Metroid 30th Anniversary | Top 5 Metroid Games

By Az Elias 06.08.2016 10

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August 6th, 1986 is a very special day in video game history, for it transformed the adventure genre with a single title: Metroid. It was this game that took the non-linear platforming experience to another level, with permanent character upgrades that allowed players to backtrack and reach previously inaccessible sectors, putting emphasis on exploration and searching for new areas and power-ups. Such was the success of Metroid, that the Castlevania franchise began to take pages out of the same book, and when both Super Metroid and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night took the gaming world by storm, the "Metroidvania" subgenre was born. Despite the love for Metroid as a franchise, though, it has remained oddly dormant for extended periods of time, and this has led to countless indie developers tapping into the market with some quite brilliant Metroidvanias of their own. Thirty years on from that very first Metroid title, the Cubed3 team now looks back to decide on our top five games in the surprisingly small series.

5. Metroid Prime 2: Echoes

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Metroid Prime 2: Echoes uses the same tools as the first title to craft an entirely new adventure. For example, while the visual style is identical, the feel of Aether's mechanical temples and arid landscapes is much different from the vibrant locales of Tallon IV.

Of course, much of the difference can be credited to the game's trademark light/dark dichotomy. Dual-world gameplay may seem a little trite these days, but the developers made the most of it here. Aether's dark world doesn't feel like just a variation of its light world; it feels like a claustrophobic, inherently dangerous "other" that's visibly corrupting its twin, which is perfect, because that's exactly what it is. The fact that the polarised setting is also a central aspect of the game's combat also does a lot to make Echoes significantly more than just a Metroid Prime expansion pack.
- Jordan

4. Metroid: Zero Mission

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"Is it necessary?" and "Is it better?" Those are the two primary questions that need to be asked when looking at any remake. In the case of Metroid: Zero Mission, its sheer amount of quality over the original makes it necessary.

It borrows the best design elements from Super Metroid and Metroid Fusion to reimagine the NES adventure for fans new and old alike. Its silky smooth gameplay is only rivalled by its beautiful sprite work and remarkable soundtrack. With new power-ups, new bosses, and new areas to explore, Metroid: Zero Mission makes the original wholly redundant and sets a gold standard for remakes everywhere.   
- Renan

3. Metroid Fusion

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In 2002, after an eight-year hiatus, the Metroid series saw the birth of its fourth son. And the series was proud of it, because Metroid Fusion tackled the titanic task of respecting the classic Metroid formula, while having an identity and something new to offer, besides overcoming the unavoidable comparisons - and it succeeded graciously.

All the elements of past Metroid games are there: great level design, fun bosses, awesome exploration, rewarding power-ups and non-tedious backtracking. This time, though, the experience was more guided and action-oriented, sacrificing atmospheric value in the process. Nevertheless, the game provided other well-crafted gameplay elements, the most representative being the horror aspect that running away from SA-X - the way more powerful copy of Samus - brought to the table.

All in all, Metroid Fusion exquisitely blended identity and tradition, action and exploration, giving us one of the best experiences within the Metroid series, and certainly one of the best in the GBA library.
- Camilo

2. Metroid Prime

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It seems absurd that there was once a time when Metroid Prime received backlash for being first-person, as such a perspective is perfectly suited for the series' standard mixture of solitary exploration and ranged combat. Retro Studios didn't just reiterate the formula in 3D space, though; they implemented an unorthodox lock-on-based control scheme that emphasised evasion and timing over precision aim, setting the game apart from its classic predecessor and from the straightforward FPS that many feared it would be.

Meanwhile, the indispensable addition of the Thermal, X-Ray, and Scan Visors made the previously unthinkable idea of a 3D Metroidvania a wonderful reality. With combat and exploration figured out, the only thing left to tick off the Metroid checklist was atmosphere, which Metroid Prime accomplished via spectacular sound design and detailed visuals that still hold up 16 years later. It's an excellent reminder that deviations from established templates deserve the benefit of the doubt a lot more often than they get it.
- Jordan

1. Super Metroid

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The first two Metroid games did amazing things for the series, and at some point, for the gaming industry. However, their contributions are nothing in comparison to the absurdly huge leap that Super Metroid made.

The Super NES game shows its brilliance from one of the most distinctive and obscure title screens ever, to the plot-heavy final boss fight and thrilling escape. What's in between? Absolutely polished exploration and level design, marvellous boss battles, deliciously detailed presentation, gorgeous and feeling-inducing music, iconic old and new power-ups, enchanting challenge, exemplary backtracking, impeccable controls, and enjoyable pace, all wrapped by an atmospheric feeling that can't be described, only experienced by playing it - just the player, the night and the blue light of the TV.

As a result, we simply have a timeless masterpiece, which is one of the top five SNES games (and that is saying a lot) and one of the best 2D games of all time.
- Camilo

Do you agree with our top five Metroid games? Share your favourites with others below, and let's hope Nintendo sees fit to deliver new traditional 2D and 3D adventures in this beloved franchise in the near future.

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Comments

Yup... Super Metroid still undefeated.

A lot of quotes in the Internet are attributed to the wrong person
                                -Georgios Karaiskakis

And deservedly so! I'd love to see a remastered version on ANY platform Smilie

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

Ofisil said:
Yup... Super Metroid still undefeated.

Indeed. The best ever game of the ever.

One of my favourite series of all time. Look at that list. What an incredible series of sheer quality. I'm mad at how poorly Nintendo has been treating this franchise with the more recent entries, and for how long they abandon it for. Eight years between Super Metroid and Prime/Fusion, and now eight years and counting since the last game until the next proper one. I just don't understand how that company works sometimes.

I played through Zero Mission recently, but a replay of SM is definitely in order soon.

Never really got into Metroid, personally, but obviously it's a well loved and fantastic franchise and it would be awesome to see a new one for the fans! I'm a bit of an oddball, since I played through Prime 3 and enjoyed that one, but all the others I tried, I never got into... Oh and I liked the Hunters online multiplayer back in the day.

Hopefully there will be something on NX to satisfy fans. Smilie

My biggest Metroid memory is Skytown in Prime 3. The music was amazing and I loved the environment design.


 

 


( Edited 06.08.2016 17:05 by Marzy )

Adam Riley said:
And deservedly so! I'd love to see a remastered version on ANY platform Smilie

A true, HD remake would be insanely cool from the likes of Wayforward or similar - NX launch title would be killer 

Cubed3 Admin/Founder & Designer

Super Metroid is the first one I played and the only one that compelled me to complete it.

 

Metroid Fusion shouldn't be in the top 5, it's a good game but it's so short and way too linear to be in 3rd, at least put in 5th. 

Either way, I'm pretty bummed that Nintendo are being a bit slow with the franchise, although I wonder if Federation Force could pave the way for a Metroid 2 remake. After all it was the federation that got wiped out in the premise to Metroid2. 

There has to be an NX game in the works. If only Nintendo revealed it it might actually get sales for Federation Force up if they knew it would play into the story. 

I think that's quite harsh on Fusion, Flynnie. Short and far linear than previous Metroids, yes, but still a quality entry that retains a lot of the core elements of what makes Metroid "Metroid." I mean if you don't even include it in the top 5, what would you put in? I don't consider any of the other games that didn't make this list better than Fusion.

I'd probably put it in 5th and bump the other ones up. I did a Metroid-a-thon earlier this year and it's the first time I'd gone through Fusion in yonks. I just realised that it wasn't as good I remembered it. 

Fair enough. I'm gonna blast through both Super and Fusion at some point.

I'd really like to go through the Primes again, but need to think whether to play the GC originals or the Wii versions.

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