Letter from the Editor…
She’s back. I was initially skeptical about Metroid: Other M. It looked like it was trying too hard to be Ninja Gaiden with all its talky cut scenes, and when I remembered how confusing and laughable that game’s “story” was, I was annoyed that Team Ninja, not-so-great storytellers, were the ones chosen to provide Samus’ ultimate back story. Then there was the sideways remote control scheme– how could a series now known for so many suits, weapons and power-ups work with an NES amalgam? Then there’s the awkward flipping the remote toward the screen for first-person view in which you can’t move, and that’s nothing to not note the technicolor graphics that were more “radical ’90s” than the muted, realistic colors of the Metroid Prime series.
How could I be excited about something like that? Metroid’s one of my favorite series, and there were so many checkboxes I could scratch off as a reason to not look forward to Metroid: Other M (did I mention the title’s dumb, too?). But the simple reason why I’m extremely excited to play this game very, very soon is that I got to try it at E3. And it was a total blast. Yes, due to the many points above, this isn’t exactly a Metroid game as Retro would have made it, or even Nintendo with its fantastic Game Boy Advance titles. Metroid: Other M is a hybrid of other studios’ creations, with Team Ninja flair thrown in for a new direction. But whatever misgivings I had about the game evaporated once I saw it in action and got to play it.
I like Solitary Samus as much as anyone else, but her world is so fascinating and ripe for exploration, so getting all these cut scenes, which are actually better acted than expected, is welcome. I don’t have to read 10,000 words of text like I did in the Prime games; I get acted out drama and interaction. I’ve also always loved 2.5-D games (hurrah, Klonoa and Yoshi’s Island), and Other M pulls this off very well. And when I finally stepped into one of the thunderdome rooms of death for a boss battle against a pair of wicked, invisible lemur-meets-chameleon monsters, I was hooked. The music was out of Terminator, I was running in all different directions in a 3D space, and the stress of having to find a safe place to stop for just a few seconds to switch to first person mode and fire missiles at the spot I thought an invisible assailant stood was thrilling. It was also hard– in spite of the auto-aiming easiness of the side scrolling platforming action, the boss battle kicked my butt. At one point, I was saved when I had a few seconds to stand in a safe spot to “focus” and therefore bring my 5% life bar back up to full before I was lashed by the flicking tails of my invisible enemies. But I overcame them, and I immediately wanted more.
Metroid: Other M isn’t the Metroid games of yesteryear, but it is still a lot of fun and further builds out a sci fi world that demands this attention to detail. But before we get into any official reviews on the game, we want to spend this week getting to the root of things: Samus and the Metroid games, and why we love them. Female main characters are hard to come by in video games, and Samus was the trailblazer. Yet does that matter? We’ll get into that this week, as well as touch on Super Metroid, the series’ fantastic soundtrack and much more.
Issue 13: The Return of Samus
Samus Aran: The Woman Within by Adam Sorice
Is Samus a step forward for women in gaming or nothing more than a male fantasy?
Tidman’s Take: There Was A Super Metroid!? by Matthew Tidman
Tidman might be a bit out of the loop on this whole Metroid craze.
Music to Hunt By by Andrew Hsieh
Until Metroid Prime, one of the features of a Metroid game’s soundtrack was that players often forgot there was music at all. Nintendojo examines these lost sounds in more detail.
The Family Woes by Adam Sorice
Think Nintendo’s one big, happy family? Think again.
Hot Air: Mothered by Aaron Roberts
Free Space Pirates! Rise up against Mother Brain’s tyranny!
Save Me! by Aaron Roberts
How the Metroid series pioneered the art of saving games, after a fashion.
Nester 64X: Wait, Samus is a chick? by Nester64x
Nester recounts the shocking, and confusing experience of learning Samus Aran’s gender.
The First Smash Sister by Francisco Naranjo
Just as Samus pioneered being one of the first female main characters in gaming, she was also the first to step into the Smash Bros. arena.
Additional features in this issue…
- Nightly News Roundup by M. Noah Ward
- Poll: Which Metroid Is Best? by Aaron Roberts
- Nightly News Roundup by Abhinay Sawant
- Dojo-Show-Go! Episode 106 by M. Noah Ward
- Nightly News Roundup by Evan Campbell
- Nightly News Roundup by Andrew Hsieh
- Nightly News Roundup by Aaron Roberts
Coming Up Next Week…
Issue 14: Grandma’s Gonna Kick Your Ass
Seniors. Gaming. You know you want some.