Sunday, August 20, 2017

Metroid Fusion Revisited

Another month, another Metroid.

To prepare for Samus' Return on the Nintendo 3DS, I decided to play through the major 2D Metroid games on the Wii U Virtual Console again. After Zero Mission in June and Super Metroid in July, it was now the turn of Metroid Fusion, the last one on my list. (I've skipped the first Metroid game, because I don't like it that much and it's not as fleshed out as the others.)

And out of the three, I probably enjoyed replaying Metroid Fusion the most! It's been many years that I've played through the game and I remembered it to be much harder, but playing through Hard Mode in Zero Mission probably prepared me on a level, where the game gave me little trouble. The European and North American versions of the game also don't have a Hard Mode or a Gallery, so it's already much easier to complete than Zero Mission. Similar to Super Metroid, I only went for one 100% run here.

The bosses can be still quite tough, though... But I like, how they are done in this game. They are usually the main goals, but not in some artificial way, where defeating the bosses destroys some statue or gives you some key item. Here they are direct targets, because they are either causing trouble on the BSL station or they provide you with a necessary power-up or both.

The X-Cores at the end of each boss fight could be annoying, but they really made me master all the boss fights in the game. There are no close calls allowed here, because you still have to face the X-Core at the end, which can give you quite some trouble, especially early on. But of course you can master this part of the boss fights as well.

Overall, I enjoy, how this game plays quite a lot, probably the best out of the 2D Metroids. The controls are spot on and collecting the X has a nice vibe to it, while the power-ups all really feel powerful, especially all the beam upgrades.

I also like very much, how the Missiles are upgraded to Super Missiles, because this streamlines everything much more. In both Super Metroid and Zero Mission you would have to switch between missile types, while Super Missiles were the real deal. You want to use Super Missiles in boss fights, because normal missiles are too weak. And often you are grinding for Super Missiles during boss fights... Metroid Fusion bypasses all this nonsense by simply turning them into an upgrade.

Of course the big downside of this game is the high linearity, always sending you from A to B, even closing doors right behind you.

At the end this shocked me a little, because I was missing a few items before the final boss. I then went back to a Restore Point to get them. One was a Power Bomb near the "Ridley Freezer" on the Main Deck and to get back there I had to go all the way over Level 2 and the Reactor Core. I also missed an Energy Tank on the Main Deck, right above the first boss, but luckily you could still get there via Screw Attack.

But I still ended up with only 98%, because I thought that 70 Power Bombs is the maximum (74 really is a weird number for one), so I was missing two of them in Level 5. Anyway, that's when I learned that you can freely explore the entire station after you've beaten the final boss. It even shows on the map, where you're still missing items and how many there are, similar to a New Game+ in Zero Mission. I didn't know that! I always thought that you have to be very careful not to miss anything, before you go to the final boss...

In a way this is similar to Other M, just without the added Phantoon fight. And both games certainly share many similarities, where Other M copied many of the concepts. I also think that Other M plays and feels very nice, but suffered mostly from the high linearity. But Metroid Fusion certainly has the better story of the two, leaving only a sequel to be desired...

See you next mission...?


Eduardo Jencarelli said...

The SA-X changes the gameplay as well. Even though they're all scripted encounters, the first time you play the game you get this feeling of dread, fear of exploring because of the possibility of finding it. I know I felt it in Sector 2 when all of a sudden doors were destroyed, and I had to find an alternate path to escape the area.

Later in Sector 5, I was terrified of using Power Bombs to escape the SA-X, because I knew it would alert it (it turns out you can use regular bombs and sneak your way out of the room undetected).

Of course, going from the Yakuza Spider Boss straight to an SA-X encounter gave me more than one death scare.

This is one of the better entries where you feel hopeless against overwhelming odds in contrast to the end where you're beyond overpowered. Escaping the Adam computer's oversight and stumbling across Diffusion Missiles in Sector 4 was a nice sequence as well.

TourianTourist said...

Agreed, this even gave it the "Alien" feeling, where you're alone with some deadly creature hunting you on a space vessel.

But they didn't make any actual use of this thanks to the scripted nature. And it felt very "off" that Adam announces the presence of ten SA-X, while in reality you only ever meet one. With at least 10 being there, you should run into them more often.

However, I usually don't like this type of gameplay, where you're being hunted, so I don't mind it as much that it wasn't all that developed.