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Deer Force: A Super Metroid Retrospective

One of the greatest games of all-time is now out on the Wii U’s Virtual Console for just 30 cents even though the offer lasts only for another three weeks. The game I’m talking about is of course Super Metroid. Honestly, I never beaten this game when it was originally out on the Super Nintendo back in 1995 as I was more of a Donkey Kong Country type of person back then. When it did come out on the Wii’s Virtual Console a few years ago, that was my chance to see for myself why it is that good other than watching numerous speedruns and it definitely lived up to that title. As part of the Famicom's 25th anniversary deal on the Wii U, Super Metroid is just 30 cents for a limited time and it is a deal anyone should not miss whether you loved the game or not.

Super Metroid
not only was the pinnacle of its own sub-genre, as today's gamers call it “Metroidvania,” it was also did numerous things that games back then didn't do much. One example would be in-game cutscenes. Sure, this would be not a big deal in the 16-bit generation compared to today’s generation of consoles, but Super Metroid never cuts away from the main gameplay screen other than the introduction and prologue escaping from the Ceres space station when telling the story. The infamous moment at the end at the game involving Samus and Mother Brain still remains one of the greatest gaming moments of all-time because of that reason. In addition, that moment with no voice overs, but with lots of emotion, was also why it was so special.

From a gameplay standpoint, Super Metroid nearly improved on everything the NES original didn't have from saving, in-game maps in case players were lost, ammo recharge stations, new weapons, and more. Some of the Metroid staples such as the speed booster, grapple beam, and the screw attack made their debut in Super and as amazing they were being done the first time acquiring them, those moments still feel the same today. That is the case with Metroidvania games in general both past and present in terms of finding that necessary item to move on into an unexplored area or the general feeling of being more badass taking down enemies and bosses that seem hard to defeat at first with ease. The instant gratification from various moments throughout Super Metroid still remains unmatched compared to most of today’s games.

Another big trend setter Super Metroid established back in 1995 was the whole “speedrunning” mentality. You were encouraged to beat the game as fast as possible to get the best possible ending, which has nothing to do with the story, but the reward is still huge. Sure, the reward isn't really much for today's standards, but it was still a big deal at that time. The game gives your ending time after beating it and the percentage of pickups you found as if it gives more motivation to try to find everything next time.

The speedrunning approach to the game also led to players going through the game not in the intended order. What I mean is that you can skip certain items in the game if you’re skilled enough to keep going. This was also the case back in the original Metroid with fighting Ridley first than Kraid, and remains one of the key aspects of the speedrunning culture to this day. Super Metroid is one of the premier games to speed run even in 2013 as new tricks and discoveries are still being found. Over 30,000 people watched a live run of the game earlier this year at Speed Demos Archive’s Awesome Games Done Quick marathon, which raised over $300,000 for the Prevent Cancer Foundation. The video is available to watch below and one of many examples why speedrunning is really popular now thanks to live streaming.

From the perfect gameplay, the instant gratification from various moments, the ambient music, and being the pinnacle for not only a sub-genre, but also a whole different culture of gaming, there are many other reasons why Super Metroid is one of the greatest games of all-time. Its storytelling remains unmatched with lots of emotion and the lack of voice acting as we see a lot in today's games was actually a good thing making certain moments more special. To this day, there have been new tricks and discoveries found for this game, which is always crazy for most retro games. This classic is amazing to play on the Wii U's gamepad screen and this 30 cent deal for a limited time on the Wii U's eShop should not be missed for not just Nintendo fans, but fans of games in general.


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