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imunbeatable80

Sometimes I play video games on camera, other times I play them off.. I am an enigma

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What's the Greatest Video Game: Metroid 2

This is an ongoing list where I attempt to do the following: Play, Complete, and Rank every video game in the known universe in order to finally answer the age old question "What is the greatest game of all time?" For previous entries find the links on the attached spreadsheet.

How did I do?

CategoryCompletion level
CompletedYes
Hours played< 4
Best WeaponWell you could argue the freeze gun, since its needed.. but its the wacky spinning shot
Favorite partFinding a secret area that leads to a power-up
Least favoriteTrying to remember which way to go after loading a save

I have a deep gaming shame that I have to admit.. I have never really played any Metroid game until this one. Now don’t get me wrong, I have owned Metroid games, and have dabbled in them, but I have never really sat down and attempted to really play one. In the first Metroid, as a kid, I never played it for more than 30 minutes.. for Super Metroid, which is arguably the best Metroid game or best SNES game, I have probably put even less time into it, and I own both Dread and Prime remastered on my switch, and the cartridges have never entered the system. A large part of the reason why I came up with this schtick, is to get myself out of that rut of either playing the same games over and over again, and to force myself to play other games I have barely put time in. I am sure for the diehard Metroid fans out there, they would probably have liked for my first real foray into this series to be one of the other 4 games I own, but fate has only thrown them a GB Metroid 2 life preserver and we will have to work with what we got.

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So, Metroid 2 is a Gameboy game where you play as Samus as she attempts to wipe out a collection of Metroids from a planet. You navigate a maze like planet looking for Metroids and collecting powerups until you have completely eradicated the threat. This is a 2d action game, but the amount of verticality makes it feel like a much more imposing space. Fully exploring the planet will net you powerups to your main gun, upgrades to your health or missile limit, as well as powerups like spider ball or space jump. Outside of health and missile upgrades, all other finds are as close to necessary as possible as paths you need to take to find Metroids will require you to climb walls or endlessly jump higher and higher in order to get there. The game, similar to its predecessor is not broken up into stages or levels and is just one big world that you can explore. The game cheats a little bit as there are portions of the world that unlock after killing a set number of Metroids, that allow you to descend further and further down into the planet.

With no in-game map, you will have to rely on your memory (or a note pad), as to what parts of the planet you have been on. It can seem like a tall task, especially early on when your Metroid count is in the 30s and the world seems much bigger than you anticipated, but the more you play and get a better feel for how the planet is divided, the easier it feels to navigate. Now there are still some sections that are bigger than others, with more seemingly twisting paths than prior sections, and it can be easy to get lost if you aren’t paying attention. A couple things to keep in mind, is that this is not a game I would advise playing alongside something else, or a game that you want to take long breaks from. Your memory is your greatest asset in this game, because while you can backtrack and farm enemies hoping they drop extra ammo or health, ultimately there is nothing to gain from re-exploring areas, you want to continue to press forward in hopes of unlocking the next area and presumably looking for the next powerup that might serve you better. This is obviously very common for older games, but I did miss having an option to view an in-game map. I don’t need one super detailed or even telling me what I missed in every room, but I would love to be able to see my blinking light on a map, so I know if I am headed towards a new room or back to somewhere I have been before. This was actually most difficult when I was looking to go back to a save spot. Granted this game isn’t that long enough, and some people could certainly tackle this in a single playthrough, but on more than one occasion I would rack my brain to remember where the closest save spot was when I was looking to quit, and it was never an easy find.

Yeah.. I played the black and white version
Yeah.. I played the black and white version

If you were to pause the game, you would see a number in the bottom corner of your screen that initially might seem foreign to you, but you will soon learn that is how many Metroids you have to destroy before the next part of the world opens up. As you destabilize the planet you are on by killing the big hulking creatures, lava (presumably) starts to recede into the core and you can go deeper and deeper down. If you were using a guide, this is how the game is divided up, and if you aren’t using a guide a good reminder as to when to save the game.

So while there are regular enemies in the game, this game plays on the style of a boss rush. I found myself at some point essentially running from screen to screen ignoring regular enemies unless they were directly on my way as I searched for the next Metroid to kill. In some of these sections you can fight 3-4 of these baddies over the course of 10 minutes. Depending on how good you are at shooting and avoiding hits, you might need to farm enemies for health or rocket pickups, but otherwise you might just bounce from one boss to the other as you attempt to clear them all out. Not all the Metroids are the same as they are in varying stages of evolution, which as you would believe make them harder to tackle the more advanced they are, which can be quite harrowing when you discover a more advanced one after you just tackled 5 or 10 of the previous evolution and realize you aren’t prepared to learn a new pattern. There is an optional boss in this game, that I don’t think is technically a Metroid but it does guard one of the better power-ups and I stumbled into the room by just exploring, with no knowledge that I was about to enter an optional boss encounter.

