Nintendo had an outstanding debt with Metroid fans, and they have been given just what they want. Samus Returns is a great work of fidelity with respect to the bases of the series, at the same time as the perfect excuse to recover a forgotten title. Mercury Steam enters the planet SR388 to rescue Metroid II on Nintendo 3DS. Here your analysis.
Playing Metroid is an experience similar to assembling a great puzzle. At first, you have everything ahead, but you lack clues to progress. Only when you walk through its corridors and unravel the map, you begin to obtain references, with the uncertainty that there is always some piece that escapes you. You find it sooner or later, and that’s when you get great satisfaction.
Metroid Samus Returns responds exactly to that feeling. It has pure Metroid essence. The video game forces you to progress through several areas where you always have an eye on the action (upper screen) and another on the map (lower screen). The scheme is true to the license classics, with the acquisition of skills that are opening our way, while defeating the Metroid threat – a total of 40 – on the planet SR388 by mandate of the Galactic Federation.
The scheme is simple and based on what Metroid II: Return of Samus proposed (Game Boy, 1992). Producer Yoshio Sakamoto proposed to Mercury Steam the realization of this remake. While you play and see the great work done, you wonder what would have happened if the Spanish developer had had the opportunity to start from scratch, with something completely new … or even working on another project. It is the only aspect that has separated them from a more ambitious result. Although Samus Returns is extremely faithful to the Metroidian essence, it is also not very risky, and sometimes even too respectful. In any case, someone dares to take away the “dances” to Mercury. The title is unrecognizable with respect to the original, and as an adaptation process, it is a great example for the video game industry, as well as an explosion of talent.
The Metroid we knew
Mercury Steam has done, in a sense, restoration work. Nintendo has given them the original Metroid II map , which they have used as a central reference. If you try the game, we encourage you to make a comparison. It is very interesting. They have greatly respected the structure in areas and even the placement of the enemy Metroid. But there is a big difference: the depth. It’s not that the Game Boy game was simplicity, but Mercury Steam has added several layers of depth to enrich the result.
We have already told you that overcoming the game is practically a puzzle. The developers have had to deal with their own: try to make all this work. It has great merit to rescue a game of so many years and stay faithful, especially considering the risk you run when moving in the thin line between the classic and the novel. Samus Returns is a game clearly focused on the knowledgeable user of Metroid.
Metroid II was a title based on area exploration. When you defeated the Metroid of each zone, you advanced to the next. There were points for saving and acquiring skills that allowed them to move forward. Mercury Steam has collected these guidelines and has vitaminized them. The skeleton is the same, perfected, but the content changes completely. Now there is a greater variety of Metroid to eliminate. We have new superpowers, particularly Aion skills, among which the opportunity to track hidden areas of the map stands out, something that facilitates exploration. Of course, there are also many returning skills, and we let you discover them for yourself to feed the thirst for nostalgia.
As an adaptation process, it is a great example for the videogame industry
Teleports are used to boost backtracking (something fundamental in the series). There is also the integration of a touch functionality to mark points on the map that are especially striking. With all this, the number of secrets and the duration are increased, from 5-6 hours of the original to 12-15 hours of the current video game. This is – perhaps – the best proof of the work done.
If we insist so much on the comparison with the classic Game Boy, it is because the work done is very interesting, but also because it serves to explain one of the few but important criticisms: Samus Returns is somewhat outdated and repetitive. Despite the changes introduced, the advance scheme is monotonous, as well as the battles against the Metroid, which although more varied, consist of very similar patterns and designs. Missing moments that change the playable rhythm, with special situations.
Yoshio Sakamoto has failed to tell Mercury Steam about … “surprise me.” It would have been good to break the schemes, even partially. Obviously, there has been no intention. Even so, removing this, which is a purely conceptual aspect, we have to talk about a brilliant execution. It is one of the titles of Nintendo 3DS that we recommend playing with good helmets and the butt 3D effect. The ambiance achieved makes us feel within the galactic fantasy that involves driving Samus Aran on the planet SR388 in search of matroids.
Samus Returns is a game clearly focused on the knowledgeable Metroid user.
Several factors contribute to this. The most important is the control of Samus, with 360-degree pointing (in Metroid II there was no diagonal shooting) and an outstanding response through the analog stick. It is very satisfying. As a detail, the New Nintendo 3DS C-Stick has not been used, so the experience is similar in the different versions of the machine. Special mention deserves the counterattack, proclaimed as one of the great novelties. It is, but not to the point of meaning a “game-changer.” We made heavy use during the first bars of the game, but little by little it was losing importance.
Another fundamental aspect is the sound treatment, in all its aspects. A lot of synthetic rhythms, according to the essence Metroid, and accompany us on a trip that is portrayed by varied and charismatic scenarios. The narrative is generated by what we do with Samus, our confrontations and what the sets tell us. No need for kinematics or texts. Just great.
The video game is not very difficult to overcome, but there are multiple moments when you get stuck, you may even think that there is a bug (feeling very ninety). In any case, the set is fairly balanced. It is an intricate work, nothing simple, but that has been solved exemplary given the circumstances. We have the thorn to know what Mercury could have done with a project of greater freedom, but surely this helps them to continue climbing positions in the international scene. And to us to enjoy, in this case, a Metroid of those of a lifetime, which already felt like…
Metroid Samus Returns is an exemplary reconstruction work. It maintains the skeleton of the classic Game Boy, with tremendous respect for the license keys, but adding novelties with surgeon precision to erect a new video game, with excellent production values. Certain elements become repetitive as a result of keeping the DNA intact, but the best thing is that Mercury Steam has shown great talent in a production that surely opens many doors.
- Pure Metroid: maintains the license bases in a respectful way
- An excellent reconstruction work carried out on the basis of Metroid II
- The introductions made, with surgeon’s precision, to strengthen the result
- Great setting, both for the graphic and sound factor
- The 3D effect is so surprising that it should be used throughout the game
- Something repetitive in terms of structure and clashes with enemies
- He misses a greater will to surprise