I made decent attempts at the original Metroid, both back when it was out on the NES via a neighbor’s system and many moons later with it in my pocket on the Nintendo 3DS. I absolutely love and continue to play Super Metroid to this day. I even had a GameBoy for a good chunk of my childhood–and yet, I missed out on Metroid II: Return of Samus. I blame Mario, naturally, and…um, more Mario.
As evidence proves true here, I’ve had $6.22 sitting pretty in my 3DS for some time now. Nothing has been released on the eShop lately that’s looked even remotely enticing. Okay, okay. Freaky Forms: Your Creations, Alive!–despite its zany title–seems like a good time. I had way too much fun making silly and weak creatures in Spore Creatures. So, maybe one day. But not today, or tomorrow, or the day after that because I’ve already spent my eShop money. Yup, that’s right. I did some pre-Black Friday shopping and bought Metroid II: Return of Samus on Thanksgiving evening, after a busy day of family, talking, not talking, and too much foodstuffs. It was a nice little distraction-limned treat for myself, and I crawled into bed, turned the heated blanket on, and began hunting Metroids.
See, in Metroid II: Return of Samus, you’re tasked with taking out Metroids. Thirty-nine of them, in fact, which is a weird number, but whatever. Maybe forty would’ve tipped the scales or something. This has to do with the fact that Samus previously prevented the Space Pirates from using the Metroid race for their own evil purposes in the original Metroid. Now, to stop another attempt by the Space Pirates, Samus has been sent to the Metroid’s home planet of SR388 to eviscerate every last Metroid she finds. That ought to do it, right?
So far, I’ve taken down two Metroids. Pew, pew, blam. The game plays just like Metroid and Super Metroid except it’s a lot less open and more linear, with very little back-tracking. Sometimes that’s okay. Still, there’s no map, and taking damage from even the minor enemies can be devastating. One nice addition that definitely inspired the save+health-restoring stations in Super Metroid are the inclusion of save spots and energy/missile-recharging balls, as well as the ability to create restore points via the 3DS. And speaking of balls, I was pleasantly surprised to find Samus able to roll into a ball at the start of the game; the new spider-ball ability takes a bit to get used to though. My suggestion for those stuck: try everything until it clicks. Y’know, like I did.
Other oddness includes Samus being huge on the screen, a severe lack of background detail, and less than stellar music. That said, it’s more side-scrolling Metroid-blasting action, and that’s really all I need. With the ability to save frequently and recharge health much easier, I suspect I’ll finish Metroid II: Return of Samus far sooner than ever completing the original Metroid. Watch out, you thirty-seven Metroids left! I’M COMING FOR YOU.