Summers were always hot in Florida, painfully so. Also, I wasn’t the most social child and mostly kept to myself. It was rare to see me outside playing with the neighborhood kids, mostly because I was always in my head and never really paid attention to the reality going on all around me. Some things, never change.
You’ve learned two things about me for sure since the start of this series: I played fantastic games and watched the best of movies. Both of these have intertwined and shaped who I am today. For better or worse. So it shouldn’t surprise you to know that I watched the movies Alien and Aliens at a far too young of an age. They were fantastic and I was forever a fan of the series, even if I didn’t know it at the time. I was the type of child that when he loved something when I was captivated by something, I was completely immersed into it and its lore.
Around this time I was going through the stack of hand me down games my sister had left me, looking for something space or alien related, and I stumbled across Metroid. I wouldn’t know it at the time but its sequel, Super Metroid, would become my favorite game of all time and space. To this day. Here’s a meme gif of American heavy boxing champion of the world Deontay Wilder. He’s the best. BOMB SQUAD.
That certainly fell off the tracks rather quickly. Anyways, the cover and the back of the box caught my curiosity and replaced it with enthusiasm. There are very few moments in gaming where it almost feels like you’re having an out of body experience due to how jubilant you feel because all your sensations are in overdrive. Feelings of anticipation and awe cascade over you because you know that you are experiencing something special. A small amount of this gripped me when I first booted up Metroid. I can be anywhere in the world, doing anything, and have any form of noise happening around me but if I close my eyes and think on Metroid, I can perfectly hear that opening melody at the start of the screen.
I’m man enough to admit that there was some terror associated with my love those alien films. There were a few nights my mom left the light on to fall asleep. Small traces of those scary feelings could be felt as soon as I started the game. Thankfully though, I had Ellen Ripley to protect me in the movies, my mother to protect me in real life, and, now, Samus Aran in gaming. Shout out to women for always being great, particularly the independent women who sacrifice themselves for their children. Thank you Mom, if you’re reading this, I love you.
The game shows you some text giving you a basic idea of what’s going on and then just have you appear in the world for you to figure out what to do and where to go. The first thing I’ve always done in a new game is to test what each button on the controller does and go from there. Oddly enough, in this game, I just started moving and exploring. Seconds would turn into minutes, minutes into hours, and hours lead to being yelled at to get off and come and eat dinner. Good times.
The music as I moved around reminded me a lot of Pokémon when you’re traveling the world, some upbeat and motivational melody. I was fascinated with going around the map and looking for secrets, trying to find everything and explore every nook and cranny. Samus was pretty basic with what she could and couldn’t do but those limitations felt more relatable because, though I didn’t know or care it was a woman I was playing as, I pictured it as myself in the suit. As I found power-ups and things opened up more, I fell deeper in love with this beautiful gem of a game that I found. Some of the powers you find are things like the missiles that open up red doors and deals more damage than the standard beam. You also have the ability to turn into a ball to reach secret areas, bombs that can be placed, and ice and wave beams. You’ll go from feeling like a frail astronaut, as that’s what I thought she was at the time, to feeling like Mysterio from Spider-Man, who I also thought was an astronaut for some reason.
You would think the game would feel easier as your character grew and learned more abilities but that wasn’t the case. The game always felt balanced and some items were hidden and needed to be found. There are some bosses, like the purple dragon, but it’s the final boss that means the most and that I can actually remember. Mother Brain. The perfect cherry to end such a great game. It’s such an iconic moment when you fight it because it’s a realization that everything leads to this moment.
So, what made Metroid so great?
The atmosphere, the level design, and the entire game as a whole. You see, this felt like a real world with its eerie atmosphere and labyrinth style level design. This was, after all, the birth of Metroidvania. I spent more hours than I’ll ever know exploring this game and I got all the endings.
Let’s talk about that ending. It was a big revelation in gaming media to learn that the iconic Metroid character was a woman. To me, it wasn’t. All my life I’ve been surrounded by a strong independent woman, from my grandma to my mom to, now, my wife. I was always taught that women were great, to be respected, and could do anything. I have four sisters. This will be the same thing I pass on to my daughter(s), should I have any.
So, what do you think about Metroid? Did you like it? Do you like the series as a whole? Comment down below and let’s gush over how amazing the NES console is. Also, remember to follow The Loot Gaming for all your gaming news and reviews and on everything Nintendo related.