AM2R Review

xandermartin98
You know, for the longest time, I've honestly felt like I'm just kind of burned out on video games in general, let alone fangames. For the most part, they're way too easy and they just don't capture my interest nearly as much as they used to.

However, I still have the softest of spots for the Metroid series, as it was easily one of the biggest parts of my childhood in addition to being easily one of the most horribly mistreated and underrated video game franchises of all time, so you can imagine how unbelievably excited I was when I heard in late 2016 that Another Metroid 2 Remake, dubbed AM2R for short, was finally being finished.

And of course, naturally, on literally the EXACT day that I decided to finally download the game, Nintendo, being a bunch of greedy, inconsiderate jerks as always, took the game down for extremely shallow-minded copyright reasons. Luckily, however, they didn't COMPLETELY shut it down; they merely issued a DMCA strike, so you can still find links to the game online.

And let me tell you, as ridiculously overhyped as this project may have been by the ever-so-whiny and overzealous Metroid fanbase, you'd better believe that the finished product easily MORE than lived up to my expectations.

Seriously, this game is literally everything I wanted it to be and then some. I honestly cannot stress enough how incredibly phenomenal of a remake this game really is, so strap into your seats and get ready to listen to me gush for quite a long while over what was originally one of Metroid's worst series entries.

Obviously, since this is a remake and all, you can probably expect that the first thing I'm going to address is how the game looks...and my ever-loving God, does this game look absolutely gorgeous. Running on an ever-so-slightly modified version of Zero Mission's graphical engine, AM2R has some of the best graphics of any Metroid game to date, with simply stunning levels of visual detail put into literally every single thing across the game's vast world.

And don't think that this game is going to be skimping on any of its other elements just because of how beautiful its graphics are, either; as far as fangames go, its gameplay easily rivals the likes of Super Zero Mission and Super Metroid Redesign, and its atmosphere easily gives Super Metroid: Phazon and perhaps even Super Metroid Eris a run for their money at times.

Right from the get-go, you'll notice that this game is undeniably millions of times deeper and more developed than its original counterpart, in addition to being easily at least ten times bigger and better. All of the iconic Super Metroid abilities excluding secret techniques and glitches are available for you to find, use, and even turn on and off at will, the iconic map feature has finally been added, and there's even an extensive series of Metroid-Prime-style Logbook entries that explain the storyline and environment in shockingly great detail...which is really only scratching the surface of how much genuine, passionate love and care was put into the making of this game, by the way.

Not only is there a map now, not only are the areas way bigger, not only are copy-and-paste tiles and blank backgrounds a thing of the past, but there are also way MORE areas and rooms to explore now, and Samus moves so frickin' fast in this remake that before you know it, you'll have already done it all and will most likely already be begging for second helpings.

The sound design is excellent as well, with one of the greatest and most atmospheric soundtracks I've ever heard in any game to date since Super Metroid and Prime 1...even if most of it is just remixes from past games.

And oh man, the bosses...don't even get me started on the bosses. While I still personally think that Prime 2 has by far the best rogues gallery of the franchise when it comes to boss battles, this game definitely isn't far behind.

And speaking of boss battles...yes, indeed, the original goal of Metroid 2 is still kept perfectly intact and then some in this remake...for better or worse depending on how you look at it, I suppose.

Basically, the main central goal of the game is to eliminate every last Metroid on SR388 (except for one larva, which then follows Samus like a confused child) and essentially become the main inspiration behind Fusion's SA-X.

Much like the original Metroid 2, AM2R is indeed very linear. As you eliminate all of the Metroids in each area, the elevation of the game's underground lava ocean lowers, effectively funneling you straight down through the game.

While this does mean that power-ups are also extremely easy to find, you'll quickly realize when playing on Hard Mode that, in many cases, you'll end up NEEDING them more than ever in this game. Enemies, especially bosses, deal extremely large amounts of damage to you and have very annoying attack patterns to boot, and there's also environmental hazards galore.

Speaking of which, let's talk about the actual Metroid boss battles themselves. Seriously, be warned: if you're expecting these guys to put up the same miserable joke of a fight that they did in the original Metroid 2, then get ready for a VERY rude awakening on Hard Mode, because they're a LOT smarter and manlier now...Alpha, Gamma, Zeta and Omega Metroids alike.

You see, in the original Metroid 2, all of the Metroid types had very strictly defined attack patterns and actually couldn't do ANYTHING outside the boundaries of the screen, proving just how overly ambitious the game as a whole really was for a game released on the 8-bit Game Boy hardware. As a result, the only reason any of them were challenging was because they constantly spammed their attacks directly into you faster than you could even begin to react. Obviously, this is a VERY cheap form of difficulty.

With THIS game, on the other hand, Metroids actually have real legitimate AI and can be very difficult to even outsmart at times, let alone hit. Quite a few of their forms also have only the most irritatingly strict of hitboxes on their weak points...which, when coupled with the fact that their Alpha and Gamma forms even have a full-fledged DODGING mechanic now, can be incredibly frustrating, but it really just makes killing them all the more satisfying.

Best of all, there's no more of those wimpy little Pokémon-sized Zeta and Omega Metroids; they literally evolve into full-fledged DINOSAURS now!

Oh, and don't worry about running out of missiles; thankfully, another one of this remake's wonderfully convenient new features is the addition of save points that automatically refill your health and ammo (which is an absolute godsend when dealing with the Omegas in the final area, let me tell you.)

All of the environments are not only ridiculously detailed, but also feel very much ALIVE in a way that's incredibly rare to see in 2D side-scrolling games outside of Super Metroid and especially its Phazon/Eris hacks. From start to finish, this game made me feel like I was very legitimately IN its world. The ever-so-creepy feeling of wondering when the next Metroid was going to jump out at me was handled unbelievably well here, and the oodles of fascinating exploration, brilliant puzzles, environmental mystery and delicious fanservice only added even further to it.

Speaking of fanservice, would you believe it; the developer even managed to sneak an escape sequence into this game! I'm not going to spoil what it is or where it's located, but trust me; you'll know when you finally see it.

Overall, the only thing that really disappointed me about this game was the way that it ended; the final area is a joke, the final boss battle against the Queen Metroid is even more of a joke (as if it wasn't already pathetically lame enough in the original Metroid 2) and the ending, overall, is pretty lackluster.

However, I can forgive AM2R for its occasional shortcomings, since the game is an absolute masterpiece in pretty much every other regard I can think of. The pacing is wonderfully fast, the length is just right, and the overall payoff for playing it was absolutely fantastic despite how incredibly weakly it ends.

In conclusion, I would very gladly shell out at least ten or twenty dollars for this game if it was on the eShop, and I would much rather play this as opposed to generic corporate crap like Federation Force any day.

In honor of both Gunpei Yokoi and Satoru Iwata, this game, without even the slightest shadow of a doubt, gets a 9.5/10. That's right, everyone, you heard me; Super Metroid and the Prime trilogy officially have a new competitor now.

MAKE IT HAPPEN, NINTENDO!

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