The Metroid Chronicles Chapter 4: Genocide
Unlike the initial title in the series which transports you straight into the depths of the planet, Metroid II: The Return Of Samus begins on the surface. Samus’ ship floats in the middle of a valley, to the right there is a steep rock wall and to the left lies the entrance to the underground maze of SR388.
Also unlike the first game, Samus starts this adventure a bit more powerful. Her health starts at 99, her missiles start at 30, and she can use the morph ball from the very start. She can shoot downward, which is nice to have when you take a leap of faith down some alien shaft, not knowing what might be beneath you.
This boost in power from the start left me feeling much more comfortable to explore and I ran down the first few hallways with abandon. SR388 is not a friendly place though dear reader and very shortly I entered a chamber occupied only by what looked like a giant immobile Metroid. I approached cautiously, missiles at the ready. Out of the monster burst the next stage in its evolution: the Alpha Metroid.
I had no idea that there were multiple stages of evolution in the lifespan of a Metroid! I dispatched the creature with a few missiles, only losing about half of my health in the process, and as I left the chamber the whole planet shook as if mourning the loss of one of its children.
From then on the goal was clear to me. I had to hunt down and destroy the Metroids in each section of the map. In this way, Metroid II is far more linear than the previous game. For the most part, each section must be completed before moving on to the next.
That is probably a good thing, since the black and white coloring of the game can make it pretty hard to tell some areas…
apart from others.
There are some pretty distinct locations in the game though. My personal favorite is what appears to be a giant temple in the middle of an enormous cavern.
It really sets my imagination ablaze, as most of this game is very wild and naturalistic. With the exception of a few robotic enemies, SR388 seems to show little sign of intelligent life, so I can’t help but wonder who could have built that giant structure.
Much like in the first game, I found many useful items while adventuring through SR388.
The Ice Beam is back; It works better this time around because it doesn’t unfreeze an enemy when you shoot them a second time. Also, it looks like a Samus is shooting dragon fruit.
Then there’s pretty much the coolest power-up ever.
The Spider Ball allows you to roll up walls and across ceilings, which is totally rad. That being said, it can be pretty damned frustrating to roll across a ceiling for 5 minutes only to realize that there was nothing there to find in the first place. And later you find the space-jump, which pretty much makes the Spider Ball useless… Okay, so maybe the Spider Ball isn’t that great.
The Spring Ball is awesome, it lets you jump while rolled up into a ball, but you have to pry it out of Arachnus’ cold dead hands before you can use it.
Samus gets some new firepower as well. The Spazer splits into 3 shots and the Plasma beam does a ton of damage. Oddly enough though, you find them about 10 feet apart from each other.
Metroid II is full of new enemies too. Some of them are even a bit scary, others a little less so…
In the end though, the Metroids really take center stage. The destruction of their increasingly terrifying transfigurations is the crux of the game after all. But I have to say, their evolutionary pattern is a bit… confusing.
Tajiri-San would not be pleased.
Check back soon to see how this monochromatic story ends.