A revitalization of the old action-exploration formula

Christophe Byrd

THE WASHINGTON POST – After Mario and Zelda, Nintendo’s most revered franchise is arguably Metroid, the sci-fi series that follows the exploits of Samus Aran, a space bounty hunter who has the distinction of being the first major female avatar in the game on this side of Mrs. Pac-Man. The beginning Metroid The games (like the Zelda titles) have introduced players to the pleasure of exploring labyrinthine maps that gradually reveal their secrets as Samus gains new abilities, granting him access to previously closed areas.

Terror Metroid is structured around the idea that Samus is being stalked through environments by a threat for which his normal abilities don’t match. It takes up the narrative thread of Metroid Fusion (2002) and, according to game producer Yoshio Sakamoto, who helped design the original Metroid In the mid-1980s, inspiration for the game emerged over fifteen years ago, but technical limitations kept it from coming to fruition at the time. Fortunately, the wait was worth it.

A short prologue at the start of the game sums up Samus’ adventures so far: While exploring an alien planet, SR388, she was infected with a parasite X, an entity that can “absorb the DNA of its host, alive or dead, and replicate its form.The only known natural predators of the X-Parasite are the Metroids, biologically modified creatures that were created by an alien race, the Chozo, to counter them.

Luckily for Samus, an experimental vaccine made from Metroid DNA contained her infection and made her immune to future contagion from the X parasite. After her recovery, Samus placed a space station on a collision course with SR388 to eradicate the threat. . Sadly, a video from an unknown sender sent to Samus’ client, the Galactic Federation, shows an X-Parasite floating in the wild on the planet ZDR. Deeming the parasite as a clear and present danger to the entire universe, the Federation sends seven powerful robots, EMMI (Extraplanetary Multiform Mobile Identifier), to ZDR to search for and collect DNA samples. When the robots fail to report, Samus is sent to the planet to assess the situation.

Shortly after landing, she takes an elevator to an underground facility where she is confronted by a towering Chozo warrior named Raven Beak who easily defeats her in battle. Raven Beak’s attack leaves her stricken with a sort of “physical amnesia” which robs her of her abilities. (If there’s ever been a cliché that needs to be eliminated in video games, it’s amnesia.) Soon after Samus begins exploring the area, she discovers that the EMMIs have been hacked for the target.

While many thought “Dread” would be a true sequel to the horror-tinged “Metroid Fusion”, it’s more accurate to say it’s a continuation of that story. PHOTO: NINTENDO

The story in Terror Metroid plays in the background for its gameplay and atmosphere. The plot beats provide a setting for the action, not a psychological study of the characters. Rather, what lingers in mind are the tight controls, inspired boss fights, and the fantastic layout of the environments.

Terror Metroid skillfully alternates between making the player powerful and helpless. Long before Samus acquires anything like her super missiles or her plasma beam, she’s equipped to defeat any regular enemies that come her way. However, when entering one of the monochrome colored areas patrolled by a lone EMMI, she has no choice but to sneak into the area as stealthily as possible until she finds a source. energy capable of temporarily boosting her weapon so she can take on one of the otherwise invincible robots.

EMMI meetings are equipped Terror Metroid with suspense as the boss fights, of which there are several, add another welcome layer of tension.

While it is helpful to have quick reflexes when fighting, for example, a Chozo soldier who can quickly switch between melee attacks and projectile attacks, more often than not your observation skills will lead you to victory. . As one of the game’s tutorials says, “No attack is inevitable.” Additionally, there are certain attacks that can be used to your advantage as a number of bosses lose health and ammo if you hit them at certain times or parry their hits.

In terms of design, what impressed me the most Terror Metroid was the way the developers walk you through the sprawling areas of the game. While there are plenty of incentives to go back after Samus acquired a new bonus, the game never wasted my time. At no point was I needlessly sent through environments to figure out where to go next. Usually, when Samus gains a new bonus, there’s a place nearby where she can use it to unlock a previously unexplored suite of rooms. The game does not lack internal momentum.

Terror Metroid is a notable achievement that builds on the old action-exploration formula.


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