Luminoth's Super Metroid Log

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Luminoth Prime

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Luminoth's Super Metroid Log

Postby Luminoth Prime » 03.28.16 9:52pm

I've completed every Prime game, beaten the original Metroid on a cartridge, but haven't yet beaten Super Metroid. This has always nagged at me for several reasons; primarily because it's considered by some to be the best in the series, and considered by many to be the best Super NES game ever made. As a Metroid fan, the fact that I hadn't even touched it has always been a problem. But no longer.

A couple weeks ago, I impulse-purchased it from the Virtual Console on the Wii U. There's no turning back now. I decided to log my actions and thoughts as I go through it, blind, with no guides or even maps to help. I want to try and do this all on my own.

Day 1:

The title screen appears and people are laying dead on the floor. Things are more real than real.

I play through the intro, fighting Ridley by crouching in a corner, aiming diagonally, and shooting at him. I'm not sure what the recommended strategy was, but I beat it. Then I escaped and made my way to Zebes. It always bothered me that the game took place on the same planet as the original Metroid. With this, Zero Mission, Fusion, and Other M, it seems every non-Prime game except for Metroid II can't get their head out of the Zebesian sand to try new things and distance themselves from previous installments in any meaningful way. Instead, they all reuse bosses, enemies, and equipment so frequently that there's little reason to play any game more than once, because once you complete them all, you can just replay whichever one is the best and not have to worry about playing the others. But I digress.

My concerns were disrupted by the neat twist in that you start the game exploring where the ending of the first Metroid took place, fighting against Mother Brain. The lack of enemies until you turn to leave was also a clever display of pacing and atmosphere. I also figured that the 16-bit system could have served as a better canvas to display more detailed and appropriate graphics than in the original game, which for the most part is true. However, some of the out of place details from the original game seem to remain, such as the weird Castlevania statues that adorn certain features, and the four-boss statue in the room that I can only assume is the corridor before the final fight with Mother Brain, only unlocked when those four bosses are defeated, not unlike the original game. Who put that statue there? What's its actual purpose and explanation?

I continued on, collecting upgrades and exploring organically until I encountered the first roadblock. Some big scary corridor on an unreachable ledge, making me realize that I need some jump upgrade. I set out to go find it, though unfortunately I'm writing this part of the log anachronistically, so I can't seem to remember the exact details of this part of the adventure. What I do recall is that finding this upgrade was not easy.

It was during these tasks that I found out that the overly cryptic nature of the first game was somewhat passed on to Super Metroid. That is, the "bomb everywhere in a room until a hole appears" type gameplay that turns exploration into Minesweeper. So far, this seems to be less of an issue than in the original Metroid, though it still left me a tad uncomfortable.

Another unfortunate vestigial element is that energy is not restored at Save Stations. So, much like the first game, you're left to farm enemies for energy until you're maxed out, which is definition of tedium. The developers seem to have recognized this issue, at least, so you get much more energy and ammunition from enemies than you did in the NES title, and those Mario pipes with the beetle things sometimes spawn up to five enemies at once, making the task take a fraction of the time it used to, but it begs the question as to why they didn't just heal you at Save Stations and eliminate the problem altogether.

Returning to that ledge, I progressed along the path to the boss that I could tell from the decorations would be Kraid. After I put down his angry mother-in-law or whatever that mini-Kraid was in front of the door, I went in and saw the dead guy in front of the door. Who is he? A Federation Trooper? A Space Pirate? I miss the scan visor from the Prime games to give me more detail and context to the world around me.

I go in and start to fight Kraid, unimpressed at the game of whack-a-mole it's turning out to be, but after a while he rises more out of the ground and the fight gets more impressive. I manage to defeat him without dying, meaning that my current no-death run status was still alive. I grabbed the Varia Suit, which I knew meant that I now could access that magma area I encountered earlier.

Progressing through that area and finding a save point near the end, I concluded the day's journey.

Day 2:

Returning to where I left off, I realized I was stuck in Norfair. I was at what seemed to be a dead end, with no clear direction indicated. Realizing that there were some doors I could open with Super Missiles all the way back on the planet's surface near where the gunship was, I tried to backtrack, only to realize that the way I came was now inaccessible until I got the Ice Beam to freeze those floating guys and use them as platforms. At least that made it clear my business down there wasn't finished.

On the way back to where I started for the day, I went to Kraid's lair to see if there was anything I'd missed. After a bit of searching, I found a bit of the ceiling I could blow away and access. A moment of satisfaction came over me before I discovered that it was just an energy and ammunition cache that served no purpose for progression.

