MDb news since 1996.
Over the past 25 years, the Metroid series has introduced gamers to a variety of alien life forms and strange creatures, building up one of the most diverse collections of Sci-fi video game enemies and bosses. With such a large number of creatures spread over different generations of consoles (and gamers), learning more about all of the organisms and their names can be a bit daunting for those who aren't hardcore followers of the series or played every title. We hope to change that with our ongoing Bestiary compendium, which contains some short descriptions, tips and strategy, and some individual creativity.
We recently posted our 150th entry in the Bestiary, and it's never been easier for Metroid fans to cycle through years of enemy design, and have fun doing so. The following is just a tiny sample of the creatures that we've posted since launch:
If you haven't browsed the Bestiary recently or perhaps even viewed it since the week we launched, we hope you'll take another look and see some of our latest entries. We'll be moving onto the Prime series once we finish the Classic games, so look forward to seeing plenty of new additions in the upcoming year.
As we wrap things up here in 2011, we'd like to thank all of our artists again for their time and continued contributions, and for everyone, we hope you've all had a great and safe holiday season, and wish you a very happy New Year!
The 81st Comiket (Comic Market) has been going on in Tokyo for the past few days, and we've gleaned a small bit of new information from Max Factory, who have been displaying both of their upcoming Other M figures at their booth. These officially licensed figures were initially labeled for release in spring 2012, as we learned in August, but we now have a more solid release date of June, at least for the Zero Suit figure. The Power Suit figma is still stated to be released sometime in 2012.
Some of the latest pictures from the event, taken by the website Moeyo, give a clearer sense of the figma's size compared to the 1:8 Zero Suit figure.
We'll be sure to update you when we learn more about pricing and pre-order information.
The results are in! We have finally chosen the winner's of this year's contest, Design-A-Samus. It was a really hard decision, but in the end, we decided on the most deserving entries. The winners are as follows:
"RETRO ARMOR" BY VICTOR PALACIO
"CHOZO SAMUS" BY ANIBAL VALENTIN
"REDESIGNED FUSION SUIT" BY TIM HARDEMAN
Check out the Official Contest Page to see all of the other entries as well as the honorable mentions. We will be getting in contact with the winners shortly for your mailing information in order to send you the awesome prizes you've won!
Congratulations to everyone that entered, you're all winners in my book!
Greetings all, and long time no see!
With the holiday season coming now to a close, we would like to unveil the fifth episode of our podcast, entitled Wave Beam. It has been fourteen months since we last sat down to discuss Other M, and so for today's episode we chose to bring our two newest team members into the discussion to talk about the history, release and significance of Metroid Prime.
Just click the play button on the audio player above, or head over to our Wave Beam episode listing to download the MP3.
Have a happy new year, and see you next mission!
Nintendo held a special press conference today in Japan that revealed several new Wii and 3DS titles, including Yoshio Sakamoto's latest game. In a land of bizarre games, and coming from one of the most bizarre designers at Nintendo, the man who brought the world Rhythm Heaven, WarioWare, and Tomodachi Collection has revealed what may be his oddest game yet: Kiki Trick.
Essentially, Kiki Trick is a "listening game", a collection of mini-games based on sound and voice recognition. The Japanese name "Kiki Trick" is a pun on the Japanese word kiki-toru, which means "catching a person's words" or "understanding what is being said", and "trick". Ergo, these WarioWare-style mini-games "trick" you by altering the words you hear. For instance, one mini-game has you speak with Noise-kun, or "Mr. Noise" (Other characters include Mr. Zebra and Ms. TV). You have to understand what Mr. Noise is saying based on the frequency of the sound, timing of words, and context. For example, in the image above, listen and guess what the blocked out text means and then choose the proper response from a list to fill in the blanks. Master this art and become a "Mimi Pro", or "Ear Pro". Think of it like Michael Winslow from Spaceballs meets WarioWare!
Another mini-game presents you with a series of videos and some spoken words, and you have to match the sound with the video. In a multi-player version of this game, you have to select the correct answer faster than the other players. Videos are both animation and videos of people doing things. Just take a look at some of these crazy videos!
There's also a Ramen mini-game where you have to click the correct icon to go with the SFX of a man eating Ramen. The official Nintendo of Japan website has a video of the game in action, but it is entirely in Japanese. (If you pay attention, you can spot Yoshio Sakamoto's single hipster earring!) Nintendo World Report has a translation of the game's rap sheet, and more photos are available on Siliconera.
Lastly, the game was given a special Iwata Asks, but that's not likely to be translated any time soon. However, from this I was able to gather that the game had been in development for about four years, with initial designs six years ago. The game was a collaboration with Dr. Rikimaru from Doshisha University, who has been researching sound psychology. One of these theories involves the "cocktail party effect" wherein you can filter out all the noise in a room full of people to focus on a single conversation happening across the room. This game will thus exercise a different part of your brain, similar to Brain Age. (Sakamoto-san also suspects women might perform better at this game than men.)
Kiki Trick will be released in Japan on January 19th for the Wii for 5800 yen, obviously with no North American release in sight. Needless to say, it is a game that requires a high degree of fluency in Japanese to be able to play, so if the game is ever released in the US, it will undoubtedly undergo a considerable amount of localization, similar to Elite Beat Agents. Unless it proves financially successful, this bizarre and imaginative new title will likely remain in Japan.
Until next time...
Due to the holidays, we were not be able to judge the entries to the Design-A-Samus contest as soon as we thought. You should expect the results posted up tomorrow, 12/27. Sorry for the inconvenience!
Wow, it was only last year that VGMStudios sent us scans of Nintendo Dream vol. 118, which had a massive interview on Metroid and Kid Icarus. Well, over the summer, he sent me images of vol. 119, and over the past few months, I have been working hard to translate it during my spare time! Well, it's finally finished! This new interview covers Famicom Tantei Club, or Famicom Detective Club, a series of supernatural murder mystery adventure games written and directed by Yoshio Sakamoto! Although the games have not been translated, you can get a really good sense of how impressive they are based on the comments from the developers and the tricks they used to achieve expressive effect. What's also funny is there were lots of weird events that happened while they were developing Famitan (as the titles are shortened to), which makes for a great ghost story! So snuggle up with a warm mug of cocoa and give it a read!
There are also some interesting tidbits about the Metroid series circa 2004, including clarification on the Metroid movie (John Woo's studio negotiated rights to the film with Nintendo of America, but they don't appear to have ever been settled) and further confirmation that Yoshio Sakamoto was thinking about Metroid for the Nintendo DS:
Are you also working on Metroid DS?
Sakamoto: We're looking into that in my department, too.
Sakamoto-san also closes out the interview with closing comments on Metroid. Oh yeah, and Tennis for the Game Boy used Samus's sprites from Metroid as a model! You can also check out Part 1 if you haven't read it already!
That's all folks, and merry Christmas!
Until next time...
Gamasutra has just posted an interview with Yosuke Hayashi conducted by lead editor Christian Nutt. Hayashi-san gives some fantastic insight into the development of Ninja Gaiden 3, as well as his experiences with collaborating with Nintendo. On collaboration, Hayashi says developers shouldn't collaborate simply to collaborate, but to make sure the end product is greater than the sum of the parts. "When you collaborate with someone, it's almost like you're learning at twice the pace, because you have your own experience and you have their experience as well. So it's a very valuable experience to have, so definitely we'd like to do it in the future."
Nutt also asked Hayashi-san some pointed questions about the collaboration with Yoshio Sakamoto and his reflections on Other M. Despite responses to the game, Team Ninja certainly seems to have become a better team as a result of its collaboration with Yoshio Sakamoto:
[Y]ou worked on Metroid: Other M with Yoshio Sakamoto from Nintendo. I'm only guessing, but I'd expect you could learn a ton of stuff from him, given his history.
YH: Within Team Ninja it's very much "This is fun / this is not", and there's a clear line. Do it. Boom. Sakamoto-san is much more fuzzy, and very delicate and very detailed, when trying to think about lots of different things. So we learned a lot from that style of thinking, and that way of thinking. So yeah, it was definitely a very valuable experience.
In the end, were you happy with how Other M turned out? Was it what you wanted it to be when you started?
YH: Other M was Sakamoto-san's idea and it's his creation, and we're just really happy to be a part of that, and that he asked us to be part of that creation. We talked a lot with him over the course of development, having very frank conversations about lots of different topics. But you can tell Samus Aran is his daughter; it's like that to him. So we're really looking forward to what else he might come up with in the future for the Metroid series.
And there you have it! The relationship between Sakamoto-san and Samus Aran is like a father to a daughter, which will undoubtedly spark all sorts of conversations given Samus's other father/daughter relationship with Adam. This can be both an asset through the great care fathers can give their daughters, and a bane, as fathers can tend to become over-protective.
One of the coolest parts of the interview though is where Hayashi-san mentions working with Masato Kanoh, the writer of not only the original Ninja Gaiden on the NES, but also one of the best RPGs ever created, Chrono Trigger. Hayashi-san developed his basic idea of where he wanted the story to go and brainstormed the details out with Kanoh-san. Considering how great the stories were to the NES Ninja Gaiden and Chrono Trigger, that's all I need to put NG3 on my oh-so-short list of day 1 purchase titles!
I also think there's something to be said here about collaboration - Hayashi-san recognizes his limitations as a designer, and has sought out the best talent in the industry to help him achieve his dream. I think if we look at Yoshio Sakamoto's history with writing game stories and his successes with Famicom Tantei Club, For the Frog the Bell Tolls, and Metroid Fusion, some of his best work seems to arise from his collaboration with Toru Osawa. As bad as Other M gets in some places, Sakamoto-san has clearly written some good stories in the past. Hopefully, he has recognized his strengths and weaknesses as a result, and the next Metroid will see a return to classic Sakamoto-style storytelling. Like Hayashi-san, I, for one, am looking forward to what Sakamoto-san will come up with next - so long as it's not another Other M, of course!
Yosuke Hayashi also leaves us with his hesitance to join Team Ninja, saying essentially, "I didn't want to be a ninja." If Hayashi-san ever gets stuck in a Christmas special, let's hope he still follows that up with, "I wanted to be a game designer!" rather than, "I wanted to be an elf!"
Until next time...
Bad Dudes recently released Metroid Arrange 25th Anniversary Album on Bandcamp in both CD and digital format, with the CD shipping today (the 20th). Mustin was kind enough to give us a review copy, and I've just put mine up on the site. Metroid Arrange is kind of a mixed bag, but the Joshua Morse epic "In Search of the Last Metroid" was worth the wait. Read the review, then head on over to Bandcamp to check it out for yourself! Note the CD contains an extra track as well as a four-page comic and double-sided poster, but is limited to a print run of 1000, so if you're interested, get 'em while they're hot! We will be adding these to the ever-growing list of contest prizes (deadline is Friday!).
Until next time...
Going to be in or around Maryland January 5 - 8? If so, head on down to the Gaylord National Hotel and Convention Center in National Harbor to check out Metroid Metal and dozens of other fantastic bands at MAGFest X! 2012 marks the 10th year of this game music rock concert featuring arrangers from around the world. Other performers include Arm Cannon, Jake "virt" Kaufman, and The Bad Dudes, who will be releasing Metroid Arrange: 25th Anniversary come Tuesday. Lastly, and most notably, Earthbound Papas, the new band of Final Fantasy composer Nobuo Uematsu (including a guitarist and drummer from his old band, The Black Mages).
Preregistration of $45 for a four-day pass closes at midnight Sunday, so don't delay!
Until next time...
Over the past year, Shinesparkers has interviewed some of the creative talent behind the Metroid series, but this time they interviewed none other than the Metroid Database! Wow...this is actually kind of weird! But the interview is really awesome, and not just because I'm in it! Darren interviewed the MDb admin staff, as well as longtime forum member Naner and the original designer of the site, TJ Rappel! There's all kinds of great information here on the history of the MDb, how the site works, and much more! I'd like to thank Darren for all the hard work he's put into Shinesparkers, and especially for taking the time to interview everyone about the site! Check it out!
Until next time...
In celebration of Metroid Fusion's re-release today for 3DS Ambassadors, we added the Metroid Prime & Fusion Original Soundtrack for download! We haven't had this available on the site sooner, despite many requests, mainly because the soundtrack was previously available for purchase on websites like CD Japan and Play Asia. However, a few months ago, it went out of print, meaning the only place you can still find it is through resellers. And that certainly doesn't help fans of the music!
Anyway, the soundtrack has both a Prime Side and a Fusion Side. We already have a superior version of the Prime soundtrack done by Prime Blue that lacks any of the audio blemishes present in the soundtrack release as well as missing tracks, but the official release is also available. However, the biggest addition is the Metroid Fusion soundtrack, which has been absent from the site for awhile. If you've never really given it a listen, or are hearing the music again with the 3DS Ambassador re-release, head on over and check them out!
In addition, we have a game rip version of the Fusion soundtrack created by looping shorter tracks from the official soundtrack and supplementing it with digital recordings of missing tracks. So now you can have the best of both worlds! The album artwork was designed by Infinity's End, and I think it's pretty cool!
Until next time...
If you haven't already heard by the other bazillion game news sites out there, ALL 3DS Ambassadors, including North Americans, can now download the 10 free GBA games.
For those that can, download these games immediately! All 10 of them are among the GBA's finest titles, without a doubt! This also marks the second official release of Metroid Fusion.
To download the games, go to the Nintendo eShop, scroll all the way to the left, and click Settings/Other. Click My Downloads and begin downloading your Ambassador games! Here are more detailed instructions.
By now you've probably heard about Wired's interview with Shigeru Miyamoto by Chris Kohler and the buzz about how he's retiring (the official word is he just says that to motivate his staff). If you haven't, it's a pretty good article, so you should go and check it out right now! There are some new Miyamoto ideas, such as his thoughts on smartphones, differences between Japanese and Western RPGs (or lack thereof...) and his advice to developers to "work on sequels as if making brand new products". What we're most interested though is what he has to say about Retro Studios.
Retro recently finished Mario Kart 7 with Nintendo EAD. Retro was responsible primarily for the course designs and graphics, while EAD produced the gameplay and controls. Both also collaborated to design courses with different tastes (Retro most notably designed the Donkey Kong stage). However, Miyamoto went further by speculating on future projects with Retro Studios. It's difficult to tell based on context, but I think the "we" here refers to Nintendo in both cases:
As you know, we have already collaborated with Retro for the Metroid Prime series in the past. And I think when we talk about any other franchise, Zelda might be a possible franchise for that collaboration.
This is certainly interesting! We're confident Retro Studios could make a really fascinating Zelda. Of course, Retro is constantly working on new prototypes and has plenty of opportunities to work with Nintendo franchises, so Zelda, while unexpected, certainly fits their track record. Note Nintendo's external producer for Retro, Kensuke Tanabe, also worked on Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, so the studio has been working with excellent Zelda talent already. While we probably won't hear about anything on this speculation any time soon, rest assured we'll let you know if Retro announces "Zelda Prime".
Until next time...
Came across this article by Ryan at Mad Art Lab. Ryan is a professional armorer who gives his take on the armor worn by women in fantasy and science fiction - and how it's mostly pointless and impractical. It's a fascinating description of how armor works and how it adapts to the female anatomy. Better yet, he cites Samus as an excellent example of good fantasy armor as one of several solutions. Excellent read!
Until next time...
Nintendo of Europe and Nintendo of Japan recently announced via SpotPass the full listing of Game Boy Advance titles available for Nintendo 3DS Ambassadors. What's more, the release date for Europe and Japan has been given as this Friday, December 16! Note the first five were announced back in August.
- Metroid Fusion
- Yoshi's Island (Super Mario Advance 3)
- Mario Kart: Super Circuit
- WarioWare Inc.: Mega Microgames
- Mario vs. Donkey Kong
- F-Zero: Maximum Velocity
- The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap
- Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones
- Kirby & The Amazing Mirror
- Wario Land 4
All in all, a solid lineup, and three of these (Fusion, WarioWare, and Wario Land 4) are Yoshio Sakamoto titles! Nearly every game on the list is a recognized classic, unlike the NES selection, which contains some questionable titles (Yoshi's Cookie?). We're very excited for the chance to play Metroid Fusion on the 3DS soon, but it's especially great to see The Minish Cap on the list, considering the game normally resells for more than $20!
Note that North American owners have not yet received a SpotPass notification, but we will probably get the announcement sometime today. No word yet when these will be available for purchase for the 3DS Virtual Console, but that will probably happen over the next year.
Until next time...
Sorry for the short notice, but the Design-A-Samus Contest has officially been extended another week, and will end on 12/23/2011. That gives all you artists some extra time to finish up any last minute edits to your designs!
We still plan on getting images of the prizes up on the site, but I assure you, the winners will definitely be receiving prizes. Things have been quite hectic lately, and we hope you will bear with us as we move towards the end of 2011. The winners will be announced on the day after Christmas, 12/26. I really look forward to seeing everyone's entries!
Just downloaded Pushmo (aka PullBlox in Europe) today, a newly released 3DS eShop title by Intelligent Systems. The game is a very cute puzzle game that is fun to play in 3D, but doesn't go too over the top with it, making it easy on the eyes.
The game starts off pretty easy and slow, but as you play the levels, the difficulty and challenge ramps up very steadily. It is EXTREMELY addictive. I couldn't stop playing for quite a while.
One of the best parts of the game is that you can create your own levels. I've taken the time to create my first Pushmo level, based on 8-bit Samus from M1. It's totally solvable. (You can't create QR Codes for an unsolvable puzzle.) Hope you enjoy! I just got it, so I don't know if there are any "official" Metroid/Samus puzzles in it, but I will definitely mention it here if I find out.
Here's the Pushmo official site, and here's a Pushmo video review (he reviews the Japanese version, "Hiku-Osu" which translates to Push and Pull):
There are a total of 250 levels. For $7, it's a STEAL. Anyone out there looking for a fun, long-lasting game with easy, pick-up-and-play control for your 3DS, this is the game to get. I look forward to seeing more Metroid Pushmo puzzles!
In true Nintendo fashion, Zelda and Mario have pretty much taken over the holidays, but sometimes, a little Metroid news comes peeping through the cracks. Unfortunately, this isn't official game-related news.
This relief sculpture was commissioned by used game store JJGames. It is created completely out of old game cartridges: NES, GB, GBC, SNES, and N64. JJGames decided they didn't have room for it after moving locations (must be from everyone buying used games these days...) so it's currently up for auction on eBay.
As of this writing the current bid is only at $12.00. Even if it doesn't make that much money in the end, it's still a pretty creative sculpture. Best of luck to JJGames and the bidders! And major kudos to the artist who created the sculpture!
P.S. - Only 2 weeks left to submit an entry to our Design-a-Samus Contest! We will be posting up pictures of all the prizes very soon, so look forward to that.
It's been 20 years since Metroid II came out, so I figured it was time to pick up a copy for the 3DS Virtual Console and give it a play-through. If you've never played Metroid II before, you should definitely check out the review. The game is pretty solid after 20 years, and while it lacks the bells and whistles of the series post-Super Metroid, it's still a fun game. I really think you're doing yourself a disservice if you've somehow managed to avoid it this far. With an SP, Virtual Console, or GB Player, the poor hardware of the original GameBoy is no longer an excuse.
If you already have Metroid II and are thinking of getting it for the 3DS Virtual Console, I've written a 3DS Virtual Console review as well. Basically, the game is in black and white only, but the graphics are very sharp, and the sound is in full stereo. There is save state functionality through restore points, and the game plays fine with the D-Pad. The game will set you back $4.15 after tax, but you have to give money to Nintendo in $5 increments... I don't think it's worth it if you already have a copy (unless your battery is dead), but it's definitely worth it if you don't have the game yet and own a 3DS. Otherwise, you can pick up a used copy for around $10 after shipping.
Until next time...
Set your freeze guns to full, lock and load your missiles, and set coordinates for SR388, because on Thanksgiving, Metroid II: Return of Samus will be re-released for the 3DS Virtual Console in both North America and Europe! You can purchase the game through Nintendo's eShop. Here is the official bulletin, straight from Galactic Federation HQ:
On Nov. 24, Nintendo will release the original 2D version of Metroid II: Return of Samus. This Game Boy classic has intergalactic bounty hunter Samus Aran battling Space Pirates as she seeks to destroy Metroids on SR388. The game lays the foundation for the smash hit Super Metroid.
Metroid II has been out of print for more than a decade, so the re-release of this 20-year-old classic is something Metroid fans everywhere can truly be thankful for! It was here that players first saw what have now become Samus's staple equipment, the Space Jump, Jump Ball, and Plasma Beam, as well as the fan favorite, the Spider Ball (no special tracks required!). That's not to mention the titanic Omega Metroid and the menacing Queen Metroid.
