Metroid II

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A quality Game Boy title and Metroid entry

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Well, I must admit I have never delved into the Metroid series since Super Metroid – the 3rd entry and arguably the best in the series. The Metroid series revolves around  playing as Samus Aran – a space bounty hunter – who is off to defeat the space pirates taking over the planet. One of the main attractions to this series is the sheer sense of freedom and exploration.

You start off exploring the depths of a planet SR388. In the beginning you have very little abilities which limits access to certain areas. There are no levels in Metroid just one open area that you venture through. As you explore different rooms and defeat enemies along the way you will eventually come across areas that contain a statue holding a ball. These balls usually contain new power ups and weapons you can utilize. One staple of the 2d Metroid series is backtracking as inaccessible areas before may now be accessible now due to you acquiring new power ups.

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One major complaint I have with this entry is the lack of a map to help you explore the planet. To me this seems like a major downside as this will mean endless backtracking in order to find out where to go next. Your progress may be blocked by lava or acid and will only recede once you defeat all the miniboss Metroids in the area. The issue is remembering where this lava pit was. The original Metroid title didn’t have a map either, but I am quite spoiled by playing Super Metroid first. Unfortunately, most of your time may be spent on where to go next.

The areas you will explore will vary as you venture further. Be sure to expect gloomy passageways, and caverns filled with acid or water. As you attain new abilities you will be scaling new heights which gives a whole new perspective to a previous area.

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Music is nothing to write home about compared to Super Metroid, but the sound effects are spot on; A decent job overall considering the limitations of the Game Boy sound chip.

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For a game produced in 1991 by the late producer Gunpei Yokoi and his team this is quite a fantastic game – especially for its time. The unfortunate lack of a map may ruin the experience for more modern gamers though, but don’t let that hinder your intentions from trying this.

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