Engaging, linear action game with tons of replayability and terror – SA-X, I’m looking at you!
If I had to pick a favorite game, it would have to be Metroid Fusion. It was the first game of the Metroid series that I could really get into. And it was the first game that I was good at. I mean really good at.
Granted, I couldn’t beat certain bosses without help (Spider. Security Robot. I’m looking at you.), but I knew every nook and cranny of the world within the game. I knew all the hidden locations, all the hidden upgrades.
On New Years, it’s become my tradition to play through the game in one sitting, and I can play most of it without even thinking.
But the fact that I’ve given Metroid Fusion hundreds of hours of my life isn’t the reason why it’s my favorite. While not the only important factors in a game, three things stand out to me as very important: Story, gameplay, and replayability.
Metroid Fusion excels at all three.
There’s a monster loose in the research facility.
And that monster – is you.
Well, sort of. The monster is actually just mimicking you at your strongest. You actually spend most of the game running away from the SA-X (as it’s called) because you simply aren’t strong enough to defeat it. Because you’re so weak against the SA-X, encounters with the creature are downright terrifying. You spend the rest of the game collecting enough upgrades to face off this monster, while at the same time trying to discover what on earth happened here. It seems like some experiments went awry at first, but then things take a sinister turn.
You can play the game without paying a single second of attention to the story, and you’ll understand how to play it just fine. In fact, I’ve done this myself the first few times around. But once you start paying attention, you realize how troubling all of this is, and you see Samus begin to undergo a major change. And you don’t have to know anything about Samus or Metroid lore – everything you need is provided in this self-contained story.
The research facility is separated into a Main Deck and 6 Sectors, each with their own unique challenges and environments. Your progression through the game will have you returning to these Sectors multiple times, but from a completely different perspective. That being said, Metroid Fusion is very linear.
This seems like it’d take away from the rogue-like nature of the Metroidvania genre, but it only enhances it. You’re still free to explore and discover the research facility, but you must do so within the bounds of the story. Once you’ve completed the Main Story, you’re free to go anywhere and do anything you desire.
The weapons and abilities in this game aren’t anything too surprising, but they come at the exact moment you need them, keeping the game challenging and fun at all times. Save stations are relatively close, taking away some of the Game Over sting.
Hours of Replayability
There are some games that I don’t really come back to after clearing it once through. You played through it once, it was fun, but that’s about it.
Not with Metroid Fusion. In this game, there are so many upgrades to collect that you absolutely cannot put it down once you’ve played through the Main Story. It’s almost imperative to go back into the game and try to find all the hidden collectibles.
Some of these upgrades are easier to get than others. Some of the challenges to get these upgrades really test the limits of your skills. But collecting them only improves your character, which makes the collection instantly rewarding.
Famous Last Words
Metroid Fusion is a very accessible game, as it teaches you the game mechanics one step at a time.
Gameplay is fun, yet challenging. Some of the later upgrades require you to use your abilities at an extremely skillful way. The Main Story can also be completed fairly quickly, leaving you more time to spend on collecting those upgrades.
If you haven’t played Metroid Fusion and want to give it a try, you can find it on the Wii U Virtual Console. That’s where I have it, and it’s a blast to play on a huge TV screen. Or on the huge Wii U Game Pad. That screen is massive, for a handheld.
Until then, happy bounty hunting!