secrets follow similar patterns, and secret rooms are shown on the minimap by a missing or segmented wall marker. And once I got far enough to grab the super bombs on my first play, i realized that with the hi boots and enough tenacious wall jumping, I could get it about an hour earlier than it was meant to, and I replayed from the beginning getting it as early as possible.

    Also, you did notice that the rooms with secrets are marked with a circle on the map right? And the rooms with secret passage-ways have a line running off them? So all you need do is enter a room to see if there is a secret/secret passage, you don't need to bomb every tile. And once you get the super bombs you dont even need to bomb multiple tiles, just enter a room, see the dot/line on the minimap, roll yourself up and blast the room, and you know immediately what you have to do to get the secret.

    1. It sounds like I really need to give this one another go at some point. Maybe after a few more people have pointed out the other totally obvious things I missed along the way. These comments are going to end up better than a walkthrough at this rate.

  8. This game is phenomenal; would be number 2 in my all-time favorite games' list, no lower.

  9. Hi

    You praise that this game has a map, but why do you not look at it?
    The map tells you that there are unexplored rooms to your right
    It REALLY isn't hard to figure out that it might be a good idea to go there

    1. Sorry man, but it's been about 20 months since I played the game, and I can't remember what was going on at that point. I was talking about using the minimap to find the next room in the screenshot above that one though, so I get the feeling that I must have been trying to blast through to other unexplored rooms similar to those a few times during the seven minutes I was stuck and miserable with no luck.

      Honestly though I can't remember. I should've explained it better really, for my own sake as much as anyone else's.

  10. Very cool game, understandably loved but quite overrated. Vast world, satisfying to unlock and explore. Good pacing, build up and accomplished story telling. Music is effective at pulling you in.

    Nice atmosphere, effects, animation and impressive bosses. Visuals are hampered by many cheaply tiled environments that look no better than your average turbografx game. A bit more could have been done with general enemy design, many of which are ported straight from the first game. When put up against a truly good looking SNES game like Hagane, Super Metroid's visuals look quite ordinary.

    Fiddly vertical platforming is compensated for with a floaty jump. Controls well but with some quirks. Although the emphasis is on exploration and adventure, I'd have enjoyed seeing a bit more done with it's run and gun potential, for more exhilarating enemy encounters.

    I really like Super Metroid. It can be underwhelming in an action sense but it's very good in an adventure/exploration sense.


Semi-Random Game Box