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An Illustrated Life

The Metroid Chronicles Chapter 3: Space-Hunter Noir

At started out like any other job. I was looking out my window at the filthy city skyway and dictating the details of my last case to my space-typewriter, the miniaturized ion-cannons buzzing away comfortingly as they zapped the dark details onto the space-paper. 

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That was when she walked in. Six feet three inches tall, long blonde hair, and the weight of the universe on her shoulders. Her eyes, beautiful as they were, seemed to be missing something. Whether it was sorrow, anger or some long buried pain, something had caused a deadness in those enchanting eyes. I couldn’t tell you what she was thinking or where she came from, but I could tell you one thing; this dame was tough, tougher than me (though I would never let her know that). 

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"Are you the guide?" she asked with a voice that matched her eyes. 

"Who’s asking?" I replied.

She brushed off my feeble attempt at being coy and continued, “I need your help. The federation has assigned me a job that’s a bit… messy.” 

"Murder is extra you know."

"It isn’t murder technically, more like a hunt."

"What do I look like, Teddy Roosevelt?"

She shot me with what I first mistook as a smile, but soon realized was a look of annoyance.

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"So are you in or not?"

I took one look outside and two swigs from my flask before saying “Why the hell not, where are we going?”

"That’s classified."

That’s the problem with these federation gigs, everything is on a need to know. “Well damn, can you at least tell me whether or not I need to rent a ship?”

"Don’t  bother" she said with a smirk, as she pressed a button on her wrist.

And that’s how it started. I didn’t know where the hell I was bound or when the hell I’d be back, but I had a feeling that this dame was far more dangerous than anything we might face.

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From the very beginning, Metroid II feels like a much more advanced game than its predecessor. The game has far less slow-down, there are more enemies at one time that do not respawn the second they go off screen and most importantly, the game does away with passwords and replaces them with save-states. The only obvious technical downgrade is of course the fact that Metroid II is in black and white. This is not necessarily a bad thing though; being made up of lines and shades rather than just a few neon colors Samus actually looks like a person. If the first game looked like a crude painting, then the sequel looks like a rough sketch.

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For those unfamiliar, here is a basic outline of the story. After her first encounter with the Metroids, Samus is sent to their home planet to eradicate them. Every last one. At the bottom of the screen there is a countdown that goes down every time you kill a Metroid, evoking a sense of real melancholy. Samus is single-handedly causing the extinction of an alien race that the Galactic Federation really knows nothing about. 

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Despite my intro though, this is not a pulp story; I honestly just really wanted to write and draw some Film Noir inspired goodness. The black and white aesthetic could just as easily have inspired a musical. 

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No, Metroid II is a horror story

Check back next time as I enter the subterranean maze of Planet SR388.

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