Post Playthrough Roundup – Metroid (NES)

gameSamus Aran, the badass female bounty hunter who takes shit from no creepy space monster. I first met Nintendo‘s now seemingly neglected heroine in Super Metroid. I was too young to understand what the hell I was doing, but I loved fleeing the exploding space station at the beginning of the game. In a time where game heroes were almost entirely male, little kid me was astonished that this kick ass character was a woman. I wanted to grow up strong and blow up evil monsters just like her. She was the first video game character I ever looked up to, and it was a privilege to finally see her humble 8-Bit origins in the first Metroid game.

How Far I Got

I beat the game on Dec 31st 2016 with the help of an online guide and the almighty cheat code, NARPAS SWORD. I legitimately made it to the final boss with 235 Missiles, 6 Energy Tanks, and the Varia Suit. Unfortunately, that bitchy brain-in-a-jar kept tearing me apart with her malevolent red dots. I was frustrated and had a side quest to beat the game before 2017, so I decided to exact my revenge with infinite health. The stressful platforming section at the end of the game was still a challenge though. No cheat code can help with that.

Completion Progress: My First Hour Bulking Up In Brinstar > Weekly Wrap-Up 2016-12-21 Weekly Wrap-Up 2016-12-28 > Weekly Wrap-Up 2017-01-04

This is my final save code, before I became a dirty cheater.

Lightning Review

Like the other games I’ve played from this historic era, you’re on your own in a very unforgiving 8-bit world. The ultimate goal is to defeat the two mini bosses, Kraid and Ridley, and open the way to the final boss, Mother Brain. Don’t expect the angry denizens of “Planet Zebeth” to give you a break on your mission. They can and will viciously tear you apart as you try to innocently shoot your way through this confusing platforming maze. Luckily, there are many power ups hidden around the planet’s different zones. Each upgrade brings Samus one step closer to becoming the one woman army needed to eradicate the Metroid menace.

Clearly a time before Google Translate existed. Though I doubt it could do much better…

If the constant assault from angry space monsters wasn’t hard enough, also expect to be tricked by sneaky environment puzzle tactics. That acid below you might actually be fake, and jumping in it could be the only way forward. If you’ve hit a dead end, that unremarkable block in the corner could be Morph Ball Bomb-able. Without a guide it’s easy to become hopelessly lost in this tricky maze. The rooms start looking the same, and the monsters keep getting stronger as you progress. It’s incredibly difficult by today’s gaming standards, but also an undeniably fun and rewarding gameplay experience.

The game developers worked well within the limitations of this now ancient technology. The areas of Zebes all have boring solid black backgrounds, but each zone has a different graphical theme. The angry space monsters have varied designs that fit in with the zone as well. I noticed that the more detailed they look, the harder they’re going to hit Samus. When too much was happening on the screen I found that the frame rate frequently plummeted. This was actually a good thing to me though. It felt like super-slow mode was activated, giving me time to think and react.

Against the dull black background, Norfair has a beautiful fiery design. You’re not gonna get far in this room with just 5 energy though.

I’m a huge fan of the electronic music genre, and the incredible 8-bit melodies are my biggest highlight of the game. Sure I died a lot in Norfair, but at least the encouraging music was a reason to keep fighting. From the adventurous melody of Brinstar to the haunting tones that play in Kraid’s Lair, I loved every beat. Of course there are also the expected sounds effects. Samus blaster makes pew-pew noises, and the angry monsters have their deceptively cute growls. But man, that music is something out of this world.

My Overall Biased Opinion
I’m grateful we live in this wonderful cell phone age. I was able to easily snap pictures of that lengthy save code, but I can see it being a pain to write down back in the day. At least there is no save battery that can go dead, but I still found the code a tad annoying. Overall, I’m pleased I got to experience this classic NES gem. However, it did not stand the test of time like the original Zelda game did, and I still prefer the First-person Samus of the Metroid Prime series. If you’re looking for a challenging but fun retro gaming experience, this game will certainly deliver that. If you are just interested in seeing the origins of Samus, the remade Zero Mission version of this title might be the better way to go (I plan to play that someday too).

Memory Lane
SPOILERS AHEAD! You have been warned.

Favourite Story Moment
Games from this great era are a bit lacking in the story department. After downing Kraid and Ridley, it did feel epic to open the path into Mother Brain’s Metroid patrolled lair. At the end of the game, the big reveal of Samus without her suit was pretty meh to me. It was obviously meant as eye candy for a brave man who conquered the game (the better you do the less clad she is *rolls eyes*). Please don’t get me wrong easily enraged internet folks. I’m not judging. I’m just glad that female gamers are treated to loads of eye candy these days too.

Favourite Ability/Item/Weapon
It’s useless in the final area of the game, but I thoroughly enjoyed my brief time with the Wave Beam. It destroyed enemies with ease, and it zoomed through obstacles like they weren’t even there. It also zig-zags in a wave pattern so you don’t have to line up with the angry monsters.

Favorite “Oh S@#%” Moment
After smashing several innocent NES controllers, congrats you’ve finally defeated Mother Brain. Well, you’ve got absolutely ZERO time to relax and revel in your victory. A bomb has been set off and you have a rushed time limit to carefully scale a mountain of tiny platforms. Don’t you dare fall! Oh and if that bomb goes off you have start all over again, at the very beginning of Tourian. No pressure…

Your cruel reward for finally beating the last boss…

Favourite Zone/Level/Area
Kraid’s Lair is my favourite part of the hostile planet. Simply because I loved the music that played here.

