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~Ephesians 5:16

Friday, June 8, 2012

Did Other M Kill Metroid?

Ah, Metroid. The science fiction cornerstone of Nintendo. My first ever game from this series officially was Metroid Prime 3. I say this cause I had owned a few in the past but didn't beat them. I had gotten the first Metroid Prime many years ago, but had traded it to someone for Shadow the Hedgehog. Never did get past the second level....and now my gamer pride is destroyed. Hey, I was young and didn't get puzzle games like that or Ocarina of Time. (Which I had given away, I miss that game. At least I'll be getting the 3DS port soon enough.) Anyways, I don't remember exactly when, but it was at least six years ago when I got Metroid Fusion and Metroid Zero Mission. Again, I didn't quite get far in those and they laid dormant in the draw for years. It wasn't until 2008, when I moved to New Jersey that I started really becoming a fan of the series. On New Year's Eve, I had gotten Metroid Prime 3. It was one of the greatest Wii experiences I ever had, from the awesome intro to the hard-as-heck final boss. It took me sometime to beat it. After that, I went straight back to the Game Boy advance games and conquered them both. Around that time, I had purchased Hunters. (Best multiplayer on the DS ever.) Now we enter 2010, a great year year for Nintendo maniacs like myself. Super Mario Galaxy 2 AND Metroid Other M. (Only thing missing was Zelda, we wouldn't get it until a year later.) Other M was an ambitious project. Retro Studios, the geniuses behind the Prime series would not be doing it, instead a more 'hardcore' company in the form of Team Ninja was going to do it. This game was getting pretty big hype back two years ago, based on footage and interviews it was going to be a very story driven game, and Samus was going to talk! Metroid Other M released August 31st, and opened to positive reception on the gameplay. The story? Not so much. While it didn't 'bomb' in the sense like Battleship did, by Nintendo standards, it didn't do that well. The company literally didn't understand why an intended blockbuster game like Other M didn't sell as expected. To this day, the game (mainly its story and portrayal of Ms. Aran) is hated on. E3 just passed with some great upcoming titles. We have two new Mario games, even Pikmin 3 was announced. Prior to that, word on the street was that Zelda would be getting a 3DS game AND a Wii U game. So Nintendo....what about our bounty hunter?

Did Other M Kill Metroid?

You notice how no one is talking about Metroid anymore? Mario has always been the main subject, and thanks to the success of Skyward Sword, Link is enjoying a prospering time. Metroid on the other hand is a little in the dead zone. Star Fox was the other science fiction cornerstone of Nintendo. Do you what happened? A bad apple in the form of Command halted the franchise. Sure, the series got a re-release of the 64 one for the 3DS early last year, but that's it. Can you really see Star Fox getting a new game anytime soon? Yes? No? Maybe? F-Zero died many years ago, Star Fox is a property that has faded away just like it. Metroid seems to be a property approaching the same predicament. But why? Other M killed it. But could have there been other factors?

It was a three year gap between Corruption and Other M. The latter looked to deepen the series a bit, namely with Samus. Unfortunately they turned a tough-as-nails bounty hunter into an insecure girl. It was pretty sad. However, besides that, I thought the game was well-done. Gameplay was excellent, story was intriguing, and it really made the player feel like they were in a desolated place in the middle of nowhere. Alas, it under-performed according to Nintendo. The sales were disappointing, by November 2010 it had failed to sell half a million copies in the US. By July 16th, Super Mario Galaxy 2, which had released May 23rd, had sold a million copies! Looking at it that way, Other M really under-performed. Maybe if Prime 4 had come out instead would you be reading this editorial? Maybe. But it could also be that Metroid is no longer a selling title. It could be, like with F-Zero and Star Fox, the fan-base has died down and there are no more stories to be told.

So did Other M kill the Metroid series? I'm going to go ahead and say yes, it was a major factor. Who knows, maybe we'll see Metroid Dread come to fruition in the future. We'll see Ms. Aran in the next Smash Bros. outing, but we may never see her in her own title again. Maybe it'll take a twenty year break and come back with a fresh start, I bet no one thought Kid Icarus would come back. So maybe Metroid will come back in the far future. Or maybe I'm over-thinking this whole thing and we'll here tomorrow that Metroid Dread is coming spring 2013. But in all honesty, I see Metroid joining the deceased F-Zero and dying Star Fox.


