Super Metroid

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Template:Infobox CVG Super Metroid is the third installment in the Metroid series of video games. It was developed by Nintendo's R&D1 team, and released for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in 1994. With its 24-megabit cartridge size, it was the largest game available for the console at the time.

Super Metroid is a 2D platform game with action and adventure elements. Game progression revolves around sequentially gathering power-ups that allow Samus to overcome obstacles in order to access new parts of the world. The world has a non-linear layout and features plentiful hidden areas, making exploration a central concept.

In-game story line

Template:Spoilers

Prologue

After managing to extinguish the Metroids on SR-388 (the planet from which the species originated) in Metroid II: Return of Samus, bounty hunter Samus Aran brings the last surviving Metroid larva to the Ceres Space Colony. There, scientists conduct research on the larva and reach the conclusion that the powers of Metroids could be harnessed for the benefit of mankind. Confident that things are in order, Samus leaves Ceres in search of a new bounty to hunt. However, shortly after leaving, Samus picks up a distress call from Ceres and returns to investigate.

File:Super Metroid title.png
Super Metroid title screen

In the first playable sequence of the game, the player controls Samus through a short series of corridors inside the space colony. In the laboratory where the Metroid larva was being studied, she finds its container shattered and the scientists dead on the floor. Continuing, Samus finally reaches a dead-end room where she finds the Metroid larva in the claws of the dragon-like Ridley, one of the Space Pirate leaders.

Samus and Ridley engage in battle, but Ridley soon flies off with the larva in his talons. At the same time, a countdown sets off for the self-destruction of the space colony and the player has 60 seconds to return to Samus' gunship. After reaching the exit, the first playable sequence ends and a cut scene shows Samus trailing Ridley to the planet Zebes, the home of the Space Pirates that was destroyed in the first Metroid game but has now been rebuilt. She sets out to locate the Metroid larva and prevent the Pirates from gaining use of its powers.

Exploration of Zebes

The main sequence of the game begins when the player emerges from Samus' gunship, which hovers above the rocky surface of Zebes in an area called Crateria. There is an ongoing thunderstorm, with thick rain falling. As in the previous games, Samus is forced to delve into the planet through its complex cavities in order to hunt down the Space Pirates.

As Samus first enters the tunnel system of Crateria, the area is completely desolate with no sign of Space Pirate activity. She makes her way to the ruins of Tourian, the Pirates' headquarters and lair of Mother Brain, which she destroyed on her last visit. Moving deeper, she reaches Brinstar, the area where the first Metroid game started, and there she finds the first upgrade, the Morphing Ball. Upon collecting this critical item, a spotlight activates, focusing on Samus. Once Samus returns to Crateria, she finds the planet now swarming with dangerous creatures and Space Pirates.

The Four Leaders

After crawling her way throuh Crateria (and finding new upgrades along the way), Samus encounters the next incarnation of the Tourian base, which is guarded by four statues. In order to unlock the gate into Tourian, Samus must defeat the four Space Pirate leaders.

Samus finds another route into Brinstar and slowly makes her way through the subterranian jungle until she reaches the entrance to Norfair. When the realizes that the path to the first leader, Kraid, is blocked by a high cliff, Samus searches for high jump boots in Norfair. After obtaining them, Samus defeats Kraid and moves on to Norfair, but she soon realizes that the path to Ridley's Lair is blocked. Therefore, she travels to the crashed ruins of a ship near Crateria to defeat the second Leader (Phantoom) and obtain a suit that can withstand Ridley's lava moat. Along the way, Samus makes a stop in the underwater ocean of Maridia to slay the third Space Pirate Leader (Draygon).

Throughout this long quest, Samus encounters secret passages and native animals that assist her greatly in acheving her goals.

After the journey through Zebes and the destruction of three out of the four Leaders, Samus finally had the equipment she needed to take on Ridley in the core of Zebes. During her journey to the center of Zebes, Samus fights hoards of monsters, including elite Space Pirates and lava monsters. One of the largest battles of Samus' career breaks out when she finally encounters Ridley. However, Samus, with the help of her newfound technology, manages to defeat the Space Pirate.

