You know, I love the Metroid series. I have fond memories of playing the NES game while sitting at the local Boys & Girls Club in Shawnee, Oklahoma, where, for hours a day, a group of friends and I would try to delve deeper into planet Zebes swapping codes (though never finding NARPAS SWORD) and joking about the fact that if you made your password Justin Bailey that Samus would be in a swimsuit through the entire game.
Please note that during these halcyon days, SNES had been out for years. In fact, the hottest Nintendo console at that time was N64. In our exploration-induced haze, we knew nothing about Samus’ grander adventure in 16 bits. Sitting there, swapping passwords and revealing where you could obtain the ice beam early, was all we needed to enjoy our space pirate hunting. Thinking back, I don’t think any of us made it to Mother Brain, at least not at the club.
But Metroid was, for me, a one-hit wonder. The original game was such a phenomenal feat on the NES hardware that I couldn’t imagine anything ever topping it. In fact, I didn’t even know that Super Metroid existed until many years later. My group of Metroid-obsessed friends never talked about Samus’ future endeavors.
Fast forward to a few years later. I was on a youth trip where we were going around to area churches and hosting vacation Bible school. I was talking with a friend who also played Metroid, and we were discussing Retro’s as-yet-unreleased masterpiece: Metroid Prime. Neither of us knew if it would be any good, but I mentioned that I was surprised Nintendo had left such a great game alone since the Game Boy days. I had seen Metroid II before, though I still have yet to play it.
To my shock, my friend quickly informed me that there was another game, and that it was the best in the series. I scoffed at the notion. How could anything be better than the original Metroid? But he was able to prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that there was a Super Metroid, mostly from the fact that others there with us had played it. It felt like some sort of cruel joke, especially since everyone who played it was quick to point out how much better it was compared to the original.
And yet, even armed with this knowledge, I have yet to play the game. Oh, I can talk all day about how there are always new titles to take up my time, and that tracking it down would be difficult and costly, but really, they’re lame excuses. I play older games all the time, and thanks to the Virtual Console I could download Super Metroid today. Some day I’ll play Super Metroid. Consider it officially added to my bucket list.
I don’t know why such an amazing game was obscured from my knowledge for so long. I may never fully know the perfect storm that kept me from knowing about or playing what many consider to be the best game in one of my favorite series. However, I applaud Nintendo for not forgetting it. The company may have put the series on hiatus for a couple of years, but it has also shown that Samus will never be truly forgotten. Misplaced, maybe, but she’ll always be there fighting the galaxy’s menaces until peace once again returns, and that is definitely something I won’t miss.