Metroid NES: Exploring the Origins of an Iconic Franchise
More than three decades have elapsed since Metroid NES captivated the owners of this remarkable console with its ingenious blend of exploration, intricate levels, and character upgrades in this iconic platformer. While Metroid has spawned numerous sequels, evolving into a cherished franchise among Nintendo enthusiasts, let's momentarily set aside the veil of nostalgia.
Does Metroid NES still stand as an excellent game by contemporary standards?
Slip into the formidable boots of the intergalactic bounty hunter Samus Aran, entrusted with the mission of thwarting the bothersome space pirates who have abducted Metroid creatures, intending to wield them as biological weapons of mass destruction. Your journey takes you to the planet Zebes, where you must reinstate law and order in the galaxy.
Samus begins her journey armed with a modest pea shooter, but it won't be long before you stumble upon the essential equipment upgrades needed for progress. One notable upgrade transforms Samus into a morph ball, allowing her to effortlessly navigate through tight spaces.
As you progress, you'll gain access to additional weapons and abilities, including jump boots for reaching distant platforms, missiles that can unlock special doors, and ice beams effective against a variety of respawned foes. Boss battles are also part of the experience, so collecting energy tanks and engaging in strategic fights becomes crucial.
Metroid is celebrated for its focus on exploration, though you'll encounter numerous obstacles, which can be vexing due to the absence of signals and visual cues. Among the more irksome aspects is Metroid NES's reliance on hidden passageways; in modern times, resorting to random jumps, bombings, and shooting to progress to the next section underscores the game's age in a somewhat negative manner. This lack of intuitiveness might have been forgivable two decades ago, but for today's audience, it can be rather unpleasant.
Metroid NES Gameplay
Graphics and Sound
However, for Metroid NES at that time, the graphics and sound worked quite well. Developers employed a complex color palette in different sections, with themes of rock, industrial, and lava breaking the monotony of exploration. Samus's animations are great, everything flows smoothly, and the big boss is impressive. The sound effects are somewhat basic, but the music is decent, and you might catch yourself humming along at times.
If you've played Samus's recent 2D adventures, you've probably felt frustrated by her lack of ability to shoot diagonally in this outing. There are countless occasions where this skill would come in handy, and a slip-up here can have a significant negative impact.
If you know what you're doing, Metroid NES can be easily completed in a few hours, although you may encounter some setbacks on your first playthrough. The virtual console's save mechanism will take care of preserving your progress, but the raw password feature can also be useful.
Due to the repetitive nature of exploration and the reliance on illogical passageways to progress, it's challenging to wholeheartedly recommend downloading Metroid NES at this moment. While it was one of the best games of its time, the level design is now a barrier to entry, and other classic games don't suffer in the same way. Unless you feel nostalgia for a bygone childhood or are eager to experience the entirety of the Metroid classic, we recommend jumping to the Super Nintendo because Super Metroid improves the game in every way.
In addition, the controls and mechanics in Super Metroid are more refined, providing a smoother and more enjoyable gaming experience. The enhanced graphics and sound capabilities of the Super Nintendo also contribute to a more immersive atmosphere, making the transition from Metroid NES to Super Metroid a truly worthwhile upgrade. While Metroid NES holds historical significance and a special place in the hearts of nostalgic gamers, the advancements in its successor make it a superior choice for those looking to delve into the iconic Metroid series.