By Owen Scrivener
It’s been six years since Samus Aran last had a major role in gaming. Nine since her last decent entry. Understandably her treasured but fragile franchise has collected dust over that time, particularly since her departure from the silent protagonist formula of the Prime series.
On Metroid’s thirtieth anniversary Nintendo’s lesser appreciated franchise receives very little thanks apart from a spinoff game nobody asked for. Because of its poor sales in Japan, Nintendo have very little idea how to use the Metroid series, it’s like a Rubix cube they can’t solve.
It’s not all doom and gloom, developer Milton Guasti began work on a project ten years ago. A fan project has breathed new life into the Metroid series. A remade and to-some-degree re-imagined Metroid 2 officially called Another Metroid 2 Remake.
The game appropriated many of its visuals and game play from Metroid Zero Mission and Metroid Fusion, games that appeared on Nintendo’s Gameboy Advanced handheld. As in the original, which appeared on the original Gameboy in 1992, the game is an exploration based side-scroller.
You play Samus Aran, a space-faring bounty hunter commissioned by the Galactic Federation to eliminate the Metroid, a life siphoning parasite, on their home planet SR388. A quota of Metroids must be eliminated to access different parts of the map. The ultimate objective is the extermination of all the Metroids.
The limiting controls of the original game seem to have been overcome by new control input, which lend the game a greater sense of flow. Combat in the original was made tough by Samus’ inability to aim her arm canon at an angle. This element was solved in Super Metroid and carried through main series up until Zero Mission.
This combat limitation made up a significant portion of what made Metroid 2 and the original Metroid so challenging. But even with their removal the combat the challenge remains. Various foes have unique attacks, each requiring different approaches. There are bosses that need a combination of strategies which usually take a couple of turns to figure out.
I have yet to find the tedium if there’s any. The game loses the repetitiveness of the original. An atmospheric soundtrack, backdrops and sound-effects keep in line with the organic worlds the series continued after Super Metroid. Exploration is compelling and thanks to the addition of a map system the world is easy to navigate and back track.
Metroid is a series famous for back-tracking, but because of the vertical nature of the maps in the main entries, this isn’t as much of a problem for completionists as it is for the far-more horizontal 3D Prime series. Some of them are well hidden, but the environments are full of hints at how to find them and actually figuring out how to get them is satisfying.
Overall AM2R retains the elements that made Super Metroid a cult success while staying true to the material that precedes it. You feel alone, the unknown pulls you into new sections of the map. If you can find AM2R, it’s free to download on PC and Linux. It isn’t endorsed by Nintendo, so please support the official games on Nintendo eShop for 3DS and WiiU.
Header Metroid II, Nintendo