Metroid (NES) Review

By Shane Jury 08.04.2012 11

Review for Metroid on NES

The Nintendo Entertainment System began an age of many top name games that continue to entertain fans to this day with new instalments and re-imaginings. A number of notable Third Party franchises like Mega Man, Castlevania and Final Fantasy have explored the homes of other console manufacturers but in one way or another have still stuck around on newer Nintendo machines. Naturally, Nintendo’s own franchises have continued through the years as well, a good number of which adapted to the 2D to 3D switch with amazing results.

Metroid, in particular, was late to the fray with Metroid Prime, but to say the results were worth waiting for would be quite the understatement. Nintendo has, unfortunately, declined on releasing a new Metroid game that returns to its 2D roots, but has given both the Wii Virtual Console and now the 3DS eShop a dosage of the classic NES original. Although this is the second time the original game has been portable (the first being an NES Classics title on the Game Boy Advance), should 3DS owners consider forking out the dough for this handheld version? 3DS owners that were part of the Ambassador initiative last year will have had Metroid for free for a number of months now, but as the game is now available to everyone it has seen a number of updated improvements.

The game itself is a classic in every sense of the word. As Bounty Hunter Samus Aran, you are tasked with exploring Planet Zebes and taking down the evil Space Pirates and their leader Mother Brain. Aiding you in this task is a kick-ass suit of armour with a blaster attached, and a number of power-ups that can be equipped when found on the surface of the planet, including the Morph Ball function to navigate tight corridors and areas, Jumping Boosters, Rockets, and Blaster Upgrades. As far as platform adventuring goes, Metroid is where it hit the first essential solid milestone. Fans of the newer games playing this for the first time will easily see the origins of the series’ trademark features, like starting out weak and almost defenceless on a barren planet full of danger at every turn, only to become stronger with every item collected and boss beaten. Notable villains like Ridley and Kraid were introduced here too, together with lesser-known fiends that grip to ceilings and swoop at you, or jump along the floor. The visuals themselves, whilst not stretching to fit the 3DS wide-screen entirely or benefiting from a 3D Classics makeover, still hold up well even after all this time, and maintain a solid frame-rate and standard, with lots of area and enemy variation. The music is also still memorable and fitting to listen to, with many classic themes originating here that would go on to become franchise staples.

Screenshot for Metroid on NES

With additional power and development talent, games have evolved steadily over the numerous console generations, with older titles showing their age in many respects. Although Metroid’s graphical aspects are still sufficient, newer fans of the series will be dumbfounded at the severe lack of any kind of map screen. Despite its age, Metroid’s depiction of Planet Zebes is vast and riddled with numerous similar-looking environments, making it incredibly easy for an unaware player to lose their bearings, or forget where that sealed room was that they now have the weapon to open with. The original Legend of Zelda introduced Save Slates that would suspend the game so the game could be returned to later, but the European and US release of Metroid made use of the archaic password system that acted in a similar fashion.

The 3DS' extra functions have ironically helped to ease these issues and placed this version of Metroid as the one to play should you choose to revisit it or play for the first time. Although there is still no map function for the game, the 3DS software offers up two solutions -- both selectable by quickly suspending the game with a press of the Home button. The Game Notes and Internet Browser keys at the top of the main 3DS menu will allow for either some quick notes on room layout and future item acquisitions to be made, or the browser can simply allow for finding a full map online. Neither are a full solution for a direct Map Screen, but are better than what was found in the Metroid re-releases on other Nintendo formats. Helping the saving situation is the 3DS' built-in save state feature for all Virtual Console games, and its ever-useful Sleep Mode option, leaving the password function solely for cheats and game-enhancing codes.

These enhancements aside, Metroid retains its high challenge level to this day, heartily showing modern players that NES games pulled no punches in giving players a reason to throw their controllers about. It isn’t the lengthiest of titles, but will delight those with a penchant for finishing all aspects of games with end of game rewards for speed-runs and item collecting. As a basic, but testing, addition to the eShop arsenal and an insight into the history of one of gaming’s most revered series, 3DS owners should definitely consider dropping down to Zebes.

Screenshot for Metroid on NES

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Sitting comfortably alongside its Game Boy sequel on the eStore, Metroid on the 3DS offers up a classic adventure with genre-defining features and a key number of 3DS enhancements. Its retro limitations and basic structure may not be for everyone, but for any gamer wanting to visit or return to this classic, the 3DS route is the way to go.






2D Platformer



C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


Even with the new save system this kicks my ar$e regularly! Smilie I'm just not the gamer I used to be, methinks Smilie

Kudos for getting through enough to review it, Shane Smilie

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

I beat this on the GameBoy Advance. With a downloaded map though, without it it would have taken me 3x as long.
Good game, but not 1/10 as worthy as Super Metroid.

One of my favourites from my childhood, but I think you'd have to be a bit mental to play this instead of grabbing a copy of Zero Mission. Smilie

Exactly, i think Zero Mission is fantastic and i really want them to emulate the upgrade to Metroid II!

Our member of the week

I can still beat this in one go and get the best ending without saves personally... As long as you know the tricks that you can take advantage of to avoid getting hit too much and to quickly and effectively replenish your health, it's not THAT hard. Prior knowledge helps greatly of course, like having already played the game before several times with a printed map handy Smilie.

(IMHO Metroid Zero Mission did only one thing wrong: giving the player directions as to where it needed to go... the essence of Metroid is to figure out where you need to go all by yourself, otherwise it doesn't feel rewarding at all)

Cubed3 Limited Staff :: Review and Feature Writer

I tried playing this a while ago but I just couldn't get into it and played Zero Mission instead. I don't know what it is, but I just can't seem to like just about every 8-bit game I've played so far.

Good review Shane! Got it with the Ambassador update last year and did enjoy it. Tough, tough, tough but still decent fun on the move - the save feature sounds like a good move too!

Cubed3 Admin/Founder & Designer

Ambassador FTW!Smilie

3DS Friend Code: 163342003583
NNID: FlyingKickPunch
Add me!

Good game but hard...hard hard hard hard HAAAAAARRDDDDDD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It is not wise to speak on subjects you do not know all facts about, nor is it smart to judge a game based on looks alone. PSN: Nintendo_Gamer 3DS: 4296-3029-7422
Our member of the week

I don't know if the reason I don't find it THAT hard is that it was the first Nintendo game I ever played, or if I'm simply good at 8-bit games in general Smilie.

I mean come on, as long as you spend time collecting upgrades, learn to take advantage of the enemies' really dumb AI and read their basic pattern, and so long as you make clever use of the ice beam for immobilising to most troublesome of them, then it's definitely manageable for any normally skilled player... I suppose.

It's nowhere near as hard as, say... Super Ghouls n' Ghosts Smilie.

( Edited 11.04.2012 00:31 by RudyC3 )

Cubed3 Limited Staff :: Review and Feature Writer

RudyC3 said:
It's nowhere near as hard as, say... Super Ghouls n' Ghosts Smilie.

Do love it, though. I remember when I got it and for ages I didn't know you could double jump and couldn't get over the first obstacle. I miss being a kid.

Metroid was bloody hard. I actually went backwards. Super Metroid was my first, fell in love with it, best game ever. Then got Metroid II. Somehow beat that as well. Metroid... No, I couldn't be arsed with restarting at the beginning when dying and the password system. 3DS sounds like the best way to play it now.

Agree that the one thing wrong with Zero Mission was telling you where to go. I don't need that in my Metroid games, thank you! Great update, though, and a Metroid II remake and new 2D Metroid are badly needed.

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