Is the Return of Samus a Return to Form?
One could make a case to say that the Metroid games before Super Metroid aren't as thought as lovingly of as the Super Nintendo classic and the games in the series afterward. One of the main reasons and complaints is the lack of an in-game map. Back in the olden days of 8-bit Metroid, players plotted out their own maps by drawing them on a piece of paper. Still, the inconvenience of constantly pausing the game to draw a new section of the game was a serious pain that Super Metroid and games in the series thereafter rectified. Metroid II: Return of Samus was the first handheld Metroid title. Even with having no in-game map to help players, is it still worth the adventure?
Metroid II takes place on the planet SR388. The Galactic Federation had previously sent multiple extermination forces to wipe out all remaining Metroids so the Space Pirates could never use them for their own sinister plans. When absolutely none of the forces designed to take out the Metroids survive, the Galactic Federation opts to send bounty hunter Samus Aran in to complete the job. If a player didn't know anything about the plot going into Metroid II, the game certainly wouldn't help enlighten them on anything. The game thrusts players in control of Samus as quickly as they press the start button on the title screen. What little narrative that actually occurs happens near the end of the game, and it is fully playable.
|Samus embarks on her Metroid murder mission.|
|"Don't mind me. I'm just here to exterminate you."|
Like every Metroid game in existence, Return of Samus grants Ms. Aran with a bevy of new abilities to reach otherwise inaccessible areas. Returning abilities include Samus's famous and patented Morph Ball and Ice Beam moves. The Morph Ball allows her to curl up into a ball, rolling through narrow passageways as well as dropping bombs to blow up blocks and enemies. But that's not the limit of the Morph Ball's abilities this time around. Samus can learn the Spider Ball and Spring Ball powers. The Spider Ball allows her to stick, scale, and cling to walls whereas the Spring Ball gives her the chance to jump while in Morph Ball form. A series mainstay, the Space Jump, makes its debut to the franchise in this game. By timing Samus Aran's jumps carefully, she can leap infinitely, though practice makes perfect on that one.
|These statues hold each of Samus Aran's new abilities.|
|Some rooms are carbon copies of others.|
This makes for some befuddling moments.
Metroid II: Return of Samus is nowhere near my favorite entry in this science fiction action adventure series. I'd be amiss, however, if I said I did not enjoy my time with the game. Sure, I had to use a pre-made map to get my bearings throughout my journey through SR388 - finding and eliminating the Metroid menace far and wide, but Return of Samus is a game that I can see myself returning to - constantly trying to speed run through the game, scoring excellent times, and obtaining the best ending. If you are interested in seeing the Metroid series's roots on a portable gaming device, Metroid II: Return of Samus is the perfect game to do so.
[SuperPhillip Says: 8.0/10]