Note the catacombs of SR388 are dark and labyrinthine, and Return of Samus came out before we had fancy schmancy maps, so stay on your toes! If you get stuck, the Metroid Database has plenty of information in the Metroid II section of the site, collected over the years by Galactic Federation Intelligence to ease your trip through SR388. Our resources including some nifty walkthroughs and Nintendo Power secrets - even the original instruction manual! And once you have conquered the Metroids, you can always come back and explore the mysterious Metroid II Secret Worlds...courtesy of our own Jesse D!
Until next time...
The Bad Dudes, the baddest game music arrange band among all the bad game music arrange bands in the universe, has released a teaser for their upcoming arrange album, Metroid Arrange 25th Anniversary Album, which you read about here. The trailer (which is pretty rockin') features the band's main man Mustin and his explanation of why you must get his album. The Bad Dudes have also released a new teaser track, "Grand Metroid Island". It's a super-funk arrange of the Metroid Prime menu theme by the Mazedude. The album will be released December 20, so mark your calendars accordingly! Pre-orders will be available soon-ish.
Until next time...
Samus & Joey Vol. 1 had one more surprise...a one-off manga based on Metroid Fusion! The manga, titled Metroid Fusion Special Edition: Rebirth of Samus, covers the opening events of the game, after Samus has been infected by the X and up until just before the battle with Arachnus. The art is pretty spectacular and shows Idzuki Kouji's skills as a writer of serious manga - quite the departure from Samus's campy adventures with Joey! Sadly, it's short at only eight pages, but what's there is nice and sweet. Enjoy!
Thanks again to CCHHUNTER (known to our forum members as Sharonlover) for scanning Samus & Joey and cleaning and typesetting the first four chapters before life caught up with him. Also thanks to Infinity's End for helping out with fonts and editing early on and restoring some of the art from the Fusion manga. It's been about two years since we started Samus & Joey, and it's great to finally close the book on the first volume.
Until next time...
Halolz.com has unveiled the winners of its annual pumpkin carving contest. This year's winner, (and also the winner from 2008 and 2009) is Primevil, who has always chosen to carve a Metroid themed pumpkin.
AU313 looks absolutely fantastic! Congrats to all, be sure to check out the other winners! We definitely look forward to next year's pumpkin.
Chapter 5 is now up. That's it for Samus & Joey stories in Volume 1! It's been an interesting ride, with dozens of oddball characters (even more added to Chapter 5), but also some slick action from Samus - like catching bullets and generally looking awesome. It's really too bad the series isn't focused solely on Samus's adventures, as I'm sure the artist could have come up with more interesting scenarios. Still, I suppose they had to consider their audience (these were originally printed in Comic Bom Bom, a manga-zine for boys). There's two more volumes in the series, but we're in the process of tracking those down. Anyway, if you want to see more Samus & Joey, let us know!
Until next time...
The big H is just around the corner, and I'm sure some of you are planning something Metroid-themed this year. Well we'd like to see what new costumes, pumpkins, and other Halloween goodies you've planned! Here's some of the masterpieces fans created in past years. You can mail your pics to us or post on the forum. Be sure to keep your eyes on Shinesparkers as well (they'll be posting some Metroid pumpkins, too).
In addition, there's a little bit of cosplay news here, which gives these folks another excuse to dress up on Monday! First up are Samus and Torizo costumes by Daniel Cattell (one of our forum members, actually), made from cardboard to resemble Super Metroid sprites. They were featured prominently in this month's issue of Nintendo Power. Congrats! Keep sending stuff to them, folks! We want to see Samus in more issues!
Lastly, the inspirational Michelle Perl has a new Zero Suit Samus cosplay photo that has been submitted to Astor Cos magazine, as part of a contest! The three cosplayers with the most votes will be featured in the magazine, so head on over to Facebook and 'Like' her photo to send Samus to Astor Cos!
Until next time...
Samus & Joey Chapter 4 is finally up. It's been over a year since the last chapter of Samus & Joey came out. We've actually had this sitting around for awhile now, but big events happened towards the end of summer last year that prevented us from finishing it up. Then, of course, we picked up the Episode of Aether manga, and that took priority, and Joey was lost somewhere along the way. In any case, the story is continuing. The first chapter and a couple pages from chapters two and three were also cleaned up, so if you didn't read them, you might want to go back and check it out from the beginning.
Until next time...
In 2009, Hirokazu Tanaka, the composer of Metroid and EarthBound, called a bunch of people together named Hirokazu Tanaka and composed a song about being Hirokazu Tanaka called... "Hirokazu Tanaka's Song". It's a great song by one of the greatest game composers and the father of Metroid's music.
Here is the official description:
"Tanaka Hirokazu no Uta" is a bizarre new single from video game music composer Hirokazu Tanaka responsible for Pac Man, Donkey Kong, Mario, Mother, Metroid, and many other classic video game sound tracks as well as the anime series Pokemon. This song is performed by ten other people in addition to the composer, all named Hirokazu Tanaka. The music is reminiscent of Hirokazus work on the Mother series, providing an upbeat, chiptune-esque backdrop for the surreal sound of an 11-Tanaka chorus singing about being named Hirokazu Tanaka. The song talks about how the name was picked for them and that they didn't pick the name themselves. This single was released one week early on HearJapan.
Until next time...
Hope you're all sitting down right now, because you're about to STAND UP...
IT'S THE BIGGEST UPDATE IN THE HISTORY OF THE METROID DATABASE!!!
Today, we celebrate the 15th Anniversary of this site. An extremely great achievement, I must say. Can't say there are a lot of fansites out there (yet) that have been online as long as we have, and still kickin' it as hard as us. I don't want to boast, but I am so proud to be a part of this site. Every page, graphic, article, and detail is a testament of the pure effort, passion and love of the Metroid fan community. And what better way to celebrate that, by giving back EVEN MORE.
The first thing we have to give you is the unveiling of the...(drum roll please)
I'm calling it right now: the Bestiary is the most unique fan-made project of any video game website on the internet. It is an idea that had been brewing in my mind for the last 3 years. And now, with the work of over 20 extremely talented artists and 2 programmers, it is finally a reality. It almost brings tears to my eyes to think of how much skill was brought about in this project. I am so glad to be able to finally release it to you all.
You may also notice it is incomplete. The idea for it had started a while ago, but actual development didn't start until early this year. I originally wanted to release it on the 25th Anniversary, but due to schedule conflicts and work load, I wasn't able to. With time, the MDBB will feature a complete compendium of every single Metroid enemy in existence, but currently we are focusing on finishing the "Classic Series" of games (M, MZM, M2, SM, and MF). Custom artwork and entries for the Prime series as well as Other M will be added at a later time, so please look forward to that. Please bear with us; the MDb Bestiary is in "Alpha" and still a Work-In-Progress. Bugs and errors are very possible. If you find any, feel free to report them here. Otherwise, we hope you enjoy one of the greatest achievements in the world of Metroid fandom (and possibly video game fandom): the MDBB.
During development we were able to recruit our newest team member, rondus18, to help out Jesse with the programming, specifically the GUI. He is a very hard, efficient worker and I deeply appreciate every minute he has contributed to this project, even with his limited resources. Rondus also helped develop the new header that you now see at the very top of every page. The old buttons were too restricting; it was time for a change. Rondus and I were able to successfully design and program the Bestiary GUI and this header to make your experience on the Metroid Database even more fun and user-friendly. We hope you like it.
The last big announcement we have is:
The Design-A-Samus contest allows anyone to redesign Samus in a new and interesting way. Those who enter are eligible to win a number of awesome prizes, including:
- free games and Nintendo Points cards
- gift certificates
- Metroid Other M Art Folios
- t-shirts exclusively from Fangamer.net
- strategy guides
- physical copies of Harmony of a Hunter
- and the grand prize...
A LIFE SIZE SAMUS 3DS AR CARD!!!
The contest will run for two months, until December 16th, so get those creative juices flowin' and redesign the leading lady of our favorite game series, Samus Aran!
It's an incredible time to be a Metroid fan and incredible time to be a fan of this site! Thank you to EVERYONE who has helped the MDb over the years, even if it was nothing more than a single post to our messageboard! Thank you to all of you who has "Liked" us on our Facebook page! Thank you to my co-staff: CapCom, Jesse, Aurora Unit, and rondus18...thank you to TJ for creating this website...YOU ARE ALL SO AWESOME!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE GREATEST METROID WEBSITE EVER, THE METROID DATABASE!
15 years. I see those words and let it settle in for awhile. 15 years is how old the Metroid Database is today. That's older than the smartphone and the iPad; the Xbox, Facebook, and Winamp. We're about as old as Hotmail and eBay. We're older than IGN, who consider themselves 13. We're even older than Google and Wikipedia, man!
15 years is a LONG time for a website. That's several lifetimes in terms of technology. Back in 1996, 3D gaming was still a novelty, with the PlayStation coming out in 1994 and the Nintendo 64 released 15 years ago in November. The words for Xbox, iPod, Napster, BitTorrent, smartphone, and crowdsourcing didn't even exist. And we were still using Windows 95 and single-core processors, where 5GB hard drives and 64MB of RAM was a LOT.
There also aren't too many websites that have survived 15 years, let alone fan sites for videogames. Technology moves fast; webmasters grow older and move on to other things. Kurt Kulata, founder of the Castlevania Dungeon and Contra Headquarters, has since handed over the reins to new webmasters (he now runs Hardcore Gaming 101). When TJ Rappel founded the Metroid Database in 1996, Super Metroid, one of the greatest games of all time, was only two years old, and hopes for a 3D Metroid on the Nintendo 64 were high. He went to E3 back when it was cool and witnessed the exciting launch of Metroid Prime and Fusion, then gave the site a design overhaul before finally passing on the torch in 2006 and moving on to what he loves best: tattoos.
And that's actually how a lot of sites like this survive: through new generations of webmasters eager to contribute to the communities they are a part of and the games they love. That's why I like to translate Metroid comics and interviews and listen to music and work on this website: Metroid is so damn awesome.
That's also why the Metroid Database is still here at all, delivering the types of content fans expect: the people who have worked together over the years to make this site run. Without the coding expertise of Jesse D (and our new coder, rondus18), we would still be chugging along on ca. 2003 web standards. Without Infinity's End's design skills and passion for the community, we wouldn't have all these contests, and the site would look kinda boring. Without the dedicated moderators on the message board, we might have turned into anarchy: Sheep born with two heads and cats lol'ing at cheezburgers and all that. And without all our readers and fans, we wouldn't have as much great material to share with you!
I think nothing demonstrates this level of collaboration more than the Metroid Bestiary, a project kicked off by Infinity's End and involving some of the best fan artists I've seen on the web. I've been kind of quiet as the project unfolded behind the scenes, but seriously, some of these guys should be working for Blizzard! Seeing all this fantastic artwork has made it so much more fun looking back at these old enemies and speculating about their biology and behavior. We've run through some tricky times getting the thing off the ground, but we're finally able to unveil the Bestiary, along with a new contest. This stuff really is incredible. Thank you so much to everyone!
And, of course, thank YOU for visiting our site for all these years! YOU are who this site is made for.
Cheers, guys! See you throughout another 15!
Until next time...
For those that may have forgotten, Aliens: Infestation for Nintendo DS dropped yesterday in stores. The game is an extremely detailed, intense, and dramatic romp into the Aliens universe, with gameplay very reminiscent of Metroid. Since this is the case, we actually plan on reviewing the game, so please stay tuned for that in the coming weeks. There is a great 25 minute playthrough of the game that you can watch via Giant Bomb (embedded below). If you are planning on getting it, I would suggest not watching the whole thing, as it may spoil a lot of the game for you. However, just a few glimpses of the footage, and skimming through this video may be enough to convince you to go out and buy it. Supporting games like this only gives developers incentive to keep making them!
Gametrailers.com has a new show called "Pop Fiction," which is essentially Mythbusters in the realm of video games. Their recent episode, entitled "Going Up," vows to debunk the myth of the "Secret Worlds" in the original Metroid: anyone who's a fan should know that they undoubtedly exist, but were they really rooms the programmers intended to let you play and just left them in the game?
The video itself details a great description of how to do the "Door Jump" trick which is a very widely-known trick throughout Metroid fandom. Using this trick not only allows you to bypass entire sections of the game, it also allows you to go into inaccessible rooms that may seem like they're "leftover" by the programmers. These rooms are known as "Secret Worlds."
Fortunately, back in the day, quite a few Metroid fans were able to come together and discover each Secret World on this very site. You can still read through the whole legacy of the "Great Secret World Hunt" compiled from many posts made on our old messageboard. The GT video references this page from our site as its main source, takes a direct quote from our archived Interview with Dan Owsen, and even mentions Kent Hansen (aka "SnowBro") who found out exactly why the Secret Worlds occur. We appreciate the shout-out, GT!
Watch the whole thing below! (MDb gets mentioned around the 3:15 mark)
As stated by another news source, Metroid II: Return of Samus for the 3DS Virtual Console will be released IN JAPAN in less than 2 days, on September 28th, for the low low price of 400 Yen! That's about $5.23 by today's conversion rates. So this is great news for fans of the game, and makes us hopeful that they will give the rest of us a release date very soon.
From the Nintendo/3DS Conference that was held these last few days, Nintendo released a new Kid Icarus: Uprising trailer for everyone's enjoyment. The trailer focuses on one of the new antagonists of the game, a character known as "Black Pit." The game will also be prepackaged with AR cards that allow you to play a card battle game outside of the normal game.
For Metroid fans, as we have seen in the previously released screenshot, the Kometo ("lil' Metroid") returns once again. Now when you encounter them, they latch on to Pit's head and suck away his life, just like you would expect from a floating, life-sucking, jellyfish creature! Check out the vid below. The footage happens at the 0:54 mark.
As you might be able to tell, the gameplay seems very reminiscent of the unique and exhilarating Sin and Punishment titles by Treasure, which seems perfectly suited for the 3DS. Could this be the "must have" title we've been waiting for?
I've uploaded the latest translation project, the Metroid Prime & Fusion interview from the official Japanese website! This interview was originally published in Nintendo Dream vol. 85 (March 2003) and reprinted on the Metroid homepage with permission from the magazine.
There is some interesting information here about what Metroid means to each of the developers, and particularly about the composition of Metroid Prime, including a detailed explanation from Kenji Yamamoto about how the pieces he sent to Retro Studios were initially rejected. At first, he thought the game would be third-person due to the trailer, make sense of the techno music they kept sending him, and in the end, he had to get the staff to listen to a CD full of Metroid music and watch their expressions.
Until next time...
Bad Dudes, one of the baddest videogame cover bands in existence, recently announced the Metroid 25th Anniversary Album, set for release on December 20! Bad Dudes have previously released a rocking remix album of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night and some notoriously cool cuts from Chrono Trigger in Chronotorius. Actually, the same team who did that album is doing Metroid. Are you excited? I sure am! If ninjas kidnapped Akira Yamaoka's guitar, these would be the dudes you'd send to get it back! Bad Dudes are planning a limited edition 1,000 print run of the album with some bonus artwork (did I mention there's some totally rad artwork?). Check up on them through Facebook.
Until next time...
A few days ago, WayForward posted their latest trailer for Aliens: Infestation, the Metroid-inspired action-adventure that will be hitting store shelves October 11. In addition, we've got scans of the latest preview from Nintendo Power. The creators of Contra 4 have brought us the high-quality pixel art we expect and also promise tough-as-nails action requiring as much strategy and forethought as firepower and dexterity. They are also using the discarded script for Alien 3 by William Gibson. For fans of both Metroid and Aliens, this shouldn't be one to miss.
Until next time...
All you social networkers out there, the Metroid Database is finally on Facebook! We have created a page for you to connect with. It's also being administrated by our very good friend, the baddest bounty hunter in the galaxy, Armstrong Houston! There is also an official "MDb FB Like Box" page that you can see here. We'll have to find some place elsewhere to integrate it with the site, though.
So if you are on Facebook, please be sure to "Like" us! We will be continually updating the page as time goes by, so stay tuned! And thanks in advance for your likes!
We have another scan from Prime Blue (who gave us a Super Metroid interview and music from Metroid Prime). This time, the scan is of Metroid II DX!! Or something like that... The image comes from the April 1998 issue of Club Nintendo, Germany's equivalent of Nintendo Power. Though the article does not mention of Metroid anywhere, it does show a screenshot of Metroid II on the Game Boy Color. However, there are some odd things about this picture... First, this room does not exist anywhere in Metroid II. Second, this combination of enemies and background tiles (robots with rocks, Gunzoo with Autom) also does not exist! Third, that rocky ceiling looks like it was built specifically for the Autom to move back and forth in... To further complicate things, Prime Blue informs me that Club Nintendo rarely produced mock-up screenshots... However, the image's rotation and the existence of mock-up screens from For the Frog the Bell Tolls DX (a title that was confirmed but canceled) make me believe it's not a screen capture. However, the other odd thing is that if this was a mock-up created by the staff at Club Nintendo, why go through such creativity to create a scene that never existed when they could have just as easily colored a regular screenshot? While I'm tempted to yell out, "Unseen level from Metroid II DX!" my experience tells me to err on the side of caution. This one is likely to remain a mystery...
It's long been speculated that Metroid II DX was in development at some point, though our interview with Dan Owsen doesn't exactly confirm or deny this (though he did say R&D1 put in a special "Metroid II palette" for the GBC, which is why the game looks so nice). The game was also never listed as in-development in Nintendo Power. If you'll also recall from last week's translated interview with Yoshio Sakamoto, no Metroid was made for the GBC because it "would have been unfavorably compared" with Super Metroid. I'd also like to add to that Sakamoto-san's previous assertion that he likes challenging himself by creating new things rather than remaking old things, hence no Metroid DX or Metroid II DX.
Until next time...
Almost nine years ago, just prior to the Japanese release of Metroid Fusion and Metroid Prime, Nintendo Online Magazine (NOM), a Japan-only publication similar to Nintendo Power, released a series of interviews with the development staff of Metroid Prime and Fusion. Nintendo never officially translated these interviews, which is a shame, considering all the fantastic information contained within that's never available in English until now! I hope you enjoy them!
The first interview is with the production staff of Metroid Prime, giving us a unique look into Nintendo's overseas production process and how the Japanese commonly view Western games. The second is with Metroid Fusion's development staff. One of the most interesting parts of this interview is Minako Hamano's discussion of the game's voice acting, particularly NOA's push for "Hollywood-style voice acting." The real heart, however, is the interview with Yoshio Sakamoto, which is revealing not only of the development history of Metroid, but also why there was no Metroid 64 or Metroid on the Game Boy Color:
Although there are many reasons, the first is that the story was tentatively completed with Super Metroid. After that, I was Development Assistant for the Handheld Game Department, so it was difficult for me to develop software for the N64. There were also discussions with licensees, but they weren't settled in any definite form. However, the power of expression on the N64 was also a little too limited for making a realistic game. As for the Game Boy Color, it would have been similar to the design of the Famicom, and so would have been unfavorably compared to the Super Famicom version. Those are some of the reasons, and as a result, there was a silent period of nine years.
So there you have it: the most concise explanation of why there was no Metroid 64, albeit nine years late! Granted, Yoshio Sakamoto has been asked this question in a previous interview with GamesTM, where Sakamoto-san also mentioned another company who was approached to make Metroid for the N64 but declined because they "didn't have the confidence to create an N64 Metroid game that could compare favourably with Super Metroid". That interview also stated Sakamoto-san "couldn't imagine how it could be used to move Samus around" using the N64 controller. However, the rest of this is new information, particularly his team's lack of skills on the N64. Note as well that Yoshio Sakamoto does not like to remake older games, hence no Metroid II DX.
The final reveal that is more astonishing after Other M is Sakamoto-san's reflections on where to take the series after Fusion: "From here on, I think I want to develop Samus as a character. I might also create a story going back to the past of Adam and Samus." In that regard, ideas for Other M have been floating around in Sakamoto-san's head since 2003. He concludes the interview with a much-belated apology for keeping fans waiting nine years after Super Metroid.
Now, if you are reporting this on another website, cite your sources accurately. We've had multiple cases where other news sites have reported on our translated interviews without emphasizing our work and other sites then citing those pages as the original source. For the record, such revelations as Samus Aran being named after Pele, the God of Soccer, originated here. We really appreciate seeing credit where it's due. Thank you to those who already are. And if you're one of our readers and see a website improperly citing another source (be it from the MDb or elsewhere), kindly let them know the errors of their ways so we can help stop the spread of misinformation.
Until next time...
