Metroid: Is Super Metroid Truly The Best One Ever?

A few days ago we got the chance to review every Metroid game that has ever been, at least up till that point. And now that Other M is finally in everyone’s hands (be sure to check out our review if you’re still on the fence, btw), it’s time to pick and chose which is the best one!

And if you ask most folks, the answer will more than likely be part 3, Super Metroid. And even though I personally don’t agree (I’ll reveal my choice for #1 in just a few), I’m still hard pressed to come up with a super strong counter argument.

I still remember when Electronic Gaming Monthly came up with a top 200 games of all time list, for their 200th issue I believe, and Super Metroid nabbed the top spot. Something that caused quite the stir, since it was not Super Mario Bros or Tetris, like every other top ten list in the world (at least at the time). Yet it still made everyone quietly go “oh yeah… that makes total sense!”

It might not be my all time fave, but it’s definitely the one that I go back to the most, for whatever reason (having it be so conveniently accessible, via my Wii’s Virtual Console certainly helps). There’s lot of things that Super Metroid does right; atmosphere for one. I can’t recall a single time before, no ever since, in which a profoundly alien environment was covered with pink fluffy stuff.

Also, it’s one of the few games in which areas from a previous game (and from a previous generation of video game technology) was re-visited. My jaw literally dropped seeing locations that I had once been, but with a tad bit more detail and color. Visually, the game is a joy to behold. It takes the genuinely alien aesthetic from the original and successfully turns it into 16-bit. You honestly can’t say that about too many SNES games when compared to the NES originals. To this very day I’m still upset over how gaudy Mega Man 7 looks when compared to its predecessors.

The level design itself is brilliant, ever so slightly bettering the original’s. There’s a reason why Super Metroid has inspired so many to follow its groundbreaking formula. And the environments were awesome, with real character, like the aforementioned pink area. Man, I still get chills whenever I take that first elevator ride down to Ridley’s lair.

Though it’s hardly perfect, so whenever someone goes “it’s the best game ever made!” I can’t help go “well, you see….” For starters, I hate, hate, HATE the whole super missiles and super bombs gimmick. Which is only saved via the amazing level design. Though it could be argued that, if certain folks were smarter, they wouldn’t have needed them in the first place. Also, at least the super bomb is not as offensive as the super missile. One has a cooler onscreen effect. The other has an extra trail of smoke. Yay.

The music is okay. It was the first bit of disappointment as a kid, since the original is still one of the best overall game soundtracks of all time. But blame the crappy SNES hardware, with the cheesy synth sounds that made every sound tinny. Not to go on some needless tangent, but I can’t believe people thought the SNES sound chip was superior to the Genesis! But still, a few compositions are somewhat snoozers.

I also hate the map, much for the same reasons Anna mentioned last week. I loved getting super lost, though in the game’s defense, with all the varied weapons and much larger area to cover, it would be super frustrating without one,

I guess the worst part is the controls. They aren’t horrible per say, just kinda dumb. A pal of mine astutely noted that the shoulder buttons are completely wasted; why stick with the select button to switch to missiles? The whole aiming diagonally with them is awkward to say the least. I get used to it after about an hour of so each time I play for the first time in ages. Which means another awkward visit to that plant that thing that come embarrassingly close to wiping me out the first time.

Still, no matter what its faults (which are pretty damn minor in the grand scheme of things), all is forgiven. And as amazing the vast majority of the game is, nothing compares it with the ending. Which I guess is what most people remember and why everyone calls Super Metroid the best game ever. Dear God the ending is AMAZING. And since everyone know what happens, via Other M, guess there’s no harm getting right to the best part:

Just skip to the 4:40 mark and excuse the cheesy captions; it’s the only vid I could find that contained the encounter with the overgrown baby, which to me is pretty important. Anyhow, what do you folk think? Is Super Metroid the best game ever?

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