Metroid Fusion is a 2D action platforming game developed for the Game Boy Advance by Nintendo R&D1, the first-party development house responsible for originating the franchise. Although it maintains its predecessors' theme of exploration, combat, and the acquisition of new abilities as the game progresses, the story unfolds in a more controlled, immersive fashion due to the addition of an A.I. commander, nicknamed "Adam", who explicitly tells protagonist Samus Aran the best places for her to head next.
The release of Fusion was timed to coincide with that of Metroid Prime for the Nintendo GameCube. The two games are not directly linked in either storyline or gameplay, but players who completed one game could use a link cable between the two systems to unlock bonus features in the other.
- Connecting the games together after the completion of Metroid Prime will unlock a 3D version of Samus' Fusion Suit from Fusion for use in Prime. This is simply an alternate costume which does not affect gameplay, although it does have alternately-coloured versions to replace the Varia and Gravity Suit upgrades once unlocked in-game.
- After completing Metroid Fusion, a full version of the original Nintendo Entertainment System game Metroid can be loaded into the GBA's on-board memory. This RAM is blanked out once the unit is shut down, though, and the game must be re-loaded into memory each time, so players must make use of the system's sleep feature if they wish to keep it loaded for more than one play session.
Fusion is a 2D side-scrolling game in the tradition of the original Metroid, Metroid II: Return of Samus, and Super Metroid. Players control Samus Aran in a hostile environment full of deadly enemies, hidden power-ups, and boss characters who confer permanent new abilities upon their defeat. These additional skills can then be used to access areas which could not be reached before, steadily expanding Samus' arsenal until the climactic final battle. Defeating regular enemies often reveals items which can help refill Samus' energy bar or replenish her stock of missiles and super bombs.
Many of the power-ups in the game have been carried forward from previous games in the series, including weaponry like the bombs and the charge beam, and mobility skills like the Space Jump and the Gravity Suit. Others have been subtly tweaked, such as the ice missiles which replace the traditional ice beam.
The game can only be saved by accessing specific stations marked on the map. Since this is a portable game, however, the option to place the GBA into a power-saving standby mode can allow players on the move to temporarily preserve their progress and battery life.
Like the previous Metroid games, Fusion's plot features only one ending, but players are rewarded with different endgame artwork depending on what percentage of optional power-ups were found and how quickly the game was beaten. The most advanced ending requires 100% collection of all items and a completion time under two hours.
Chronologically set shortly after the events of Super Metroid, Fusion begins with a cinematic intro depicting Samus' return to the planet SR-388 with a squad of marines and a research team. Samus is attacked by a previously-unknown organism known as an X Parasite which aggressively infiltrates her Power Suit's biological components as well as her own central nervous system. Because she was unconscious, the only way for doctors to operate on her was to cut off the outer layer of the suit, robbing Samus of nearly all of her abilities. Her life is only saved through a stroke of luck when the scientists formulate a vaccine from preserved cells from the Last Metroid.
Samus is saved, but her physiology is permanently altered by the Metroid DNA now spliced into her own. Since Metroids were the X Parasite's natural predator (it is revealed, in fact, that Metroids were engineered by the Chozo for the specific purpose of preventing the X Parasites from spreading out and infecting the entire universe), she can never again be infected by the parasite, and in fact regains health as she absorbs them into her body. However, she's also inherited the natural weakness to frigid temperatures that she has exploited in the past to defeat countless Metroids.
Her newfound immunity to X infection makes Samus the only choice to investigate a mysterious explosion at the B.S.L. deep-space research station, where she was stationed, and which went radio-silent shortly after the pieces of her Power Suit were sent there for study. Upon landing, Samus swiftly discovers that X Parasites have somehow broken free of their containment and are spreading throughout the facility, consuming and mimicking every lifeform they encounter. Most dangerous of all is the SA-X: a vicious simulacrum of Samus herself, borne from the pieces of her infected Power Suit and dedicated to hunting the original Samus down and murdering her.
This is a list of all the upgrades that you can acquire in Metroid Fusion:
The Missile Launcher grants Samus the ability to fire concussive projectiles. You'll find extra missile expansions riddled throughout the station, find these to increase your maximum payload.
By pressing down on the D-Pad twice you'll enter Morph Ball mode. Assuming the ball shape made famous in the classic Metroid games, Samus can lay bombs and crawl through small openings with this ability. There are a few more abilities to be found usable with Morph Ball mode.
The Charge Beam allows you to charge up energy in Samus's Beam Weapon before releasing a powerful shot stronger than a normal blast. Some enemies in the game can only be injured by a charged shot, so experiment with this if normal weapons can't inflict damage. Hold down B to charge up the weapon and release to fire. Samus' beam projectiles will also become slightly larger. You can also simulate the Screw Attack with this by charging up the weapon and somersaulting through the air.