Last year today (August 31), Metroid: Other M was released to anxious fans around North America, followed shortly by the rest of the world. While for many, Other M was far from expectations, and a grave disappointment to some, there were still others who found great enjoyment from it. In fact, it's hard to think of any other game that came out over the past few years that has been this divisive or caused such change to the Metroid community since Metroid Prime. While we don't have any retrospectives to reflect on this occasion, I would like to say I've finally added a Library section for Metroid: Other M. One thing I'm doing new with this section (that will be expanded to the other libraries) is include interviews with the development staff as opposed to just strategy guides. Other M had a tremendous number of interviews, dating back to the game's reveal at E3 2009, and the new library aims to document all of these. Included are the Iwata Asks and Nintendo Channel interviews, but you may be interested to know there are additional interviews that haven't been widely known. These include the complete transcript of Yoshio Sakamoto's GDC lecture via Nintendo of Europe, an Iwata Asks conversation between Yoshio Sakamoto and Final Fantasy's Hironobu Sakaguchi that was translated by Nintendo of Europe but oddly never placed on NOA's homepage, a revealing interview with Gamasutra, and Metroid Headquarters' video interview with Yosuke Hayashi that was also conducted at A-Kon! I have to admit most of these passed under my radar... In all, it makes for an interesting retrospective of the game's development history that speaks for itself.
Admittedly, it's still a work in progress (as the absence of pictures makes immediately clear...), but I will be adding more detail to these sections as well as including more interviews. Stay tuned, and keep your eye on the 'Updates' bar to your right as well as the RSS feed for future updates.
Until next time...
For those that are a part of the 3DS Ambassador program, (people who purchased a 3DS and went into the eShop before August 11th) Nintendo has announced the list of the 10 available NES games that you will be able to download. One of these is none other than Metroid. The 10 games are:
- Super Mario Bros.
- Donkey Kong Jr.
- Balloon Fight
- Ice Climber
- The Legend of Zelda
- Wrecking Crew
- NES Open Tournament Golf
- Zelda II: The Adventure of Link
The 3DS Ambassador Program starts Thursday, September 1st!
If you're unsure you're a part of the program and want to be absolutely certain, Nintendo has a nifty little checker where you can enter your serial number and see for yourself.
Remember that Metroid Fusion will also be released later in the year as a part of this Ambassador Program, so we will be sure to update you as soon as it becomes available!
The NES games were released early in North America (and likely other regions), so check the Nintendo eShop to get your free games. Nintendo download instructions.
At the 2011 Chara-Hobby expo in Tokyo, Max Factory, a manufacturer of high-quality models, has announced officially licensed 1/8 scale models of Samus from Metroid: Other M! Apparently, there are two models on display - Power Suit Samus and Zero Suit Samus - but there are currently no good pictures of either (the only ones available came from a Max Factory employee's Twitpic account). They should be appearing on the official websites over the next few weeks. The figures are currently set for a Spring 2012 release and will be Japan-only, so you'll have to go through an import shop.
Max Factory's Figma line are high-quality figures can be found here. They mostly make character models, but have also done mecha, which seems to make them the perfect choice for Samus. Their figures are typically a combination of ABS and PVC and are highly posable, which makes these models far superior to the Yuujin and Joyride figures that were released previously, and should be cheaper than the $100+ First 4 Figures statues. There's no price listing yet, but figures typically come in one of three releases: normal edition (which range from 2800-3500 yen, or about $35-$45, but can top 7800 yen, or $100), special edition (which often top 16500, or $210), and limited edition, which are only available at expos. We're obviously hoping the figure will be in the $40-$50 range, but a good figure is better than a cheap one.
The Varia suit figure is poseable while the Zero Suit isn't and comes with a small Metroid. We've also discovered that the models were prototyped by "Shining Wizard @ Sawachika." He has previously sculpted a number of highly-detailed figures, such as these kits for Hatsune Miku (VN02 Mix) and Rin Kagamine.
Until next time...
Sam Dillard, composer of several of my favorite tracks from Harmony of a Hunter, is not only a fine musician - he's also a talented CG artist! Dillard has created a music video for his piece "Into the Green World", what might possibly be the best Green Brinstar arrangement ever produced! The clip opens with some amazing CG that uses the Samus model from Metroid Prime and has nods to the gameplay the series introduced - it's how we'd like to imagine a next-gen Super Metroid or Metroid movie looking! The video then shows gameplay clips from Super Metroid in what is sure to be a nostalgic trip through Brinstar - you remember those moments? Definitely not to be missed!
Here is what Dillard had to say about his piece:
This is a short CG animation I created for my song Into The Green World, for the Harmony Of A Hunter album. It took several months to design, build, and render. The Samus model is from MP, I rigged & animated her and modeled everything else from scratch. I wish it could have been longer but it took such a long time to make as it is. Maybe next time I'll do a longer movie. But for now, hope you enjoy it! Thanks for listening/watching!
Thanks a lot, Sam, for creating such a great video! Be sure to share it with your friends!
Until next time...
1UP recently published an article reflecting on the history and accomplishment of Metroid's game design (particularly as seen in the classic 2D titles). In it, directors and designers of several games like Shadow Complex, Cave Story, and the upcoming Aliens: Infestation, shared some of their impressions of the qualities of Metroid, and how the games have been a source of inspiration for their own projects. Super Metroid is still "one of the greatest games ever made, if not the best game ever made," reaffirms Donald Mustard, the creative director of Shadow Complex.
In addition, 1UP also created a fancy flowchart displaying a number of related titles that followed or preceded the Metroid games with similar design features. Click to view the full image and let us know what you think of their categorizations.
If there are any other games that you've played that you think have similarities to Metroid, feel free to discuss them here in our forums, and don't forget to check out our ongoing list of Recommended Games.
Nate Andrews of Nintendo World Report has published an excellent article summarizing the musical styles of the Metroid series. Andrews covers the aural movements of the original trilogy and the Prime trilogy. He highlights the profound impact of Super Metroid and the stumbling blocks (as well as gems) of Metroid II as well as the divergent styles of the Prime series. The article concludes with a summary of notable remix projects done over the years. While sadly, the article does not cover movements in the other portable titles or Other M, it's a well-worded, fun read.
Jeriaska of Gamasutra has also been posting a series of interviews on the Play for Japan album (all donations go towards Japan relief). His latest article is an interview with Akira Yamaoka, Mitsuto Suzuki, and Hirokazu Tanaka. Tanaka-san discusses his various pseudonyms and why he chooses what he does (Nintendo arranges are associated with 'Hirokazu Tanaka'). The master of the 2A03 (the 8-bit Nintendo sound chip) also waxes philosophic about how the magic of music can be found in the technical limitations of old hardware:
I think what got me started was discovering a kind of magic to music, something that can't be reduced to notes on a page. For instance, there's the impression of delay and echo effects, the complex temporal orientation of sound emitted from the left and right speakers, to say nothing of overall sound structure and organization.
There are properties to music that standard compositional practices often overlook. I find that in freeing myself of such self-imposed limitations, I can enter the domain where the elusive magic in the music is found.
Definitely worth the read. You can buy the full album of Play for Japan from iTunes.
Until next time...
Looking for an ultra-cool new t-shirt with a subtle video game reference on it to impress your friends? Even better if the subtle video game reference was from a Metroid title, right? Well look no further as Fangamer has released a brand new t-shirt design for all your fan swag needs. The t-shirt comes in a super sexy Heather Black, 50/50 Cotton-Poly material, and there's even a babydoll version for the ladies. It also comes with a sweet 1" metallic pin as a bonus.
Be the first one in your neighborhood to own this shirt! Pick one up today over at Fangamer.
According to the Official Nintendo of Europe website, Metroid II: Return of Samus, along with Super Mario Land 2: Six Golden Coins will be arriving to the 3DS eShop Channel by the end of the year. We all knew this was coming eventually, we just didn't know when. So now anyone that has yet to experience playing Metroid II on a portable and owns a 3DS can by the end of the year! We will update you on the exact date when we get word, but we think it would surely make sense to release it in November, which coincides with the 20th anniversary of its US launch.
Also of note is the "new configuration Wii" being released (currently for the UK ONLY), which is a redesign of the Wii, and is designed so you have to place the discs in horizontally instead of vertically. It also no longer features backward-compatibility with Gamecube software. (Guess all you Smash Bros. fans can't use your Wavebirds to play Brawl anymore on this console!)
Prime Blue, the man who brought us clean recordings of the Metroid Prime and Echoes soundtracks, has made yet another contribution to the Metroid community by scanning and translating for us a retro article from the official Nintendo magazine of Germany, Club Nintendo! The article, titled "Samus in the 16-Bit Dimension", provides a detailed summary of the development history behind Yoshio Sakamoto's masterpiece, including an overview of all the phases of production. The article is somewhat short, but contains a few new bits of information beyond the other fascinating Japanese article I've translated, "When Samus was Naked." Not only do we get a good sense of the game's two and a half year development history (we're told it would have taken a single skilled person 37 years to complete!), but we also get some more juicy tidbits about the recording of Super Metroid's sound effects:
[Kenji Yamamoto and Minako Hamano] considered the screams of Samus and the aliens, which they got out of the computer, to be less ominous than desired. Then Minako Hamano had a brilliant idea. She stood in front of the microphone herself and cried, groaned, whimpered - the results will truly unsettle players of Super Metroid.
We'd previously known that Kenji Yamamoto's voice was used for Spore Spawn and that Minako Hamano had recorded the voice of Samus (an early recording was scrapped because it was too 'erotic'), but I wasn't aware she was responsible for the decision to use the microphone - and recorded most of the other SFX herself! This is a pretty amazing find, so thank you again, Prime Blue!
Until next time...
I Am 8-Bit artist Chris Furniss, graphic artist and master of the blog Wasabi Sunshine has completed his 31 Days of Zero Suit Samus, a series of prints produced during the month of July. Each of these gorgeously cute images places Zero Suit Samus in a funny predicament, most themed around the summer months. To top it off, Furniss has created a 32nd image celebrating Metroid's 25th Anniversary! Furniss is selling prints of each of the images for $10 a pop, free button included, and is planning to release a book collecting all the images at the end of the month. Use the code HOORAY to save 10% on your orders!
Until next time...
THIS JUST IN. Nintendo of America has officially announced through their Twitter feed Metroid's 25th Anniversary. To celebrate, they will be offering (the already-announced) Metroid Fusion through the Nintendo eShop to all 3DS Ambassadors:
It's Metroid's 25th anniversary! Nintendo #3DS Ambassadors, connect to the Nintendo eShop by 11:59 pm ET on 8/11 to get Metroid Fusion.
To make this news more exciting, Cheap Ass Gamer announced on the 4th that WalMart was going to do a price drop on the 3DS to $169 beginning today, August 9. I did not hear about it until only a few hours and had to verify it was true, but you can actually go to WalMart right now and pick up a 3DS for $169! If you recall, Nintendo announced an Ambassador program where people who purchase their system simply connect to the eShop channel prior to August 12th will be enrolled to receive 20 free games, including Metroid Fusion. Once you do that, you will receive a news item in the eShop menu stating you are an Ambassador! Remember that you can also link your 3DS account to your Club Nintendo account. Linking your eShop account with your Club Nintendo account will also net you 40 coins through the limited-time offer, and Nintendo says registering your Ambassador games will net you 20 coins apiece, which is good to keep in mind if you're saving up for Club Nintendo goodies. If you don't mind giving your money to the Man and want to pick up your 3DS for $169, call up your local WalMart and make sure they have them in stock! They're literally flying off the shelves in some places, so let your fingers do the walking.
Until next time...
Theophany, one of the contributors to the Shinesparkers album Harmony of a Hunter, also released a new album on Sunday, Crystal Flash EP. The album is a tribute to both Metroid's 25th Anniversary and a memorial to Christopher "Avien" Powell, who produced the Maridia remix "Noumenon" for Relics of the Chozo and died in a car accident in 2004. The album contains six tracks, mostly in dubstep, and includes a fantastic rendition of the Metroid Prime title theme, Phendrana Drifts, and Maridia, with "Space Dive" in particular building strongly on Prime's musical style. The most unique piece in the track though is "Alone in the Universe", a five-minute arrange of the Other M trailer theme. Theophany produced a direct orchestration of this piece for Harmony of a Hunter, and the two tracks complement each other quite nicely. Crystal Flash EP is mostly subdued and melancholic, an album about recollection rather than action. The album art contains Torokun's excellent Samus in Morph Ball art work. Crystal Flash EP is available for free download from Band Camp.
Until next time...
After a long wait, Shinesparkers has finally brought out Harmony of a Hunter, one of the ultimate 25th anniversary tributes to Samus. With 36 tracks of Metroid goodness, including some of the absolute best arrangements ever produced, you will certainly not want to miss this masterpiece. The album is available for direct-download here, as well as at Metroid Recon and the source, Shinesparkers.net. The album is currently available in MP3 format for continuous CD playback and will be available in the future in both FLAC and single-track format. Also, Shinesparkers is also considering running a special where you can purchase a limited-edition printed copy of the album for $12. E-mail Shinesparkers for more details. You can also help save bandwidth by making use of our convenient torrent. Click here for the MDb's official review! Great job, guys!
For some more Harmony of a Hunter information, you can also check out this incredible making-of video of the amazing acapella piece from the album, "Phazon Corruption" by the Video Game Music Choir. Hint: lyrics are in Chozo! the VGM Choir's debut album releases September 12th.
UPDATE: Stemage (Metroid Metal) has also uploaded a video of the making of a special artwork of the Metroid Queen, produced by FoxxDragon, who also did the album's cover. Stemage synced "MQ2" to the video. You can view the final high-res image as well as download the track from Metroid Metal's website.
Until next time...
For Metroid's 25th Anniversary, Chozo Child from the MDb forums created a truly brilliant mosaic featuring over a thousand images to create a pixel-perfect rendition of a Metroid. Within this massive 3019x3047 pixel image, you will find hundreds of memories from notable scenes, concept art, and characters from the series. The full masterpiece is available both here and on her Deviant Art page. Two desktop backgrounds have also been added to the Fan Apps section. Click here for the full-resolution version (10 MB!)
Until next time...
First I'd like to say a hearty thank you and congratulations to everyone that contributed to Darren's epic 25th Anniversary video. It's possibly one of the greatest gaming-related fan tributes that's ever been done in history!
Those of you that have heard MHQ's special podcast, one which I took part in, you could hear me mention one of our new projects that's been in the works for quite some time. I originally wanted this project to be available to use by the 25th Anniversary, but due to unforseen events and happenings, this unfortunately did not come to pass. We are still working on the project though, and many artists are still involved. So far our total count is 18 artists, all talented members of the DeviantArt community.
I'm sure many of you already know somewhat about this project and have been curious about it for a while now, so I am going to give you guys a very small taste of what to expect:
The artwork in the above image was created by the very talented Deimos-Remus. (He has also created a very beautiful 25th anniversary tribute!) We will be adding every single enemy in the Metroid series to the Bestiary. For the main series, custom fanart is being created for each enemy, and for the Prime games, we will be having screenshots of the 3D models of the enemies. This is probably going to be one of the greatest and biggest features of the MDb, not to mention unparalleled by any other video game fan website on the internet. So please look forward to it! I assure you it will definitely be worth the wait!
BUT THAT'S NOT ALL! The Metroid fandom madness continues! There is an INSANELY LONG THREAD over at NeoGAF commemorating the Metroid 25th Anniversary. This thread is completely filled to the brim with the history of Metroid, custom fanart, and most of all: Metroid love.
If you don't want to miss any of the fan-only celebration, the folks at Metroid Wiki have started a comprehensive list of all the celebratory features found online.
While you're at it, if you're in a gaming mood, why don't you give MDbtroid a playthrough? ;) Stay tuned, as I'm sure this party's just getting started.
25 years ago today (and about 14 hours earlier for those in Japan), the original Metroid was released to the world on the Famicom Disk System. August 6, 1986. 25 years ago today, kids in Japan were walking into the store to pick up one of the most unique titles from Nintendo. To think that 25 years have passed since then is truly incredible! I was just a kid and didn't have much inkling of what videogames were at that time (in 1986 America, the videogame was not a household object and a rite of passage for kids everywhere). It's also crazy to think that 25 years ago, some of the series' most loyal fans weren't even born yet!
So what can Samus do now that she's 25? Well, she had to register for the selective service when she turned 18, she's got a driver's license (and more specifically, her flyer's license) and she's been able to drink since she was 21... Well, Samus can now legally rent a starship. Yup, that's the big thing you can do when you hit 25.
Ok, so while the big two-five isn't a major coming-of-age event in our culture, but turning 25 is a milestone that's absolutely huge for something like a videogame. For a series to survive 25 years is incredible - especially if it has been pushing out titles on a fairly regular basis for all of those 25 years. That is more than we can say for the series' cousin, Kid Icarus, and is rather astonishing, considering the industry will turn 40 next November. It is a testament to not only the quality of the games but also to the loyalty of the fans.
Which brings me to the video you've seen above! This 25th Anniversary tribute to Metroid video was compiled by the great folks over at Shinesparkers and the Metroid Headquarters, which are also busily celebrating the series' 25th! You should REALLY check them out if you haven't already! And of course, it was all made possible through all the great fans who contributed, from the creators of the series and developers who have been influenced by it to people like you who are reading this right now! It's such a wonderful experience to see the faces of people who have been our friends on the forum for the past decade helping celebrate the greatest videogame series out there. I'd like to extend my thanks to everyone who contributed to the video to make it as spectacular as it is, and a big round of applause to Darren for making the whole thing happen. There's no one else out there who could have done it, and we're all proud to have you as a friend and a fan of the series.
And, of course, a toast to Yoshio Sakamoto, Hiroji Kiyotake, Hirokazu Tanaka, Gumpei Yokoi, and the rest of the original Metroid team for making this happen, as well as to our girl, Samus. Here's to you, and to another 25 years of great games!
Now let's break out the Metroid party hats and enjoy the day!
Until next time...
Slow news right now on the Metroid front leading up to the 25th Anniversary, but a few things to note.
Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet dropped today, so those wanting to get your Metroidvania fix on, this is the place to do it. Here's the official trailer for the game:
You can purchase ITSP on XBLA for a mere 1200 points!
On the fanart front, digital artist studio Modus Productions has made a stunning recreation of the Super Metroid title screen. This image is way too large to post in its entirety, so go to his DeviantArt Page to see the full thing. For a taste of what to expect, I've done a little cropping so you can get a sample of the quality:
One can only wonder the copious amounts of awesome that would come about if something like this actually existed... Guess we'll just have to "settle" with ITSP in the meantime, which pushes out its graphics at an incredibly crisp 1080p. Also keep in mind that 90+% of this game is HAND-ANIMATED... Flash or other vector scaling techniques need not apply.
Shinesparkers has released the final trailer for Harmony of a Hunter. It's sounding mighty fantastic! Only one more week...
Until next time...
All Your History Are Belong to Us, a YouTube videogame history show, has kicked in to the Metroid 25th Anniversary pulse with a retrospective of the Metroid series, beginning with the original. It's a pretty good video that combines information from interviews with Hirokazu Tanaka and others. There are a few errors in the video, however. First, 'Metroid' was coined by Hiroji Kiyotake, not Yoshio Sakamoto (this was revealed in our translated interview from Nintendo Dream. Mr. Kiyotake also designed Samus and came up with her name). Also, Gumpei Yokoi probably had little direct involvement with the development of Metroid - the series was directed by Yoshio Sakamoto and produced by Gumpei Yokoi. Mr. Yokoi's job would therefore have been to ensure the games were finished on time rather than contribute to the design. It is unclear how much creative input Mr. Yokoi had in the development of the Metroid series, but it was probably not as much as he has sometimes been given credit for. AYHABTU has plenty of other videos, so if you'd like to learn more about the history of games, check them out, too.
Until next time...
A couple years back, UK magazine Retro Gamer published a huge article on the making of Super Metroid that included an interview with Yoshio Sakamoto. The article shed new light on the history of the game that we later confirmed and expanded on through a translation of a 1994 interview with the development staff. This fantastic article is now back in print through Retro Gamer Collection Vol. 5, which also contains an interview with David Crane (Pitfall) and the making of Asteroids. I'd probably buy more of these if they didn't cost $10 apiece, but the collection will run you about $20 and contains several magazines' worth of material. You can find it at certain Barnes & Noble stores.
Also in print is Nintendo Gaming Superstars Vol. 1, which features Mario and Kirby and Tingle and Funky Kong...but no Samus. Well, that's not entirely true as there's a two-page pull-out poster of Samus with artwork from Metroid: Other M. This is just confirming our suspicions that if Metroid does get an official birthday bash, it's going to be in 2012 to celebrate the US release.
Until next time...
Nintendo Power's August issue, contains a retro review of Super Mario Land 2, and a preview of Centipede: Infestation...but no mention of Metroid's 25th, and no cake for Samus. However, there is a big feature on the history of the Super NES (which turns 20 this year) that includes a short blurb on Super Metroid with some concept art we've been missing!