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While you do have your regular blaster (which can be upgraded) all of the bosses require you to either use your missiles (which have a limited quantity) or your bombs to defeat. This wasn’t really an issue, as it only took me a single shot on the first Metroid to realize that I wasn’t going to hurt him that way. One thing I will call out, is that later in the game you actually have to downgrade your weapon in order to make it to the end, which broke my brain because I didn’t think that was something a game would make you do, let me explain. As you are progressing through the game, you will come across these alien statue rooms where a statue is holding a ball that contains a powerup. The first gun powerup you come across is a bullet that freezes enemies, but eventually you upgrade from that to a laser, or a shot that has a swirling radius, and you know that these are upgrades because they kill enemies in less shots that your previous guns did. The thing about these upgrades is that they are for all intents and purposes, permanent. There is no button to switch to a lower form, and you can’t just go back to the statue room and pick up the old gun you had. So when I get towards the end of the game, I find another statue room that actually brings me back to the freeze shot, and while I still had 6-7 metroids left, I thought I just downgraded myself unknowingly before the end of the game. So I loaded my last save which was really close to that moment, and opted to avoid getting that upgrade, well turns out I was wrong, and that the remaining metroids needed to be frozen before they could be shot with missiles. I had been killing so many of these creatures, thinking that my normal gun would do nothing, that it would have never occurred to me that not only would I need to use my regular gun, but I also couldn’t use it in its upgraded form.. Could this perhaps been something I would have known, had I came from playing the first Metroid, as was the intention of Nintendo? Perhaps.. Is this something that might have been outlined in the instruction manual for this game? (I didn’t have a manual) Also Perhaps.. It’s not a large critique, but it was the one that left me literally baffled for awhile (because I refuse to look up a guide), and I had tried everything from outrunning the final metroids, hitting them at all different angles, using my bombs, and it wasn’t until a fourth or fifth attempt that I found what was needed. Before anyone asks, yes, it also took me awhile to figure out how to beat the last boss, but there were a lot less options to run through so it really only took me 2 attempts to realize what was needed.

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I think my total playtime was around 3 hours, maybe 2:45, and obviously it did not add time when I would die and then load a save, but I did not get the “good” ending, which as you may have already guessed is Samus posing after credits in her underwear instead of in her suit. It is still such a funny “reward” that the better you play the game, the most skin you get to see as if this was a game brought to you by Cinemax. I get it, nerds were horny even back then, and this was the best you could hope for, but it doesn’t really impact my enjoyment of the game. Needless to say, I didn’t feel the need to go back through and get the “good” ending just to say that I did it.

I’m kinda bummed that I didn’t have this game as a kid who was always in the back seat for road trips, as I feel like this would have been incredibly addictive and a fast playthrough that I could eventually hone in on getting a better and better time per travel. However, the timeline never worked out for me. When this game was newer I was certainly too young to probably make it very far in the game, evidence of me not playing the NES version which I had. And when I was at the age where this would have been better suited to my skills, we took a lot less road-trips and I was more wrapped up in playing longer RPGs that could entertain me for a whole trip not just part of the drive. I think Metroid 2 is a good companion piece to the first game, it’s a solid follow-up and still surprisingly tense and fun, but it’s a small playthrough, with good people probably finishing south of 3 hours and a lack of replayability. Sure, you can play to get a faster time, but how the game segregates out sections and powers, you will be following almost the exact same path on each playthrough with very little difference. I’m still happy I played it, knocked off a single Metroid from my bucket list, and got me more excited about a series I have really only enjoyed in spirit, but I also wouldn't "recommend" this game over others that I have played.

Is this the greatest game of all time?: No

Where does it rank: I was a little intimidated to start the franchise with the second game, as I knew I would be putting it and myself at a disadvantage. However, I still found lots to like about the game and get me excited to jump into the series the next time it comes up in rotation. Sure, this game wasn't perfect as I would love any form of a map, or a way to just switch gun attachments instead of one upgrade replaces another, but I also accept that those are purposeful designs to get me lost on an alien planet, and to make choices about my loadout. I don't think anyone will fault me for putting Metroid 2 as The 115th greatest game of all time. I don't think anyone considers this the best Metroid, and this wasn't the remake version where they might have expanded on things or improved on other things.

What's it Between: Metroid 2 sits between: Sherlock Holmes Crime and Punishment (114th) and Wintermoor Tactics Club (116th)

Anyone looking for it: here is the link to the list and more if you are interested in following along with me (this is not a self promotion).Here. I added links on the spreadsheet for quick navigation. Now if you missed a blog of a game you want to read about, you can get to it quickly, rather than having to scroll through my previous blogs wondering when it came up.

Thanks for listening

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