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Metroid Fusion (2002) – 91/100

– With the success and critical acclaim of Super Metroid, fans desperately wanted a new game in the franchise and the creators tried to release one for the N64 system. This ended up not happening and there was an 8 year gap between games. On November 17th, 2002, the creators made up for it by releasing not one, but two new games. One of them was Metroid Fusion which was originally released on the Game Boy Advance (however, like Metroid 2, I played this game on the GameCube thanks to the attachment). Metroid Fusion (also known as Metroid 4), bears heavy resemblance in visuals and in gameplay to Super Metroid. However, the creators made sure that this game would have a new story and objective rather than just being a sequel or a rehash. The game focuses on Samus, who while investigating the planet SR338 comes in contact with the deadly X Parasite virus. To save Samus, she is sent to the Biological Space Lab (BSL) where they inject her with DNA from the metroid she saved in previous games. This makes her weak to cold but it also allows her to bond with X Parasites and regain her health. Parts of her infected power suit could not be removed and instead she wears a partial armor suit known as the fusion suit. When she wakes up, she is sent by the Galactic Federation to investigate an explosion that happened on the BSL and the game begins. The space station contains a Main Deck and 6 lower sectors (to observe and study different kinds of creatures) that are all accessible from the Main Deck through elevators. The lower levels are Sector 1 (SRX – a re-creation of the planet SR338), Sector 2 (TRO – a jungle area), Sector 3 (PYR – a fire/lava area), Sector 4 (AQA – a water area), Sector 5 (ARC – a snow/ice area), and Sector 6 (NOC – a dark area). With the help of her ship’s computer (nicknamed Adam), Samus explores the areas in such of answers. The gameplay is very linear (in the way that Metroid 2 was). Samus goes to Navigation Rooms to tell her where to go next (much like the hint system in Metroid Prime). Adam will tell Samus to find control rooms so that different color doors will open (she must find hidden ways into them), or he will tell her to go to development rooms in order to acquire a specific upgrade, or he will also tell her to go to rooms to check out something that is wrong (which will usually end up as a boss fight). It is possible to ignore these commands for a little while and explore the areas to find missile and health upgrades. The boss fights are similar to the style of previous Metroid games (focused on spamming missiles), but like the boss fights in Super Metroid, each boss is fun and challenging to face (not as unique from each other as later Metroid games, but more unique than the bosses from Super Metroid in my opinion). One function that allows a little more diversity in this game is the ability to climb on ladders and to hang from them so that you are able (and might have) to shoot bosses from above. The story is definitely the main focus, which is not a problem because it makes it very unique in the series. It was the first side scroller game in the franchise to have cutscenes. Also, Samus eventually finds out that the X Parasite has the ability to replicate its host, and Samus encounters a replica of herself known as the SA-X. The SA-X is way too powerful for Samus to deal with in her still weak condition, and she will either have to hide or run away from it during their many encounters. Also, Samus eventually finds a hidden lab, and discoveries that the Galatic Federation have been secretly using the metroids DNA to clone metroids in order to try and harness their powers. She finds out that the Galatic Federation are on their way to the ship, and knows that the X Parasite will overcome them. In order to prevent the spread of the virus throughout the galaxy, she decides to crash the ship into SR338. Along the way, she has to deal with a final battle against the SA-X as well as the final boss in the game: An Omega Metroid. Overall, the story is definitely the most impressive aspect of the game (that is not an insult to the gameplay). I found the boss fights to be challenging but not as memorable as other games. I really liked the different areas and thought that it had a nice diversity of creatures and areas for platforming. The music is good (better than Metroid 2, but not better than Super Metroid or Metroid Prime), and the game doesn’t bring a lot of new upgrades into the mix (but then again, it didn’t need to because all of the classic items are still there). Not my favorite Metroid game but enjoyable to play and very memorable overall.

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