There are also a couple pages previewing Aliens: Infestation (along with the great comic book art). Nintendo Power is still stating the game will release in October, but there's some confusion as to when the actual release will be, as Gamestop is insisting on a September 6 release and Amazon says it came out already (clearly false), and other sites are saying September 30. We'll fix the date as soon as its release becomes clear, but the October 11 statement comes from a developer interview.
There are also some comments by Yosuke Hayashi about the WiiU:
Thinking about your average home, I believe just getting your turn at the TV is an even bigger challenge than trying to sit through and play a game until the end. that's the situation at my house, and the same goes for many other developers. I think this also applies to many, many gamers out there, who want to play their games, but the TV is occupied so they can't have a go at it.
I believe that Nintendo has found a perfect solution to this problem. As with the Wii console, you can enjoy Wii U in the living room with your whole family. Looking at the system's specs and its graphical performance, it doesn't have a huge advantage over its competitors, but it does have a clear-cut solution to one of our real problems.
Sounds like Team Ninja will be embracing the WiiU wholeheartedly and might even have something planned past Ninja Gaiden 3.
Until next time...
Nintendo announced today that they will be globally cutting the price of the 3DS on August 11th in Japan, and August the 12th in Australia, Europe, & the US. It will be reduced to $169.99 in North America, AU$249.95 in Australia, and 15,000 yen in Japan. The official European pricing hasn't been released yet, but expect a similarly large reduction in price.
This aggressive price drop comes with the confirmation of holiday release time frames for 3DS titles such as Super Mario 3D Land arriving in Nov., and Mario Kart 7 in Dec. Furthermore, in a supportive and consolatory attempt to reach out to fans who may have already purchased a 3DS system, Nintendo announced an "Ambassador program," whereby any user who connects to the 3DS eShop before their region's price change date will be eligible to download 10 free NES Virtual Console titles. Beginning Sept. 1st, Ambassadors will apparently be able to download these titles in an early form before the full versions are released on the eShop, but they will also be able to freely update to the final version once they are released to the wider public.
Lastly, Nintendo is currently planning an exclusive offer for these Ambassadors, who will also be allowed to freely download 10 GBA games to their 3DS by the end of the year. Metroid Fusion is among the titles confirmed. While these titles could be offered to the public in the future, Nintendo isn't guaranteeing it, so this could be a limited time offer. We will continue to update you as we learn more details.
Big news today! European gaming magazine, N-Gamer, recently published their August issue, which has a special article dedicated to Metroid's 25th anniversary! The article was made possible in no small part through Darren from Shinesparkers, and contains interviews with Darren, Elias "MetroidMaster" from Metroid Headquarters, and myself. We talk about what makes the series tick, Other M, and our favorite Metroid moments, as well as what the series might have in store for the next 25 years. It also discusses some of the surprises we'll have available for the big 25th! This is the first time the Metroid fan community has been mentioned in a major print magazine, and we're grateful to Chris Schilling and the editorial staff at N-Gamer for making this happen. Metroid Headquarters has scans of the article up for the curious, but you can also check your local Barnes & Noble to see if they've gotten them in or can order it for you.
Scans are courtesy of Metroid Headquarters. Thanks, guys!
Until next time...
The next step in revamping the entire Metroid music sections was Metroid Prime 2. Our old soundtrack was a line-in recording, so the audio wasn't as amazing as it could have been. Well, turns out the audio of a digital rip is also flawed - like Prime, Echoes has lots of pops and clicks in the game's files that aren't the result of track playback. Enter PrimeBlue, the music master behind the clean rip of Prime. In a long, tedious two-year task, he completely cleaned the soundtrack of any errant clicks, pops, and reverb, so the music sounds pristine - just the way it was intended. While the track titles have been changed from PrimeBlue's original to reflect the American names, the entire soundtrack is there, along with a remastered line-in recording of the demo version.
Until next time...
Next up is a review of our latest recommended game, VVVVVV (the letter v six times) has been added. VVVVVV was an indie game by the artiste Terry Cavanagh that came out in 2010 and features some fantastic Metroid-style exploration (minus the combat and power-ups) along with a kickass soundtrack. I want to give a special shout-out here to this fun title because it's been included in Humble Bundle 3, which nets you five great indie games at your own price, allowing you to decide whether the proceeds go to the developers or to Child's Play. This is a fantastic deal, as the set also includes And Yet It Moves and Crayon Physics Deluxe.
Until next time...
Hello all. I have been working very hard these past couple days on completely overhauling the Desktop Wallpapers section, but now it is complete and available for everyone! The wallpapers have been compiled from all the official Nintendo sites over the years, but many of them are now officially unavailable thanks to Nintendo's policy of taking down their official websites as of late.
If you know of any wallpapers that we are missing, please, by all means, let us know or tell us about it in our designated forum thread! We want to have the most comprehensive wallpaper collection available for the fans. We are most interested in the OFFICIAL ones, so if you send us one that is unofficial but you are not the original creator of that wallpaper, we will not add it. If you do have a wallpaper that you've created and you would like to share it, please send it in!
Stay tuned in the coming weeks for more cool things to be added to our Apps/Downloads section.
Among the three North American Club Nintendo rewards that were added Monday, including a Giant Mii AR Card that's capable of displaying a life-size Samus Mii, they also included an Other M screensaver that features some of the promotional character artwork from the game. It joins the Mario and Dragon Quest screensavers, which are also available for 10 Club Nintendo coins. The Other M screensaver dynamically displays a nebulous plasma-type effect in the background, and alternates between six renders: the title logo, three of Samus, and one each for Adam and Anthony. Anyone hoping for a more varied screensaver with the rest of Platoon 07 might want to consider making their own custom slideshow.
In other news, Nintendo Europe recently launched a Metroid web hub that provides short descriptions and quick access to all of their existing Metroid pages. This unfortunately means that Metroid II is still absent on the list, but we're hoping that the Game Boy title will be given a Virtual Console release soon...perhaps in time for its 20th anniversary later this year. There is no indication whether this website update might be part of any wider plan to mark Metroid's 25th, but if NOA follows suit, it would be reminiscent of Zelda's centralized web hubs, which were also launched this year.
I've been getting word from people who have spoken with Nintendo reps over the past few days about Metroid's 25th Anniversary and whether the big N has anything planned for this. It seems 2011 is the Year of the Zelda, so the company is focusing all its efforts on Skyward Sword and Link's 25th birthday bash. Sadly, this means a second 25th anniversary (Metroid's) would compete with their marketing budget. This comes as a huge disappointment to Metroid fans, some of whom feel Metroid isn't being pushed more as the AAA IP it is (though in all honesty, it's difficult for anything BUT Mario to compete with Zelda. It's also not like Nintendo is openly celebrating Pokemon's 15th anniversary this year either...).
There's still a glimmer of hope, however, despite the quickly narrowing window: Metroid was released in the US on August 15, 1987, so there's a chance next year will see some major coverage. It's also possible Yoshio Sakamoto will get an interview on Iwata Asks as August 6 rolls around. Finally, August 26th marks the 20th anniversary of Metroid II, but considering there hasn't been a peep from Nintendo, it's looking likely Return of Samus won't see a re-release this year...
On the other hand, fans will be in full-force support for videogames' leading lady (still No. 1 despite the flack she's gotten from Other M). Let's just hope the Big N hasn't forgotten about her completely. After all, girls hate it when you forget their birthday...
Until next time...
For those of you who can't wait for Nintendo or Konami to get off their lazy keisters and create a new 2D, open-world platformer (aka "Metroidvania") title, 1up.com has an excellent preview of the upcoming DS game, Aliens: Infestation, a 100% pixel-art based, 2D game made by those 2D-lovin' maniacs at Wayforward. The game was shown at this year's San Diego Comic Con, which is currently being held this weekend. Fittingly, this game is Metroid-inspired, so I for one am extremely excited to play it! It's also just in time for the Alien 25th Anniversary, which was a few days ago.
I think there are a few of you that can agree with me that this is a Day-1 purchase, no question! Let's hope it doesn't disappoint, but with Wayforward behind the wheel, we can be quite assured that it's in the right hands.
UPDATE: Gameplay footage now available, courtesy of Joystiq and Nintendo Everything. They've also given us a release date (October 11). They also mentioned some arcade-style driving sequences, which I hope was a reference to the old Konami Aliens arcade game! You may want to play this in full-screen, as the video is kind of small. -CC
Hopefully you've heard by now that the original Metroid's big 25 is coming up August 6, when the game was first released in Japan. Though Americans didn't get to play Samus' first adventure until 1987, Nintendo of Japan has been setting up huge birthday bashes to commemorate the Japanese launches of Mario and Zelda. Shinesparkers' Darren has been working his butt off to get information about the anniversary out there for other magazines and news sites, and we're hoping for a little Metroid coverage on Iwata Asks. Well, IGN has gotten out of the gate first with a pretty detailed feature on the original Metroid, describing how it was such a groundbreaking title and how it continues to influence game design today. Certainly worth a read. Now let's hope Nintendo has something in store for Metroid fans. I second the suggestion to reprint the now expensive Metroid Prime Trilogy as a start! IGN will have more coverage on the series as the countdown continues.
Until next time...
It's been a rough six months, but I've finally gotten the translation to Chapter 6 of Metroid Prime: Episode of Aether up on the site! In addition, I've also added the covers and updated all the chapters for the original version, for our readers in Japan.
Couple of things about this one. First, there is NO chapter missing between 5 and 6 - there really is a HUGE plot hole. We don't get to hear any character development from Lilly or Jeff, nor do we get to see Agon, Torvus, or the Sanctuary Fortress. At the rate Hisashi Matsumoto was going, he could have probably milked this story for another year and still had story left over. But for whatever reason, Comic Bom Bom or Nintendo decided to pull the plug (possibly due to low sales of the game in Japan or lack of readership - which is odd, considering Samus and Joey ran for about 3 years!). As a result, he had to wrap up 90% of the story in two chapters!
Which leads me to my second point, and probably the most frustrating one: we don't have a copy of Chapter 7.
At least not yet. You see, Comic Bom Bom was a monthly mangazine that went out of print four years ago in a country on the other side of the planet. Mangazines are meant to be read once, then tossed out at the end of the month when the next issue comes out. As a result, it's very hard to find an issue from six months ago, let alone six years - even if you happen to live in Japan. So we don't yet have a copy of January 2006, though we've been looking for it. As a result, the story for now will end in a cliffhanger. (Thankfully, you can just play the game to find out what happens...)
However, if anyone out there has a copy of Chapter 7 or knows someone who does, do not hesitate to contact us!! We would love to get a copy of it so that all the Metroid fans out there can read it!
Anyway, thanks again for reading these! I hope you enjoyed what's there, as the illustrations for Episode of Aether are pretty darn good, and the story's not half bad, also. Thanks to Infinity's End, Varia, and Chozo Child, who helped me create all the fun ads we put in the manga. And, of course, a very hearty thanks to Matsumoto-san for drawing the manga as well as Nintendo and Retro Studios for creating the great games it's based on.
Now, who's up for more Samus & Joey? :P
Until next time...
Months ago you may remember seeing the fan art of "Super Metroid HD" and "Metroid II HD" floating around the internet. Just recently, Billy Saltzman has posted up yet another "HD" masterpiece, this time focusing on the SA-X battle from the end Metroid Fusion. Here is just a tiny fraction of the detail involved:
Head on over to Billy's DA Page to check out the full art in all its glory! Great job, Billy, can't wait to see what you come up with next!
Leading up to their website's 7th anniversary, Metroid Headquarters is currently hosting an astounding 101 hour-long Metroid marathon while also trying to raise direct donations for the Child's Play charity. Since 2003, the Child's Play organization has contributed over 2 million dollars' worth of various toys, games, and movies to hospitalized children across the United States and several hospitals internationally. Over the next four days, the MHQ staff will be chronologically powering through every Metroid game to get 100% of the items and scans while on the hardest difficulty settings. Certainly an ambitious undertaking! The live stream can be viewed now on their front page, where fans can donate and root them on, up until 1:00am CST July 16th.
Just released is Play for Japan: The Album, a special charity project to benefit Japanese tsunami and earthquake victims through Play for Japan. All proceeds of the album will go directly to the Red Cross Japan. The album project was started by Akira Yamaoka (composer of the Silent Hill series and No More Heroes 2), who has been leading earthquake relief effort projects from game developers and was coordinated through Play for Japan, who helped us auction off a signed copy of Metroid Prime Trilogy. The album features music from a wide range of videogame composers, including Nobuo Uematsu (Final Fantasy series), Koji Kondo (Mario, Zelda), Laura Shigihara (Plants vs. Zombies), Yasunori Mitsuda (Chrono Trigger), and Tommy Tallarico (Earthworm Jim). The album also features Metroid composer Hirokazu Tanaka (aka Hip Tanaka) under the artist name Hirokazu Tanaka.ß.
Hip Tanaka's entry, the cryptically-titled "Hvc-1384", is a joyous trip with the 8-bit Nintendo sound chip using sound effects and musical loops (coupled with a modern bass-beat) to generate an acoustic landscape reminiscent of Tanaka-san's old game soundtracks. It's a pure realization of Tanaka-san's philosophy of mixing music and sound effects together to create a living, breathing organism. In fact, I think some of the SFX sound reminiscent of Tanaka-san's early games like Wrecking Crew and Gyromite. Part of the title seems to refer to HVC from the model number of the Famicom, but Tanaka-san says the title's full meaning remains a secret, so we'll leave it at that!
Anyway, even if chiptunes aren't your style (and I suggest you at least give them a try), there are plenty of other styles and fantastic pieces on this album from vocal to rock to classical instrumental (there's even a piano medley of Super Mario Bros. by Koji Kondo!). So play more music to play for Japan! The album is already available for purchase on iTunes, with an Amazon release scheduled for July 15.
Until next time...
Today saw the release of an English translation patch for Yoshio Sakamoto's Game Boy game, Kaeru no tame ni kane wa naru (For the Frog the Bell Tolls). The game was a collaboration between Sakamoto-san and Toru Osawa, who said in an interview I recently translated that he created Kid Icarus more or less by himself. The translation patch was largely the work of ryanbgstl, who created an editor and spent long hours playtesting the game to ensure it worked.
For the Frog the Bell Tolls is the story of two friend and rival princes, the impetuous, but good-natured Prince of Sable, and the valiant Prince Richard of Custard, and their quest to rescue the beautiful Princess Tiramisu, who's kingdom has been overrun by the evil Croakian army. The game features simple platforming and RPG action. The RPG system is so simple (experimental?) in fact that they removed combat entirely, leaving the Prince of Sable to humorously fight in a dust cloud with no need for combat input from the player! The Prince powers up by collecting magical stones and buying items from the shop. The game's engine was later used to create Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening, and some of the characters (specifically Prince Richard) have cameo appearances in that game.
The most beautiful part of the game though is its story, which is a wonderful mix of dark humor from Sakamoto-san and Osawa-san that demonstrates the duo's storytelling abilities. The story takes an unexpected twist when the Prince of Sable purchases a magical potion that can help him defeat Delarin, the king of the Croakians... With a blend of fairy tale, pop culture, and self-critique (part of the story involves a trek to visit "Nantendo Headquarters" to find the "latest version of an old product"), it's a cute romp through a game that never made it to foreign shores. This is probably due mainly to the bizarre gameplay system that is unusual even today as well as some distinctly Japanese cultural references that were localized quite well here. An attempt had been made in the late 90s to create a Game Boy Color version of this game, but the project was cancelled for unknown reasons.
Playing the English patch of For the Frog the Bell Tolls requires the patch, a copy of the Japanese ROM (please don't ask here for it) and a Game Boy emulator. It's well-worth checking out this lost classic from the creator of Metroid.
Until next time...
Shinesparkers has uploaded a new preview of the 25th anniversary Metroid album that they've organized through OCRemix. The album will represent a wide range of styles, featuring the varied talents of Metroid fans in and outside of the OCR community. Many of you are likely already familiar with several names, such as Grant Henry of Metroid Metal, DarkeSword, or Sam Dillard, but look forward to hearing some great surprises from across the album! Arriving with 30+ tracks, Harmony of a Hunter will be available for free on August 7th here at the Metroid Database and Shinesparkers.
I'm not sure if Galactic Federation scientists and engineers ever had their first AU prototypes output a simple "Hello World" statement as proof that they could introduce themselves, but if the Aurora Units ever did so, it might've looked something like this:
As of today, I'm grateful to officially join the Metroid Database staff as a contributing editor. I've been following this website for around seven years, and while much of that time was admittedly spent as a silent forum lurker (I know I'm not the only one ;) I've always been impressed with this website's dedication to archiving and reporting all things Metroid. I hope to continue this volunteer tradition, and will strive to improve this site for as many Metroid fan's enjoyment as possible.
Regardless if you're an occasional visitor, newcomer to the Metroid series, or perhaps older friends who have consistently made positive contributions to the forums but don't visit as frequently, I hope you will continue to visit our main site or consider joining us for some future discussions. In the meantime, I look forward to celebrating Metroid's 25th Anniversary along with the rest of you.
Tom C. of Ocean City Trinity has recently informed us of yet another Metroid Marathon will take place next week on July 8th, to raise money for Architecture for Humanity - a charity that provides building and construction support in places dealing with natural disasters (Japan, Haiti, etc.). The marathon will last 48 hours and will be done by 3 separate teams: the aforementioned OCT, Triple Speed Runners, and Team Mountain Gaming. The teams will be conducting the marathons all at once, and also having a little friendly competition amongst them on getting the fastest times and item collection percentages.
Full coverage, including streams from all three teams, is available at Game Marathons. The marathon itself begins July 8 at 8PM US Eastern time, so be sure to visit and show your support!
It's taken about a month's worth of translation and image editing, but the Metroid: Other M gallery has finally been completely translated into English! After seeing all the work that went into this, I can completely understand why Nintendo didn't translate this when they made the game - it simply would have taken too much time! Thankfully, they're available now to join the Metroid Zero Mission and Metroid Prime gallery translations. So what's so special about them?
The Other M gallery gives insight into a lot of the behind-the-scenes concepting that went on while creating Other M. Background information for the Bottle Ship and the characters are given (including the ages for some of them), and you can get a good sense of not only the ideas that are generated while creating a game but also the sorts of changes that can occur during development. And there are lots of humorous cartoons (especially the Sidehopper and Magdollite!), showing off Yoshio Sakamoto's sense of humor. Here are some of the more notable images:
- Waver mating rituals. Need I say more? Notice too the Waver is also eating a Hornoad?
- The Volfon was designed after lots of creatures, including wolves, hyena, and the mythical Japanese monster, the kama'itachi (from which the tornado attack was inspired).
- The flames that drop from the Sovas are flaming poo made of silicon, gas, and carbon (our condolences to anyone who's been killed by Sova poo).
- The elevators were designed as 'safe zones' to help the player feel calm.
- The names of the spacecraft are VIXIV (Adam's battleship), the Hygeia (the 07th Platoon's transport ship) and the ill-named Lusitania (the interplanetary shuttle).
- Groganches that appear on the ground are protecting their eggs.
- Vorash has thick armor made of lava that has congealed to his body.
- Little Birdie's favorite snack is the red fruit found growing in the Biosphere. There is a small fruit tree in his holding cage, but the researchers didn't give him enough, so he became dissatisfied... Maybe he wouldn't have escaped if they'd kept him happy!
- The King Kihunter boss battle seems to have had an extra component that was cut, namely you could explore part of the nest interior via morph ball.
- The markings on Samus' spacecraft (and HUD) are Ancient Chozo script.
- The photograph of Ian and Samus was taken by Anthony and illustrates Samus' inexperience with simple human gestures as a hug and the other characters' indifference to her lack of human emotions.
- Phantoon came to Zebes about the Wrecked Ship, which transported the first Chozo colonists to the planet. Phantoon also exists in multiple dimensions, so only part of his body can be seen, which explains his ghost-like qualities.
I'd like to thank Infinity's End for cleaning up the images; they'd never have gotten done without his help!
Until next time...
Last month, 1UP announced their first foray into print media, and a month later, some of those articles have been finally placed online. 1UP Presents' first issue features commentary on Metroid: Other M. The idea behind writing articles on a six-month old game is to serve as game criticism, something games journalism is overall lacking.
Jeremy Parrish's cover article, "Dial Other M For Murder" of course set us on the editorial staff on edge, but the piece turns out to be a fairly even-handed coverage of major criticisms placed against the game that is a sight more interesting - and shorter - to read than numerous rants on either side you may have found. Commonly-held criticisms include dialogue, narrative, and the item collection system. However, the article relegates most comments to members of the 1UP community rather than fans from Metroid fan forums (and a rather undeserved suggestion that many Metroid fans have given up on the series), but also lacked suitable commentary from industry experts (though a section on sexism and its Japanese context with commentary from an editor of Persona 3 that was in the print version seems to have been cut). Considering the amount of journalistic muscle 1UP holds, it shouldn't have been too hard to get extra input from say, Donald Mustard of Shadow Complex, and we hope future articles will contain more statements from experts.
