Iggy’s World: Metroid Fusion
Oh 2002, the last year I played video games until I came running back in 2011. One of the last games I remembered dedicating hours and hours of my time towards Metroid Fusion, a 10 year sequel to the acclaimed Super Metroid. While I have memories of playing Super on the SNES, my first true Metroid game starts with Fusion. Staying up till the morning finding all the secrets in the game. It’s been over ten years since I’ve played this game and thanks to the Wii U I’m able to revisit a childhood memory. Let’s see if the baby holds up after a decade of waiting!
While I haven’t reviewed Super Metroid properly, for me it’s simply impossible to not reference Super Metroid when talking about Metroid Fusion. So with that being established, Metroid Fusion starts off with something that no Metroid game prior has done. Open with a story! Yes, the player is given the back story of Samus’s adventures from the previous two games giving context for the adventure ahead. The previous two games simply started and the game was underway, giving the player little to no information forcing them to forge on their own.
The story itself revolves around the recently discovered X parasite, and Samus being overtaken by said Parasite. Samus loses her power suit (in Metroid tradition) and is asked to investigate BLS space laboratory after an explosion occurred. After exploring the top of the base, Samus discovers that the X have become a threat and it’s her turn to stop her. While the plot starts out as simple, events unfold it becomes engaging towards the end of the game. I give credit for Nintendo for putting Samus in this type of story, which leads to Fusions greatest strength.
Before diving into the game play, Metroid Fusion has an incredible atmosphere. While Super Metroid had the feeling of exploring the unknown and the sense of adventure, Fusion is downright creepy at points. From the music sound effects to level design and when you combine that with Samus’s weakened state, it can be downright unsettling to play it. It’s not a survival horror game by any means, but it feels like one. Especially when during several segments when one particular enemy chases you, and if you turn to face it you die.
I won’t ruin the surprise, but those small segments are worth their weight in gold.
So what about Samus herself? What exactly has changed over 10 years since the last time she was seen on a Nintendo console? Samus herself doesn’t control nearly as floaty, she feels like she has weight on her. Which makes jumping around a less pain in the ass. However this does lead to a nerf of Samus’s wall jumping ability. Instead of being able to wall jump off one wall, Samus pushes to far off to peform this trick. Lucky the area’s are built around the nerf. It doesn’t hinder the overall experience of the game, which is the important aspect.
Now here is where Fusion deviates from previous installments. Instead of not telling the player where to go, Samus is given an objective prior to entering an area and the location of said objective. Not being a die hard Metroid fan I didn’t mind this since you’re not given a direct route to it, allowing you to explore the area how you choose. Just don’t expect to sequence break like in Super Metroid, but if this is your first then you notice this minor flaw.
Sticking to changes the way Samus obtains her upgrades is also different. This time around you can’t miss them as the plot will deem when and how you obtain them. It’s does make the game feel linear, but only people who played Super first will have this feeling. If this is your first time, these will seem as simple game mechanics. In fact I’ll say that Fusion is the perfect 2D Metroid game to dip your toes in and understand the basics before moving to the deeper side of the pool.
The only negative aspects of Fusion are the music, as it’s more atmospheric than memorable. It’s a solid soundtrack from top to bottom, but don’t expect to remember it unless your playing the game. The boss battles are also pretty easy as they provide little challenge even in the early stages of the game. They are fun, but if you’re looking for a challenge then this isn’t the game for you.
To sum it all up, Metroid Fusion is a great game with a great atmosphere. While it did limit certain aspects from previous games it allows new players to dip their toes without alienating older fans. Combine that with an engaging story and you have a great gate into the world of Metroid.
Metroid Fusion earns an 8/10