Two things happened last night, and both were pretty spectacular: first, Tara and I finally began watching Downton Abbey, and second, I completed Metroid Fusion. Now while I’m sure you’re all dying to know a latecomer’s thoughts on the first episode of season one (awesome!) and who my favorite character is so far (Lame Bates!), I’ll save that topic for another time, perhaps another place. After all, this is Grinding Down, a gamer’s guide to nothing, and so we should talk about the final bosses in a videogame more than the bosses in a fancy, named estate at the risk of being lost.
After the credits for Metroid Fusion rolled and my breathing returned to a normal, healthy pace, some stats were presented. My logged time said just under five hours total, and I collected 45% of available items. I know for a fact most of the missed items were energy tanks, which probably could’ve made life in outer space a wee bit easier given just how much damage Samus takes from a single hit. Oh well. The Internet says that you can beat the game with 1% items found, but I dunno about that. I guess all you need is missiles in the end. But that recorded time of 4 hours and 55 minutes is not an accurate telling of just how much I played this game. Since time played is lost after you died, there’s no true way to know, but I’d wager it took me more around eight or nine hours to get through. Most of the bosses towards the endgame required multiple–and I do mean multiple–attempts just to learn their pattens and an attack plan.
So, let me be frank: I did not enjoy this game. It is extremely difficult and eventually became, in my eyes, masochistic. I was not reminded of my sweet, savory time with Super Metroid. Somehow, I kept coming back to despite the beatings it would deliver to my hands and eyes. On the surface, it didn’t appear any more difficult than Super Metroid was, but Metroid Fusion is more like the original game than anything else, with health quickly deteriorating and not as much chances to refill it as on other adventures. It’s extremely linear, so there was no fear of getting lost, with a non-playable cybernetic entity dishing out objectives one after the other. That part was weird, but fine, as it kept Samus (me, really) on a path. Unfortunately, that path is littered with boss fights that empty your heath extremely fast and require really quick response time, a thing not entirely possible on a Nintendo 3DS. I think a GameBoy Advance might’ve been easier for the controls, as the shoulder buttons on the 3DS eventually cause pain if you hold them down too long, and for launching missiles, you have to hold them down. So there was that.
I’ve kind of already forgotten what the story was. I mean, yeah, there’s this planet SR388, and on it, Samus discovers a parasitic organism called X that is wreaking havoc. Large portions of Samus’ suit were removed, and so she must recover them and investigate what the X is up to. Eventually you learn that the X has created a clone of Samus called SA-X, and it is hunting her. After a while, deception and betrayal happen, and there’s some reflecting on a man named Adam who appears in another Metroid game I’ve not yet played, weakening its impact immensely. And then the final level has you running against the clock to escape the planet before it explodes, just like in Super Metroid. Just like in Aliens.
And that’s where I was roadblocked the most: the very end. You have four boss fights in a row, with no opportunity to save once. It is pure evil. Designers, don’t do this. First, you fight the SA-X, which goes through three forms, the first of which is so fast and deadly that you could be without any health for the final two forms, making them even harder. The second form is easy to defeat thanks to a glitch I discovered; if you hop up to the top left platform, charge your beam, and shoot downwards, it’ll hit the SA-X, and the beast can’t reach you. After that fight, you start the 3:00 minute countdown and have to make your way back to your spaceship. Naturally, when you get there, the ship is gone, replaced by another boss fight. It swipes at you and a mini-scene involving the SA-X plays out–all while the countdown keeps going. By the time you get control back you have just over a minute or so to defeat it, and it’s not a quick kill. In fact, one attempt saw me kill the final boss with 8 seconds to go, only to realize in horror that the ship took somewhere around 10 to 12 seconds to pop back up and save Samus. That game over screen nearly broke me.
With Metroid Fusion now defeated and done, I feel better about moving on to some of the other 3DS Ambassador titles I got for free for being an early overpriced Nintendo handheld supporter. Like Yoshi’s Island or Fire Emblem. Not both simultaneously, mind you. I’m trying to complete one at a time, otherwise all that happens is I play a little here, a little there, and drop both of in the Abandoned Bin and forget about them for way too long. We’ll see where I go from here; I mean, it can only be up.