Metroid Fusion Review


Ah, Metroid Fusion, literally my first Gameboy Advance game alongside the similarly weird and creepy Wario Land 4...I still remember, to this day, how big of a deal this game was back at the time when it came out. After taking a ridiculously long (literally EIGHT-YEAR, in fact) hiatus since Super Metroid's release, Nintendo's disgustingly underappreciated Metroid series was finally making a comeback with not one but TWO top-notch quality games (well, at least according to the critics in the latter's case; we'll see what I think of it once I finish writing this review) titled Metroid Prime (first-person action game) and Fusion (side-scrolling shooter)...a legendary moment from Nintendo's history that was just recently repeated with Samus Returns and Metroid Prime 4.

So, how exactly DID this game fare when compared with Super Metroid? Well, let's inject ourselves with Metroid vaccine and see...

STORY: UNBELIEVABLY darker in this regard than Super Metroid, much like how Mother 3 was compared to Earthbound (not so much in actual tone, really; mostly just in subject matter), Metroid Fusion sees Samus leading a Galactic Federation expedition to planet SR388 from Metroid 2: Return Of Samus...when suddenly, the EXACT first Hornoad she encounters turns out to be infected with a gelatinous floating parasite that immediately ejects itself from the creature's body upon said host's death and latches itself onto Samus' face!

Revealed to be a very egregiously The-Thing-inspired species of gelatinous parasites called the X (basically a more evil version of Metroids), said parasite then proceeds to horribly corrupt numerous areas of Samus' Power Suit, forcing local doctors and scientists to remove the entire thing altogether and replace it with the game's now-iconic (and also ridiculously cool-looking) Fusion Suit, which would later be followed up by the equally useful and badass-looking PED Suit in Prime 3.

When combined with an extremely powerful vaccine that the aforementioned local doctors and scientists were able to harvest from everyone’s favorite “the baby” Metroid from Super Metroid, said suit allows Samus to replenish her health and missiles(?!) by absorbing the otherwise-unmanageable X, and in quite a few cases regarding the especially large X seen in boss battles, even recover her suit’s special abilites from them!

In short, Samus is sent on a mission to exterminate the X from the local BSL (Biological Space Laboratories) station that conveniently just so happens to be directly orbiting planet SR388, upon which she meets her incredibly annoying computer-voice mission instructor (basically Adam Malkovich’s brain in a jar) and is (for the most part) condescendingly guided through an increasingly disturbing series of (mostly) mission-based events whereupon it is revealed that not only do the X mockingly copy the bodies and cell structures of their hosts after killing them (which is an astoundingly terrifying concept for an E-rated game in and of itself, might I add), but worse yet, SAMUS’ FULLY DECKED-OUT, NEARLY INVINCIBLE POWER SUIT ITSELF WAS ALSO CLONED (MULTIPLE TIMES, IN FACT) by the X (providing unusually logical reasoning behind Samus losing all of her abilities for once) and is actively hunting her down as she and almost-but-not-quite Adam Malkovich boringly and drawn-outly speak.

However, while it certainly is a LOT (read, nostalgia fanboys: A LOT) darker than Super Metroid for sure, and undeniably vastly more complex, Metroid Fusion’s storyline never really gets AMAZINGLY interesting until the near-to-endgame, in which Samus not only completely breaks the rules of her mission for the greater good but also gives an astonishingly deep philosophical spiel about the nature of both humanity and the universe itself (multiple times, in fact), culminating in her actually managing to convince computer-Adam into letting her set the entire BSL station on a collision course with planet SR388 itself.

Yeah, to say the least, this game definitely goes out with JUST the type of bang you’ve come to expect after Super. Overall, fantastic storyline for what it’s worth, and phenomenally integrated into the game as well.

GRAPHICS: In one of my past lists, I distinctly remember describing Metroid Fusion as being easily the best-looking 2D sprite game to ever exist, and overall, I was pretty much right. Basically, it’s the classic comic-book art style from Super Metroid but somehow executed arguably even BETTER; while the overall environmental design is understandably bland (after all, the game takes place in hugely artificial environments) and there are definitely a few things here and there that look a bit too cartoonish for the type of game that this is, it is a game whose graphics seriously have to be seen to be believed as far as the GBA goes.

SOUND: While the game’s overall soundtrack may have been a bit of a travesty when compared to that of Super Metroid before it, this game’s sound DESIGN is absolutely second-to-none. Seriously, just play this game with headphones at least one time, and then thank me later. For the most part (disregarding the Omega Metroid’s and especially Neo-Ridley’s screams), you DEFINITELY will NOT regret it in the slightest.

GAMEPLAY: I really don’t know how to feel about this particular aspect of this game, in all honesty; while Super Metroid is commonly believed amongst fans to be undoubtedly THE most overrated game of the entire series, I honestly quite firmly believe that that honor goes to this one. It’s not a bad game or anything, but Jesus CHRIST was it overhyped by the Metroid fanbase.

Basically, disregarding its admittedly amazing storyline for a GBA game (which Mother 3 would later feature to such an outrageous extent as to render this game wholesalely obsolete by comparison as far as storytelling is concerned), the actual gameplay of Metroid Fusion (disregarding some of its annoyingly difficult-to-find bonus secrets)basically just amounts to this: CPU-Adam tells you where to go, you run in a straight line and you shoot things. Yes, there’s occasionally a SA-X (Samus-X) stealth/chase sequence to mix things up, but they are EXTREMELY few and far between.

That, and also, the game is just plain outdatedly short even for its time, taking about MAYBE three hours to finish on the average player’s VERY FIRST WALKTHROUGH-LESS playthrough (assuming that said player isn’t going for 100 percent completion, that is), and probably at least fifteen if not twenty OF those generally 120-ish minutes being spent scrolling through admittingly interesting but incredibly tedious expository cutscenes and dialogue. (Well, if nothing else, at least the game no longer has its own long and unskippable fanfare for every single time you pick up a generic expansion-tank item…)

At its core, however, the game (while still being ABSURDLY too easy overall) is absolutely top-notch. The controls, which were actually rather awkward and floaty in Super Metroid, are almost superhumanly tight and on-point in Fusion (and personally, I think the removal of sequence-breaking in this game was honestly for the best if you ask me). The levels, while aesthetically rather dull compared to those of Super Metroid, are painstakingly well-designed and take you through a wide variety of environments (though many of said environments are a BIT too similar to those of Super Metroid for comfort, to say the least).

The boss battles are just as visually spectacular and immersive as basically everything else about the game, and as easy as it may be, Metroid Fusion still offers a welcome increase in the amount of actual skill and prowess that its combat requires when compared to that of its Super Nintendo predecessors.

OVERALL: While Metroid Fusion is short, easy, obnoxiously linear and (contrary to popular belief) really didn’t do anything particularly new for the Metroid series besides Ice Missiles and the introduction of the SA-X, as well as being a huge inspiration for the embarrassingly horribly-written train wreck that Other M’s storyline would later reveal itself to be approximately eight years later, Metroid Fusion is still an excellently put-together game in its own right, albeit a bit overly reliant on the groundbreaking success of its legendary SNES predecessor Super Metroid and overall rather weak compared to it. In conclusion, 8.5/10


See? I TOLD you it was just a good version of Other M - xandermartin98