Morph Ball Bomb
This Morph Ball ability allows you to lay small bombs to damage enemies or break open certain blocks. Pressing B while Morph Ball mode's active will cause Samus to lay a bomb, you can lay up to three at a time.
The Hi-Jump and Jumpball (Spring Ball) are acquired together. The Hi-Jump allows Samus to jump higher than normal; this way, reaching those difficult platforms higher above won't be so hard. The Jumpball also allows Samus to jump while in Morph Ball mode.
This handy ability allows Samus to run at ultra-high speeds through long corridors. Any enemies caught in Samus' path will be incinerated.
This upgrade will enhance the damaging power of your missiles to three times the concussive power of regular missiles. Once you find this upgrade all your missiles and any further Missile Tanks you'll find will be upgraded to Super Missiles, a very welcome addition to your arsenal.
The awesome Varia Suit allows Samus to survive in areas with extreme temperatures, such as those scorching locales in Sector 3 (PYR). Damage inflicted on Samus will lower as well, and you won't be frozen when you absorb one of the large blue Xs found in various sectors.
Because Samus now has Metroid DNA in her genetic code, she cannot safely absorb the Ice Beam; as her body's systems are tied into the suit's beam functions, her body would eventually freeze solid from the inside out. Instead, the Galactic Federation has developed a type of missile that releases a burst of freezing energy instead of exploding. This enhancement adds this freezing effect to every missile you fire. Just like the Ice Beam, enemies struck by an Ice Missile will become frozen. Firing a second missile upon a frozen target will destroy it. While frozen, enemies can be used as stepping stones to reach otherwise inaccessible areas.
This Beam Weapon addition increases Samus' range of fire. You'll be able to fire out three bursts of energy that cover the same height as Samus herself as the projectiles fly forward. This makes striking small enemies low on the ground easier, and with its wide range you won't have to be as accurate as before to strike an enemy.
You'll find your first Power Bomb in a designated Data Room. These bombs create major explosions that wipe out anything on-screen. Lay them by activating Morph Ball mode, then while holding R press B to lay a bomb. These bombs will come in handy throughout the station, especially as there are loads of Power Bomb expansions to be found.
Just like in Super Metroid, this ability allows Samus to virtually "fly" through the air. While pressing A at the right time Samus performs a somersault in the air and you'll rise up higher. Get the hang of this feature and you'll be able to reach any height.
The strongest of all Beam Weapons, the Plasma Beam allows Samus to fire piercing green shots of energy. These blasts practically shred any enemies they strike, so most enemies will go down with only a single shot or two from this weapon. Coupled with the Wave Beam this produces a deadly effect.
Another classic pickup, the Gravity Suit allows Samus to move around freely underwater, this will be very handy when you're exploring the underwater areas of Sector 4. You'll also be able to wade through some of the various lava lakes riddled throughout Sector 3 without taking damage. Of course your defensive power will increase as well.
The final missile addition, the Diffusion Missile allows you to charge up Samus's Missile Launcher. By holding down R, you'll charge up energy in the launcher. Press B to fire a missile. Once it strikes a target a massive ring of ice will expand out from the impact zone to spread out beyond the reach of the screen. Anything caught in the blast will become instantly frozen.
The Wave Beam causes Samus's Beam Weapon projectiles to fly forward in a wavy pattern. Apart from this visual enhancement you'll be able to fire through solid walls, floors and ceilings. It should come in handy when you come across the one-way panel doors.
This addition allows Samus to charge up energy in her suit while performing a somersault jump in mid-air. Any enemies caught by Samus while she's charging energy will explode, but remember to catch the X parasite when it tries to escape. You'll also be able to break through Screw Attack blocks while charging energy.
Despite the ship's computer's doubts of Samus being able to survive the Ice Beam, you'll eventually be able to recover this ability - albeit for a short time only. This weapon fires sub-zero blasts of ice, freezing any targets it strikes.
Metroid Fusion includes two other abilities that hark back to its spiritual predecessor, Super Metroid.
Samus can perform the Wall Jump from the onset of the game. This is done by jumping toward a wall, then quickly pressing the D-Pad in the direction opposite the wall followed by the A button upon contact. If timed correctly, this ability allows Samus to scale narrow shafts and reach heights that would otherwise only be accessible with the Hi-Jump or Space Jump.
Once Samus acquires the Speed Booster ability, she is also able to perform the Shinespark, which sends Samus rocketing in any direction. While speed boosting, quickly tap down on the D-Pad to crouch. Samus will continue to flash for a couple of seconds. Quickly double-tap the A button followed by a direction on the D-Pad to engage the Shinespark. Although it is not integral to the completion of the game, the Shinespark is necessary for collecting certain items.