Metroid Fusion

Discussion in 'GBAtemp Reviews & Guides' started by Tempest Stormwin, Jan 9, 2003.

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Jan 9, 2003

Metroid Fusion by Tempest Stormwin at 4:08 PM (3,001 Views / 0 Likes) 0 replies

  1. Tempest Stormwin
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    Former Staff Tempest Stormwin Kweisatz Haderach

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    METROID FUSION
    [​IMG]


    Chances are very good that if you're reading this, you're already familiar with Metroid. I mean, what gamer isn't already a fan of Samus Aran, with a full size cardboard cutout of her in their bedroom? ...Okay, so maybe I'm the only one with that last bit... but still, I bet you at least know enough about Metroid for me to make this enough of an introduction.


    BACKGROUND
    The series started out on the NES, blending an interesting mix of side scrolling adventure and platforming with a dark, science-fiction atmosphere to create an experience unlike all the others of it's time. All in all, that hasn't changed much over 5 games -- oh, sure, Prime is in First Person perspective, and Fusion you get help from your computer, but still, it's an amazing game concept. Metroid Fusion takes place LAST -- both in release dates and timeline. A while after the legendary Super Metroid, Samus returned to the locale from Metroid 2: Planet SR388, the homeworld of the now-extinct Metroids, with a biological research team. The rest of the introductary sequence chronicles how Samus was infected by the parasitic X organism, which can infest anything it touches, and nearly killed. She was only cured after large amounts of her classic orange suit were cut off, and a "Metroid Vaccine" prepared from a Metroid cell culture was injected into her. The result: Samus is still alive, and gets a new look. However, there's been an explosion at the research station that holds her suit and the rest of the research specimens...

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Cue the start of a great game! /////// We all love this moment. Lock and load!

    GAMEPLAY
    Right there is where you start, and I'm glad that's all the backstory you'll need, since I'm itching to get into the gameplay. In essence, it's Super Metroid. On the GBA. Without the annoying dash button, or the switch weapon button. To put it simply, they took all that made SM good, added several new elements to the gameplay, gave Samus a makeover and plopped her in a space station. Control is a breeze: Samus moves at a very good rate, pressing B shoots the famous Arm Cannon, pressing A jumps, and pressing A while running or falling causes Samus to do her trademark somersault. Use L to aim; pressing it aims up (the more common direction), and hitting down while holding L aims down. A nice improvement over Super Metroid is that the powerups all describe how to use them on pickup -- getting Missiles, for example, includes a brief reminder of "Hold R and press B." Fans of the series will be glad to hear that virtually everything from Super Metroid is back: the only things MIA are the X-Ray Scope, Ice Beam (for story reasons), Reserve Tanks, and the Grapple Beam. Added to the roster are the Ice Missiles, the modified Powerbombs (which now include a nifty little vacuum effect when you detonate one -- it sucks in all the life and missile pickups to the spot of explosion), the damn spiffy Diffusion Missiles, and several control tweaks. By far the best of these is the ability to grab a ledge -- No more "Just missed it!" moments for our dear Samus. While holding on, pressing away from the ledge readies her for a modified form of the classic Wall Jump (which isn't in the manual, but is easy to do and well worth the time to learn), and pressing Up causes her to climb up. If the passage is narrow and Samus has the morph ball, she'll automatically transform while climbing up, which can get you to more places than you'd ever imagine. The last of the new control elements is the addition of ladders and grilles: Samus can now climb walls directly if a ladder is present, and several cielings have grilles over them that serve similar purposes. At least three boss fights come to mind when these grilles significantly alter strategy, and I can't even count how many the ledge grab helps with too.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Ladders + Metroid = [​IMG] /////////////// Now, why didn't they do this sooner?