  1. NOOOOOOOOO, I want my Metroid games :( The gameboy ones were great and the Prime series was awesome! Other M was still pretty good (8/10) and the others were 7-8's. Of course Other M's portrayal of Samus was downright Terrible. I wouldn't say Metroid's completely dead. I expect it'll get another game by 2014. I just think it's really slowed down. It can't compete with Mario, Link, Pokemon, or even Kirby! Of course you could argue it never really did.

    I have to say that I don't think Star Fox is dead. It'll get another game in the future. F Zero.....maybe mostly dead, but I also see great things in it's future. After all with Nintendo Land fans will finally remember

    Well glad to see another VG article, DReager1 signing out

  2. All I ever heard about Other M was that Samus went from never talking to never shutting the hell up.

  3. In Super Metroid, I never really turned off any beams either. The whole ability to turn off components was kind of underused in the game.I thought it was fine that way; but it just means that particular feature (toggling abilities) is not much of an asset to gameplay. I just collect my METROID series at PIJ, really awesome.

  4. Other M plays good? Is intriguing? Has done better conveying a sentiment of loneliness than it's predecessors?
    Other M's gameplay is horrible, it's impossible to move naturally in a 3D environment with a D-pad and a jump button (Wanna know why it works for NSMB and DKCR? Because those games are actually 2D, nor just mimicking 2D); the auto aiming of the faux 2D perspective and the "SenseMove" strip the game of any challenge that is not poised by the dreadful pixel hunts and the sheer hindrance that is the first person/missile mode. It's amazing to see that something Retro had gotten right from their very first game (Scanning, FPSing) is done so wrong in Other M, the only explanation I can find for this is that Team Ninja is so stuck up that it didn't even bother looking at the Prime trilogy, which seems plausible considering how ignorant the game seems to be of the implications of it's own background.
    The storyline is not only bad, it purposefully twists and tears the storyline of most previous games. From the lore of the saga's universe to the relationships between characters, everything is stripped of any sense of continuity. Names are changed for no intelligent reason other than to make Other M's absurd "plot" points work. An infant Samus purposefully gave away for experimentation at Ceres has suddenly become the focus of her chauvinistic motherhood fantasies; an invading race from outer space has suddenly become known as a "Zebesian"; the gruff but rather clever C.O. Samus had a friendly but professional relationship with has suddenly become her Electra complex fueled, emotionally abusive father figure and the woman herself has gone from a player avatar that only needed to clench her fist to convey a sense of regret to the worst soap opera reject ever spawned by Televisa. The innuendo and motherhood themes are slapped through the face of all things Metroid with blatant cynicism; changing the objective of the game from being a ruthless mass murderer into being a beaten housewife.
    The game itself is technically pretty, but it does not convey anything more than unjustified linearity and stereotypical environments. While worlds like the 2D Zebes and SR-388; and the 3D Tallon IV and Aether are actually absorbing and convey varying degrees of a desperate desolation, the Bottle Ship only seems like a place crafted to funnel players into the next are with little attention to exploration and landscape detail. Even the ultra-linear BSL, crafted specifically to avoid sequence breaking, can break out of it's sheer dullness by offering a sense of expectancy, derived by subtle yet effective changes in the landscape.
    Sound-wise, the game is completely barren.
    Those are the reasons why the saga is dying. The fans will always exist and love the previous installments as much as they did in the past, they just can no longer sit through a Metroid game without having their minds turn instantly to the crapfest that Other M was. I can no longer enjoy Prime Trilogy the way I did before Other M ever was.

    1. I appreciate the comment. I agree the story was It had a great concept, but in the end it just wasn't that good for the fans. Samus was written pretty badly throughout. I enjoyed playing it though, I thought it was fun. (Besides the horrid first person.) And the soundtrack was excellent.