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Metroid Fusion (Game Boy Advance) Review

Review for Metroid Fusion on Game Boy Advance - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Nine years without a Metroid game, in 2003 we are blessed with not one, but two games starring our favorite bounty hunter. While Metroid Prime on the GameCube has taken Samus to an all new first person perspective, Fusion returns to the side scrolling days of old, which in many respects is a good thing. But with Metroid Prime ready to rock the gaming world, is Metroid Fusion a worthy sister? You better believe it is!

No rest for a bounty hunter, while leading a mission on the Planet SR388, Samus Aran becomes infected by an X parasite that almost kills her in the process. To save her scientists use Metroid DNA to kill the infection however her suit becomes partially infected. The parasite is then sent to a orbital research station only to begin mimicking various powerful life forms. As Samus arrives at the station she finds the station deserted and run with X parasites. Samus must take it into her own hands to eliminate the X, venturing deep into the station, collecting various power ups and destroying all the X that have stolen her special abilities. But this mission will involve her coming face to face with her greatest enemy. Herself.

As good visuals as you're going to get on a GBA, the sleek crisp graphics are a joy to look at. The cartoony models are more than needed to sustain a GBA game and although no attempt at a 3D environment has been made, Fusion's graphics are a vast improvement on the SNES Metroid. Nintendo did a terrific job of getting the visuals clear and sleek, using highly detailed backgrounds and an impressive array of colours and atmosphere. The various beams and missile to produce some brilliant mixes of colours and overall becomes an extremely attractive game.

Screenshot for Metroid Fusion on Game Boy Advance - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Located in a deserted space station, the music fits the atmosphere just right and gives a real sense of loneliness and emptiness. However, when the action really heats up the music turns to a fast paced and adrenaline rushing beat. When you let loose a barrage of rockets or detonate a power bomb, the explosion given in full volume and not at all muffled by the GBA's minimal speakers. All the retro music from the original Metroid music make a proud return making long fans of the series feel right at home. Although there are moments of no music, the usual steps and door opening noises make it so the atmosphere is kept tense, right up till you run into an angry space pirate. In between elevator scenes which take you from one area of the ship to the other, there is a quick FMV (sadly just a still drawn photo) of Samus reflecting upon her discoveries and usually prophesizing what you will next find.

Of course the best part of the game has to be the addictive and fast paced gameplay. Like in the original Metroid there are special abilities you must either download from download points or collect them from Boss fights. To begin with all you have is your normal blaster that you fire by pressing B, but as you progress through the game you will collect the wave, plasma and charge beams. Plus added to your arsenal are bombs and missiles you can also upgrade. Not only weapons but from bosses you can collect abilities like the screw attack and morph ball that original Metroid fans will recognize instantly. Scattered around the levels are various power ups that increase your missile, bomb or energy size. You can also find improvements on your suit to help you withstand gravity, heat and ice.

Screenshot for Metroid Fusion on Game Boy Advance - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Running about leaping off platforms, firing missiles, and then using the morph ball to escape is one thing that makes Fusion so great. It is the excellent mix of platforming finesse and side scrolling shooting that makes it into such a well rounded package. At times the mode of will play will be having to scale up and up to reach the next door, then in the next room you will have to use all your fast reflexes to take out all the enemies on screen before you run out of energy. However nonstop action is not what Metroid games are about. Sadly backtracking must be done, in many cases there are colour coded doors that can only be opened when the appropriate beam has been acquired, which you must acquire by killing the appropriate boss. So when you find and kill that boss, you will have to return to an already visited area and progress into the previously unreachable place. This all made easy by the trusty map that shows what areas you have yet to visit.

New players should also learn to look out for cracked walls and dents in the ground as more often than not these open up with a well placed missile and lead to new areas. The bosses themselves range from hard to amazingly difficult. Mastering the spin jump which if done from side to side can effectively make Samus fly is a hard task in itself, but using it to scale upwards and then fire at a huge mutant spider is even tougher. And the return of Ripley is certainly something older fans should be pleased about. The only real problem is that the evil Samus is pretty easy, which is a real anti-climax as she had been stalking you through most parts of the game.

Screenshot for Metroid Fusion on Game Boy Advance - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Apart from the main deck there are 6 sectors for you to explore, that the Computer will guide you though, giving orders on where to go to next, ensuring you never get lost and bored, although some may find this essence of aid takes away some of the challenge. With all the backtracking though, some may feel aggrieved to the idea and see it as Nintendo not designing enough levels, but it is not a large enough factor to become a real problem really.

If you wish to find every single last power up in Metroid Fusion the game can last you for up to 6 hours, but after that it is over. Done. No more, except for a harder version of the game to complete and link up with Metroid Prime. The fact the game is very short does make you feel as if it was over all to soon, but in that short period of time you have enjoyed a piece of gaming greatness. This is the Metroid of old, and it is as good as ever.

Screenshot for Metroid Fusion on Game Boy Advance- on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Gameplay

If you have never played a Metroid game, this is a good place to start, if you are a veteran to Samus' exploits, then welcome back. It is the same as it has always been, with the only real problem of back tracking being on the cards, but the fast addictive style of old has returned with new strength.

Graphics

The lush visuals are bright and crisp, all wrapped up in the cartoon style first seen on the SNES all those years ago. The environments are detailed and all the effects are good enough to generate a game far superior looking to the SNES.

Sound

Though there are moments of complete silence, all the sound effects and background music do generate a very atmospheric and lonely theme, that is only ended when the aliens show up, and Samus then has to start dishing out the pain accompanied by rapid retro tunes.

Value

The time playing this game is a pure joy, it is just a crime that once you reach the end there is nothing left to do, and you reach this point far sooner than you like, even if you try and find everything Fusion has to offer.

Cubed3 Rating

9/10
Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

About this score
Rated 9 out of 10

A true triumph from Nintendo that does the series proud. With both the GBA and GC Metroid games being of the highest quality, it is safe to say that after a long break, Ms. Aran is back and she certainly has brought with her the goods. If you own a GBA you must own this game, it is simply that good.

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19.03.2003

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Developer

Intelligent Systems

Publisher

Nintendo

Genre

2D Platformer

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  10/10 (10 Votes)

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

Reader comments - add yours today Comments on this Review

i've been having problems getting in since monday. tonight seems to be really bad for some reason, took me about 10mins and several hundred refreshs to get in.

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We'll be back and running full steam soon enough! :Smilie

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
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