More interesting is Retronauts' comic, which puts player commentary in even starker, shorter terms (though I highly doubt we'll be arguing over whether or not Other M is sexist even 10 years from now). It also introduces a compelling theory on the subject illustrating how player expectations have been shaped largely by Super Metroid. The desire for another Super has set player expectations too high and made us expect one type of game when the series has been changing.
Lastly is an article by Nadia Oxford on how Samus has been portrayed in the comics and manga, which you can read right here in the comics and manga section of the MDb. Despite attending numerous pop culture conferences, I never expected to read an analysis of Samus from the Captain N comics...
UPDATE: Some alterations have been made to this article since it was initially published. I apologize for posting some rather unfair comments in haste, which was due in large part to a misunderstanding.
I would also like to emphasize that while not everyone agrees with all statements from these articles, that is to be expected. Criticism's job is not to provoke argument (as say, a rant), but rather to generate discussion and make people think differently about the subject matter, whether it be a game, film, or other creative work. Agreement or disagreement with the critic is all part of the game, and the best criticism makes you think about the subject matter differently, even if you happen to disagree. 1UP Presents promotes this discussion, and so I feel it is worth a read for Metroid fans for that reason).
Here also is the absent quotation from the print version by Tomm Hulett, producer at Konami and former assistant translation editor on Persona 3. The statement rebutting accusations of Other M's sexism:
I find the cries of sexism quite ridiculous... Sure, there are things you can point to that, in a Western-themed vacuum, seem suspect. It isn't misogyny, though - it's just plain poor storytelling, which shouldn't surprise long-time gamers.
A PDF of the print version will be available through 1UP at some future date.
Until next time...
Viewer recordings from the new Metroid arrange of Play! A Video Game Symphony's recent Seattle concert are beginning to appear on YouTube. While obviously not as good as sitting in the theater to see the real thing (or getting it on CD, which we hope will happen in the future), it does give us a taste of what kind of job Jeron Moore and Chad Sneiter did on Metroid. Their arrange has the obligatory Title Theme and Theme of Super Metroid (which I would have liked a little bit more of) but also a wonderful version of Lower Norfair and Mother Brain, the latter of which is set to the Other M introductory cutscene. While the video selection seemed a little repetitive and didn't always match the audio as closely as Video Games Live (or actually Distant Worlds: Music from Final Fantasy, another highly-recommended concert), it's a very solid orchestration that deserves to be put on CD. The recording is by Nathaniel Tabit of Metroid Headquarters.
Samus gives this one a thumbs-up.
Check out Play's listings to see if they will be coming near you. To hear more pieces like this, check out our fan music section, particularly the two mixes by Enki. Thanks to Darren from Shinesparkers for letting us know.
Until next time...
I am proud to present our exclusive interview with the Director of Team Ninja, Yosuke Hayashi. I was lucky to be able to talk with him during his visit to A-kon, an annual anime convention held in Dallas, TX, celebrating its 22nd year. On Saturday at the con, we were given an exclusive walkthrough of a demo of Ninja Gaiden 3, which happened to also be the introductory tutorial level. The game looks to be a great successor to the series and I'm very excited to see what kinds of new things they plan on bringing to the Wii U version!
This interview marks the first time since 1998 that we were able to conduct an interview with a team member of a Metroid title. In fact, it is the first time an in-person, real-life interview has ever been conducted for our site. We are honored for it to have been Mr. Hayashi.
We have also just recently added sharing links at the top of our articles for you Facebook/Twitter/Google Buzz/Digg/etc junkies, so please, share away and let our articles reach far and wide! These links will eventually be integrated into more areas of the MDb site, so look forward to that.
For those of you who have a 3DS, Nintendo has announced that this upcoming Saturday, June 25th, is officially "Nintendo 3DS Street Pass Day." To participate, all you have to do is go to the official meetup site, and let them know you will be attending in the community of your choice. These meetups are being held in all the major cities around the world! People who are interested in finishing up their Puzzle Mii pictures or beating the Find Mii quest should definitely go out to one of these events. Seeing as how I desperately want to collect the Samus and Metroid hats, I know I'll be there! Be sure to spread the word so this event can be as successful as possible.
Shinesparker's latest interview is a discussion with Jeron Moore and Chad Seiter, the directors of Play! A Videogame Symphony. As we reported earlier, Play! will be introducing a brand new arrangement of Metroid, and Jeron and Chad told Shinesparkers a little bit about it.
Chad describes the song as a "big Hollywood arrangement" of Super Metroid's musical narrative, while Jeron assures us it will be "a pulse-pounding onslaught of musical awesomeness that grabs you and doesn’t let go until its huge, final heroic resolution." Sounds like the perfect deal for Metroid's 25th! While they won't list the names of the tracks, it's a pretty good bet we'll hear pieces like Theme of Super Metroid, VS. Ridley, Green Brinstar, VS. Mother Brain, and the Ending.
We're certainly glad to hear something a little bit more traditional as well as original for one of our favorite Metroid scores, especially after the Video Games Live arrange (which was almost entirely from Orchestral Game Concert 4) and Symphonic Legends arrange (which disappointed many fans with its experimental, amelodic structure). The show will also feature a new arrangement of Castlevania and Terra's Theme from Final Fantasy VI. The concert will be held Tuesday, June 21 and Wednesday, June 22 in Seattle at the Benaroya Hall (that's next week!). Tickets are still available for both shows.
Until next time...
Last year, one of our forum users, VGMStudios, sent me a large collection of scans from various magazines he collected. One of these was an article from Nintendo Dream, a Japanese magazine. I flipped through the images and was delighted to see the word 'Metroid' prominently portrayed in many of the subject headings. After considerable time (both translating as well as coding the HTML for the website), I finally finished the article: "Famicom Disk System: The More You Play It, the More You'll Want to Play".
This is a truly amazing article that was published around the time of the Famicom Mini release (the Japanese equivalent of the Classic NES Series). It is an in-depth retrospective on the development of many famous Famicom games, especially Metroid and Kid Icarus, from the memories of Yoshio Sakamoto, Toru Osawa (creator of Kid Icarus and long-time collaborator with Mr. Sakamoto), and Hiroji Kiyotake (the original designer of Samus). Many mysteries behind the development of some of the era's most famous games are revealed, creating a fascinating look into a not-too-distant past and a great sense of the camaraderie of the people who make games. Want to know where the names for Metroid and Samus came from? Did you know Kid Icarus was completed three days before release date? Or that Hip Tanaka was a character in Kid Icarus? To find out more, jump right in!
The article is 9 pages long, and so goes into considerable depth. It joins the growing collection of other articles I've translated, which you can find in our features section. Remember, if you have an article or interview in Japanese that has something to do with Metroid, please let me know! Translating has become something of a hobby of mine, and I'm always ready to learn more about the series. I also feel translations like these increase our understanding of the game development process and would like to see more efforts like these from the community at large.
Until next time...
In a recent interview with Kotaku about the Wii U, Nintendo's Katsuya Eguchi (Animal Crossing) speculated about what the Wii U could have in store for Nintendo's key franchises, specifically mentioning Star Fox and Zelda:
Now that we have a Wii in HD - the Wii U - there are games like Zelda or Metroid or Star Fox, that definitely will benefit from the ability to display those detailed graphics.
The purpose of this statement was to illustrate how the Wii U's HD capabilities were not only advantageous, but also necessary to not only compete with other systems but to also be create better game design. However, Kotaku's Stephen Totilo asked Mr. Eguchi to clarify about the Metroid statement, discussing specifically the controls for the Metroid-themed Battle Mii - Other M split aside, everyone is obviously excited about the possibilities for a new Metroid on Wii U:
I can't give you any details now, but I'm sure there will be a new Metroid release making use of the new controller, not just to control Samus and her ship but also to give the player a new source of information. Maybe the player is looking at the screen but has the information that they need to defeat the enemy in their hands.
While this isn't an admission that a new Metroid is in development, it certainly shows that Nintendo is thinking hard about how all of their franchises can benefit from Nintendo's new system. It's interesting to speculate about the use of the second screen for maps, scanning, and log entries ala Metroid Prime (or heck, even its use as a motion-detector in an Aliens-style game, something people have been speculating since the days of the GBA/GC link cable). I personally feel there are more creative options available for the Wii U than simply using it as another screen for a map or other information interface, but I wouldn't be surprised to see a lot of this sort of thing on the Wii U, considering how it's so common on the DS. Needless to say, as soon as the next Metroid game is announced, you'll be hearing all about it right here.
Until next time...
If you remember back in March, Retro Studios mentioned they were working on something 'everyone wants them to make'. Well, if one of those things you wanted them to make was Mario Kart, then you got what you wanted! Retro Studios is assisting Nintendo with the development of course track designs in Mario Kart 3DS, and you can bet they will pay special attention to the Donkey Kong Country-inspired levels.
However, Retro Studios is not the main developer on Mario Kart 3DS, so you can bet they are running their skunk works at full steam to come out with the next great thing. Whatever that may be seems to be anyone's guess at this point...
Until next time...
Anyone who is familiar with the history of Kid Icarus should have expected this one coming: the Komayto, those Metroid cameo jellyfish monsters "from a planet other than Earth" that terrorized Pit in the NES original have returned in full 3D glory in Kid Icarus: Uprising! It's great to see that retro love. Hopefully, the gameplay has also improved since we last played it in March at GDC, but I will say I wasn't impressed by the voice acting in the trailer, though the 3v3 multiplayer is certainly an unexpected addition.
One other interesting feature is that KI: Uprising will also feature unlockable game cards, one of which will undoubtedly be the Komayto!
UPDATE: It has come to my attention that the proper name for these is 'Kometo', which is a Japanese abbreviation for 'little Metroid', though the US instruction manual calls them 'Komayto'.
Until next time...
While no Metroid for Wii or 3DS has been launched yet (which isn't surprising, considering how Yoshio Sakamoto hadn't had time to play around with the Wii U when Other M launched back in August), but Nintendo still managed to give us a little Metroid love through a little shooter demo for Wii U called Battle Mii! The game, part of a collection of demos to illustrate the power and gameplay abilities of the Wii U, is a three-player mini-game where one player controls a chibi-style version of Samus' starship, and the other two control Mii's in Samus' battle armor (there will be the Varia and Fusion suits, and hopefully other suits to select as well). The Mii's move about on the TV in split-screen, using the Wiimote/Nunchuck to move about and shoot at the starship, which is controlled exclusively using the New Controller tablet. The ship can fire beams (and zoom in for greater accuracy using a shoulder trigger) and missiles (by holding down the fire button, the second trigger). The Mii's can also fire missiles back at the starship by charging their shots. Missiles create a sizable explosion. Power-ups for the foot soldiers come in the form of health-restore hearts, and the battle takes place in a futuristic city with Metroid battle music playing. And of course you can create your own Metroid-themed Mii's to spice up the battle! Anyone else felt the urge to fire a few missiles at James? Check out footage of Battle Mii in action at the 2:00 point in the video below or watch the original footage on Nintendo's E3 site (higher-quality):
For the starship controls, analogs sticks on the tablet are used to control height, horizontal movement for strafing, and acceleration - but movement is controlled using the tablet's gyroscope. IGN reports that using the gyroscope rather than analog sticks takes "some adjustment", but once you get the hang of it, you can "pull off some truly slick maneuvers that sticks would never allow". I'm thinking of Mario Kart Wii where players who use the wheel tend to score far better than those using the Gamecube controller - same principle for more fluid movement - though perhaps not so analogous to Samus' starship controls in Other M?
Battle Mii combines hide-and-seek with shooting action, and the 3-on-1 battle system that Nintendo has taken for many of the Wii U minigames is reported to be highly balanced, the matches "incredibly tense", while Kotaku called it "a family-friendly third-person shooter". While Battle Mii doesn't appear to have been announced yet as part of a software pack ala Wii Sports, you can bet if it comes out, Metroid will once again find its way to a Nintendo system as a 'killer app' - though not without Samus behind the helm (at least for now...). We'll post any more screens and videos as we find them!
UPDATE: IGN's Peer Schneider playing against Nate Bilhdorff on the show floor.
Until next time...
At today's Nintendo's E3 Press Conference in Los Angeles, CA, Nintendo revealed the name of their next-generation console, the "Wii U." Like the Wii before it, the Wii U's main feature will be its controller, a device very similar to a tablet. The controller will feature a 6.2" LCD screen, camera, microphone, motion controls, and the ability to wirelessly transfer data back and forth. One of the new games announced for the console is Super Smash Bros. 4, and that a version will be on the 3DS as well. The Wii U will be released sometime next year, most likely around the holiday season.
The other piece of news is that Nintendo made available a new update for the 3DS, which makes the Nintendo eShop and web browser available. This basically gives the 3DS the DSi functionality it so desperately needed, but was delayed until now. The Virtual Console also has original GameBoy games available, and Legend of Zelda Link's Awakening has been made available. No word yet on when Metroid II: Return of Samus will be available, but only time will tell. For a limited time (until July 7th), you can also download 3D Excitebike, completely free of charge, as a part of their new "3D Classics" series, which take old NES games and makes them playable in 3D. No doubt a 3D version NES Metroid is on the horizon, but I guess we'll just have to wait and find out.
For all the details and more, head on over to Nintendo's E3 Press Coverage website.
An old pond!
Samus jumps in--
To help mark the 25th Anniversary of the Metroid series, Shinesparkers has been running on full afterburners for the past few months, organizing all kinds of fantastic treats (and several of the hottest ones haven't even been announced yet!!). The latest of these is a contest to write a piece of haiku on the Metroid series. The contest will be judged by none other than the voice of Samus herself, Jessica Martin! The prize? A personalized autograph by Jessica. Registering on either the Shinesparkers or Metroid Headquarters forums is required for entry, and you can enter up to two times (once for each forum). Read the full contest rules here. So put on your berets (or power suits), hide up in the hills (or ancient ruins) to become one with nature (or blow it away), and start writing!
Until next time...
For the current issue of Nintendo Power (278), the staff listed their picks for the top 10 GBA games of all time to mark the GBA's 10th Anniversary, and Metroid cleared the way with both the Number 9 position (Metroid Fusion) and the Number 1 spot (Metroid Zero Mission), beating out Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow for the top slot. No other series had more than two entries, making the GBA a platform of choice for the galaxy's toughest bounty hunter and a fitting award for the series' 25th Anniversary. Now THAT'S the quality the series is known for! Other top titles included The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap, Wario Ware: Mini Microgame$, and Astro Boy: Omega Factor (as well as a list of the top 10 ports).
I've also got a scan here from Issue 277, which features the cosplay work of Jenni Källberg, aka Pixelninja, the Swedish cosplayer extraordinaire who showed us what must be the absolute best cosplay of Samus Aran ever produced. Glad to see you're getting some extra coverage, Jenni!
Until next time...
1UP has announced they are creating a print magazine, 1UP Presents, an interesting experiment for an online news site. In addition to covering Pac-Man (and oddly enough, Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures...), the magazine's focus is on Metroid: Other M, featuring four articles about the series:
- Dial "Other M" for Murder by Jeremy Parish
Despite its positive debut, some fans speculate Metroid: Other M has killed the long-running series. But why?
- Oat Turner in: A Retronauts Metroid Comic by Philip Armstrong
Everyone's favorite Retronaut explores Other M's place in the series' history.
- Rich Outer Life by Nadia Oxford
The story of Samus before Other M's awful truth.
- Other Missteps by Jake Alley
Six other sequels that dropped the ball.
The article titles and descriptors give a pretty good idea of what to expect, and I'm expecting some pretty heavy-handed critiques of the game that in my opinion has become something people love to hate, even if they've never played it. In terms of how brutal... Well, lead editor Jeremy Parish states they tried to be "even-handed", including developer perspectives and viewpoints of fans supportive of the game (though we'll have to see if any fan sites were interviewed, as the MDb certainly wasn't one of them), but I'm keeping off final judgment until I see the end product.
Weighing in at 38 pages, 1UP Presents runs costs a steep $11 (plus shipping), due in large part to its print-on-demand status via Hewlett-Packard's Magcloud. With a price point more than double that of thicker (though ad-filled) newsstand magazines (and rivaling that of UK 'zines such as Retro Gamer), it will be interesting to see how their print venture goes, especially considering they have always been digital. Thankfully, you won't have to empty your wallets to get access to these articles, as they will be posted on 1UP individually and later as a PDF after "several weeks".
Until next time...
Akon recently announced that Yosuke Hayashi, leader of Team Ninja, along with Yohei Shimbori (Team Ninja Director) and Peter Garza (Team Ninja Localization Manager) will be attending the anime convention Akon, held in Dallas, TX from June 10-12. The focus of their panel will be to show off Ninja Gaiden 3, which as fans of Ninja Gaiden II, we are certainly excited about! However, he is certain to be asked some questions about Metroid: Other M while he's there! Of the three Team Ninja members at Akon, only Hayashi-san was involved with Other M. A Ninja Gaiden 3 beta demo will also be playable on the show floor and the team will be demoing it on Saturday, June 11 from 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM. They will be running a second panel titled "Game Industry Gossip" with Dale North from 8:45 PM to 10:15 PM. There will be a meet and greet on Sunday the 12th from 11:00 AM to 12:00 Noon. Our editor Infinity's End will be attending the conference, so we're definitely very excited about this event!
Until next time...
Shinesparkers has reported that Play! A Video Game Symphony will be debuting a new orchestral arrangement of Metroid, premiering at their June 21st concert in Seattle. Check their future listings, as they'll be coming to Virginia as well in early July, and will undoubtedly hit other states. Metroid has been orchestrated at least four times previously (for Orchestral Game Concert 4, Smash Bros. Smashing... Live!, Video Games Live, and most recently for Symphonic Legends). Play!'s arrangement promises to be another original piece orchestrated by Andy Brick, who has previously done the excellent Symphonic Game Music Concerts in Leipzig.
If you can't make it to Seattle, you can try to hit Video Games Live at E3 in Los Angeles where the show will be celebrating its 200th concert. In the report, Video Games Live announced that Metroid composer Hirokazu "Hip" Tanaka will be present at the concert along with other composers I'd love to meet such as Yasunori Mitsuda (Chrono Trigger) and Kinuyo Yamashita (Castlevania 1), who you can interact with in the meet and greet after the show. Nothing's been announced yet for Mr. Tanaka, but he will undoubtedly have some involvement with Video Games Live's Metroid arrangement (which is a modification of the Orchestral Game Concert one). Video Games Live is a fantastic show and I highly recommend anyone who will be in the area on June 8th attend. The concert was founded by legendary composer Tommy Tallarico back in 2005 and has turned into a worldwide phenomenon, and a type of concert that the United States has been sorely lacking. There's still some good tickets left for the show.
As usual, if anyone will be attending the concerts, please tell us about them!
Until next time...
The Fan Music section underwent a MASSIVE overhaul today. All the old links from Fileplanet have been completely removed and replaced with brand new links from right here on the site! That's right folks, you no longer have to deal with Fileplanet to get your fan music fix, and what's more, we've even got a little bit more than we had last time! There's over 150 remixes here, and we've got a few more embedded in the individual game music pages (which is where you'll find all the Metroid Metal stuff - BTW, these sections are sure to get an overhaul, too). There's all the well-known music from OCR and Dwelling of Duels, but there's also stuff that's kind of rare from VGMix 2.0 and even 1.0, as well as from obscure places on the web dating to over a decade ago.
If you're interested in submitting your own music, or have a question on something that's up on the site, just send me an e-mail! I love listening to Metroid mixes, so if you think you've got something cool, share it with us here or on that section of the forum.
Until next time...
We've just caught word of how the Other M stage in the latest Dead or Alive title for 3DS is unlocked.
- To unlock the stage, you must complete all 6 courses in Arcade Mode.
- When playing the stage, blow, whistle, or speak into the microphone to summon Morph Ball Samus, who lays a power bomb.
- After the Power Bomb goes off, players' sides are switched.
- Pushing an opponent off the edge causes Ridley to pick them up and slam and grind them against the wall, and then blows a fireball at them, causing heavy damage.
Check out the embedded videos below* for the footage(recorded directly off of a 3DS screen, so footage may seem grainy)!
Samus Lays a Power Bomb
DOA:D was just released today in the states, so gamers hungry for some new fighting game action on their 3DS should go pick it up!
*ED. NOTE: The Metroid Database does not promote or take any responsibility for the content of these videos.
Today was the unveiling of the 14th and final episode of the first season of Video Game Reunion, an excellent video game parody webseries which makes classic video game characters come to life (similar to that of Legend of Neil, another fantastic Atom Films-based video game parody). Video Game Reunion features all the classic Nintendo characters of the 80's, reuniting in a hotel for a convention. Why should you watch VGR? Well, beyond the hilarious and extremely professional writing, camerawork, editing, and acting, it also has Samus in it. You might even recognize her costume; it was created by the great Samus cosplayer, Thais Yuki. Samus is also played by actress Amy Bloom, a brunette, which is a nod to the suitless Samus from Metroid 1.
