Saturday, September 11

Game: Metroid: Other M Click for more info

The SNES version of Metroid was a masterpiece. It was superbly balanced between action and exploration, and the way in which the 2d-side scrolling map folded in on itself is still an example of some unbeatable game design. And best of all, it was fun to play.

There were three Metroid games released on the Game Cube: Prime, Echoes and Corruption, only the first of which I played and enjoyed fully. The thing about Metroid games are they they require quite a bit of investment to play properly, and what with work and life the time just wasn't there, especially as the switch to a FPS view seemed to increase the chore:fun ratio.

Which brings us to Other M on the Wii, in many ways a rejection of the last three reimages, and something that is much more of a throwback to Super - in fact it actually picks up directly where the SNES left Samus.

Although the graphics are in 3D, the map and design seem faithful to 2D, and this manages to bring back the fun in exploring. Baddies are disposed of quite easily with Samaus's auto aim, while I only had to refer to a FAQ a couple of times before realising what I have to do to proceed (feeling like a fool each time I did so). Quite amusingly instead of powering up by collecting abilities, Samus is now politically stunted by her commanding officer Adam, who insists on her not using her full power till he says so. My kind of guy.

The biggest flaw (and unlike others, it is a bit of a game spoiler), are the controls. In many ways, Other M is a prime example of how horrid the control system on the Wii is - the horizontal remote's d-pad is an ugly beast and one of Nintendo's biggest shames, while your ability and necessity to switch to FPS mode by switching positions and pointing the remote seems to be the most ill-thought out gaming mechanism I've had the misfortune to play with. It's extremely clumsy and is one of those things that holds you back.

So yes, a brilliant game in theory that fails on a fundamental point. Still, it's a game I will play to completion seeing as how much fun making progress is. I guess I'll have to give it a reluctant recommendation for that.