Super Metroid was released in 1994 for the Super Nintendo. It is one of the most iconic games of the nineties and certainly one of the most iconic games for the Super Nintendo. It is the third game in the Metroid series. It is a side-scrolling 2D adventure/action/platform game.
The focuses on Samus Aran’s mission to recover a stolen sample of Metroid larva shortly after the events of the second Metroid game. Samus takes this sample to a laboratory, where scientists are discovering how to harness the power of the Metroid larva. Shortly after leaving, Samus receives a distress signal from the system where the lab is located. When she returns, she finds all the scientists dead. At this point, the game’s lead antagonist, Ridley, steals the Metroid larva.
When this game was first released in the early nineties, the Science Fiction genre was fairly popular as a whole. Nintendo were seemingly heavily influenced by the “Alien” series of films since the beginning of development of the Metroid series, as there are many similarities with the Metroid games and the Alien films (strong female lead, similar plot lines, places named similarly to places in the films). Yoshio Sakamoto has since stated that the 1979 film “Alien” was a “great influence” on the Metroid universe. The film’s creature designer, H.R. Giger, is also cited as an influence on the game.
The game features a large use of colour, whilst still managing to maintain an atmosphere. Given that this game was released in 1994 on hardware that is seen by today’s standard as extremely limited, you can only appreciate how difficult that must have been to implement. Further to this, a lot of games that come out today seem to rely more and more on sparing use of colour to create an atmosphere, so to achieve a similar feeling without limiting themselves with their choice of colours is no mean feat.
The game begins with a text based monologue from the point of view of the game’s main character, Samus Aran, which explains the story up to that point. After this point, there is little to no extra dialogue, leaving you fully immersed with what is happening. This is probably more to do with the limitations of the hardware at the time, but the resulting immersion happens as a result of this and ends up working to the game’s strengths.
What is also important to remember is that this game was released at a time when games were starting to get more and more complex. Super Metroid is one of the earliest examples of a platformer that I can think of which has such a large level of exploration, similar to that of an RPG, combined with standard platformer gameplay.
On a personal level, this game goes down as one of the all time classics. For a game that came out on 1994, it still holds up not only in a gameplay perspective, but also in an artistic sense.