Super Metroid

Holy Switch it’s Super Metroid!!

Game Data:

  • Review Date: June 14, 2021 (revised April 27, 2022)
  • Release Date: April 18, 1994
  • Platform: SNES
  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Developer: Nintendo
  • Genre: Nonlinear Platformer

By the time of Super Metroid’s release, I was losing interest in video games due to being 17 years old and wanting to see parts of the world beyond my hometown. I was ready to drive and wanted to see places I never could before. Because I was home less, my SNES became more of a toy for my brothers to play with. I also had a job making pizzas for the general public, which caused me to miss the entire second season of Boy Meets World. It was a completely different show the next time I saw it, but I digress. Between school, work, and my urge to explore, time just wasn’t available. Years later, I had moved and took my SNES with me. I hooked it up and took a look at the cartridges. Final Fantasy “II” and “III” caught my eyes, but I wanted to start at the beginning of the series, so I skipped those. I continued to dig and found Super Metroid. Within 15 minutes, I was hooked on this game and played it hundreds of times, setting new rules or goals for myself every once in a while.

For my own personal enjoyment, I normally add a few limitations to make the game a bit more challenging. Samus’ ship is off limits except to end the game. There is no grinding for health and energy/missile refill stations aren’t allowed. Because it’s been a while, I won’t follow the refill station rule this time, but the ship and health farming are still nonos. I do admit I grinded for Super Missiles on the way to Ridley, though. I wish I could turn off energy tanks from refilling health, as well.

You may notice that throughout the page, there will be numbers next to the items. The numbers are the order in which I recommend beginners grab the items. It’s an efficient order that requires no wall jumping, bomb jumping, or glitches to use. You are free, of course, to grab items in whatever order you are able. One missile pack (17) does require diving into lava, though. The first item in Maridia (59) requires a speed boosted jump; it’s a bit tough, but there’s no other way to do it.

Samus takes the Baby Metroid she found on SR388 back to the laboratory for observation. While there, Ridley steals it. Samus returns to Zebes to come after Ridley and Mother Brain again.

Samus will be on Zebes, which now has six areas to explore. Samus can freely roam any part of the map she can reach. For everywhere except Tourian, reaching an area is a matter of obtaining the correct items. Experts can, if some places, skip the item entirely. Entering Tourian is a matter of defeating the bosses first.

I absolutely love this game. My first item of praise is for the music. When the game starts, I hear a subdued theme to start. It’s followed up by that garbage Crateria theme, but then I go down the elevator to the Brinstar jungle and WOW! It’s an amazing theme, and I appreciate how the developers decided to do a fade in. Brinstar Jungle is a personal favorite theme. My other is Upper Norfair. Yes, you heard me correctly; I said Upper. It’s a nice, soft theme that feels just right for exploring. It’s something I imagine I’d hear in the distance at a campfire and makes me want to go seek out whatever is going on where the music is. It’s absolutely perfect for the area. It’s so good that when Samus descends the elevator into Lower Norfair, the contrast instantly warns players that they’re entering a much tougher area. The Lower Norfair music is good on its own, but that transition coming down the elevator is an excellent use of music that deserves to be recognized.

I’m impressed by the level design and how they made softlocking nearly impossible. For every area Samus can reach, there is always a solution to get out. In Brinstar, a Missile Pack (7) lies below a bridge that can’t be crossed without the Speed Booster. The only way out is to bomb the column on the left. Samus can even get to this room without the bomb and there is a bomb wall on the route there, so Samus will always have the bombs. Another part of Brinstar has Samus falling down a red area full of Rippers. The only legitimate way up is the Ice Beam (21), which is found down in Norfair, but requires doing a few other things first. The whole game is like this. The needed item is always either already owned or in the area.

Super Metroid added new items: Super Missiles (8), Charge Beam (10), Speed Booster (20), Power Bombs (22), Grappling Beam (27), Reserve Tanks (35), X-Ray Scope (36), and the Gravity Suit (55). The standout of the bunch is the Speed Booster, which allows Samus to bust through walls, run faster, jumping further, and use her energy to fly upward. The latter of that list is a move that’s unnamed in Super Metroid, but was given a name as of Metroid Fusion (where the torture known as Speed Booster puzzles began). The Gravity Suit is also nice, as it allows Samus to move freely in water as if it weren’t there.

The boss battles are excellent in this game. Throughout the game, there are four major bosses, excluding the final boss. There are also some minibosses, three of which I’ll cover below.

