Friday, 12 August 2011

The games of Metroid

Back in 1986 the world was first introduced to Samus Aran in the first Metroid game released on the NES. Along with Samus characters introduced that are still known and used today included Kraid, Ridley, Mother Brain and the Space Pirates with the game being set on the Planet Zebes.

Also introduced were the Morph Ball (allowing Samus to curl into a moving ball), the bomb attack and the screw attack, all still used in the series today.

The game was a 2D scroller but with a difference being that you could move either left or right to allow for backtracking to collect upgrades for weapons and the suit that Samus wore. This allowed for deep exploration for gamers who wanted to find everything but the game also allowed for people to run through and even encouraged this by giving different endings based on the speed in which the game was completed.

It would be another five years before a sequel was released and in 1991 Metroid II: Return of Samus was released for the Game Boy. Similar in style and plot as the first Metroid game the sequel was set on SR388 and introduced the Spazer Laser Beam and the Plasma Beam and also the Space Jump, again all still used to this day.

There was one slight change to the game play in that fact that to progress down through the planet you had a set number of Metroids that needed to be killed in each section. This allowed for lava levels to decrease allowing for Samus to proceed.

The ending of Metroid II continued into the storyline of Super Metroid which was released on the Super Nintendo in 1994. Again similar in game play to the first two games Super Metroid did introduce for the first time the ability to walk backwards whilst firing and also the ability to combine weapons.

Set again on the planet Zebes, Samus again encounters Ridley and Mother Brain in the search for the Metroid that was hatched at the end of the second game.

Despite being a critical success it was another eight years before the next Metroid game was released when not one but two games were released. In 2002 Metroid Fusion was released on the Game Boy Advance and Metroid Prime was released on the GameCube.

Metroid Fusion was slightly different to it's predecessors in that the game was more linear due to a concentration on story. The game was set on SR388 and introduced the X parasite which infects Samus's suit to transform into the SA-X that is a mimic of Samus.

Metroid Prime was the first game to appear in 3D and bar when in Morph Ball mode was entirely set in first-person mode. The view was through Samus's visor which could be changed to allow for scanning mode (a very important part of the game), thermal imaging mode and X-ray vision mode.

This time round the game was set on Tallon IV and involved and despite the change from 2D to 3D the style and game play remained the same with appearances from Ridley and the Space Pirates. New elements were introduced including the Phazon and the introduction of Dark Samus who would return in the second and third parts of the Prime trilogy.

Both games had extra features that could be unlocked if linked together via the Cube-GBA cable. In Fusion the original Metroid game could be unlocked to play and after completing Prime the suit from Fusion could be used.

Fusion and Zero Mission could also be linked to unlock a Fusion picture gallery.

Just two years later in 2004 the Game Boy Advance and the GameCube again both had games released for the systems, this time in the form of Metroid: Zero Mission and Metroid Prime 2: Echoes.

Metroid: Zero Mission was an enhanced remake of the very first game, this time adding a new story for the development for Samus and also adding new items, areas and bosses that were not included in the original. It was also the first Metroid game to introduce the ability to select a difficulty at the beginning of the game.

Metroid Prime 2: Echoes was the middle part of the Prime trilogy and completely overhauled the story and characters from previous games. This time round the game was set around two parallel dimensions, the Light Aether and the Dark Aether. The Dark Aether caused damage to Samus's suit requiring for the player to find safe zones for health to be regained.

The game was also the first and to introduce a multiplayer mode where up to four players to engage in combat.

Just a year later in 2005 the Nintendo DS received it's first Metroid game in the form on Metroid Prime Pinball which condensed the storyline of Metroid Prime into a pinball game. The game had six pinball tables inspired by areas from the original game and each table had a boss that needed to be defeated to be able to progress.

Like Echoes the game had a multiplayer mode where up to eight players to compete against each other in a race to reach a target score.

In 2006 the DS received it's second Metroid game in the form of Metroid Prime Hunters which like the GameCube games was set in the first-person mode. Again like Echoes the story was changed to introduced new areas and enemies and included six other Bounty Hunters that would team up with Samus near the end of the game.

These Bounty Hunters could also be controlled in the multiplayer mode with each one having unique weapons and forms.

In 2007 the final game in the Prime trilogy was released for the Wii. Titled Metroid Prime 3: Corruption the story continued from Echoes with the main protagonist again being Dark Samus who has corrupeted Samus with dark Phazon. This allows for Samus to enter into hypermode which allows for temprary invincibility and powerful attacks with the downside that health is very quickly drained with the end result being death if not switched off quickly enough.

In 2009 the Prime trilogy was released all on one disc for the Wii. This allowed for tweaks to be made for each game including loading times, upgraded textures, altered visual effects and for Echoes difficulty for bossed to be lowered allowing for beginners to enjoy the game.

One year later in 2010 the latest Metroid game to be released came out on the Wii. Metroid: Other M was the first game to involve Samus having speech and delved very deeply into her background with Adam Malkovich. Other M was also the first Metroid game where enemies do not drop ammo or health, the player has to shake the Wii remote or enter a navigation booth to replenish both items.

The game also features a switch from first-person mode to third-person mode by alternating the way the remote was held, both modes are required to be used to complete the game with some areas requring to switch between the two to be able to progress.

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