Metroid Fusion (Game Boy Advance) Third Opinion Review

By Renan Fontes 02.12.2016 2

Review for Metroid Fusion on Game Boy Advance

After an eight-year silence and a generation without a single Metroid, fans were elated to hear that the series would at last continue on the Game Boy Advance with Metroid Fusion. Taking place where Super Metroid had left off, Fusion makes it its mission to give fans the Metroid experience they'd been missing out on for so long, but with a twist; Samus' adventure was now rooted in survival horror.

When fans of the franchise think back on Metroid Fusion, they're most likely thinking about one thing: SA-X. This time around, Samus' adventure takes her to a desolate, broken down space station. The environment feels more alien than ever, trading the organic landscapes and feel of Zebes and SR388 for a colder, manmade atmosphere that feels almost apocalyptic. Flickering lights and chilling sound design add a feeling of paranoia that are only amplified by Samus' relentless hunter, SA-X.

Throughout her journey, Samus will be followed by and occasionally need to flee from a parasitic version of herself whose only intent is to kill her. Tensions rise as players are forced to scramble for safety, since any altercation with SA-X will most likely lead in death. The horror doesn't end there; SA-X is capable of following Samus throughout multiple rooms before it finally decides to give in and hunt elsewhere.

The feeling of being chased is one Fusion absolutely excels at. Hearing SA-X enter a room and begin its search is heart pounding, with every second needing to be used thoughtfully and carefully to properly escape its grasp.

Another new element of Fusion is its heavy focus on story and character. Samus has frequent conversations with an AI that highlights the loneliness of the space station. Along with numerous internal monologues, Samus comes off as a very introspective character carrying a lot of pain. It's a surprisingly mature angle for a Nintendo game, but it's a very thought provoking and well done one.

Screenshot for Metroid Fusion on Game Boy Advance

Fusion marks the first time Samus interacts and speaks with another character on screen, but it thankfully never feels unnatural. A new fan might even think that the series was always story heavy, given how smooth the character interactions flow in and out of gameplay.

While the heavier emphasis on story is a nice addition, it does unfortunately force Metroid Fusion to be more linear than any other 2D entry in the franchise. By giving the story a bigger centre of attention, sequence breaking is no longer as possible as it once was. Branching paths remain, but they mostly just lead to power-ups instead of fleshed out areas.

It's not a terrible loss, as Fusion is still plenty capable of holding its own, and there are more than enough secrets to satiate fans, but the lack of sequence breaking only serves to hurt the overall quality of the adventure. Fortunately, the gameplay is tighter than ever, expanding on Super Metroid's fast paced run and gun platforming.

Going hand in hand with the polished gameplay is the difficulty. Metroid Fusion manages to balance itself perfectly between too easy and too hard. Bosses offer just enough challenge where they are rarely ever frustrating, but still feel rewarding to beat. SA-X, itself, never feels like an impossibility, either. It chases Samus from start to finish, but the feeling of hopelessness can always be fought back with clever thinking. Running away and surviving is beyond satisfying, and never feels like a chore.

It's text heavy and a bit too linear, but at the end of the day, Metroid Fusion a blood pumping instalment in the franchise that tests the waters for new ideas and, for the most part, succeeds.

Screenshot for Metroid Fusion on Game Boy Advance

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Despite Metroid Fusion's uncharacteristic linearity holding it back, it still manages to invoke that otherworldly sense of exploration the Metroid series is so well known for. Hidden power-ups and goodies are still present, and the emphasis on smooth action feels just as polished as it did in Super Metroid. It makes its new emphasis on story and horror its strengths, without ever forgetting what made the series succeed in the first place. It's an exciting, atmospheric, action packed sequel that more than manages to overcome its sequential story.

Developer

Intelligent Systems

Publisher

Nintendo

Genre

2D Platformer

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  10/10 (11 Votes)

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

Comments

One of the best Metroids.
Loved the gameplay, not fun of the narrative and linearity, though.

Can't a fella drink in peace?
                                -Farnham

Good reference to survival horror. Brings back good memories.

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