Finale

File:Super Metroid statues.png
The entrance to Tourian is blocked by a statue of the Pirate leaders Kraid, Ridley, Phantoon and Draygon. Only after defeating all of them will the statue give way for Samus.

After defeating Ridley in Norfair, the fiery underworld of the planet Zebes, Samus finds the container from the Space Colony shattered and empty. With no trace of the hatchling in sight, Samus sets course for the rebuilt Tourian, the command center for the entire Zebesian fortress.

The entrance to Tourian is guarded by a giant golden statue of the four Pirate bosses. As the door locks behind Samus, the eyes of the statue begin to burst one by one, and each part fades to silver. Once all the parts have faded, an earthquake begins. The statue sinks slowly into the mire below it, and the floor collapses, revealing the elevator to Tourian.

Tourian

File:Super Metroid Tourian.png
In Tourian, Samus discovers that the Pirates' Metroid breeding program has been successful.

Samus battles her way through the familiar, metallic corridors of the new Tourian, destroying everything in her path. The Pirates have already succeeded in jump-starting their Metroid breeding program, and although the many Metroids Samus encounters are clones of the larva she saved from SR388, they harbor no affection for the bounty hunter. After dispatching them all, she finds herself in a very different environment, possibly meant to replicate conditions on SR388. After bypassing some heavily-armored Side Hoppers, Samus finds the remains of a Torizo alone in a small chamber. Upon touching the creature, it crumbles away to dust, apparently sucked dry by a Metroid. The next room is filled with similar, dried remains of various enemies. As she examines them, a living giant blue Side Hopper approaches her.

Suddenly, a Metroid of incredible size appears, engulfing the Side Hopper and swiftly consuming all of its life energy. Before Samus can even move to escape, the giant creature is upon her, draining her as well. She prepares for death, but then, at the last moment, the Metroid releases her and begins to chirp apologetically. It appears that this huge Metroid is the larva from SR388, and it has recognized Samus just in time. According to the Nintendo Power Player's Guide, the huge Metroid is aptly named "Super Metroid".

Mother Brain

After the Metroid leaves, Samus is fortunate to find a nearby energy station and restores herself to full power. After overcoming the few remaining obstacles, she finds Mother Brain's chamber. Once there, she shatters the brain's stasis tank and begins to pummel it with missiles. The brain turns quickly from red to a sickly gray color, and as its support columns explode, it falls to the floor with a thud.

File:Super Metroid Mother Brain tank.png
As in Metroid, Mother Brain awaits at the core of Tourian. Samus must shatter its glass tank while dodging the automated defense cannons and staying clear of the acidic lava.

But unlike Samus' last encounter with Mother Brain, the battle does not end here. The seemingly lifeless brain rises from the floor, supported by a giant cyborg body. Mother Brain begins to actively attack Samus with a variety of deadly projectiles from its mouth, eye, and mechanical arms. As Samus dodges these attacks and continues to damage the creature, Mother Brain prepares its most devastating attack, closing its eye and drawing energy toward its brain. The eye suddenly opens, releasing a powerful "Hyper Beam" that pins Samus to the wall and drains an enormous amount of energy. Samus is severely weakened by the onslaught, unable to retaliate or even stand. The player loses control of Samus at this point.

As Mother Brain charges its attack one last time, the Metroid hatchling suddenly flies into the chamber and grasps onto the brain with its enormous fangs, just as the Hyper Beam is released. Mother Brain screams in protest as the Metroid drains its energy, and it falls to its knees, its body devoid of color.

File:Super Metroid Mother Brain hyperbeam.png
After some time in its second form, the Mother Brain employs its most deadly weapon, a beam of such force that it presses Samus to the wall, ultimately rendering her powerless and unable to stand.

