The Definitive 50 SNES Games: #4 Super Metroid

Click here to view our list of the Definitive 50 SNES games. Links to each video and write-up are included.

No game on the Super Nintendo is as dark, atmospheric, foreboding, or lonely as Super Metroid. When this title was released April 18, 1994, it introduced gamers to a fusion of the challenging gameplay of its NES and GameBoy predecessors with the awesome sound and graphical capabilities of the SNES, providing a uniquely powerful gaming experience. With the new system, Samus could finally explore the galaxy the way she was meant to.

Super Metroid takes 4th place on the list of Definitive 50 SNES games. It is now available on the Wii’s Virtual Console service.

In this title, you take on the role of bounty hunter Samus Aran as she seeks to recover a stolen Metroid larva from the Space Pirate planet Zebes. Past some initial exposition, there is little in the way of direct story telling, but that doesn’t stop the game from being deeply evocative. The dark caves of Zebes, the chilling, grotesque alien creatures you encounter there, and the haunting musical score which overlays the whole experience come together to provide a sense of loneliness for the protagonist, and leave the player sharing in her despair.

Super Metroid plays as an action platformer, yet it is so much more than that. The game contains a heavy emphasis on exploration, as various upgrades must be found to progress through twisting labyrinthine tunnels. Sure, you run, gun, and hop, but the explorative elements further the atmosphere instilled by the games visual and auditory elements to form a dreary, cohesive whole.

Super Metroid‘s weak sales held Nintendo back from continuing the franchise for eight agonizing years, before continuing it with Metroid Prime on the GameCube and Metroid Fusion on the GameBoy Advance. The critical and commercial success of those games spurred the development of many more titles in the series across the GameCube, GameBoy Advance, DS, and Wii.

Samus Aran and the dangerous Metroid aliens have grown to be some of the most iconic figures in video games today. The franchise’s commitment to finely crafted gameplay and story telling leave the Metroid series as one of the most revered in gaming.

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