When I finally made it back, I played Minesweeper until I found the tunnel I was supposed to access. I went through it and found one door on the wall and another in the floor. One looked a little like a boss room, which I didn't feel up to yet, so I went through the other. It took me on a path wrapping back around to the other side of the room I was stuck in originally, finally leading me up to the other inaccessible corner and to a newer area. Though once I got into the first room on the path to what I would find to be the Speed Boost, I didn't see an exit. Thankfully, one of my shots landed between two of the [Shriekbats?] and revealed it for me. If I hadn't done that, I'd probably remain lost.

Acquiring the speed boost, I now realized that two new pathways were open to me. First, there was the one long hallway obstructed by debris that could only be cleared by the Speed Boost. Second, there was the mechanical hallway that was just barely able to be cleared but not quite. I made it all the way back there, but came to what seemed to be a dead end. That is, until I noticed a small hole in the wall among other smaller holes, which lead to the Ice Beam. Very cruelly hidden away, I must state. I'd expect that for a Missile Expansion or an Energy Tank, but an upgrade required for progression? Good thing I found it, otherwise I may have had to look up help.

Making my way back up out of Norfair and finally escaping the bottom of Brinstar, I came upon another Save Station and stopped for the day.

So far, though, I have to add that the music truly is phenomenal. I've heard remixes of it all over the place, noticed homages to it in Prime titles, but never actually experienced it firsthand. I can now attest with full confidence to how good it actually is. I'd love to hear a fully reorchestrated version of it without the limitations of the SNES someday.
"Through vigilance and strength, we create peace."
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Zynux

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Re: Luminoth's Super Metroid Log

Postby Zynux » 03.28.16 11:12pm

Huh, on my first playthrough I think I got lost in Norfair too.

Anyways good logging.
"Cut! There are no second chances for actors that fall to the abyss. Await your second casting in the darkness forever." - The Night of Wallachia

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Ridley prepping his body for Other M

Luminoth Prime

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Re: Luminoth's Super Metroid Log

Postby Luminoth Prime » 04.10.16 2:30am

Day 3:

So I got nowhere fast.

Crawled my way up towards the surface trying to figure out where to go. Came across a room that made the game go from Metroid to Bowser's Inside Story. After that, I ended up in a vertical room with four doors. One went to a save room, another Super Missile door went into a room with giant tough enemies that take like 50 energy points away with each gentle touch, a door at the top that was orange so I couldn't open it, and the door I entered through was also orange now. Not knowing what orange designated, I was a little confused. But it took me seconds to find the secret path that went into a room with the Power Bomb, at last.

Went through the Super Missile door, Power Bombed the room to get to a fresh PB expansion, and Power Bombed the upper door to go through to the surface.

The righthand path took me to a Missile Expansion across some water. I either need the Gravity Suit or the Grapple Beam to access it, apparently. Going left took me to my ship.

From there, I wandered all over looking for where to go. I reset many times trying to determine where to go next, ending up at dead ends in several locations.

Eventually I came across three little creatures doing a little dance. At first I thought it was a pleasant little detail or secret, but then they started bouncing up the wall. Okay, I said, I guess I have to do that somehow. But I thought I needed the Screw Attack (like in Metroid Prime 2) to do so. I went back looking for a way to go, but couldn't find anything. And I was trapped in a limited area, so there was nothing. After about fifteen minutes I decided to look up a map, the first time I've done so thus far. No help.

I looked up Brinstair on a wiki to find out what these creatures were (so I could use them as a reference point in looking up a guide), where I found out they teach Samus the wall jump. That's... really weird. For a game that so deliberately presents its power-ups and abilities with fanfare and instruction, for there to suddenly be a power up or ability communicated in the most bare minimum way is... not coherent game design.

After figuring all that out, I kept exploring, at least consoled in that I knew I made some progress at least, and then came across an ostritch that apparently teaches Samus how to Shinespark. Having never played Super Metroid, nor progressing far enough in Fusion to learn this ability, again, this was weird for an ability to be accessed and taught in such an inefficient way. Unique, and I think it's cute, but if the rest of the game was like this, then it'd be a disaster. At least the ostrich is a better teacher, because her instructions were a bit more clear.

Thought maybe I could Shinespark over the water to that Missile Expansion from earlier, but it doesn't work in such a convenient way. I went back to the ship and saved, confused as where to go.

Having pondered the subject, I now remember the glass tube area that I passed through several times. I've always had a feeling that a Power Bomb there would allow access to new areas. If I'm right, hopefully it's towards actual progression. If I'm wrong, then I might actually be a little stuck.
"Through vigilance and strength, we create peace."
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