The Metroid hatchling floats down to Samus, and gently grasps her body as it begins to refill her energy tanks. However, before this task is done, Mother Brain slowly revives itself, rising from the ground for one final battle. It fires deadly rings of energy into the Metroid, severely injuring it, but the Metroid does not budge before completely refilling Samus' energy tanks, determined to save its "mother", knowing that if it does not finish the task, Samus will stand no chance of surviving. Samus's energy is restored, and the Metroid releases Samus and lunges at its attacker, but Mother Brain is quicker to react this time, and destroys the Metroid in mid-air. The Metroid has saved its imprinted mother at the cost of its own life.

Samus stands up once again, and control is handed back over to the player. Samus' beam weapons have been replaced with the Hyper Beam, transferred to her by the Metroid hatchling. The powerful weapon is able to quickly defeat Mother Brain, destroying its mechanical body and causing the brain to fall to the ground. Mother Brain attempts to scream out one last time, but crumbles into dust.

In a manner similar to the original Metroid (and many subsequent games), Mother Brain's destruction activates a time bomb, leaving the player with minutes to escape the planet. Samus must reach the escape shaft of the original Tourian, amidst Space Pirates and deadly acid, and head towards her ship on the surface.

Just seconds before the blast, Samus encounters a group of the animals that assisted her throughout the adventure. Without hesitation, she blasts a hole in the wall that leads to their ship. Meanwhile, Samus makes a mad dash toward her own vessel as the seconds tick away.

In the final cutscene, the planetary crust of Zebes begins to crack like an eggshell, until finally an enormous blast of energy is released. Then, as the light starts to subside, Zebes is now nothing more than a ball of flame, and spiraling away from it is Samus' gunship. The bounty hunter has escaped alive and has completely annihilated the Space Pirates on Zebes.

Gameplay

Related article: Items in the Metroid series

Special Abilities

The first two abilities do not require any special items to perform.

Wall Jump 
A technique that allows Samus to jump off vertical surfaces by hitting a wall or edge at the correct angle and pressing the jump button at the right moment. The technique is mastered by a group of friendly aliens who demonstrate it to the player, although it should be noted that Samus carries this ability from the start.
Moon Walk 
If activated from the main options menu before beginning play, Samus can fire her arm cannon while walking backwards.
Crystal Flash 
This ability replenishes Samus' energy by reconstructing her Power Suit within an orb of light. It requires that her energy be less than 50, including reserve tanks. In addition, she must carry a minimum of 10 missiles, 10 super missiles and 11 power bombs, which will be expended during the regeneration process. Perform this by morphing, selecting power bombs, and holding the aim up, aim down, and directional down buttons. Then hold down the fire button.
Charge Bomb 
This ability uses a power bomb in conjunction with the charge beam to unleash a devastating area attack. Select the Charge beam and exactly one other beam, (Ice, Wave, Spazer, or Plasma), then select power bombs and hold the fire button to charge the beam. The attack will be performed automatically, and will use one power bomb.
Pseudo Screw Attack 
Samus can imitate the effects of the Screw Attack by spin jumping after powering up the charge beam. This will do heavy damage to the first enemy she touches during her jump, but it is not as powerful as the Screw Attack and does not affect some enemies. If the enemy is not destroyed, Samus may also take damage. The charge beam must be reactivated after each time this technique is used.
Bomb Spread 
If Samus morphs while her Charge Beam is fully charged, she will drop five Bombs at once, which spread out and bounce off walls and floors.
Bomb Jump 
By carefully timing her placement of bombs, Samus can propel herself upwards indefinitely. This way, Samus can reach places normally only accessible with the hi-jump or space jump. With some focus, it is possible to Bomb Jump horizontally.

Items

File:Samus Aran Super Metroid screenshot.gif
Super Metroid incarnation of Samus' Gravity Suit.

All of the items available in the previous two games except for the Spider Ball exist in Super Metroid along with many new ones. For weapons, see the weapon-section below.

