Over this past weekend I was lucky enough to receive a copy of Metroid: Other M to try out for the Nintendo Wii. Now I have loved the Metroid series since I first picked up Super Metroid years ago. There’s just something about Samus that makes me feel invigorated whenever I pick up the controller and this game is no exception. Needless to say that when I saw the copy I received I wigged out in joy. But enough of my blubbering, let’s get on to the review!
In Metroid: Other M we find Samus intercepting a distress signal, Codenamed: Baby’s Cry, from a dormant “Bottle Ship”. The game takes place between Super Metroid and Metroid Fusion, which is perfect for me. Other M opens up with a cinematic displaying the violent final battle between Samus and Mother Brain at the end of Super Metroid. After escaping Planet Zebes, Samus finds herself waking up on a Galactic Federation ship on what looks like an operation table, surrounded by scientists. After she leaves the ship is when she receives the distress signal that leads her to the setting of the new title.
After setting food on the dormant ship, Samus encounters members of the Galactic Federation’s 07th Platoon. The platoon is lead by Anthony Higgs, who fought alongside Samus before she left the Galactic Federation military. Adam Malkovich, who used to be her commanding officer is also among the squad aboard the ship. Adam treats Samus with a cold attitude while she is on the ship, just as he has ever since she left the army. Calling her an outsider, Adam tells the rest of his squad not to fill Samus in on any of the details while she is in their presence, however, he accepts her as one of his own after Samus defeats a large purple tentacle-wielding monster, and from that moment on he commands her as he wills it. From that point Adam assigns his squad to inspect the ship, fills Samus in on the mission details, and authorizes the use of different items/weapons for her throughout the rest of the game.
As the plot thickens, Samus runs into Madeline Bergman, head of the scientific research that has gone on within the confines of this ship. While trying to convince Madeline that she is here to rescue her, Samus finds out that members of the 07th Platoon are being killed off by a rogue agent that Samus dubs as “the Deleter”. Samus soon finds out that there is a lot of information that is covered up on this ship, along with experiments that bring back nightmares for her. Soon enough she finds out what is really happening, and even meets up with Ridley himself. The battle between Samus and Ridley is just as epic as I remember it being back in Super Metroid.
Soon after Samus decides that it is up to her to get Madeline off of the ship safe and sound, and learns the hardships that she must go though in order to carry out this mission. She encounters Metroids, and even has an epic battle with a Metroid Queen. I won’t give too much of the story away, so you’re gonna have to play it for yourselves.
Now on to the gameplay. The game plays very well. I like the aspect that the developers took on the controls in making it a 3D side-scroller like the old days, but also incorporating the use of the Wiimote to change the game quickly to a more advanced first-person shooter. While you are able to fire your normal beam (including ice, wave, and plasma beams) while pressing “1″ on the Wiimote, you can aim the Wiimote at the screen to enable the use of missiles and change the gameplay type.
There have been some changes made to the series, though. At any time by holding the Wiimote vertically, you can press and hold the “A” button to recharge Samus’ missile supply. This helps when fighting bosses and for disposal of pesky enemies quickly. Also, there are no longer any energy drops from enemies. Whenever Samus’ energy gets low, you either need to get to a Save Station to recharge, or if her energy is low enough you can do the same act as recharging her missiles, but this also recharges her energy according to how many Recovery Tanks you have found. A couple of reasons why I found this whole process annoying are as follows: first it is really an issue when fighting a boss and you find yourself either low on missiles or energy and you have to stay in one spot to recharge. Secondly, since the Wii doesn’t recognize your actions quick enough, when you hold the Wiimote vertically and press “A” it forces Samus into her morph ball mode, because the Wii doesn’t recognize until a few seconds after that the Wiimote is being held vertically. This got me killed during boss battles more than a few times, yet it is still quite handy to have when you’re running low and you have a few seconds to spare.
All of the classic abilities are in the new title, including Super Missiles, the Grapple Beam, and even the Shine Spark, though they must be authorized by Adam before Samus can use them. Most of the time you will get to a point at which you cannot go any further, and Adam will then unlock an ability that Samus can use to continue her journey. You can then explore backward and use the newly-attained ability to pick up previously unattainable items. I found, though, that most of the items in the game are rather easy to obtain. My first round through, which didn’t take me too long, I got a 50% item collection rate.
That’s another thing – the game isn’t too long. I played it off and on for about three days and beat it in maybe a total of five hours cumulatively. Now I imagine that I could have taken longer and tried harder to obtain more items, but I was more interested in seeing the storyline of the game play out, so I barreled through it.
Speaking of storyline, the whole story to the game is told through Samus’ constant monologues. I mean, I am all for one to hear Samus talk, but the voice acting in the game isn’t as up-to-par as I had imagined. Every so often a cutscene would ensue, in which Samus narrates her thoughts and feelings on certain matters that were taking place. Don’t get me wrong, I am glad that the writers did their part to make Samus seem more realistic and human, but I feel as if they pushed it a bit too hard. This is something that I think will turn some gamers off to the title. Just saying.
Now that we’ve talked about storyline and items, it’s time to talk about combat. Team Ninja put a lot into the combat of Metroid: Other M. The game features an auto-aiming aspect that makes it easy to hit enemies. I honestly found myself using charge shots now more than I ever have in a Metroid title. There are also numerous ways to combat enemies, from using normal shots to switching to first person to blast them with missiles, and each enemy has their own attack patterns as well as ways to be disposed of. Something new to a Metroid title is the ability to perform melee finishers on an enemy. Once you down an enemy you can rush toward them by pressing in their direction on the D-Pad and simultaneously pressing “1″ on the Wiimote. This allows Samus to perform a variety of ending moves such as putting an enemy in a headlock and unleashing a powerful charged shot or jumping on the back of an enemy and blasting it with also a charged shot.
All in all I found the game to be very enjoyable. Once you finish your time in the Bottle Ship, Samus returns to retrieve something she “forgot”. Now I don’t want to spoil anything, but I will say that a familiar boss makes an appearance at this part of the game and it is sure to make any fan squeal in joy, as well as cower in fear of the enemy’s sheer awesomeness. Now I will admit that the constant monologing gets annoying, and the controls make for difficult combat sometimes, but overall the game is pretty solid and i am very happy with it. Metroid: Other M puts a new set of armor on a great video game series, and I would urge you to at least rent the game to play it and continue the Metroid storyline and fill in the gaps. I had a great time playing the game, and even though it had its flaws, that’s the life of video games. It was still a fun and enjoyable experience and I am sure to play through again to try and collect all of the items I missed.
You can pick up a copy of Metroid: Other M for the Nintendo Wii system for $49.99 brand new. It’s worth picking up if you’re a fan of the Metroid series, or even if you’re not familiar with the series and are looking for an exciting, action-packed title that will surely keep your attention.