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15 Years of Super Metroid (Update!)
by Maxwell Jensen on 04/16/09 06:16:00 am   Featured Blogs

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The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.

 

[This Saturday will mark the 15th anniversary of Super Metroid's release back in 1994. This is my homage to the greatest game ever made... In my opinion, of course.]

*Update* Just in time for the anniversary I've complete my Super Metroid Statue piece!

15 Years of Super Metroid

It was my tenth birthday and my mother took me to Toys 'R' Us to choose any three Super Nintendo games I wanted. Being ten years old this was practically the greatest day of my life. I scanned through the library of games like a sugar buzzed humming bird fluttering from one flower to the next, completely conflicted as to what to take home with me. ...Because you see kiddies, back in 1994 there weren't a lot of ways to get the scoop on all the latest games, at least not for a ten year old. There wasn't no internet's, no IGNs or GameFaqs ... All we had was a handful of gaming magazines (which unfortunately, I didn't own) and maybe the sparse rant of a short commercial on television. Video Games hadn't quite hit primetime just yet.

So anyhow ... There I was, standing in front of dozens of different SNES games and I had no idea what I wanted. This wasn't like when I would rent a game from the grocery store for a dollar and then just return it a week later, oh no no no. When you buy a game it sticks with you for LIFE, it was a big deal ... for me at least.

It must have been an hour later and I had finally picked out two of my three choices. For the first game I chose a title by Capcom called Mega Man X, because I had heard at camp the previous summer that there was an awesome new Mega Man game out for the Super Nintendo, and instead of fighting "so and so man", you fought bosses that were named after animals! Myself being a huge fan of Mega Man 2, was sold.

The second game was chosen more out of a strange, 10 year old curiosity, it was called ClayFighter - and was supposedly created entirely by using clay models ... That had to be cool, right? ClayFighter had been chosen by a hair over Super Street Fighter II ... I've had to live with the consequences of that decision my entire life.

...And then I saw it. Standing several feet tall, a cardboard display of what looked like an orange and yellow robot football player, and above the robots awesome metal head sat the title: Super Metroid. What the hell was a metroid? And why was said metroid so super? I had to know. I had to have this game. I could tell just from the box art that this game was going to rock. Super Metroid was the third game I brought home with me that day and it was the easiest choice I had ever made as a ten year old.

Photobucket
That's right, now you're playing with power.


Game Profile: Super Metroid
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Intelligent Systems
System: Super Nintendo
Release Date: 4.18.94
Genre: Action/Platform

Super Metroid is extremely high on the emphasis of planet Zebes' vast environments and the mood of this game is what ultimately defines and supports its solid foundation. I always believed that the reason behind putting the atmospheric setting front and center was to pull the player right into the boots of Samus Aran. Almost as if to place you onto the dark and stormy surface of Zebes and say "Go on, go explore - just remember that there are no friendly faces here and only you and Samus can figure this one out. Good luck".

That feeling of isolation, pitting Samus and I alone against the legions of Mother Brains minions and not knowing what to expect through the next set of doors was an incredible experience as a young gamer. Even from the first moments of the game I knew it was something special.

As you make your way through the tunnels and pathways of Zebes the emotions range from coasting along in neutral as you explore basic enemy filled areas to suddenly kicking the adrenaline into high gear by trapping you unexpectedly and forcing you to fight an intense boss to the death.

I remember the first time I encountered Kraid, the games first big boss - standing almost three screens tall, I literally jumped from the suspense factor the game consistently delivers flawlessly. All caused by simply waiting for something to happen after entering his chamber. That was the first time a video game physically startled me but as Kraid began to rise from the ground like some kind of epic titan - I stood ready as Samus Aran - but I was also putty in the hands of the games design intentions.

Photobucket
A great example of Super Metroid's beautiful graphics,
shown here in statue form are
four of the main bosses.

The fact that Super Metroid carries this sense of awareness in relation to the mood transpires across every aspect of the game. The moody inspiration is apparent in every single one of the games huge areas, every one containing hours worth of playtime.

Each location feels completely unique and creates its own identity with the help of a distinct color palette, gorgeous graphics, a fantastic, almost ambient centered soundtrack, a massive range of different enemy creatures, plenty of weapon/suit upgrades and challenging situational puzzles ... Not to mention the purely epic boss battles. It all comes together perfectly.

Photobucket
Mother Brain. Need I say more?

From the very beginning of the game as Samus explores an eerily quiet space station to the explosive grand finale - Super Metroid owns the emotion, the action, the surroundings and the very essence of the players experience through a finely tuned, complete design.

15 long years later I can proudly say that Super Metroid is my favorite game and probably always will be, for an entire childhood worth of reasons.

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