    The most startling addition to the series is also my personal favorite: Samus finally treats us to small interludes here and there, usually in an elevator, when she reflects on recent events and talks as if making a journal entry. Often these reflections have to do with the other plot element added: Since her first ship went kaboom, she got a new one with a sophisticated AI that'll serve as her commanding officer on this mission (something she dislikes, but I find was quite helpful in keeping you moving in the right way). You hook up with this computer from strategically placed Navigation Rooms (Nav rooms, as everyone calls them). It'll tell you the recent news that it's gleaned from the station's sensors, and give you a directive to follow -- seems linear, but really it's more a nudge in the right direction, due to the structure of the game. The space station layout at first seems fairly centralized, with an operations deck, the docking bays, the habitation deck, the main deck, the hub deck, and then the six breeding habitats (convieniently named and numbered for easy recall: the sub-zero sector is always called Sector 5: ARC, as in Arctic, for example). At the entrance to each of these sectors is the elevator, the nav room, the save room, and the recharge room (think a combination between an energy station and a missile station). Beyond this, there's little in common between them. Each sector is remarkably well designed, with countless areas to explore -- and if you think you're done with that corridor for now, oh, no, you'll be back when you have the [insert powerup here]. The whole game is built like that -- I was shocked at where half the items were when I first got 100%.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    The heroine finally speaks in game! /// Ominous... but it must be done.

    The greatest new addition, though, is also the highest element of fear in the game. I won't ruin it, because the box does that already, but you WILL remember this. The music when you see it is spooky, the footsteps make a Clank-Clank sound that you will associate with fear from first sight, the lights are even dimmed save for a slight glow around it, and then -- CONTACT. Hope you're lucky or have just saved, because it's easily an adrenaline pumping experience meeting with this bugger.


    GRAPHICS, MUSIC, SOUND
    On a technical aspect, there's very little bad with the game. The graphics are Super Metroid's quality with more frames and intricate backgrounds -- even some of the enemies in the background come to life and attack if you're careless, giving an illusion of depth. The music is amazing; there's only a few remixes that sound a little unusual, but the rest is astonishingly good. Sound effects are nice; one boss has particularly annoying sound effects all the time, and his music is equally annoying, but I don't think you'll complain, really. I think a game where you don't notice the music or sound except as part OF THE GAME is a good one, and this fits in perfectly with the setting. Of course, the voice samples of computer alarms were nice, as were a couple themes that I thought were memorable... Also a nice technical addition, Metroid Fusion allows you to unlock secret bonuses in Metroid Prime; one of these is the ability to use her new suit in the phenominal Prime graphics settings. Let me be the first to say: IT LOOKS SWEET.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    It's little touches like these that make the Metroid series so cool...

    DRAWBACKS

    Any downsides? Well, only a few. It's second only to Metroid 2 in difficulty, since every enemy hits for a LOT of damage (balancing this is that EVERY enemy is guaranteed to drop some form of recharge... and a few fixed ones here and there will drop red ones that almost fully recharge you, like the ones on boss doors). There are a few areas where it's a bit tricky to figure out where to go next, although if you're observant, these won't pose a threat to you (keep an eye open for anything that looks destroyable or consipicuous... the gold enemies in about 3 rooms come to mind...). Also, the bosses could throw you for a loop unless you're good or lucky -- most have an easier way to beat them than is apparent, but they're all doable. Finally, you're now weak against ice -- it'll sap your energy like lava did if you're in a frigid room, and you can be frozen. However, there's a story reason for this -- Samus now has Metroid cells, and what's a Metroid without Ice weakness? From a technical perspective, the only downside with the game is the annoying screen size and reflections.


    Reviewer's Summary

    All in all, this is the best game I've ever played on the GBA. I give it my first 10/10 -- I'm going to be tighter on these in the coming reviews, but I couldn't resist. And you shouldn't either. Go. Now. What are you doing? You could be playing Metroid.

    (Oh, and if you're replying to correct the ONE deliberate error I made, bear in mind that I wrote this to avoid spoilers. So, the last power Samus gets is being kept a secret.)

    -Tempest out.-
     
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