Morphing Ball 
This item gives Samus the ability to morph into a ball, allowing access to narrow tunnels.
Spring Ball 
Gives Samus the ability to jump while she's morphed into a ball.
High Jump Boots 
Doubles the height of Samus' jump.
Speed Booster 
Grants Samus the ability to run incredibly fast and break through dash blocks. Also enables the techniques known as the Super Jump and Shoulder Dash, wherein Samus stores the energy of the Speed Booster to perform a powerful, long-distance charge. The Super Jump is also known as the Shinespark. This name was verified as official in Metroid Fusion after the player completes a difficult "obstacle course" using this technique.
Space Jump 
Allows Samus to repeatedly jump in midair.
Grapple Beam 
Used with grapple blocks, this electromagnetic beam allows Samus to swing over chasms she could not jump over. It can also be used as a low-power weapon, or to grab faraway items.
X-Ray Visor 
When used, Samus can see hidden passages and what type of destructible blocks are in the field of vision.

Weapons

File:Super Metroid inventory.png
From the inventory screen, the player can enable or disable weapons and other abilities that Samus has gathered by collecting power-ups.

The use of weapons in Super Metroid is twofold: to defeat enemies and to overcome obstacles found in the environment.

Power beam 
Samus' starting weapon, which is relatively weak and therefore useless against some enemies and most bosses. There are five upgrades, however, which increase the abilities of the power beam somehow. Ammunition is unlimited for the power beam as well as for all the other beam weapons.
Charge beam 
An upgrade to the power beam that lets the player fire much more powerful shots.
Ice beam 
The Ice beam is capable of freezing enemies, effectively making them harmless and additionally making them as a sort of "stepping stone".
Wave beam 
Enables shots to pass through walls and other solid objects.
Spazer beam 
Makes shots larger and more powerful.
Plasma beam 
Greatly enhances beam power. Allows beams to pass through multiple enemies. Cannot be combined with Spazer.
Hyper beam 
The strongest beam available, able to destroy normally unpassable obstacles. Replaces all other equipped beams.
Missiles 
Missiles are used to open locked doors and to defeat enemies that are invulnerable to regular beams. Samus is not equipped with any missiles from the start so she has to collect them on her way.
Super missiles 
Super missiles are similar to missiles, but carry five times the power, fly much faster, and can dislodge enemies hanging on the walls. They are capable of opening doors that missiles can't budge. In addition, there are many enemies that cannot be destroyed with any other weapon in Samus' arsenal.
Bombs 
Primarily needed for destroying objects that block Samus' path. Bombs can be used to defeat enemies, but are usually not very effective for that purpose.
Power bombs 
A single detonation of a power bomb destroys all regular enemies and bomb-destructible obstacles on the screen. There are some blocks and doors that can only be cleared with Power Bombs.
Screw attack 
A jumping technique that transforms Samus' jump into a whirling sawblade of energy. Virtually any enemy she contacts while in this state will be instantly destroyed.

Areas

Ceres Space Colony
Ceres Space Colony is where the game begins and is the scene of the discovery that the Metroids could be used for the good of mankind.
Crateria
The surface area of planet Zebes. The surface of the planet is plagued by acid rain, thus the living creatures are mostly found below surface level.
Brinstar
The jungle area of Zebes, teeming with life. The area of Brinstar explored in this game is mostly different from that of the original mission. It appears that parts of old Brinstar have been absorbed into Maridia. Kraid's hideout is located in this area.
Norfair
It lies deep below the surface and thus requires that its visitors carry sufficient protection from the incredible heat. Ancient Chozo ruins can be found in the deepest parts of lower Norfair, where the dragon Ridley rules supreme.
File:Super Metroid ingame.png
In the aquatic world of Maridia, Samus encounters many strange creatures.
The Wrecked Ship
A long time ago, astronauts belonging to an ancient civilization crashed on Zebes. This is what remains of their space ship. The ghost Phantoon has shut down the Wrecked Ship, making most of it unaccessible at first. Due to the location of the Space Pirate Mother Ship in Metroid: Zero Mission, fans have speculated that it is intended to be the Wrecked Ship depicted in Super Metroid. However, Zero Mission director Yoshio Sakamoto has dismissed this possibility, saying that the two ships are separate[1].
Maridia
The water world of Zebes. Most of Maridia occupies territory that was once part of Brinstar. The area contains an aquatic Pirate laboratory where they have bred a mostly unsuccessful Metroid clone called the Mochtroid. The giant crustacean creature Draygon is the guardian of this area.
Tourian
The control center of the Zebesian Space Pirates and the Mother Brain. The location has shifted to a more secure area since the first Metroid game, when Samus wreaked havoc on the Space Pirates' plans.