The series is very tongue-in-cheek, but has some very subtle, well-written jokes that only hardcore Nintendo junkies might get. This show is definitely not for anyone under then age of 18, not just because of the adult-related humor, but of the fact that if you were born after, say, 1995, you just might not be old enough to get or appreciate some of the jokes.
VGR has completed their first season, so who knows what is going to happen next for the crew. All I know is Season 2 cannot come soon enough.
Hey there! I've been busy working on a new translation project: reading the Other M development art gallery! I've mentioned bits here and there on the forum, but decided to put up some of what I have. Right now, there's only one page of the gallery, the character profiles, but there's more on the way. It's going to take me awhile to get through the whole thing, but you can expect these on a more or less regular basis until it's all finished!
Anyway, there's some interesting info in this part of the gallery, so if you want to know things like how old James is, why stuff was crossed out on Lyle's character sheet, or why K.G. Misawa looks so cool, read on! It gives you a sense of a lot of the background information that went into some of these character designs.
Rest assured, there is some other interesting (and humorous!) information in the rest of the gallery, so stay tuned for further updates!
Until next time...
Team Ninja's Yosuke Hayashi, lead designer for the Ninja Gaiden and Dead or Alive series as well as for Metroid: Other M, recently ran an interview with IGN. While the discussion focuses mainly on the Dead or Alive games, such as the networking abilities, 3D 'enhancements', and the sheer beauty of the series. However, there is one Metroid-specific question that both puts the final nail in the coffin for doubting hopefuls (all characters were revealed previously) and explains why Samus isn't playable in Dead or Alive: Dimensions:
IGN: How did it come about that a level from Metroid: Other M was included in DOAD? Was there ever any discussion of including Samus as a playable character?
Hayashi: Obviously this is the first DOA for a Nintendo platform. We wanted to commemorate this occasion with something so we decided to feature a stage crossover with Other M. The footage we released for this was a bit confusing because it didn't allow us to show our true intentions behind having this stage in there. One thing about Samus as a playable character -- for DOAD our aim was to have a compilation of DOA characters so we purposely left out any new or guest characters in the game. Samus is a lone bounty hunter and protector of the galaxy so we thought it would be better to let her focus on her job rather than kicking everyone's butt in DOAD.
Well, there you have it, folks! Not only is DOAD explicitly about the DOA series (hence, no guest characters), but also Samus is too busy protecting the galaxy to beat up poor, defenseless ninjas (she lets Ridley do that for her!). Or maybe that's a challenge, Hayashi-san!
Dead or Alive: Dimensions comes out May 24 in the US and features the Reactor Core stage from Metroid Other M. I've previously given my impressions of DOAD, and Metroid aside, its speed and slick action make it well worth picking up.
Until next time...
Ever since a little banner appeared on the Japanese Metroid Prime homepage, people have been asking, "Another Side Story? What the heck is that?!" And of course, there was all kinds of speculation. Was it a new game? Was it a realization of Yoshio Sakamoto's ruminations about a Metroid game starring the Space Pirates?
Well, I've translated it, and it's none of the above. Metroid Prime: Another Side Story is a retelling of the Metroid Prime series from a Space Pirate's perspective using log-style entries - or, in other words, it's a secret blog of a Space Pirate! It's quite amusing, and with some help from Infinity's End, we got the page up and running to look just like the old HTML site (now the Japanese Prime homepage is entirely in flash, so it looks a little different).
So check it out! Be among the first to read Another Side Story in English!
Until next time...
You may have noticed some new T-shirts were added on the right column today. These come straight from Fangamer, bringing you the best, most high-quality fan swag this side of Zebes. The new T-shirts will be ready to ship in June and come with some really awesome designs. Each T-shirt also comes with a 1" button. These designs are so rad, I'm thinking of getting one myself!
Space Jump Boots: guaranteed to make you jump higher. Also guaranteed to ruin every other game you ever play which doesn't include some kind of double-jumping mechanism.
Ancient runics speak of the hero to come. And lo, the hero shall be heralded for his masculine arm cannon and shooting ability. And when it comes to pass that the hero becomes known as heroine, there shall be zero suit fanart. So say we all.
The new "Galactic Pin" set, features some awesome Metroid-related art. One "Wildcard" pin featuring a Beam Weapon idol comes with every pack!
Or if you like 'em all, get the "Hunter Combo" pack! It's a must-have item for the most die-hard Metroid fan! The swag ships early next month so get on that pre-order list now!
Chapter 3 of Metroid Prime: Episode of Aether is out now! This episode is brand new territory, as Chapters 1 and 2 have been on the site for awhile. Lots of zombies and plot development here, along with some names for the four survivors, all with great artwork by Hisashi Matsumoto. What's more, I've also been updating the section with the Japanese version of the manga so any of our Japanese viewers can read it, too! There's also a bunch of ads here by Infinity's End and myself! If you want to create an ad of your own, we've still got a few slots open for Chapters 4 and 5.
Anyway, the next couple chapters should be out without too much more of a wait, as I can say most of the heavy lifting has been done. I hope everyone is enjoying these! This really wouldn't have been possible without the support of the Metroid Database community. We really appreciate your support!
Until next time...
Once again, The Speed Gamers are holding a three day marathon starting today, covering most of the games in the Metroid franchise. The team will start today at 6pm CST, and will play until May 9th. The team hopes to raise money for The Civic Force, to support the Japanese tsunami relief.
BUT! That's not all...
The second charity (and Metroid) news comes in the form of our favorite Samus cosplayer, Yukilefay. She is going to be featured in the 2012 Cosplay for a Cause Calendar! This calendar features many famous cosplayers, in their fantastic costumes which derive from anime or video games. Proceeds will also go to support the Japanese tsunami relief. Yuki will be in her previously-unseen Zero Suit Samus costume, so be sure to pick up what is to be a really awesome calendar! It's so awesome to see so many selfless acts as gamers and geeks around the globe come together and give their support to something great.
Today The Art of Video Games, a project for a special exhibit of videogames as works of art to be shown in the Smithsonian and curated by Chris Melissinos, announced their winning titles. While Shigeru Miyamoto's creations (Mario, Zelda, Donkey Kong) predictably racked in the most votes, it's a pleasant surprise to see Metroid Prime 2: Echoes on the list of titles picked to be displayed in the Smithsonian!
If you'll remember, a few months back, there was a poll where users were asked to vote for the games they would pick as an epitome of artistic expression for a platform and genre. Titles such as Pitfall were chosen to represent the Atari, Donkey Kong for the Colecovision, Super Mario Bros. 3 for the NES, and powerhouses such as Shadow of the Colossus and Uncharted 2 for the PS2 and PS3. While Metroid was a pick for the NES action genre (which predictably lost to SMB3) and Metroid Prime Trilogy for action on the Wii (which lost to Super Mario Galaxy 2), Metroid Prime 2 won out over Eternal Darkness for most artistic action game on the Gamecube! The games were picked not primarily for how much fun they were (though it was to an extent a popularity contest) but rather due to their artistic design, concept, and influence on gaming - in short, how the designer/s used the game as a tool of expression and how the game was the product of these creative forces.
In retrospect, while Metroid Prime 2 does not have the narrative flair that Eternal Darkness was known for, nor the insanity system, the game does feature a very strong artistic design with superior texture maps to Metroid Prime (honestly, some of the best on the Wii), brighter colors, but also a consistent feel and atmosphere for Planet Aether. So while Prime 2 isn't exactly the best Metroid game in terms of level design, the atmosphere is certainly its strongest suit, with a solid combination of audio and visual effects and gorgeous vistas, which in retrospect makes it a great pick. Each time I play Prime 2, I am confronted with a deep sense of loss and the encroaching weight of corruption seeping into every crevice of the planet, a feeling reinforced by the alien world of Dark Aether and the corpses of the Luminoth scattered throughout. There is also the corrosive atmosphere of Dark Aether which provides a sense of urgency - some will say frustration - showing just how hostile the environment is. Then of course there is the Ing, properly named for their primal nightmare vision, and a proud product of Andrew 'Android' Jones' artistic genius. Prime 2 also has a stronger sense of narrative than Prime 1 through the subtle use of character in the log entries - particularly with the Pirates' sense of desperation and fatalism underscores their logs.
Note that Metroid Prime 2 will not be playable at the Smithsonian (only five games, including MYST and Super Mario Bros. will be playable), but will be displayed in some other, currently unannounced form.
You can check out the full list of winning entries here. The show will run at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC from March 16, 2012 - September 30, 2012.
Until next time...
The price of Metroid: Other M has been lowered to a mere $14.99 on Amazon! Now, you might be wondering, "Why should I care? Wasn't that an awful game?" I've talked about this before, but I really recommend you try out Other M: despite all the bad stuff you may have heard about this game, it's actually quite fun and definitely worth playing (everyone here on the staff loves it). There's plenty of other people out there who enjoy it, and $15 isn't that bad a deal in case you were holding out (there's also borrowing it from a friend or Gamefly).
Actually, Other M isn't the only Wii game selling for less than $20. There's also Sin and Punishment: Star Successor ($16.28), Muramasa ($12.93), and Okami ($14.92), and you can find a lot of other neat stuff at low prices there as well, such as Team Ninja's masterpiece, Ninja Gaiden II. While not as flashy as say Super Mario Galaxy 2, these are actually pretty decent games for good prices, especially for the spendthrift. Note that Metroid: Other M and Sin and Punishment 2 can also both be registered for Club Nintendo points if you need an extra boost to reach Platinum level (and last year's reward was actually pretty cool). And, of course, Mother's Day is right around the corner if you want to order something for Mom and get free shipping with your game!
Mother Brain approves.
Until next time...
The Kyoto Report, an independent blog covering "indepth analysis and historical background" of Nintendo, recently discovered two fascinating patents featuring Metroid artwork! While the post describes these as being Metroid Dread Patents (as also reported below), they are in fact Metroid Zero Mission patents!
The first patent (US Pat. 11046707) describes the gameplay for the Mother Brain fight from Metroid Zero Mission. Essentially, it patents the idea of an enemy that moves from a state where it can be damaged to an invincible state when the player's character enters a state where it is being constantly damaged (i.e. falling in the lava/acid). When the enemy changes states, it changes its graphical appearance. The enemy becomes invincible when this occurs so that the player can "focus his energy on escaping from the state of being continuously damaged" and not become frustrated. The diagram shows a stylized Mother Brain fighting Samus.
The second patent (US Pat. 11047818) describes gameplay for the battle with Mirror Samus and the Chozo Guardian. In this case, the enemy can switch between a state of vulnerability and a state of invincibility. When the player's character shoots the enemy while it is vulnerable, the enemy takes damage. However, if the enemy is invincible, the player will instead take damage. The enemy changes its graphical appearance when it changes between these two states. The patent becomes a little specific for the Chozo Guardian fight by describing the enemy as a "mirror object" of the player's character. This method provides greater feedback to the player to let him or her know a hit has been scored and ensures the player is "making the most use of the shot." The diagram shows a stylized version of the Chozo sigil from the Chozo Guardian fight, but instead of a Zero Suit Samus, displays the Power Suit instead.
These patents are fascinating because they illustrate the gameplay innovations that Metroid Zero Mission implemented. While the gameplay seems rather simple and obvious, the implementation is quite original, and so Mr. Sakamoto and his team filed patents to protect these innovations. It is also humorous that even in the US Patent Office allowed 'Engrish' phrases such as "to fully experience the original fun of shooting the target without having to feel restless or get obsessed unnecessarily" or "making the bullet shot with effort meaningless". It is also hilarious that it takes about 3000 words to describe something that can be understood in less than 500.
These patents were filed by Yoshio Sakamoto and Katsuya Yamano, a long-time collaborator with Mr. Sakamoto, working on the series since Super Metroid, and served as a programmer on Metroid Zero Mission. In case you're interested, Yoshio Sakamoto has filed two other patents for the Japan-only Game Boy trading card game "Trade & Battle: Card Hero". A search for "Nintendo Co." on Google Patents pulls up over 100 hits, making it a gold mine for those willing to dig through it all.
Note that while the patents were filed in the US in 2005, the original Japanese file date was in the early days of February 2004, right before the US release on February 9. Because the US file date was in 2005, this caused some people to believe these were Metroid Dread patents. However, while these aren't as potentially big news as we once thought, we're glad to see that Samus has finally achieved immortality through the US Patent Office!
Thanks to James Pierce from the forum for pointing this out.
Until next time...
Some new information has been discovered online which could have possibly been a framework for the mysterious "Metroid Dread" project. This information comes in the form of a patent registered with the US Patent office and dates back to 2005, one year after the release of Metroid Zero Mission. This information provides us with a few probabilities:
- Nintendo, Sakamoto, et. al. was preparing a future 2D Metroid game after MZM. (Something we already knew anyway)
- The new game was to be made on a portable console (GBA was their choice at the time)
- The patent's main focus is a mechanic in which the player (Samus) will be in a state in which her weaponry is effective against an enemy, and then when she is in a state of distress, she will be ineffective against the enemy.
- The drawings are very reminiscent of the battle with Mother Brain, and how you are forced into the acid at times.
The patent's abstract is as follows:
A shooting game apparatus includes an LCD for displaying a target an an operating button for a player to perform operation of shooting the target. For example, an enemy character is switched between an ineffective state in which it is never damaged even if an attack hits it and an effective state in which it is damaged if an attack hits it. Different images are displayed depending on whether the target is in the ineffective state or in the effective state, when a player character enters into a state of being continuously damaged because it is positioned in such an area as it receives continuous damage, for example, the target is switched into the ineffective state.
For those that may be a bit confused, this basically means, "An enemy will be vulnerable to an attack at a given time, and it will be depicted as such when it is. When the player is being damaged continuously (i.e. they fell in lava/acid), attacks to an enemy at that time may not hurt it."
We can't really conclude that this is *THE* Metroid Dread patent, but just postulate that it was considered to be in the game. So in the end, it's an interesting little find, but nothing much can be gleaned from it.
Happy Monday, everyone! Today I bring you my review of Metroid Super ZeroMission, which I brought to you a couple weeks ago. It is an extremely excellent hack of Super Metroid, and possibly one of the best(if not THE best). Yes, this is very unconventional for us, as we don't usually review hacks, but I feel this one is special enough that it deserves a review. I'm also trying to attract more attention to it. Anyone who passes this game up will be doing an extreme disservice to themselves. Hopefully my review will change your minds on that one, so give it a read. Oh, and spoilers have been marked.
Since the hack is fairly new, a lot of it is currently undocumented. If do you decide to give the game a try, there are plenty of people (myself included) who are more than willing to help you when you get stuck on our official forum thread. Expect us to host maps and walkthroughs as well!
Swedish indie game dev Joakim Sandberg was able to take some time out of his busy schedule to interview with us and answer some questions. Joakim has recently released a demo of his latest work titled The Iconoclasts, which is a "remake" of another (now-abandoned) project called Ivory Springs (also playable on his site). When you play The Iconoclasts, you should instantly be familiar with how it plays, as it gains much inspiration from Metroid and the Metroidvania genre. The demo, while not too long, gives us just enough to whet our appetite, and we truly hope he does finish the game someday. Give The Iconoclasts demo a try and read our interview to gain a little bit of insight into this young and talented game designer.
Hey everyone! Today we have great surprise for you. There has been a newly-released hack of Super Metroid that has been largely undiscovered until now. This hack is called Metroid Super ZeroMission, and it's fantastic. Developed by a Japanese hacker who we only know right now as "SB," this hack is definitely worth playing. (The original Japanese download page can be viewed here.)
So what makes Metroid Super ZeroMission so special? Well, if you took Super Metroid and combined it with Metroid Zero Mission, this game would be the result. The game features the backgrounds and tile graphics from ZM, with the sprite graphics of Super (Samus, enemies), completely redesigns the entire game gaining heavy inspiration from Zero Mission's design structure, and provides a new and challenging, yet familiar and extremely fun hack that any Metroid fan should try out. There are even little touches like adding the Zero Suit into Samus's death sequence, painting her ship red instead of yellow, and unique layering changes, along with gameplay changes such as her normal firing speed has been greatly enhanced and chaining Speed Boosters together is much easier.
Viewers of our YouTube Channel may have already seen the trailer for this game before, but now it has been officially released for everyone to play. Check out the trailer below or download it right here!
UPDATE (04/11/11): The auction has ended. Metroid Prime Trilogy Signed by the Developers sold for $409.04! All the money will go straight to the American Red Cross and is earmarked for Japan relief. Congratulations to the highest bidder, and thank you for helping Japan!
Hello Metroid fans! I recently put up for auction a copy of Metroid Prime Trilogy that I had signed at GDC! I had initially been intending to auction it for Child's Play this fall, but the recent tsunami and earthquake disaster in Japan has lead me to change my plans! I wasn't sure what the best option would be for donating it until I heard about Play for Japan. Play for Japan is organizing and advertising auctions of rare videogames whose proceeds will go directly to Japanese earthquake relief! They are also collaborating with other projects, such as a charity album organized by Silent Hill composer Akira Yamaoka (who also auctioned off his guitar).
Anyway, the copy of Metroid Prime Trilogy is in excellent shape and was signed by Michael Kelbaugh (Retro Studios CEO and Producer), Kensuke Tanabe (Nintendo's Japanese Producer), Bryan Walker (Director of Development), Ryan Powell (Lead Artist), Chris Voelmann (Technical Artist), Will Bate (Lead Animator), and Aaron Walker (Senior Engineer). The game is in excellent shape with only minor wear on the case and instruction booklet. The disc has no scratches, and I think it was even never registered with Club Nintendo! The game is already very rare as only a small number were produced and it has been out of print for some time - and, of course, the fact that it has been signed makes it even rarer, so is perfect for building the ultimate Metroid collection! (Or heck, just a fun game to play!) 100% of the proceeds from the auction will go directly to the American Red Cross Japan tsunami and earthquake relief fund. Happy bidding!
The auction ends Sunday, April 10, at 11:00 PM Pacific (2:00 AM Monday, April 11, EST).
This is a verified Play For Japan auction: http://playforjapan.org/2011/04/06/auction-metroid-prime-trilogy-wii-signed-by-dev-team/
Until next time...
First off, I'd just like to extend a hearty thank you to all the other video game websites out there who covered our exclusive release of Minitroid. Thanks to them, Minitroid has taken off like a Space Hunter escaping from a self-destructing planet.
In other news, game blog site Coffee With Games has posted up a detailed breakdown of the Other M's reported playtime, according to the Nintendo Channel viewable on the Wii. In it, we find that among the 65,000+ owners who have reported their game time, 1,010,936 Total Hours of playtime have been recorded. The average playthrough is 15hr. 32min. and the average play session is 2hr. 15min. It has taken a total of 31 weeks for Other M to reach 1 mil recorded hours, however I'm sure that the number was reached a lot sooner if you consider all those that aren't recording their hours. Maybe if we all start reporting our gameplay hours, those numbers will jump even more?
Lastly, I wanted to point you in the direction of vector artist Samolo, who has recreated all of the stages of Metroid from Metroid II: Return of Samus.
Also, check out his Metroid Gallery for his other related creature drawings, including Space Pirates, Mother Brain, Kraid, and Ridley! Keep up the fantastic work, Samolo!
It's here! The Minitroid Tech Demo is now available for all. This game was a labor of love primarily by programmer Tokinsom, artist Betatronic, and music composer Jamie Billings. The game oozes with style, classic Metroid gameplay, and rockin' chiptunes, perfect for any fan of the series. I also helped contribute to this game a little, so if you have some free time, download it and give it a shot!
Metroid Club, the number 1 Metroid group on DeviantArt (yeah, even bigger than MDb!) is hosting a new contest asking Metroid fans with artistic urges to design their own boss! The prizes for the contest is usually to commission any work you want from the Club's volunteer artists! So whether you're intent on designing a new boss or just looking at some awesome Metroid artwork, be sure to check it out! The contest ends May 1, and we want to see some MDb visitors win!
Until next time...
Sorry it's been more than a month since the first chapter went up. Ran into some difficulties with GDC knocking my schedule off-balance, and we also ran into a little trouble getting everything in the chapter in order. Anyway, Chapter 2 of Metroid Prime: Episode of Aether is finally all ready to go! The image quality is lower than Chapter 1 because the scans we initially had were deemed "good enough" to be read, so I didn't feel at the time it was necessary to spend oodles of cash on something we already had (now, though, I'm sort of wishing we had). The other thing you'll notice is we replaced all the ads from the original with ads specific to Metroid and the Metroid Database! I'd like to thank our forum members, ChozoChild and Varia for submitting ads for this chapter - these were really great, guys! We're still taking requests for ads for Chapters 3, 4, and 5, so if you'd like to take your hand at advertising, read up! Anyway, we've had Japanese scans of Chapters 1 and 2 on the site for awhile, but from here on out, it's brand new territory!
