Feature: The Last Metroid

From the box art to the game world, everything is infused with vibrance and colour.

The North American Box Art

After the acclaim afforded Metroid on the NES in 1986, the series became central to Nintendo’s plans, ensuring a sequel, Metroid II: Return of Samus on the Game Boy in 1991. However, the sequel, released on the monochrome and low-resolution Game Boy, could not truly advance the exploration platforming genre–a genre for which Metroid became the most prominent example. With the SNES release of Super Metroid (subtitled ‘Metroid 3’) in 1994, exploration platforming games experienced a paradigm shift, instituting many of the generic conventions in what are now called “Metroidvania” titles.

The plot of Super Metroid continues chronologically from the first two games of the series: Samus Aran, having defeated the Space Pirate leader Mother Brain on the planet Zebes, traveled to the Metroid homeworld, SR388, to exterminate all of the remaining Metroids, except for a single, new-born Metroid, delivered to Ceres Station for research purposes. When the Ceres research outpost is attacked, the action of Super Metroid begins in earnest.

From her pixel beginnings on the NES to the 3D realism of the Wii era, Samus Aran has remained a fan favourite, inspiring truly impressive cosplay.

Super Metroid revisits locales which are familiar to Metroid veterans.

Use the comment thread below to discuss your approach to the game, challenges you have faced, secrets you have uncovered, and what you are getting out of your playthrough. Do you feel that the presentation of Super Metroid has held up since its original release in 1994? Are there aspects of the game that you would change, or that you would hold up as an example for modern game developers to emulate? How have your experiences with Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Metroid Prime, Axiom Verge, and other prominent exploration platforming games released after Super Metroid changed your impressions of the game? And what are your most significant memories about the Metroid series in general, and Super Metroid in particular? Tell us all about it and join in our discussion below! We will select some of the best comments, each week, for our podcast discussion.

The aim in this playthrough is to complete the entirety of the game in two weeks. In the first week, the goal is to complete the game, through the final boss encounter. Feel free to join in, even if you are behind on the playthrough. Anyone and everyone is invited to participate, regardless of speed of play or familiarity with the series. Remember to comment, and please tell your friends!

Without further adieu, it is our pleasure to invite you to join the Lusipurr.com staff members, guests, and readers as we return to Zebes in The Last Metroid: A Super Metroid Playthrough!

14 Comments

  1. Lusipurr
    Posted 2016.10.16 at 20:25 | Permalink

    I will begin my playthrough of Super Metroid this week, with an aim to reach our mid-game checkpoint with an hour or so each evening on my 3DS.

  2. Dancing Matt
    Posted 2016.10.17 at 14:47 | Permalink

    Aw man, I already played Super Metroid twice this year. I can say, after having played many Metroidvania-style games, this one remains the best. It’s like the Chrono Trigger of the genre; may be relatively simple by now, but it’s so perfectly constructed in all aspects that it can be revisited over and over without losing its appeal.

  3. Lusipurr
    Posted 2016.10.17 at 15:51 | Permalink

    We’re being spoiled here with good playthroughs– Chrono Trigger, and now Super Metroid. What next, Super Mario World? Mega Man 2? The readers are going to get soft!

  4. Sebastian
    Posted 2016.10.17 at 22:07 | Permalink

    I fully intend to complete play this game.

  5. Fumunshu
    Posted 2016.10.17 at 22:53 | Permalink

    @Lusipurr– Pretty sure the first person magic using shooter game you were referring to in the podcast was “Hexen”, which was a sequel to Heretic, developed by Raven software and published by Id software. I remember it well, because you could choose 3 different classes (Warrior, Mage, and a hybrid of the two…can’t remember what they called it), and it had a fantasy setting as opposed to Doom or Wolfenstine 3D.

  6. Lusipurr
    Posted 2016.10.17 at 23:06 | Permalink

    @Fumunshu: WE HAVE A WINNER. It was indeed Hexen (I also had Heretic). Thank you for reminding me, because I’ve been racking my brain for days trying to figure that out!

  7. Adeki
    Posted 2016.10.19 at 12:56 | Permalink

    Maybe this time I’ll finally save all the animals, they deserve to helped.

  8. Dancing Matt
    Posted 2016.10.21 at 06:45 | Permalink

    “The last metroid is in captivity… the galaxy, is at peace… dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun… buhbadabapaaaah, buhbahbuhbahbuhpah…” Just one of the greatest openings in video games, ever. Perfect, perfect game, that Super Metroid.

  9. Lusipurr
    Posted 2016.10.22 at 15:37 | Permalink

    One of the things I remember about this game is how when it came out I spent weeks exploring it and doing everything in it. It was an amazing, exploratory experience. There was a lot of exploration of mechanics and the world of the game itself. Nowadays, without considerable self-restraint, that would all be lost: the moment people are stuck, they can look up the answer in an FAQ or in a YouTube video; they can go on Twitter to ask other people who have played it repeatedly. But back then, I was totally on my own–and it was awesome.

  10. Sebastian
    Posted 2016.10.23 at 23:19 | Permalink

    This is such a beautifully designed and realized game. I had never played the game before now, and the graphics, music, and gameplay are magnificent. I see how much Axiom Verge borrowed from this game, but more than this I see how the SNES might represent the absolute pinnacle of video gaming, period. I don’t think NES games stand up all that well in the graphics department (except on handheld systems), but there is just something about a carefully designed SNES game – even on a big LCD TV.

    I’m just playing the Super Metroid through an emulator on an old Apple 30-inch computer monitor, but it helps makes a compelling argument (along with Chrono Trigger and Zelda: LttP) for the SNES as the best overall system for pure gaming.

  11. Lusipurr
    Posted 2016.10.23 at 23:37 | Permalink

    @Seb: You have commented… wisely.

  12. Lusipurr
    Posted 2016.10.28 at 12:47 | Permalink

    I am nearing the end of the game (again!) and I hope that I’m not alone. Who else is playing this spectacular game?

    IT IS SO GOOD. Every time I come back to this game, I am amazed just how good it still is. It does not age!

  13. Dancing Matt
    Posted 2016.10.29 at 14:58 | Permalink

    I just finished Maridia, on the way to Norfair/Ridley.

  14. Lusipurr
    Posted 2016.10.29 at 19:02 | Permalink

    I’m on my way to Tourian, although I’m not sure that I will have time to wrap everything up tonight. I skipped quite a few upgrades this time around, but I’m on course to finish the game at around the 11h mark.