Enemies

Bosses

The bosses are listed in chronological order in which Samus encounters each one of them. Template:Spoiler

Ridley
Ridley, the dragon whom Samus fought in the original NES game, makes his comeback as one of the hardest bosses in the game. He is responsible for the bloodbath at Ceres Space Station and the kidnapping of the Metroid larva.
Kraid
Kraid, who was part of the miniboss duo (the other one being Ridley) of the original NES game, makes its comeback, but is considerably larger, taking up the space of two vertical screens. Although many players speculated that Kraid somehow grew since the first game, Metroid: Zero Mission has since retconned Kraid to have a consistent size between games. Outside Kraid's chamber, a seemingly fresh carcass is found, which some claim to be the body of Adam Malkovich referred to by Samus in Metroid Fusion, or Armstrong Houston from the Super Metroid comics.
Phantoon
Phantoon is a ghostly flying skull who taps into Mother Brain's brainwaves and feeds off the Wrecked Ship's energy supply.
Draygon
Draygon is an enormous sea creature that resides in Maridia. Her hard armour-like shell provides her with a great amount of defensive strength. There is a trick to defeating her that involves the grappling beam.
Mother Brain
The final boss, this entity is a disembodied brain in a tank protected by deadly Rinka laser rings, automated defense cannons, and self-regenerating organic life support conduits known as Zeebetites. Once damaged sufficiently, the Mother Brain attaches itself to a powerful cybernetic body, which allows it to attack intruders directly.

Mini-bosses

Torizo
The Torizo appears to be a simple Chozo statue which possesses the Bomb item, until Samus takes the item from it. A Chozo-like creature then bursts out of the statue and attacks using its claws, energy waves, and fake item spheres.
Spore Spawn
The Spore Spawn is a native inhabitant of the subterranean jungles of Brinstar. It consists of an entire room of plant biomatter connected to a large, head-like pod. The pod can swing throughout most of the room, limiting Samus' range of movement severely. Spores also drop from the ceiling during the entire battle. These cause damage, but they can be destroyed for energy or missile refills. The main pod opens occasionally to reveal a vulnerable core which must be struck with charge beam shots or missiles.
Crocomire
This denizen of Norfair is a red, thick-skinned beast with eight eyes which can tolerate even the hottest temperatures. It is massive, and its primary mode of attack consists of rushing toward Samus in an attempt to push her back into a spiked wall. It can also strike her with its long arms and spit energy orbs from its mouth. Like Kraid, its mouth is its weak point. Shooting it here will drive it back toward a lava pit, which proves deadly to the beast when it falls in.
Botwoon
Botwoon is a serpent-like creature with a crocodile's head. Its main attack simply consists of rushing between the various burrows in its chamber in wide arcs. It will occasionally reveal only its head from one of the burrows and will shoot energy beams at Samus. Target its head to destroy it.
Golden Torizo
Another incarnation of the Torizo, fought in lower Norfair. This opponent is very powerful, possessing all the attacks of the normal Torizo along with some new ones. It is immune to normal Missiles, and can catch Super Missiles fired at it, throwing them back at Samus and causing significant damage.

Friends

Not all inhabitants of Zebes are hostile towards Samus; many do not actively attack her and some are harmless altogether. In Brinstar, Samus may also encounter the following helpful creatures:

Etecoons
A wall-jumping trio of small, four-limbed creatures that demonstrate the difficult wall-jumping technique with considerable ease. They are encountered in an area that can only be exited through the use of wall-jumping, bomb-jumping, or space jumping. These creatures are green in Super Metroid, but appear blue in Metroid Fusion and other artwork.
Dachora
A green alien that resembles an ostrich. The Dachora demonstrates the Shinespark technique, which is required to escape from the area in which it is found.

