Both Metroid Prime 4 and Metroid: Samus Returns are currently in development for the Nintendo Switch and 3DS respectively, and that is exciting news for series fans. Aside from Nintendo validating years of fan-base frustrations, there’s also the distinct pleasure of having to play as Samus Aran again after almost a decade, both in 3D and 2D, satiating the thirst of wannabe extra-terrestrial isolationists across the globe in whichever format they choose.
Huge fans that we are, we thought this would be a great opportunity to highlight what are our 10 favorite titles from the series. The series has had a rough last 10 years but the fact that it’s now back on track, seems like reason enough to celebrate it. Enjoy:
10. Metroid Other M:
Now that the dust is cleared and we officially have Prime back, it’s not hard to look upon Other M (on the Wii) in a kinder, more benevolent light. As a linear, third person combat oriented game, it’s quite OK. As a Metroid game however, it’s a 8 hour long WTF simulator. Paying extreme emphasis on aspects that are the exact opposite of what the franchise is known for and featuring a long, boring storyline with terrible writing and extreme SJW pandering. Rightfully savaged at release and consistently berated to this day by the fanbase, it’s easily the most hated entry in the series. Still, now it can be enjoyed as a moderately entertaining spinoff. Even though PRIME’s return has probably made it non-canon (at least in the minds of us fans). Oh well….
9. Metroid Prime Hunters:
The first handheld foray into the Prime series, Hunters on the DS was touted as being a brand new Prime experience with the handheld’s touch screen aiming for precise aiming and multiplayer capabilities. And while the game did nail smooth aiming, great visuals, addictive multiplayer and the signature Metroid atmosphere as well as introduced the Hunters into the Metroid lore, it failed at two of the most important ingredients that contribute to a successful Metroid game: level design and bosses (likely due to the game’s rushed development). It’s not a bad game, but does not live up to the legacy of the Prime series.
This is where it all began: Shigeru Miyamoto’s sprawling sci-fi adventure on the NES through a labyrinthine overworld teeming with secrets to explore and power-ups to find. The game was praised for its haunting atmosphere and fantastic level design, and its influence (along with Konami’s Castlevania games) led to the creation of an entirely new genre: Metroidvania. Obviously, it hasn’t held up well but it’s still worth checking out to spot some of the design innovations that it led to for the entire industry.
7. Metroid II: Return Of Samus:
Taking place after the events of the NES original, this Gameboy entry was the first time Samus became portable. Despite being the most overlooked Metroid title (perhaps because of limitations due to being on a handheld and tougher difficulty), Return Of Samus retains the atmosphere from the first game and features some of the most intriguing plots ever in a Metroid title. It’s extremely dated in its original form but the upcoming ground-up remake for the 3DS, Metroid: Samus Returns is absolutely fantastic news for both fans and newcomers
6. Metroid Zero Mission:
Released in 2004 for the Gameboy Advance, this is a remake of the first Metroid game and is a massive improvement in every way: better controls, sound, visuals, etc. It’s the definitive way to experience Samus’ original adventure – except for the stealth segment exclusive to the remake which we aren’t a fan of due to being poorly designed and tedious.
5. Metroid Prime 3: Corruption:
Corruption concluded the Prime trilogy with a triumphant hurrah and bought Retro games’ landmark trilogy to a jaw-dropping conclusion. Wrapping up the Phazon storyline in an amazing, action-packed and epic finale. It perfected most of the mechanics included in Prime, whilst providing plenty of room for newcomers to get into the series. Add to that, it devised the best FPS controls scheme for a console in history (with the Wiimote) that allowed Samus to shoot, solve puzzles and navigate through mind bogglingly stunning alien worlds with a sense of fluidity that seems precognitive. Featuring some of the most stunning gameplay of the 7th gaming generation as well as beautiful visuals (for a system ridiculed for being weaker than its competitors), Corruption consolidated what is easily one of the best trilogies in game history and capped off Retro studios’ groundbreaking 5 year work on the Metroid franchise in a landmark fashion.
4. Metroid Prime 2: Echoes:
Considering that we wrote a 4000+ word essay on Echoes should be proof of how much we adore it and are fascinated by it. It’s the most controversial of the Prime trilogy and by far the most difficult, which makes it harder for not only newcomers but fans of the previous games to get into. But for all it’s dubious design decisions, it does a thousand things that modern sequels won’t even dare try. It’s a bold, experimental sequel the like we rarely saw before (and will never see again) that produced some of the most jaw dropping moments in first person gaming, let alone Metroid. This GameCube game was YEARS ahead of its’ time and quite frankly still is. Featuring one of the single greatest levels in gaming history (aka the Sanctuary fortresses) and numerous moments that are still burned to our memory. It’s often called the connoisseurs’ Metroid game, and that feeling is justified. Look past it’s imperfections and you’ll find a game you’ll never, ever forget.
3. Metroid Fusion:
This Gameboy Advance essential is the best handheld Metroid title in our opinion. It injects a fresh wave of fear and enhances the Metroid feel by introducing the SA-X, a ruthless parasite mimicking Samus at peak power that will give chase after her if you encounter it. That, along with tight gameplay, unique mechanic of absorbing X-parasites in the surrounding to regain health, ammo and unique powers and brooding atmosphere make it a must-play game. Despite its mission based approach this time around, it’s still a solid Metroid experience and deserves the #3 spot on the list.
2. Super Metroid:
Very few people will argue that this was (and still is) the single best game on the Super NES. Achieving things on that particular console that seemed impossible until you saw them happening. Featuring fantastic visuals, otherworldly soundtrack and animations that look smoother and faster than most games today. Super Metroid is an essential piece of gaming history that everyone who grew up in the 90’s has memorized every aspect of. A quantum level leap over the first Metroid, this game introduced all of Samus’ hallmark abilities that we have come to know and love and made her traverse through an intimidating alien environment that still possesses the power to make even the most jaded gamer tense and unnerved. Featuring otherworldly exploration and a strong narrative that says a lot by saying very less. It is one of the most landmark titles in video game history and is still as replayable and fresh as it was more than two decades ago.
It might be the best Metroid game ever made, if not for….
1. Metroid Prime:
The first Metroid Prime will remain the most pleasant surprise in gaming history. Nintendo handling development with a then-untested Retro studio on a first person Metroid title for the GameCube attracted a lot of controversy and scorn from fans worldwide. When the game hit however, all the skepticism turned into idol worship as the studio literally created the best game in the franchise on their first attempt at a 3D Metroid game.
Prime is as big a leap from Super Metroid as that game was from the first one and perfectly translates the Metroid experience to 3D. Visuals, soundtrack, controls, atmosphere, level design, enemy design, puzzles, backtracking – EVERYTHING is executed to a degree of borderline perfection. Not only that , it pioneered several trends that went on to define the whole FPS genre as a whole, including being the first game to absolutely nail first person platforming (Even Valve couldn’t do that with the brilliant Half-Life)
To us, it even slightly nudges out the SNES classic in terms of quality (blasphemy to some).Prime is to Metroidvania what Super Mario 64 was to 3D platformers, what Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time was to 3D action-adventure games. In other words, it’s a revolutionary GameCube classic that still hasn’t aged a day and to this day, far exceeds even current gen games in various gameplay aspects; it’s not just the best Metroid game of all time, but also one of the best games ever made.1 Upvote