Like many Metroid fans, Nintendo's E3 conference took me by surprise. While there was excellent announcements for most fans, I never dreamed we'd finally lay eyes on Metroid Dread. Previously cancelled on the DS, we finally had a brand new 2D entry, and it's coming in a few months.
Despite playing through the Prime series and Other M, a thought occurred to me. I'd never actually sat down and tried completing the original 2D games. Sure, I had Fusion on my 3DS - thanks to Nintendo's Ambassador scheme for early adopters - and I'd bought Super on the Wii Virtual Console, but I hadn't beaten either. With Dread on the way, it was time to change that.
I Beat Three Metroid Games In Six Days And It's Ruined Me
Thankfully, the week after E3 coincided with a week off work, so I made "good" use of it. My days were occupied with family activities, but nights? Those were pretty relaxed. Thanks to the Switch Online service's retro library, I made an impulse choice on Monday night and started Super Metroid, a decision I didn't regret.
Granted, perhaps I should've waited to play Zero Mission first. However, with no access to my Wii U or a GBA copy, I was impatient, and Super Metroid was ready to go. Several frustrating stints with that grappling hook later, and I had it beat by Tuesday night. I didn't realise how short Metroid games actually were and when I looked into it, I realised I could take this further.
Come Wednesday evening, I returned to Fusion for the first time in a decade, wiping my previous save. Immediately, I noticed a stark difference in the game's tone. While Super Metroid barely had a story behind it, Fusion told a tale of an abandoned space station swarming with parasites, your only ally being your gunship's computer, "Adam".
Taking a darker, atmospheric approach, Fusion isn't a horror game, but it built fear through the SA-X. An undefeatable enemy, growing in intelligence by the hour that stalks these spaceship corridors, chasing you down unless you've hidden away in time, able to kill you with little resistance. It was exhilarating, yet suspenseful.
Needless to say, I was hooked, yet I found it more challenging.
While estimates say it'd take roughly 5-6 hours, it took me 16, a fact I blame on one particular boss called Nightmare, alongside the final sequence. When I hit credits, it was Friday night, I was back home and there were two entries to go. Without hesitation, the Wii U was setup and I installed Metroid: Zero Mission, buying Samus Returns at the same time.
That same Friday night, I quickly began Zero Mission. While I contemplated playing Metroid's original NES version on Switch, I decided to take the remake route. Featuring new areas, new mini-bosses, and a rewritten story exploring Samus' past, it's not hard to see why people prefer it.
I didn't expect to be done in just a few hours, though. After defeating Mother Brain, I thought this journey had finished, much like Super Metroid's did. Suddenly, I was on Chozodia after crash landing, trying to survive without the Power Suit. While Samus' Zero Suit look has been criticised before, the stealth mechanics of this section were a fun addition, forcing us to sneak around the Space Pirates.
Finally, it was Samus Returns time, but my motivation was tapped. Unlike other Metroid main entries, this followed a very specific structure, asking us to wholly eradicate Metroids from their home planet, SR388. After defeating three, I called it a day, realising my previous binge had taken a toll.
That's not to say anything bad about Samus Returns - I'll go back nearer Dread's release - but I can't recommend my approach. Did I enjoy completing Super, Zero Mission and Fusion? Absolutely. Would I ever do this again? Not a chance. Despite their age, Metroid's 2D entries still bring some fantastic adventures and any fan would be well served in revisiting them. Just, don't do what I did, please.