Friday, November 19, 2010

Video Game Assessment: Super Metroid (1994)

Here's a game that's a bit random for me to review. It's an older game for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and easily the oldest video game I've reviewed yet. Most of the video games I've reviewed so far are much more recent and therefore much more palatable for a modern-day audience. The Super Nintendo is no Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 or even a Wii. It is an earlier video game console with some of the best video games of all time on it.

Now, I'm not saying there aren't some fantastic video games thrown out today. I've actually found a few very good games that have come out in the last few years. Most of them are good for storylines or gameplay... some for their content and some for their characters, but they all have a ton of content, they all have the superior technology of today to work off of. They should be better video games. Hell, I shouldn't even have to compare a game like Super Metroid to games like Mass Effect 2 or Halo 3 or something because those games should be so much better than this game that came out sixteen years ago when video games were nowhere near the cultural media they are today. My problem is, I have to compare this game to modern day game, and you know why? It's because this game is fantastic. It holds up so well to games of today and beats a lot of them senseless with its awesome qualities.

This also happens to be the only Metroid game I have ever played. The main character being a girl, while being one of the most hardcore decisions in all of gaming, doesn't really play into anything in this game. Super Nintendo games, and especially games of this type weren't exactly equipped with stellar stories and character development. But see, the thing is, it didn't need to be. This is the kind of game that the hardship and loneliness of the game are enough to really make you care about all the contents. The story doesn't matter, not really, but it does because of the immersion, because of the feeling that in playing this game, by playing Samus, you are actually accomplishing something awesome as well.

This game used to scare me to no end. I remember when it first came out, I looked at it, played the game a bit and was so freaked out by the first mini-boss that I couldn't move on. There was a pervasive loneliness that really infested your mind as a gamer. The game still does that to this day. Some games try very hard to make the character feel as lonely and as hardcore as Super Metroid did, but few succeed in any way. The most triumphant counter-example would be Portal, but that is seriously the only one I can really think of and that game is nowhere near as difficult or serious as Super Metroid.

Super Metroid starts out in a space station with Samus trying to find a space pirate dragon thing called Ridley, who had stolen the last of the metroids, which are little brain creatures that are supposedly very dangerous. Samus is a bounty hunter, kind of like Boba Fett from Star Wars. She wears some crazy armor and can role up into a ball... for some reason... and she has a missile launcher/beam gun grafted onto one hand of her armor-suit. So, pretty much she about as hardcore as a character can be.

Anyway, Super Metroid is a platforming, side-scrolling, awesome adventure of killing aliens on the planet Zebes, and trying to find that last metroid while avoiding death all the while. It's awesome. The skillset required for this game is huge, and I think any new gamer who has been coddled by many of the current generation titles would find this game quite difficult indeed. It's not a game that is easy in any way. It's challenging and requires so much concentration that it's a little ridiculous.

I love this game though. It's one of my favorite games from the Super Nintendo era of games alongside greats like Kirby Super Star, Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's King Quest, The Lost Vikings, and the Super Star Wars Series. Ah, it's awesome and nostalgic and I could play that game over and over again. It's one of those games that's both challenging and plays differently ever time. It doesn't need a clever AI or a crazy story about things that are convoluted and weird. No, all it needed was shooting some aliens, a crazy-awesome bounty-hunting chick, and some of the best visuals and gameplay an entire console had to offer.

It's an old game now, and probably pretty tough to get nowadays, but if you do own it or can find some version or copy of it, it's a game worth playing showing off both the best of the old games and why video games have become such a mainstay in our society today. So, check it out if you can and admire the handiwork of a video game as true art.

I know this review is a little random, but every once in a while I love to review something different... and I might be doing more of that for a while since I'm kind of in the mood to play some older games.

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