  • Botwoon: Similar to the Lanmolas from A Link to the Past, this dragon comes out of holes, moves in a predefined motion, and disappears into a hole. I failed to grab a screenshot of it.
  • Crocomire: The trick to Crocomile is to make him eat Samus’ weapons. Have Samus shoot whatever she’s got down his throat. Even then, that’s not enough. With each charged shot or missile Crocomire eats, he backs up. The object is to push him back onto the bridge, where his weight will collapse it. Crocomire falls into the lava and dies. This is an excellent boss and it’s unique within the game.
  • Draygon: There is a normal way to beat Draygon, but I never use it. Instead, I shoot out the turrets with Super Missiles and have Draygon grab Samus. While Samus is trapped, have her use the Grappling Beam on the exposed turret. Draygon will get electrocuted and Samus will get the Space Jump.
  • Kraid: Like Crocomire, Kraid’s weak point is his mouth. The difference is that Kraid takes damage from missiles instead of being pushed back. It’s more than that, though. Kraid has to be shot in the eyes first before he will even open his mouth. Once he opens his mouth, there’s only a limited time before he will close it again.
  • Phantoon: For me, this is the toughest fight in the game. I have only four energy tanks. For a while, I was using Super Missiles, which is a terrible strategy because Phantoon responds by unleashing a series of hard to dodge fireballs that cost 20 energy per hit. The lesson here was not to use Super Missiles against this thing.
  • Ridley: There are two things that make the Ridley battle tougher: there are no ammo refills and Ridley flies out of view quite a bit. Ridley may have high health, but the battle is really straightforward. As an added bonus, Super Missiles do double damage on Ridley.
  • Spore Spawn: This joke of a miniboss flies around in a figure 8 pattern. Samus can safely hide in the corners. Wait for it to stop and open up, then hit its core with Missiles.

The graphics in the game are outstanding. The NES Metroid used a bland, boring black background throughout the game. Here, the backgrounds are detailed and animated. They can be colorful at times and strongly hint at the idea that the planet Samus is on is much larger than she can explore. Maridia even adds water textures in places in the foreground. I also credit them for using blue, a “cool” color, in the Brinstar jungle, which I picture to be warm.

No game is perfect, but this game is close. What gets me is how the physics of the game make no sense. Let’s see if there’s a logical answer to any of these questions.

  • How does a beam that shoots ice work underwater?
  • How does rising lava or water in one room not spill over when Samus opens the door?
  • How did Ridley get to lower Norfair if Samus has to morph into a ball to get there?
  • How do enemies stay frozen in rooms full of extreme heat?
  • How does the Grappling Beam work?


Ridley carries the baby Metroid, but escapes from this battle, so it’s off to Zebes we go.
I took an intentional death running into Geemers to get a shot of Samus’ death animation. This and the ending are the ONLY times in the game Samus is seen without the Power Suit.
Ok, now I’m going to…uh…Switch to the emulator where I can play on a larger screen. For now, here’s a huevo for Samus to investigate.
I get the feeling I’m being watched as I pick up item 3.
Das boots! El supersalto! Cosa numero doce. Hi-Jump Boots (12).
The fake Kraid is back. The real Kraid’s mouth alone is bigger than this thing in its entirety.
In a nice nod to the first game, some rooms have the bubble theme. Missiles (18) are in the lower right corner.
Crocomire got his skin burnt off. This is roughly about 1/4 of the way through the game. I’ve collected 24 items at thhis point.
Hang in there, Samus! Only 73 items to go!
This room holds some Missiles (48). Before Phantoon is defeated, the spikes are safe to stand on.
Welcome to Chozo Lanes, where visitors ARE the bowling balls.
Please explain how one can bomb open a tube that’s underwater.
This odd thing is Shaktool, who will clear the path over to the Boingy Ball (69).
After the Boingy Ball, there are seven more items left in Maridia. Two can be reached by taking a ride on this Tatori: an energy tank (70) and a Missile pack (71).
Hello Etecoons! They teach the Wall Jump, which isn’t required. I don’t need to anyway; I have the Space Jump to get to the Power Bombs (81) at the top. Items 77-90, for me, are all part of the cleanup so that I have everything possible before entering Ridley’s Lair.
Nintendo realized how powerful the Screw Attack is, so now it’s late in the game (92).
Ah, some old school Norfair. This is the route to Ridley.
And there’s the final item (100).
Tourian, here I come!
Now THAT’S a Super Metroid!
The Zebetites are annoying, but those Rinkas cause a lot of problems.
There’s no way to avoid this, so a no damage run is impossible.
Well, I got everything. See you next time.

Final Opinion: This is my favorite game of all time. Whether through the SNES, Wii, or Switch, this game is a must have. A Nintendo Online subscription costs $20 a year. There’s no excuse for not buying this game.

Grade: A


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