In July I wrote a blog post called “Bloodstained From the Perspective of a Castlevania Fangirl”. This post can be considered its sequel.
I love Metroidvanias. It’s one of my favorite genres. The Castlevania handhelds more or less led me to a rabbit hole that got me into playing video games that didn’t have the word “Pokémon” in the title. I could even attribute the existence of this blog to my discovery of Castlevania back in middle school because that’s how influential it was to my now love for games.
I’m bad at choosing favorites, but I think I’d consider Hollow Knight as my favorite game of all time. It’s just such a beautiful game that really took everything I loved about Metroidvanias to 100%. The abilities are interesting, the map is wonderfully designed, the world is interconnected in clever ways, each area is a joy to explore, and the boss fights are really fun
(except for the Watcher Knights – they can rot for all I care).
And there’s many other games I really enjoyed like Momodora, Guacamelee, and more. There’s also so many other games that take noticeable influence from the genre.
But deep down inside, I knew I was just a poser. A wannabe. Because I’ve never played a Metroid game.
Okay, technically I played a bit of Metroid Fusion when I was younger…but only for an hour or two.
I was so excited and hyped when SNES Online was announced because I have finally played and completed Super Metroid!
The controls definitely took a while to get used to. Samus does feel quite floaty. I never figured out how to properly wall jump or bomb jump, and heck, I even had trouble with the space jump/screw attack at first, but once I got the timing down for space jump though it was a lot of fun just jumping across rooms. I never got good at using the grapple beam though…
The map of Super Metroid is pretty good. I feel like Castlevania occasionally has some dead ends that feel disappointing. In Super Metroid however, it feels like every room has some sort of purpose. There are many little secrets scattered about. Once I got the X-Ray beam, I feel like I was using it everywhere, but I finished the game with only 66% item collection completion. So there was a lot I must have missed.
In terms of the overall map though, it feels really concise. The map design feels really tight. I’m not very good at analyzing games or maps just yet, but I really enjoyed Game Maker’s Toolkit’s video on the world design of Super Metroid.
One thing that did frustrate me a bit with the map design though is that there’s a lot of “one ways” in the game. A very common case is that sometimes you land on a block that then breaks, causing you to fall down. However, in these cases, the block can only be broken from the top and not the bottom. So if this happens, you have to walk all the way back up to where you came from. There’s also a fair amount of buttons that can only be hit on one side until you get a late game optional power-up.
At first I didn’t mind at all but then I hit a point where I was running across the map and kept hitting these. The map itself isn’t that great either – there’s no doors marked on it – so backtracking started to feel quite tedious in the mid game. At that point, you have access to a lot of the map and have a fair amount of power-ups to try and find secrets, but you haven’t got the late game traversal power-ups yet (i.e. the one that lets you hit the button from the other side).
Each place has it’s own atmosphere and let me just say that the atmosphere of this entire game is really really cool. The music of each area helps a lot with the atmosphere too – it feels almost a little dissonant while still being melodic.
I feel like I was exceedingly bad at all the boss fights in the game. I feel like I ended up just tanking most of the boss fights and spamming missiles rather than trying to actually dodge every attack. Is that normal?
I hit a pretty big wall with Ridley. I actually felt like I had a general grasp on how to read his moveset, but kept running out of ammo. I took that opportunity to do one final sweep of the map in search of missile packs and energy tanks (and apparently still missed a lot because I only got 66% of them). When I came back, I managed to take him down pretty easily. That was the first boss fight where I felt like I actually knew what I was doing instead of tanking and spamming.
I really enjoyed the final boss fight. It made fighting all of the other bosses 100% worth it.