After defeating Mother Brain and starting the self-destruction of Zebes, the player may choose to save these friendly creatures. A flashing metal door appears in Crateria, the one that originally led the player to acquire the bomb ability. In this chamber the creatures appear to be trapped. Samus can destroy the opposite facing wall so that the aliens may escape. This causes a slight change in the ending cutscene, in which a flash of light can be seen escaping from the planet. This ending is presumably canon, as the creatures show up alive and well in Metroid Fusion.

Development

Credits

Producers
Graphics designers
  • Hirofumi Matsuoka (backgrounds)
  • Masahiko Mashimo (backgrounds)
  • Hiroyuki Kimura (backgrounds)
  • Tohru Ohsawa (objects)
  • Tomoyoshi Yamane (objects)
  • Hiroji Kiyotake (Samus original design)
  • Tomomi Yamane (Samus)
Sound and music
Programmers
  • Kenji Imai (program direction)
  • Kenji Nakajima (system coordination)
  • Yoshikazu Mori (system)
  • Isamu Kubota (Samus)
  • Misturu Matsumoto (events)
  • Yasuhiko Fujii (enemies)
  • Motomu Chikaraishi (map)
  • Kouichi Abe (assistant)

Reception

Super Metroid remains one of the most popular and critically praised games for the Super NES.

It frequently appears in "best games of all time" lists; Electronic Gaming Monthly has named Super Metroid the best game of all time [2], and IGN ranked it the third best game of all time in its 2003 "top 100" list, and tenth best game of all time in its mot recent 2005 list, with the motivation:

"Hailed as one of the best 2D adventures ever, Nintendo's sci-fi epic still provides one of the most thought out and intriguing gameplay experiences around. Ranging from extensive platform challenges to gigantic boss battles to a comprehensive power-up system, Super Metroid has attained a divine place in the hearts of longtime gamers. Certainly, it stands as something players and developers can idolize for years to come." [3]

Swedish game publication Super PLAY ranked Super Metroid number 6 in the "top 100" list its March 2003 issue, commenting on its atmosphere (the following is a translation from Swedish):

The graphics and sound form a wonderful symbiosis, creating an almost tangible atmosphere. Concerning the looks, there is no individual part that sticks out; the game maintains an even, stable, and thoroughly crafted graphical style. The music mostly consists of reserved, dark and mystical melodies that lurk in the background. After a while they consume you, fully immersing you in the Samus role. And the role is indeed an exciting one to play. The pure joy of exploration is on top and makes you thirst for more constantly.

In a Metroid feature in its December 2002 issue, Super PLAY also noted the game's care to detail:

Super Metroid remains one of the most well made adventures ever produced. Every detail, from the echoing ice shafts to the statue that shifts color to illustrate which of the game's four bosses have been defeated, is indicative of an almost manic dedication among the developers at R&D1.

Pushing the limits

In recent times, players have decided to push the game to its limits. Many players have begun to manipulate glitches to achieve extremely fast times, such as beating the game with 100% in under one hour, or in less than 40 minutes without 100%. Other players attempt to complete the game with as little or as much as possible within certain boundaries. Some players have been able to complete the game with only 14%, and others are able to obtain up to 81% of items without fighting any boss or mini-boss beyond the Torizo fight for bombs. Additionally, a glitch called the Space-Time Beam has been found that resets most of the game to its initial state, allowing players to play through the game again with all of their current weapons except missiles.

The current world record for getting 100% of the items is held by a person whose screen name is Red Scarlet, who accomplishes this in 55 minutes (according to the in-game clock). Using emulator save-and-undo features, 100% times as low as 45 minutes have been achieved.

See also

References

  1. ^ Question 2 of the "Metroid FAQ", Metroid Zero Mission Official Site, accessed September 14, 2005.

External links

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