Favourite Character
The solo intergalactic bounty hunter, Samus Aran, and definitely not the evil brain-in-a-jar. I wish Nintendo would show Samus more love. Other than adding her to the Smash Bros. roster every title, they seem to be largely ignoring her. Dammit I want to see more Metroid Amiibo, and an epic modern day Metroid game on the Switch!

Most Tedious Gameplay Moment
No matter how many Energy Tanks you have, when you die you have start with a measly 30 energy points. This usually means you have to farm lesser monsters for health if you wish to avoid another quick demise. I read a tip online that said to save a hidden Energy Tank near the start for the end of the game. That way you just grab it to refill all of your energy before tackling Tourian. This was a huge time saver!

33 thoughts on “Post Playthrough Roundup – Metroid (NES)

  1. Woo! Sounds like you had good time 🙂 It’s a shame that Samus doesn’t get much love anymore. She’s a really great character, but judging from Other M… well her story-arc has taken a left turn from “independent bad-ass soldier who eats Metroids for breakfast” to… well… Other M. Hopefully she’ll swing back into a more Metroid Prime direction!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’ve heard stories about how Other M turned Samus into a whiny wimp who regrets killing the evil space monsters. I do own it and plan to play it someday, even if it ruins her character. Nintendo really needs to make another awesome Metroid Prime game!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on Other M once you get around to it… I have my gripes about her character, but I’ll keep them to myself until you have a chance to play!

        They definitely need to go back to the Metroid Prime-type game (and Metroid Prime Samus). Maybe on the Switch??

        Liked by 1 person

  2. (FIRST!) I want it to be known that I read this post as soon as it went up. I would have commented earlier but I got sent back in time while listening to that awesome soundtrack in your link. Anyway, i’m back now so consider this comment retroactively time stamped to the minute you posted.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m so glad that you made your goal of finishing this game in 2016, even if it was just by a hair! I haven’t played any Metroid games myself, but they look pretty awesome and your review is only adding to my desire to play them. I tried not to read the spoiler parts but will definitely be checking out that soundtrack.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ah yes, the original Metroid. I couldn’t stomach it myself – that post-death 30 health units was just too much. I would prefer to reset, put in a password and then have a fighting chance. Problem of course being that this method is so labourious! I ended up giving up a few health tanks in, the lack of health on restart killed the whole experience for me. I played Kid Icarus before Metroid and I absolutely loved that game, so Metroid was a letdown… anyway I’m glad you were able to get enjoyment out of the game in spite of it.

    And yes, the soundtrack rocks. The credits theme… OMG…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Yeah! Someone else who discovered this much later than intended and also loved it despite the lack of nostalgia! Guess it goes to show how good the game is that it can still be discovered today by new players and enjoyed.

    Although I disagree on this vs. Zelda. I feel this has aged better, because I loved every minute of this while the original Zelda feels a little too obtuse for my liking. I mean, I recognise Metroid’s issues, but I felt Zelda had a lot more. But hey, that’s just me I guess!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Most retro games are all new experiences to me, so I’m glad I’m not alone! 🙂

      Yep, my opinion is definitely the opposite, haha. That’s okay though. We all have different tastes and it makes the world more interesting. 🙂


  6. Congratulations on beating it (even with infinite health) and nice review! I’m not a big fan of the first Metroid either, but I respect what it started. I love Super Metroid and the other 2D games, so it’s definitely just this game. I mostly blame what you mentioned in your tedious moments, having to restart with 30 health when you die. Ugh… Yes, Zero Mission is so much better.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh my goodness…so this is kind of funny. It says “Zebeth” in the translation, but I always remember it being “Zebes!” This is reminding me of another time “s” and “th” were interchanged in a translation :p Metroid was the quintessential game that utterly creeped me out to the point that I’m too much of a wuss puss to play it. And the subsequent games just got creepier. I remember in one of the games when you defeat Kraid and Ripley, they blow up and leave only a skeleton that remains there if you return to the room, and of course there’s the abominable Mother Brain. Even the jar version is nightmare fuel, the ambulatory one, well, I try not to think about it at night. I’ll leave such space horrors to you to defeat while I hide in the corner. I may need Samus to teach me her morph ball trick so I can curl into one :p

    I’m glad you at least fulfill your goal to beat the game before 2017! I’m not one to judge over cheat codes either. We used to use the game genie to make gaming life a little easier for us.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It will always be Zebes and Aeris to me.

      You should get her to show you how to use the Morph Ball Bombs too. That way you won’t have to see the abomination but you can destroy it.

      Thank you! A small part of me still feels like a dirty cheater though, lol.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I just feel like I have a lisp! It’s funny because names that end in -th are considered “Names to Run Away From” in TV Tropes land :p There are actually quite a few nefarious sounding names especially in religion that end in that. I’m sure the fact that “death” ends in -th has something to do with that.

        It’s how I felt a bit for not playing/finishing Final Fantasies I-III myself, but I figured I’d seen the game/ending so it counted!

        Liked by 1 person

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