Until next time...
Justin Towell from GamesRadar, a UK-based gaming journal, has unlocked all the hats from StreetPass quest, and among them are the awesome Samus Helmet and Metroid Hat! You can put these on your Miis to customize them. Hats are hidden in certain rooms of StreetPass Quest, but you can't get all the hats on your first play-through! Towell informs us that the Metroid Hat is unlocked during your second play-through of the game. His article on GamesRadar has a full list of all the hats you can unlock, and a lot of the others look pretty great too!
Until next time...
Avery Coleman, Phoenix-based 3D modeling wiz, created an absolutely fantastic rendition of the Super Metroid title screen. A fully-fledged 3D model of the Ceres Space Colony interior, complete with gooey props of a Sidehopper and Waver! Coleman captures everything just right, though we have to admit his Metroid is a little bubbly! Be sure to check out both the concept art and 3D art sections, as he has images of the Ceres Colony in both, and DON'T miss the model in action on the demo reel!
Until next time...
It's been a long journey of hoaxes, false leads, and lost hopes, but after over 15 years, we finally tracked down information on Metroid 64! With the help of a Japanese collector and scans from an old issue of the Japanese magazine Nintendo Dream, we've managed to locate screenshots of the fabled Metroid 64, along with interviews with the designer, Toru Osawa, the creator of Kid Icarus, along with the Jet Force Gemini team! I've been working overtime to make sure this was translated as soon as possible so we could reveal it to you in full detail! Click here for the most important Metroid find ever!
Until next time...
The Nintendo 3DS launched today, and if you were one of the lucky ones who managed to get one, you may already be having loads of fun with the built-in software such as the AR cards and the Graffiti tools, along with some of the launch games (Ryan tells me that Pilotwings was pretty good, and I've heard Steel Diver is also good - just not something you can play on the go!). Well, one of our forum members, Etecoon, has been having fun with his 3DS using the Graffiti tool. He used it to create this cute little 3D Metroid!
If you've got your own Metroid images from the 3DS you want to share, including pictures of the AR card Samus in interesting places, Metroid-related unlockables, or your own creations using Graffiti and other 3DS software, let us know or post on the forums!
Update: James Pierce from the forums has also created some Miis of Samus, Adam, and Anthony Higgs made using the 3DS camera and the official Metroid: Other M artwork! Pretty awesome that it works with 2D images, too! It's got bar codes so you can easily add the Mii's to your own 3DS.
Until next time...
One week ago, Japan's east coast was devastated by a massive earthquake and tsunami that completely flattened thousands of homes, killing over a thousand people and displacing hundreds of thousands more. To top it off, four nuclear power plants are in danger and releasing radiation into the atmosphere. If you have friends in northern Japan, I hope they are safe! And, of course, if any of our visitors are from Japan...ki o tsukete kudasai!
While news here is usually reserved for specific Metroid news, I want to begin opening this site up to a wider range of news, beginning with some ways that you can help with the earthquake relief effort, to which Sony and Nintendo have both already donated 300 million yen (over $3 million US).
First, Robert Lindert is hosting a charity event online for a live broadcast of a poorly translated Pokemon Green game to raise money for Save the Children. 90% of Save the Children proceeds go straight to relief funds with 4% going to administrative costs and 6% to fundraising. The event will be broadcast this Saturday (March 19) at 4:00 PM Central Time. The run-through is estimated to last approximately 6-8 hours. Lindert's team has previously ran through a poorly translated version of Pokemon Crystal to great comedic success.
Second, Jimmy Wong has published a Capella remix of the Super Mario Bros.theme song. He has a public service announcement at the end regarding his charity donations. His music will also be available on iTunes with donations going to charities.
Third, Play-Asia is running a sale where a percentage of the proceeds go towards the Hong Kong Red Cross. The Zero Suit Samus model by First 4 Figures is on sale for $30 along with the Metroid Prime 2 Gunship for $140. $5 from each of these purchases goes towards the Hong Kong Red Cross. Bear in mind, however, that these prices can be a little misleading - that $30 Zero Suit figure ships to the US for about $45 (making it about $75 total), but it's still cheaper than the $109.99 it sells for on F4F. Check out silvernite's review of the Zero Suit figure.
Finally, if you're in Denver on Thursday, March 24, Kotaku's Brian Crecente is hosting a charity event. Tickets are minimum $10 with 100% of proceeds going to the Japanese Red Cross for earthquake relief funds. Crecente has previously run charity events for Child's Play in the past, and this is his final event in Denver. I'll be checking it out!
I'll keep with updates if I hear of any other related charity events.
Until next time...
One of the new features Nintendo is advertising for the 3DS is Street Pass, a program that automatically transfers data from one user's system to another. Some games such as Street Fighter IV have made use of this through battles with passers-by, but the system itself has some built-in games, including Street Pass Puzzle. Its object is to collect and trade a series of puzzle pieces which are used to assemble pictures of Nintendo characters. Once a picture is completed, you can view a 3D model of the image that you can rotate and zoom. Destructoid's Dale North from Japan has already unlocked the Samus puzzle and uploaded a video of the game in action. No surprise it's the model of Samus from Metroid: Other M! Check it out! Thanks for the Samus love, Dale!
One other thing we noticed in the video was that there are hats of Nintendo characters, such as Kirby, Mario, and Star Fox. These hats are unlocked through the AR cards. No word yet on whether you can get a Samus helmet for your Mii's, but it's possible it can be unlocked by playing the Mii Plaza games. We'll let you know as soon as its presence or absence is confirmed.
Until next time...
Dead or Alive: Dimensions
I got a chance to play Dead or Alive: Dimensions at GDC, and I have to say the game is looking really polished. The game is very easy to play and very fast with rapid-fire punches and kicks. The lower screen displays combos, though these do not correspond to the actual button presses, but mainly display words like 'punch, punch, kick'. The 3D graphics feel more like a window inside a little play box than having objects physically come out of the screen at you like in the 3D Wii tech demo by Johnny Lee. It's fun and adds a little eye candy, but I didn't see any games that were as awesome as seeing Virtual Boy Wario Land for the first time, especially since nothing really seems to jump out of the screen at you - again, it's as if you're looking inside a box. There were a total of 20 unlocked characters out of 25 (all of which have been announced, and none of whom is Samus, so the best we can hope for is a Zero Suit Samus costume for the girls). I chose Kasumi and the Geothermal Reactor stage (of course!).
This level pretty accurately replicates Metroid: Other M, though obviously with fewer polygons and a lightweight remix of the VS Ridley battle theme, but it looks gorgeous on the small screen. Ridley flies around in the background, looking awesome, and occasionally he will shoot a fireball at you. The fireballs seem aimed at the player with the most health to try and level the playing field, and the best way to dodge is by jumping back. The coolest thing you can do in this stage is knock the other player off the platform and into the lava pit: Ridley will swoop down, grab the unfortunate soul, and drag him or her along the wall before blasting them in the face with a massive fireball. This attack can take anywhere from 1/4 to 1/3 of your HP, but it doesn't seem to kill you straight out, usually reducing you to only one more hit. It's fun to watch as it breaks up the gameplay with a dramatic real-time sequence and is even a little fun if you're the one who's getting smashed! However, nobody on the floor seemed to know how to unlock the Samus Power Bomb, and I didn't have enough time to play around to find out.
I don't usually play fighting games, but I have to admit Dead or Alive Dimensions was pretty fun. It seems like it might be fairly easy to activate a lot of special moves, and it is definitely rewarding to apply a grapple move on your opponent. The game slows down to show off the animation, making it quite dramatic. I actually liked this more than Soul Calibur 2 on the Gamecube because of the speed, the hand-to-hand combat, and the real-time sequences. If I had to describe why in a word, I'd say it is because the combat flows. DOA: Dimensions is clearly a polished game that is all but ready for launch when the system comes out at the end of March. Looks like director Yosuke Hayashi has come out with another winner!
Kid Icarus: Uprising
Kid Icarus Uprising on the other hand was clearly in need of some polishing. I mention Icarus because we've always thought of him as a sister series to Metroid (even though the game was directed by Satoru Okada rather than Yoshio Sakamoto, most of the Metroid team helped complete the game). The battle system is a little too simple, and while it feels a lot like Rez or Sin and Punishment, there seems to be a lack of combo systems or strategy. I didn't like the double-tap command for dashing, something I've always hated and found inefficient in Smash Brothers. The camera system also needed a little polish: I could run against the wall and get a look outside the play field. Pit's run animation also looks funny, but he's fine flying. They also use a lot of voice acting (easy for them to do because this is a rejuvenation of an older game), and most of it is during play rather than cutscenes. Pit seems cheery enough, so I hope he doesn't get annoying after awhile!
I'll also say the control system was rough as well. The game is played with one hand holding the 3DS and using the L-button to shoot and the analog stick to move. Aiming is done with the stylus, which you want to think of more as drawing than aiming. The game has the same problems as Metroid Prime Hunters in that because you have to hold it between thumb and forefinger, your hand cramps really easily - a process that was exacerbated by the giant security device clamped to the bottom of the system. This left me shaking the screen quite a bit (until I propped it on the table), which led to the 3D image leaving my range of focus and becoming blurry. I really hope this will not affect other stylus games. The team also hadn't implemented left-handed controls yet, so I was forced in this awkward position using an uncomfortable control scheme. However, the assistant was very helpful and answered a lot of my questions, admitting that it was still early on in development.
I really hope Project Sora can polish this game up quite a bit before it launches later in the year. The game certainly looks pretty, and there are some fun events like a giant Medusa popping up out of the clouds to attack you and the two-headed Cerberus from previous Kid Icarus titles, but the demo I saw had me convinced there was still a LOT of polishing to do before launch. Simply put, if the gameplay wasn't fun then, I have doubts it will be fun in six months - and that is NOT a good feeling to have for what is supposed to be one of the 3DS's flagship titles.
Until next time...
At the Game Developers Conference, I asked Retro Studios president Michael Kelbaugh about the Metroid Prime Trilogy. He said that Retro Studios is just the developer, not the publisher, and so they have little say over whether the game will be re-released. He also said at this point it is unlikely we'll get to see a reprint. Unfortunately, this will only result in the price of a used copy jumping up dramatically, and prices are hovering at around $70 for a used one at Amazon (and are unfortunately likely to only continue going up). Let's hope someone at Nintendo realizes the company isn't making a dime off any of those sales and decides to print off a few more, even as a non-collector's edition, because this is in the realm of highway robbery for one of the best games on the Wii that we feel everyone should have easier access to. Does Nintendo not want people to play their best games anymore or what?
Say, Nintendo, Metroid's 25th anniversary is coming up in August. Wouldn't that be a great time to re-release the Trilogy, too?
Until next time...
I'm reporting live from the floor of GDC! I just finished hearing the talk on Donkey Kong Country Returns, and it was fantastic! We learned a lot of interesting things about DKCR, including some fantastic information about how the game was extensively prototyped - initially off the Metroid Prime engine, which had been in use for a decade! It was also incredibly difficult for Retro Studios - both the art team as well as the engineering team - to adapt from a serious sci-fi action game to a light-hearted, cartoony game, not only in terms of art assets (making sure those trees look like Donkey Kong trees rather than Metroid Prime trees!) but also other practical applications such as changing from a 3D game to a 2D game and moving from a small number of animations required for Samus' gun to the 2000 polygons required for a single character in Donkey Kong Country Returns! This was made possible through the process of rapid prototyping, creating many tiny demos to test the look and especially the feel of the game, even spending an hour getting down the rhythm of the ground pound mechanic and animation. In fact, Retro got so good at this that with remote conferencing between the Retro and Nintendo producers and the development team that they could often implement game modifications less than an hour into the meeting to verify whether the designs worked as expected!
At the end of the talk, Michael Kelbaugh was asked a question about how speedrunning was implemented into Donkey Kong Country Returns. Well, it turns out that the folks at Retro Studios LOVE the speedrunning community! They recognize how much Metroid Prime fans love to speedrun, and also saw how much the Donkey Kong Country community also does. So while speedrunning wasn't considered at the start of development, it was definitely on their minds after the core of the game had been polished. I also talked with Retro Studios senior software engineer Aaron Walker - who is also very friendly - about speedrunning and the Trilogy. There were plenty of changes made to the Metroid Prime Trilogy, a large number of which were cutting out sequence breaking. While Retro Studios loves the care that speedrunners put into their games, Nintendo's producer Kensuke Tanabe was obligated to cut them out for the Trilogy release. D'oh!
After the talk, I asked Michael whether Retro Studios would continue to work with Nintendo IP or if they would begin developing their own IP soon. His response was that Retro's resources are put where they are most needed, and that they enjoy working with Nintendo IP, but are also interested in developing new works as well. They work with prototypes and experiments all the time, some of which are Nintendo-based, and others which are original material. However, we shouldn't expect to see any new IP coming out, as Michael says, "tomorrow"! Whether their next game is Donkey Kong Country Returns Again or Doki Doki Panic (as Michael mentioned an old game he'd love to tackle during the Q&A session), it sounds as if it will of course be awhile before we see what new things Retro can cook up!
Yesterday, I also ran into Tommy Tallarico, who was (not) credited with the SFX to Metroid Prime (though he did all of them!). In an earlier interview, Tommy had also mentioned he worked on one of the early trailers, but hadn't remembered which one exactly! Well, I asked him which one, and it turns out this was the Spaceworld 2000 trailer with Samus running down the corridor chased by all those parasites! That's Tallarico Studios audio quality in action!
Expect a more detailed overview of the talk later in the day!
Until next time...
The 3DS was launched in Japan yesterday, and already some pretty good videos have made their way to the Internets! One of these lucky folks is by aegaegaeg, who gives us the first glimpse of gaming's greatest bounty hunter! The giant Samus card was printed by him beforehand. You can print your own copies through this PDF from Nintendo of Japan's website!
As you can see, the statues have a set of five poses and basic interactions, such as scaling, rotation, and movement. Samus' five poses are kneeling, standing, gun over shoulder, shooting, and morph ball (of course!), and you'll also notice that each figure has character-specific SFX to accompany each pose change, most notably the Samus Appearance Fanfare :)
You can also take components from the AR cards and mix them with other avatars on your DS! Check out this screen capture from Destructoid's Dale North, who stuck a Samus' helmet on his corgi from Nintendogs + Cats!
Isn't he cute? Does corgi want a chewy Metroid squeaky toy!? It also makes the perfect solution to those funnels if you have to get them spayed or neutered (or send them scuba diving)!
Only a month before the 3DS comes out in the US! When it does, be sure to send us your picks of Samus in action!
Until next time...
The March 2011 issue of Nintendo Power features a nice one-page blowout of Michelle Perl as Samus Aran! Though we've seen plenty of other cosplay, this is the first time I've seen the good old Justin Bailey suit from the original Metroid! She also sports a sweet S-logo tat that's sure to find its way into our Fan for Life section! The story comes to Nintendo Power with a tale of personal redemption: Perl, 25, of Brooklyn, was diagnosed with an eating disorder in high school, but managed to overcome her problems though hard work, exercise, and undying inspiration from Samus Aran:
Samus is an ideal role model not just to me, but for many women to look up to as a powerful game icon. In a video game realm with princesses aplenty, Samus stands out as an atypical Nintendo gal holding the title of one of gaming's strongest symbols of courage, power, and heroism.
More pics of Michelle's great cosplay can be found on her DeviantArt site.
Volume 265 also features an interview with Yosuke Hayashi of Metroid: Other M and Team Ninja regarding all things DOA (and pokes a little fun at Capcom's Street Fighter, while also wishing for a crossover fight between Ryu Hayabusa and Ryu from Streetfighter!).
Lastly, we've got lots of new screens of Dead or Alive: Dimensions in the Cameos section, along with the video. Yeah, these are kind of old screens, but for some reason we haven't had them all up on the site yet!
Until next time...
Darren over at Shinesparkers was lucky enough to have an interview with Nate Bihldorff, the localisation manager at NOA. In it, Nate goes into some great details about his job, as well as giving some reactions to how some of the fans have responded to Other M. Definitely check it out when you have a chance!
Those sleuths at NeoGAF never rest. In the same thread we posted earlier, concepts, environment shots, and test renders of some of the models have been discovered on Metroid Prime artists' portfolio sites. Go to the thread and check them out! If you're interested in more of this art, I would pay close attention to this thread for now...
We've got a pretty exciting find today, courtesy of Kontek's Aaron Kaluszka and Mama Robotnik on NeoGAF, concept art of Kraid from Metroid Prime from the homepage of Greg Luzniak! The artwork contains four pieces - the Parasite Queen art we've already seen in the gallery, a six-limbed snow beast (with ice on its back similar to a Sheegoth), an insectile Space Pirate (maybe with a jet pack?), and this awesome Kraid piece.
It's been fairly common knowledge that Kraid was originally planned to be in Metroid Prime as a boss in the Phazon Mines, but was later scrapped. Gene Kohler produced a test render of everyone's favorite lizard. It looks like you had to blow off "Meta Kraid's" helmet in order to beat him. This art is pretty cool because the missile cannon on Samus' arm resembles the oldschool early concept art from Prime and Super Metroid AND it looks like they may have been talking about Samus' dodge system at this time too, judging from the jet bursts coming from her back (though I'm not sure how well the shooting spikes would work...). And Kraid of course looks gorgeously evil, in many ways fiercer than his MZM incarnation!
Greg Luzniak was involved with early development of Metroid Prime from 2000-2001, leaving Retro Studios before the game was completed. From Shinesparker's awesome interview with Mike Sneath, we know that Luzniak (though not mentioned by name) produced the concept art for the Parasite Queen and Thardus - the giant snow beast appears to be an early concept that later became Thardus. Luzniak also did concept art for Raven Blade.
Until next time...
Nintendo has revealed that the 3DS will come with six Augmented Reality (AR) cards that can be interfaced using the system's camera - and one of these features Samus from Metroid: Other M! As demonstrated back in January, the cards will allow players to view 3D characters interacting with the real-world environment. For instance, the question mark block displays your Mii character, who then walks around. You can also take photographs of your friends and family and turn them into Mii's automatically.
According to APZonerunner from NeoGAF Forums, the AR Cards of the other characters display the characters pictured in the real world. Sadly, you can't do much with them other than give them different poses and take photos of them. While it will be fun to see what interesting situations Metroid fans will put Samus in (and you can bet we'll want to see some of those pictures!), we'll sadly have to wait for an actual Metroid game on the 3DS. Hopefully, Nintendo will give one to us sooner rather than later, but whenever it gets here, let's hope it's something everybody can agree is perfect!
Thanks to James Pierce from the forums for pointing this out and Aaron Kaluszka from Kontek for the NeoGAF tip!
Until next time...
Greetings, Metroid fans, and Happy Valentines Day from everyone here at the MDb! Since we love you all so much, we've prepared for our visitors a special release for today: Chapter 1 of Metroid Prime: Episode of Aether! Episode of Aether is a retelling of Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, and was released as a promotional tie-in to the game. The manga is also quite rare, as it was serialized in a monthly manga-zine in Japan called Comic Bom Bom. We've had low-res images of the Japanese versions of Chapters 1 and 2 up on the site for awhile, but managed to get our hands on not one, not two, but FIVE chapters so we can provide you with high-res images of this never-before-seen manga! Incidentally, all of these have been translated, but are still in the process of being cleaned and typeset, so while we don't have them all for you today, we'll be able to get them out on a regular basis! Samus and Joey was also published in Bom Bom, but unlike the longer serial, Episode of Aether was never republished in a single book - and since magazines of this nature tend to get tossed a month after they're read, and they're in Japan only... Well, let's just say few Japanese fans even know about it! So you can see why they're so hard to find!
Anyway, we actually managed to pay for these thanks to all the folks who visit this site! You know all those ads we've had for the past year or so? Well, we actually make a little bit of money off of them! While a fifty cents or a dollar per click may not seem like much, after after a month, that starts to add up! We use that money to help pay for the site registration, all those great contests we've held, and exclusive new content like Episode of Aether! You can certainly see the love in Samus' eyes! It's our way of saying thanks!
So what are you waiting for? Go read it!
Thanks again, fans, and hope you get to spend the rest of the day with your loved ones!
Until next time...
Remember that awesome data cloud on the Metroid Prime homepage? It provided information on the game using an interface similar to the in-game logbook clusters. It was like you were immersed in the Galactic Federation's computer system. You could click on different entries in the cloud and synthesize them to unlock new entries (for instance, synthesizing Phazon with a Tallon Metroid might generate a Hunter Metroid). The entries were linked together using the node-and-cluster structure of Metroid Prime's logbook system. This was a really neat interface that I'm pretty sure won a design award someplace and had a little game-like quality to it to boot. I myself have shared it with other people when they were looking for cool flash interfaces. Plus, it was a lot of fun.
