With the upcoming launch of Metroid 5 DREAD on the Switch, you may be thinking about replaying the series from the start to get up to speed on the story line but is the original Metroid, released in 1986 on the Nintendo Entertainment System, really worth replaying today?
Selling 2.73 million copies back in 1986 was a big deal but considering the Switch has nearly sold 90 million units, many players may not have experienced what this 8-bit classic has to offer.
You play as Samus Aran, a female bounty hunter sent to retrieve the Metroid from planet Zebes. These Metroids, that are parasitic organisms, were stolen by space pirates that plan on using them as bio weapons. The game is a 2D platformer that focuses on exploration, with boss fights added throughout, during your adventure you help Samus find power-ups for her power suit that has an arm canon and can morph into a ball. These upgrades and hidden items will help you gain power, as well as; access to increased ammo capacity and abilities to help Samus progress to different areas.
Despite being a 2D platformer you are not locked into a linear playstyle, instead; the game is open world, forcing you to double back on yourself once you have unlocked abilities to progress to new areas. This style of play spanned a whole genre of games and this is what is meant by the term still used today; Metroidvania, based on the playstyles of both Metroid and Castlevania.
For 2021 standards the gameplay is difficult and if you’re not from the era of NES and SNES games then you may be in for a rude awakening. The game is unforgiving and you should only begin if you enjoy being punished! The controls are limited and difficult to master as you lack basic moves such as crouching and shooting, as well as not being able to shoot downward. You have to be precise with your movements to traverse each platform and dodge, avoid or take on the many enemies that span throughout the world. Timing is key as enemies will be coming from all directions and angles at the same time, especially in boss fights, however; the difficulty curve does plateau once you progress far enough to have multiple abilities. This is the type of game that can cause rage quitting as you can easily get lost, it’s easy to be unsure where the next objective or path is as the game does not hold your hand at all.
If you want to take on this challenge it’s available to purchase on the 3DS Virtual Console, Wii U Virtual Console, NES mini or, the best yet, it’s included with a Nintendo Switch Online account so you can play it on your Switch for no extra cost.
So, should you buy Metroid in 2021? If you’re prone to rage quitting or hate old, clunky controls, this game isn’t for you. If you’re an old school lover or have Switch Online then you’ll definitely want to check this one out, however; if you’d prefer an easier playthrough with better visuals, sound and controls it’s worth finding the Gameboy Advance 2004 remake of this game called Metroid Zero Mission. If you’re interested in Zero Mission, watch our gameplay video on 128kb Gameplay or stay tuned for our in-depth Zero Mission Should You Buy video!
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