Metroid is one of Nintendo’s most cherished franchises. The series has spanned the NES, Super Nintendo, Game Cube, DS, Wii and I am sure we will see it on the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U at some point. But the series got its start way back in Japan in 1986 with this game simply called Metroid.
Story & Presentation
Many games of the 80’s were not too deep in the story department and in some ways you could say this is true for Metroid. While the game does not have any text in the game telling you what is going on. Thanks to the instruction manual (remember when games actually had them) we know It still has a really cool sci-fi story that sees you playing as a bounty hunter called Samus who is on the hunt for space pirates who are planning to use Metroid’s for their own evil deeds. Set on the Planet Zebes Samus is the only bounty hunter tough enough to destroy the Mother Brain!
For its time Metroid was one of the best looking games on the NES. The game has somewhat plain looking backgrounds, but this really does make the well designed characters stand out more and the various enemy designs all look incredible. As well as looking nice the game has some amazing animation. Despite being an 8-bit sprite Samus looks incredibly bad ass. I think that as far as the early NES games go you could argue that it is between Metroid and Zelda as to what is the best looking NES game of that first generation.
What really sets the tone for Metroid though is the soundtrack. This is one of those soundtracks that is burnt into my brain. The game has a rocking soundtrack when it needs to, but at the same time it also has some really haunting music that just makes you feel a little uneasy. Even though it is an early game Metroid has one of the best soundtracks in the whole NES library.
At the time it was released Metroid did something quite unusual for console games and that was it did away with the standard level system that many other games had. This is a game that is quite non-linear. When you start the game Samus is kind of under powered, but as you explore you will find new items that will expand her abilities giving her new weapons and making her stronger. Some of these new items will actually be require in order to progress to other parts of the game.
For example you may come to an area that has a high platform and there is no way you can reach it. Well once you find the high jump boots you can. You can also find some bombs that can break walls so you can reach other areas. Every item in Metroid has an actual purpose. If you had to put Metroid into just one category then you would have to call it a shooter, but the game is just so much more than that.
Metroid is an absolute classic. This series is still running strong to this day (well apart from Other M!) and with each new Nintendo console and handheld gamers are anticipating the next Metroid game. There are numerous ways you can play this game. You of course can track down the actual NES cart, but the game was also released on the Game Boy Advance and on the Nintendo Virtual Console as well.