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Metroid Shrine
Metroid Shrine
Published by Kugyince
Metroid Shrine

A classic that started one of the most incredible sagas in gaming.

In 1986 a new type of game was released for the Nintendo Entertainment System called Metroid featuring dark and warped worlds, alien creatures and an all new star, Samus Aran. The levels of exploration in the game were unmatched by any other of its time and Metroid became all the rage. The creature itself, a metroid, was a parasitic life form capable of draining the life force from any living creature and killing it in the process growing bigger and stronger at the same time. The storyline given along with the size of the world Zebes was all that was needed to launch this game into the archives of gaming history. Metroid has enjoyed unstoppable popularity ever since spawning games such as Metroid II: The Return of Samus (1991, Gameboy), Super Metroid (1994, Super Nintendo), Metroid Prime (2002, GameCube), Metroid Fusion (2002, Gameboy Advance), Metroid: Zero Mission (2004, Gambeboy Advance), Metroid Prime 2: Echoes (2005, GameCube), Metroid Prime Hunters (2005, Nintendo DS) and soon a major motion picture.

Metroid puts you in the role of interstellar bounty hunter Samus Aran. Space pirates are threatening to unleash dangerous creatures called metroids on an unsuspecting universe, and it's up to you to stop them at the source--planet Zebes. You'll need to rely on Samus' weapons and acrobatic abilities to get through Zebes' dangerous environments. At the outset of the game, you're armed with little but a peashooter, but as you explore the surrounding area, you'll soon discover an array of power-ups, such as the maru-mari (which lets you roll up into a ball to get into tight spaces). Jump boots increase the height of your leaps, while weapons such as the ice beam and missiles increase your firepower so you can more effectively combat the game's respawning enemies and memorable bosses. By the time you reach the final battle with Mother Brain, Samus will be bristling with an impressive assortment of fearsome weapons, in addition to energy tanks that soak up damage.

A big part of the fun (or, to some, a big part of the frustration) is finding each power-up and then trying to figure out which parts of the map you can explore further as a result of your newfound abilities. All your backtracking and experimentation contributes greatly to the game's length on a player's first run through but today just about anyone interested in Metroid has probably played it before. As a result, you can run through the game in under an hour if you know exactly what you're doing.

Metroid shared its side-scrolling perspective with games like Super Mario Bros. but for the first time Mario fans were presented with one continuous world that fit together like a puzzle. Many of Zebes' corridors were vertical rather than horizontal, and the game had you revisiting old areas multiple times in order to move deeper into the labyrinth. The gameplay was in many ways closer to an adventure like The Legend of Zelda. Samus started with 99 health points, which were sort of a precursor to the hit points seen in RPGs in that they numerically represented your health. This amount of health could be increased in increments of 100 by finding energy tanks scattered throughout the mazes of Zebes.

Metroid's environments were nicely diversified, ranging from cold blue stone to a molten area and everything in between. Samus herself exhibits decent animation as she runs and jumps about the levels. Her arm cannon also changes color depending on whether you have the beam or missiles enabled for firing. Monsters have a decent amount of variation in appearance, and the bosses are also fairly large. Metroid's superb music evoked the proper feelings of solitude and loneliness one would expect while infiltrating a hostile alien planet alone.

The insane addictiveness of this game not to mention the pure nostalgic value of what was one of the best games of its time makes Metroid a definite must have.

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