[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.
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.
Game Profile: Super Metroid
Developer: Intelligent Systems
System: Super Nintendo
Release Date: 4.18.94
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.
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