Unfortunately, I can't show it to you anymore because it, along with most of Nintendo of America's official Metroid homepages, has been removed.
That's right, the homepages of Metroid Prime, Metroid Prime 2, Metroid Prime 3, Metroid Fusion, and Metroid Zero Mission have all been removed. The only ones that remain are Metroid.com, Metroid Prime Trilogy, Metroid Prime Pinball, and Metroid Prime Hunters - and we're afraid it's only a matter of time before these start to disappear as well. What's worse, you cannot view most of the old content on even The Internet Archive's Wayback Machine because the sites were highly flash-based with data linked outside the .swf files the Internet Archive normally backs up.
Apparently, this problem also extends to many of Nintendo's other franchises, where Gamecube and Gameboy Advance homepages have reportedly disappeared, taking with them all kinds of goodies such as wallpapers, AIM icons, artwork, and neat little Flash interfaces such as the Metroid Prime data cloud (thankfully, we have the Metroid Zero Mission wallpapers archived in our Fanapps/Downloads section). What's more, this has been taking place fairly recently, as you could visit the Metroid Prime homepage at least as late as August 2010. Not surprisingly, NCL seems to care more about their games, considering you can still visit the Japanese homepages to Metroid II and all later games in the series. Supposedly, about the only NCL page to go MIA is the Super Mario Bros. 25th Anniversary homepage.
I cannot begin to express my disappointment with Nintendo. Only recently I had been discussing problems of game preservation, but it appears that the problem of disappearing games extends beyond software and development materials to include official websites. The only reason I can think NOA would have done something like this is to save a few bucks on network storage space and web traffic - and I don't think that tradeoff was worth it, particularly considering how little space these took up. Another possibility is they want everyone to find their game information straight through NOA's Master Game List, but this is nowhere near the depth of content included on the official homepages, so it is also a big loss.
By removing cool systems like the Metroid Prime data cloud from the web, Nintendo is supporting a philosophy of games as throwaway media, designed to be picked up, played, and then removed from the market. While Metroid and Super Metroid are available on Wii Virtual Console, is already impossible to buy many of the Metroid Prime, GBA, and DS Metroid games new. If Nintendo wants to support fans of their games, this certainly isn't the way to do it. What's more, it sends us a message that they just don't care about people who like their games. It also proves just how valuable fan sites are to the gaming community.
We are waiting to hear from Nintendo with regards to the decision behind these sites' removal. Until then, if you want to voice your concern over the loss of these and other websites by contacting Nintendo's Customer Service.
Until next time...
It has been six months since Metroid: Other M was released. When the MDb staff reviewed it back in August and September, we gave Other M an 8.5, an 8.9, and a 9. Our site's founder, TJ, also gave the game an ecstatic thumbs-up. Wired's uber-Nintendo geek Chris Kohler also gave it a 9, as did places like gamesTM and Worth Playing. (Interestingly, Nintendo Power gave it an 8.5, same as IGN - both by no means horrible reviews.)
Elsewhere, however, Samus has not been received with open arms, gaining a firestorm of scathing reviews from journalists and fans alike, not to mention the billions of electrons generated by zealous fans explaining in painful detail why Other M is the worst thing known to mankind. Now that the New Year has come and gone, magazine publishers have released their lists of the top worst games of 2010. And Other M is on it.
Wait? Worst game of the year? Just how can a game that received the love and support of the entire staff and a good chunk of gaming journalism be a stain upon humanity? (Ok, at least that portion whose lives revolve around videogames.) Somebody out there is full of baby drool, and I don't think it's us.
Let's look at these figures:
- On Gamerankings, 76% of reviews are 80% or higher for a 78.99% average score. Hardly reflective of a crap game.
- Amazon.com lists over twice as many positive reviews as negative: 25% give it a 2 or less and 60% a 4 or better. However, their most helpful (and best-written) review is two stars with 152 positive responses.
- GameFAQs is practically the opposite, with only 33% reviews of 8 and above in their Detailed Reviews section, and only two 9's in the starred reviews section. (However this jumps to over 43% positive once all reviews are considered)
- In contrast, our own MDb forum poll splits the games 25% love, 25% hate, 50% neutral.
These numbers are indicative of a polarizing game and are definitely not what a Metroid game should be. But do they really mean Other M is the worst game of the year?
The fact of the matter is there are plenty of people who love Metroid: Other M with an undying passion - and depending on what community you visit, far more than those who loathe it! However, it's those scathing reviews (and now 'worst game of the year' features) that get the most widely distributed via word of mouth. And when people hear those reviews, they are less likely to try Other M, but with good logical reason - I know I would think twice about buying something I wasn't automatically passionate about if it didn't get good reviews.
However, that completely ignores the vast majority of user reviews that have been downright praising, and the vast amount of quiet love Other M has received over the past six months. We who love Other M love it because the controls are the fastest and smoothest this side of Zero Mission. We love it because the bosses are fantastic, action-packed battles overflowing with nostalgia. We love it because it's that Metroid atmosphere of wondering what's around the next corner of this creepy station. And we love it because Samus is an absolute badass with slick animations and Sense Moves and Overblasts.
Given this gushing of praise, why do so many people hate Other M? You can't ignore the 25% of the market who does so. Certainly, the game has some gameplay flaws (instant death, locked doors, and unclear 'pixel hunt' sequences), not to mention a game-breaking glitch. However, where the game destroyed all love is story and character representation. These players hate the story, which starts out decent enough but eventually reads like a Hideo Kojima hallucination. They hate Samus, from the emotionless voice acting (a conscious design decision) to the introspective monologues, and her emotional breakdowns (which are meant to show a human side of Samus). For these players, story is a very important part to their games, and apparently it was also for Yoshio Sakamoto, who emphasized story and character in every single interview.
Samus has been firmly envisioned in the minds of many fans, and that vision is normally accompanied by a phrase such as 'tough-as-nails bounty hunter'. Other M comes along and subverts that with a portrait of Samus troubled by her past and alienated from humanity, a woman who hates taking orders but follows her former CO out of respect and a desire to protect her old comrades. These people hate that.
Does having emotions make Samus weak and dependent? No. Emotions make us human.
However, too much melodrama doesn't make for good writing, and these valid fan reactions seem to have been missed somewhere between user testing and publication. But somewhere along the way, the voices of the quiet masses who love the game have been drowned out by the bullhorns of the few who hate it.
In the end though, both groups are right. Other M is an awesome game. Other M is a horrible game.
But that doesn't make it the worst game of the year. That award is best reserved for the likes of Kane and Lynch 2 and Naughty Bear.
And it doesn't mean you should avoid it completely.
Let's put it this way. Because it has flaws, Other M is not a perfect game. None of our MDb reviews ever said it was. But it's just not as awful as some people may tell you it is. And if you're like the whole of the MDb staff, who have been playing Metroid for more than two decades, you will absolutely love it!
That said, it's very possible you will play Other M and hate it. Essentially, if you have a particularly strong vision of who Samus is and distaste the idea that her creator thinks differently, then you will probably be part of that group who wants to cut your game in half with scissors. And because you won't like the game, its other flaws you might have ignored otherwise will become downright irritating.
However, I can say you have high chances of actually loving Other M.
So pick it up for $20 or less on Amazon, rent it from Gamefly, or borrow it (maybe your Other M-hating friend will even give it to you for free!).
Just don't judge Other M if you've never played it because your opinion could be the complete opposite of that review you just read.
Until next time...
Overclocked ReMix has just launched a new album, Heroes vs. Villains. The album matches the music of heroes from popular games with their villains. Best of all, Super Metroid is featured as the first battle! (There's also a candid shot of the back of her suit on the album cover.) First up is Big Giant Circles, who gives us "The Bounty of a Brain", a nice trance and guitar mix of "Theme of Super Metroid" (now commonly thought of as "Theme of Samus"...) with plenty of chip warbles and a truly meaty drumbeat. There's a nice break into "Galactic Warrior - Theme of Samus Aran" (Crateria surface theme). The second is by Mazedude, whose "Dieselbrainage" has some serious DJ discord with a truly demonic trance organ. These beats are gonna stomp all over you. Also check out the nice break at around 1:50. While the two mixes aren't exactly my style, you can tell they're solidly done, as seems to be most of the other album. Thing is, with the American mixing scene, you get a wide range of styles, but a lot of it is influenced by the DJ and hip hop scenes. If that's your thing, awesome, but not my thing! I also don't prefer my "Theme of Simon" to sound like Plants vs Zombies :P (Still, solid grim reapage from Ailsean on Drac!). Anyway, we've got the two Super Metroid pices in our fan music section, and you can download the whole album individually or through torrent at the official page.
Until next time...
Yesterday evening, Mama Robotnik on NeoGAF forums discovered a leaked "idea document" for the sequel to Metroid Prime dating from late 2002. The document, titled Metroid 1.5 (in other places of the document, it is referred to as Metroid 2) seems to have been leaked accidentally on the Google Site (now locked) of Tony C. Giovannini, a former level designer for Retro Studios. Hours after the document was posted on the GAF, it quickly spread throughout the Internet, after which the document was taken down earlier today and the site locked. Note that Giovannini had posted plenty of other documentation for nearly every game he ever worked on - Oops!
The Metroid 1.5 document is really more of a project proposal than a full-fledged design doc, and very little of the proposal found its way into later Metroid games (even then, the influences are somewhat doubtful). It was written by Giovannini with several concept artworks by Andrew Jones from November 18 to December 3, 2002 - beginning the day Metroid Prime was launched. The bolded text indicates later additions. The entire document is available still on the NeoGAF forums as well as on Wikitroid. Giovanni was not credited Prime 1 or Prime 2, but he worked on Metroid Prime as an event scripter and level modeler using Maya (Space Pirate Frigate Tutorial, Magmoor, Phendrana, and Phazon Mines).
Note that early concept documents rarely reflect the final build and are meant more as proposals rather than setting things in stone. While a lot of this may initially sound good on paper, it either would have been incredibly difficult to build, or just wouldn't have been that fun to play if you think about it in depth (something that became all too clear after I participated in the Global Game Jam!). Still, it is interesting to note which gameplay elements survived to appear in Metroid Prime 2: a parallel dimension, an alien race in cryosleep, exploration inside ships, an Evil Samus, robot factories (and enemies), and a multiplayer mode (though far more ambitious than even Metroid Prime Hunters). The idea of multiple bounty hunters was later used in Hunters and Prime 3.
Here are highlights:
Story: Samus is abducted by a mysterious interdimensional alien race hell-bent on conquering the galaxy. The aliens abduct bounty hunters and assimilate their "best and most deadly abilities" into the ship's AI as well as the alien soldiers. To prevent them from conquering the galaxy, Samus must cooperate with the bounty hunters to disable the ship, destroy the AI, and eradicate the aliens.
Setting: The game was meant to take place immediately after Metroid Prime on a massive spaceship the size of several Star Destroyers. The ship takes place in a parallel dimension where gravity is reversed, time runs backwards, and "other weirdness" happens. The game's size was roughly as large as the Chozo Ruins and Phazon Mines combined and contained areas such as hangar bays, an factories, a cryo chamber, the ship's exterior, and a reactor core. The game also promised a larger number of morph ball puzzles. It was basically designed as a smaller, deeper version of Metroid Prime with more puzzles.
Enemies: At the core of the game is a mad AI which tries to foil Samus' mission. The AI is split into four personalities: The Child, The Killer, The Martyr, and The Mother. Each personality of the AI would affect the environment in different ways, such as enemy behavior, lighting and visual effects, battles, and puzzles. The AI would also taunt the player, lock doors, fill rooms with poisonous gas, and activate security systems and machinery. The designers felt this provided the AI with a unique twist. Had they succeeded, it could have been one of the most memorable game characters that predated GLaDOS by half a decade...
Aside from the AI, most enemies were robots as the aliens were stuck in cryosleep. The robots would perform a wide variety of functions, including assassin droids that drop from the ceiling. There were also biological enemies released from stasis that included a Humetroid, which can launch a Metroid from its chest, and the Thrash-hunter, a Space Pirate hybrid.
Gameplay: Samus' power-ups are limited by the "containment matrix", which is controlled by the ship's AI. Power-ups are restored by disabling the matrix and unlocked by scanning "stat-bots", which grant the player new powers including cloaking, self-destruct, wall walk, ceiling hug, camo-skin, and infrared vision. However, when a stat-bot is scanned, Samus' genetic data is uploaded to the ship's computer, and the AI clones new enemies with Samus' powers, culminating in a battle with an "Evil Samus". This power-up system would allow multiple solutions to the same problem and increase replay value as well as freshen up item collectioon.
The biggest addition though was multiplayer, which was far more ambitious than even Metroid Prime Hunters. The designers tossed around the idea of programming a "Mecha-Samus" that could be controlled remotely or played in split-screen mode using a second player. Once defeated, bosses could be playable characters in a multiplayer mode where one player controls the boss and the others try to defeat it. They also suggested an Ancient Chozo Robot Battle, sort of like a giant rock 'em sock 'em robots. The designers noted that the Metroid feeling of isolation would be lost with the inclusion of multiplayer, but the game would as a whole still feel like Metroid.
Until next time...
Clay Withrow of the Oklahoma rock band Vangough, known for their original works Manikin Parade and Dissonance Rising, sent me a copy of their first game music cover album, Game On. It's a rocking trip through the world of game music and has the best rendition of "Corneria" from Star Fox that I've heard and an awesome Killer Instinct arrange, but the real reason I'm telling you about this is because Game On has an awesome arrange of Metroid Prime 2's "Title Theme" and "Torvus Bog". You see, Clay is a HUGE Metroid fan, and he wanted to share his song with the community! So check out the review, and give the remix a listen. Let's hope Vangough does more Metroid soon!
Until next time...
As the "Wintry Threat" wipes through the nation, I hope you all are staying indoors and warm. If you're bored and looking for something to do, you're in luck. I've just updated the newly-renamed Recommended Games feature page! This time it's a cute little indie title named K.O.L.M. and it's design is very much in the vein of Metroid. Give it a whirl if you have some free time!
Two new images from the Other M stage in Dead Or Alive: Dimensions have surfaced, and here they are! Enjoy.
Yep, that's right folks.
In this article by Eurogamer, when Team Ninja lead Yosuke Hayashi was asked:
"Actually for the Metroid collaboration, we had help from Nintendo and they're really friendly with us. But the concept of Dead or Alive as the best version of the game means Samus Aran or Metroid is something different. That's why we are not focusing on that in terms of the concept."
He continued: "So talking about Samus Aran, is she playable or not? This time she's not playable. But Samus Aran will be shown in the game. She comes to help the player. That's the collaboration shown there [in the trailer]. But how you can unlock Samus Aran? Please find out by yourself."
Sad news, indeed. At least Samus will be "shown," but to how much exactly remains to be seen. Let's hope it's more than that quick Morph Ball shot.
In other MDb news, our forum was hacked. The staff highly recommends that you reset your password at least every 6 months, but that is normal practice by internet standards. Please read this thread by Jesse D for more information on the matter.
This just in: Dead or Alive Dimensions, the game developed by Team Ninja for 3DS, will have a Metroid Other M stage, complete with a Ridley who attacks you while you fight! And at the end... we see a morph ball Samus jump in and lay a Power Bomb... DOES THIS MEAN SAMUS WILL BE A PLAYABLE CHARACTER? Only time will tell, however seeing as how a character from the Halo universe appeared in Dead or Alive 4 on the 360, I'd say chances are VERY high at this point.
Nintendo of America have today officially announced launch information for their upcoming addition to the DS line, the 3DS. Hitting retail on March 27, 2010 at a starting price point of $249.99, the 3DS isn't your average toy. With all the Swiss-Army features they've jammed into it, the price tag doesn't come as that much of a surprise, but it still may be a little while (i.e. a price drop) before it starts to see some widespread adoption.
Sadly the rumored Metroid launch title for 3DS was debunked (see Cap's news post below), though that certainly doesn't mean we won't eventually see Samus on the 3D screen.
But what is interesting is the announcement of the Virtual Console for the 3DS, and its support for classic GameBoy titles. Right on Nintendo's site are screenshots of Super Mario Land and The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DS. (See "Download Classic Games & More" on this page.) Given Nintendo's trend of re-releasing all of their classic titles on the Wii Virtual Console, it is very reasonable to expect a re-release of Metroid II: The Return of Samus for the 3DS.
Who knows, maybe this will give Metroid II the renewed attention it deserves?
If you checked this page earlier today, you might have seen a news post similar to this. For the past two days or so, it has been going around various gaming news sites, stirring up all kinds of trouble. Somewhere along the line, somebody jumped the gun and took a statement out of context by Jonathan Ross, UK TV reporter and host of the Nintendo of Europe DSi conference in Amsterdam (and yes, I didn't do enough fact-checking when I posted). The Twitter feed went something like, "I have my fingers crossed for Metroid.." followed by Ross' statement "I think you're going to be pleased then," with the (arguably logical) conclusion, "This must mean a new Metroid!" and the (less logical) conclusion, "This must mean Metroid Dread!" Here is a response from our forum member, Darren, the other side of the conversation, which clears up this mess:
"We were discussing classic games and we talked about 3DS. His comment was taken out of context yet the whole internet seems to believe he was confirming a new Metroid game. All I can suggest is that people keep an eye on the Nintendo conference on the 19th and just see what is announced. That way everyone is certain!"
Yoshio Sakamoto has previously stated that "Metroid Dread" was he and his team tossing around an idea for a 2D Metroid game that may or may not be solidified sometime in the future (a typical non-answer). Considering it has only been four and a half months since Metroid: Other M came out, and Mr. Sakamoto had stated he didn't have any ideas for the 3DS at that time, any new games(Metroid or otherwise) are not likely to be something he has created at this point. You can check out live streaming footage of the conference tomorrow, Wednesday morning, at 9AM EST, as there are bound to be some interesting announcements, such as the 3DS release date and pricing.
Until next time...
I may be a little late on this, but I've just discovered Pixelninja's latest cosplay images: the Gravity Suit. Check out her full gallery here! And for those interested, look at all these incredible progress shots. Girl's got making Samus's suit down to a science!
After a period of going dark, my subscription to Nintendo Power was finally renewed. Yes, 12 more issues of non-stop Nintendo propaganda, lame jokes, news, previews, and reviews of new interesting games like Radiant Historia, Lost in Shadow, and Ghost Trick (and plenty of non-interesting ones). Oh, and here's an ad for First4Figures' Sonic the Hedgehog sculptures, which are apparently "Seriously cool stuff for serious Nintendo fans." Hey wait a sec...
So Nintendo Power isn't exactly spectacular, but if you see a copy, one of the most interesting parts of this magazine is the developer interviews, and this month is Yosuke Hayashi, director and producer behind Metroid: Other M. Mr. Hayashi talks about his history with Team Ninja and his philosophy on game design, as well as some interesting insights into the development behind Other M and collaboration with Nintendo:
The best part of that experience was the gaining of a better sense of self-awareness through knowing more about others. Working with Sakamoto-san, who has been on the front line of game development for years, really gives you a much deeper insight into the different philosophies and concepts that drive development. This was really the first time I started to understand the depth of this profession, and it was something that gave me the opportunity to get to know myself much better.
While working with his team there were many cultural differences between our studios, but in the end I was pleasantly surprised to find how similar our goals and values were. It might be a bit difficult to explain through a short summary, but all I can say is that we were on the same page regarding what makes the life of a game developer. Beliefs and concepts, flexibility, passion, and enthusiasm, and the ability to keep cool in high-pressure standards.
Cultural differences? Does Hayahsi-san mean having to wear a uniform to work? Or mixing chocolate with peanut butter? He goes on to talk about what he learned from working with Yoshio Sakamoto:
One of the biggest [things that I learned] was to learn how to stir up emotions through your games and not just make those emotions burst out and explode. The games that Team Ninja gave birth to up to now have been all about directly stimulating and "attacking" people's most basic emotions. When you think about it, our daily lives are not just filled with raw emotion. One more thing is that there are so many more varied and complex emotions in people than the four basic ones of happiness, anger, sadness, and joy. Working with Sakamoto-san, I discovered that stirring up those complex emotions in people can lead to a much more visceral form of entertainment.
Now before you start thinking that the next Ninja Gaiden will feature long internal monologues by Ryu Hayabusa, remember that there is a LOT of environmental storytelling in Other M, particularly in the way of evoking emotions through atmosphere and setting (the research center sequences in particular stand out). I think we can expect to see a bit more variety of atmosphere as well as character development in future Ninja Gaiden games, thanks to Project M. Looking forward to it, Mr. Hayashi!
Now I just have to find the back issue with the Yoshio Sakamoto interview...
Until next time...