Hello again gamers and welcome back to our 100 reviews in 100 days countdown!
Dropping the Bomb in the 33 position…
When people ask me what my favorite console of all time is, I always say “Sega Genesis!” I say this because I’m a pretentious d-bag. In my crazy head, saying Genesis gives me more street cred than saying Super Nintendo. Because, uh, you can totally have nerd street cred. I swear that’s a thing. But if I’m being honest with myself, the system that I spent by far the most time on was the Super Nintendo. And it’s not even close. I don’t have any way of tallying up my total play time on the SNES, so I’ll estimate that I spent a full year of actual man-hours on that little grey and purple box. Sega had some truly amazing titles on the Genesis and for a little while there they were eating Nintendo’s lunch in the early 90s, but when the dust settled nobody in their right minds could argue that Nintendo did anything less than beat the ever-loving shit out of everything else on the market. Really, from the launch of the NES through the lifecycle of the N64, Nintendo was Rambo and everyone else was Brian Dennehy’s character from First Blood. It was just a slaughter. While Sega had the best popular franchise of the era, (have a look at my review of Sonic the Hedgehog for more on that), Nintendo largely built their success on the backs of Mario and Link. But here’s the dirty little secret: Samus Aran is, by a mile, the best fucking hero Nintendo ever came up with, and I’d want her in my fox hole over Mario or Link any day of the week and twice on Sunday.
ALWAYS REMEMBER: BLAME GAMBIT AND HIS PET-SKELETON THRONE
Super Metroid, the third installation in Samus’s story, is widely held to be the best entry in the series and in all honesty, I can’t disagree. The game is basically perfect. It’s beautiful, exciting, fun, dynamic, accessible and interesting. It checks every box you could possibly want checked. Forget being the greatest action-platformer of all time; this is one of the greatest games ever made, and if I were in charge of the rankings this’d be much higher. Unfortunately all the notes I gave to Gambit about this list were summarily used by him to wipe the chicken grease off his chin as he feasts in his throne made of kitten and puppy skeletons while cackling maniacally and issuing edicts to the Newbiverse staff in pig-latin, so Samus’s best outing is sitting in the 30s. Fantastic. It’s worth noting now that this game is still very available for play, by the by. If you have a Wii or a WiiU, you absolutely should get the Virtual Console version and play the shit out of it. It holds up shockingly well, and shows ninety nine percent of the throwback platformers you see on the Xbox and Playstation stores for exactly what they are; nostalgia capitalization. This is the real deal, and those new games can suck it.
KILLING ALIENS AND BREAKING BOUNDARIES LIKE A BOSS
Metroid has always been an oddball franchise. It never saw the success of the Mario or Zelda/Link games, even though it was always better than both of them. This is for a couple of reasons; its appeal wasn’t as broad, and it was way way waaaaaay more difficult. Pretty much anybody with thumbs and the hand-eye coordination of a six year old can eventually muddle their way through a Mario or Zelda title from the NES/SNES era, even if they’d never touched a controller in their lives. Metroid wasn’t having any of that shit. You wanted to kill Mother Brain? You were going to fucking earn it, pal. You had to have the physical dexterity, puzzle solving skills, dedication and intuition to get the job done. That’s not a task for the casual gamer, and Metroid’s success always suffered a little bit for it, which is a shame.
On top of that, Metroid is the only major game franchise that I can think of that features a strong female protagonist that isn’t hyper-sexualized, or even really makes a point of the fact that your protagonist is a woman in the first place. (The fact that I can’t think of a second franchise where this is the case off the top of my head is a god damn travesty, by the way). The series gets some credit for this, but not nearly enough. Samus Aran is, irrefutably, one of the greatest video game heroes in the history of ever, and she gets overlooked way too often. She’s a badass bounty hunter with brains, skill, weaponry that would make Ironman shit himself and sprint, and the fact that she’s a woman is presented as just a matter of fact, exactly the way it should be. Samus deserves far more attention and praise than she gets from a historical perspective because most of the praise she gets is for just being female. What’s overlooked is that she is also a tremendously compelling hero and character.
YOU OWE IT TO YOURSELF. PLAY IT. RIGHT NOW. SERIOUSLY, STOP READING THIS AND GO PLAY THIS GAME. WHY THE HELL ARE YOU STILL READING THIS AND NOT PLAYING SUPER METROID? EVENTUALLY SOMEONE WILL LISTEN TO ME, I JUST KNOW IT.
Obviously, I’m biased. I’ve been a big Metroid fan for most of my life. Writing the review for this has made me want to go replay the whole damn series. But even with my bias, I don’t think anyone would argue with me about Super Metroid being the greatest entry in one of the all-time great franchises. If you prefer Metroid Prime or the original Metroid, I can’t say I blame you. Every game in the series is freaking phenomenal. But Super Metroid remains my favorite and that’s probably got more to do with the time in my life when it came along. I think most people always have a special affection for the things they were nuts about when they were 12 or 13, and this is one of those things where I just can’t be objective. It’s been five years since we’ve seen a Metroid game released (Metroid: Other M, was released in 2010), and I’m hoping we won’t have to wait too much longer. If I could give this game a higher ranking than 5 out of 5, I absolutely would. It’s that damn good.