Samus shedding her bathing suit wouldn't save this game
Last September, I was bombarded with tweets about Metroid: Other M being sexist. Each time I saw one of those 140-character messages, I rolled my eyes thinking that Americans were once again expecting an indestructible, emotionless space marine. Admittedly, a tear-shedding Samus would have been a bit different from the stoic heroine of prior space-faring adventures, but I wouldn’t exactly pound my fists and spill my coffee. A bulletproof woman or man is not essential to my enjoyment of a sci-fi adventure, but I do expect a competent game that makes at least as much sense as Star Wars. Sadly, Team Ninja pulled a Cain & Abel and murdered the Metroid saga by including Adam and forging a new Samus out of his rib.
Samus’ last outing took the form of a first-person adventure game where the player would scour massive worlds for precious power-ups, fight zippy space pirates, and listen to ethereal music. Other M doesn’t do away with unlockables or space pirates, but it does put the player in a different perspective.
In Other M, the player controls Samus from a third-person viewpoint, so it’s a throwback of sorts to Super Metroid and Metroid Fusion, which makes sense since the adventure occurs between those two titles. Unfortunately, Other M doesn’t even have the sense of exploration of Samus’ side-scrolling adventures, as you’re frequently forced down narrow corridors with hidden power-ups already revealed on your map, and you can rarely venture from your linear route.
This wouldn’t be much of an issue if the environments were aesthetically pleasing and the controls were precise. Sadly, both are as ugly as the aliens Samus encounters. The generic, metallic hallways look like they were created with RPG Maker and Samus controls like a runaway 18-wheeler. You’ll occasionally encounter an open environment, but the lifeless jungles and poor combat will make you wonder if you’re playing a flash game.
Samus eventually obtains the same skill-set she has in every other Metroid title, but none of these moves are fun to use, since they’re imprecise. Shooting at enemies feels like spraying ants with a squirt gun, as your beam arm somehow manages to miss enemies at times even though it’s set to auto-aim. Her other moves such as shooting missiles are equally frustrating, as you have to switch the position of your controller and rely on the incredibly slow cursor.
Even ignoring Other M’s disastrous controls, it still doesn’t impress. The cut-scenes look decent, but the story and voice acting feel like a third grader’s first creative work. Samus’ generic soldier buddies will make you consider abandoning the service, but her obedience to her former officer named Adam feels like a war crime. Even though she can probably kick her entire squad’s ass with her arsenal blindfolded, she decides not to use power bombs and missiles because Adam says so. Clearly this abominable game is not Eve’s fault: It’s Adam’s.