Welcome to my first review for Mana Pop! For my extremely short introduction, I’m Robin Wolfe. Enough about me, we’re here to look at Metroid II – Return of Samus, which I just finished recently.
Now, the Metroid series holds a treasured spot in my heart and it’s a shame it has taken me this long to get to this title, since I’ve played a fair amount of the games. Access to the game was the primary point of holding me back, as it is a Gameboy title, and originally I didn’t know or care about a Metroid game until Super Metroid for the SNES. Now with Metroid Other M, Prime 2 and 3 completed, I figured it’s time to reach back, since Metroid 2 is available on the 3DS as a Virtual Console title.
Now a little about the gameplay…
Since this set on the Gameboy, you got your directional pad, A and B. Fairly complex right? Well, let’s not forget about Start and Select, especially Select since you can’t beat the game without it. A is jump, B is shoot, Start is pause or save if you’re standing on a save point, and Select is switch to and from missiles which are needed to kill metroids. Thankfully on the 3DS Virtual console, this gets button mapped to Y for easy access. You can aim up or forward for shooting and downwards if you’re in the air. Shooting diagonally was added for Super Metroid, so not having it for Metroid 2 gives me a greater appreciation of it’s introduction.
You can have up to 3 beam shots on the screen at once which is fairly considerate. This isn’t a problem at all since the screen is small, you’ll have Ice Beam for most of the game anyways, and unless you’re doing a strong speed run you won’t feel limited by it. If you are doing a speed run, you probably know how to work around it optimally anyway. Shooting missiles is a different story though, you can only have 1 on the screen at a time. This means shooting metroids from a distance trades safety for time. Later in the game when you fight the more evolved metroids, safety isn’t much of a thing anymore, so you’ll feel like you wish you could shoot faster, which there is a way. Getting right up in a metroid’s face so that the missile has minimal screen time thus the access of unloading a whole bunch. Being in front of an evolved metroid is asking for pain though, thankfully this gets fixed in later games through increased missile travel speed, or being able to shoot multiple at once. The problem only arises for evolved metroids and the last boss the Metroid Queen since you REALLY don’t want to touch her. Barring other damage methods that I didn’t know of, the Metroid Queen had me expend 170 missiles to take her down.
Moving while jumping triggers the traditional somersault jump. Unfortunately it seems a bit unrefined in this title, for if you fall for too long you exit out of somersaulting which feels a bit disorienting. This is especially annoying when you have the Screw Attack, since you lose your invincibility and damage capability. On the topic of jumping, whenever you take damage you get an extra jump in mid air. This seems a bit unbalanced, although I can see its intention. If you’re in a spike pit, it allows you to get out easier, since when you fall back on it shortly after flinching you’re going to take damage again real soon. This could of been tweaked by increasing invincibility be 0.3 seconds and allowing players to jump out, instead of magically mid air jumping for no reason. It’s the standard jump at that, not the somersault, so it can’t be chalked up to Space Jump, Super Metroid’s Wall Jump or anything like that. This becomes very apparent when you take damage from any projectile or enemy, as you can essentially stay in the air at the cost of health. Beyond missile capabilities and mid-air damage jumping the game controls just fine.
Before I forget, like the first Metroid game there is still no map. You are going to get lost, which is fine for awhile but you will get fed up, and likely look online on where to go. This could have been easily fixed using the Start button while paused. Aside from the map, since these problems aren’t a frequent problem I still give the controls a fair score of 7/10.
For the Gameboy I’d say the graphics are great considering most of the game had a colourless feel of Super Metroid, a game on a system with better graphic capability. Not much more to be said, they did what they could with what they had at the time. Compared to what we have now, obviously it doesn’t compare, but we aren’t those kinds of people to weigh that as a factor. Thus an extremely high score for visuals of 9/10.
The sound effects are great and fitting. Although, The music depends on what zone you’re in. In some parts it’s fitting of the area where in other areas it’s filled with weird delayed beep boops like you’re in a technology zone. Except it’s not played in tech filled areas, instead it’s played in damp cave like areas with creatures and moss, etc. Overall Metroid 2 gets a fairly high score for sound of 8/10.
Within the game itself, very little story is told. You immediately start beside your parked ship, and you go into the planet blasting at anything that hurts you aside from liquids and spikes. The only story you’re going to get is what comes with the box, the fact that you’re killing 39 metroids and when you beat the last boss, a baby metroid follows you around until you get in your ship and the screen fades to black. From what I gather through sources, Samus has gone to the metroid planet to put them to extinction so that the Space Pirates can’t use them as biological weapons. Score of 3/10.
Differing from story itself, a lot of people know that content is another matter. Take a look at Mario Kart or Smash Bros (aside from Brawl). I’m unaware of if there are multiple endings for Metroid 2, but there are a lot of power ups, and hidden passages. Some hidden paths are so ridiculously placed you’d ask yourself multiple times why it was put there the way it was. Meanwhile, some are repeated like a tradition for areas that are similar to places you’ve been to already.
A lot of the power ups are the same from Super Metroid, which is a larger and richer game so this Gameboy prequel gets credit to being comparable. 7 ability power ups, 4 beam power ups which unfortunately don’t stack on each other, and the multiple energy tank and missile tank placements allow you to always find joy in exploration. I spent 6.5 hours completing this game, excluding game overs and loading saves. Content gets a 9/10.
Metroid II: Return of Samus
Controls - 7/10
Graphics - 9/10
Sound - 8/10
Story - 3/10
Content - 9/10
User Review( votes)
Overall a good game
Aside from the lack of story which is forgivable since it’s a Gameboy game, Metroid 2 – Return of Samus is a good game. If you liked Super Metroid or Metroid Fusion, you’ll like this game. Meanwhile vice versa also applies. I recommend picking this game up, it’s fairly easy to get a hold of if you own a 3DS.
You can grab it from Club Nintendo before it closes this summer for 150 coins.
Metroid 2 for Club Nintendo Coins
Or you can buy it for $4. Good deal for a game with 6+ hours of play.
Metroid 2 for $4 on Nintendo eShop