30 Years Of Galactic Bounty Hunting With Metroid

30 Years Of Galactic Bounty Hunting With Metroid

30 years ago today the platforming of Super Mario Bros. and the exploration of The Legend of Zelda coalesced into science fiction action adventure starring a person in a powerful suit of armour. Shh. Don’t want to spoil the Metroid surprise.

Launching in Japan for the Famicom on August 6, 1986, Metroid combined elements of two Nintendo classics to create an entirely new Nintendo classic, creating a whole new action-adventure sub-genre in the process.

Gathering items and equipment to unlock previously unexplorable areas started here. Today similar games are referred to as Metroidvania games, due to Castlevania: Symphony of the Night re-popularising the sub-genre. I prefer Metroid-like.

Metroid is also famous for its protagonist, Samus Aran, famously revealed to be a woman to players completing the original game fast enough, despite being referred to in the instructions as a “he.” It’s easy to surprise people when you flat-out lie to them.

1991’s Metroid II: Return of Samus for the Game Boy upgraded the power suit from the first game into the now-iconic, rounded-shoulder Varia Suit, the default look for Samus when she isn’t running about in blue space spandex.

Over the years we’ve seen the Metroid series transform from a 2D platformer to an excellent first-person shooter, in one of the smoothest transitions from pixels to polys ever pulled off (Nintendo had a knack).

Right now Samus and the Metroid series are in a bit of a stasis. The last game released in the series proper was 2010’s Metroid: Other M, which was good, if a bit heavy on unwanted story elements.

There’s a new game coming later this month, Metroid Prime: Federation Force, which doesn’t feature Samus Aran and heavily features a sports game set in the game universe. Fans of the series aren’t thrilled by the milestone passing without a major appearance from one of gaming’s first female heroes, but they wouldn’t be nearly as disappointed if they didn’t care.

Besides, there’s still time. The original Metroid didn’t come to the States until August 1987, We’ll call it a year window.

Now let us reminisce! Share your favourite Metroid memories in the comments below.


  • Ask the oracle what “AM2R” is…. Today is a very important for it! for the fans!

    Find it well!

  • Big Metroid fan. Fell in love with the franchise playing Metroid Prime on GC. Defeating meta-Ridley (metal Ridley?) was a highlight. Played through the version of Metroid that unlocked when you finished Prime and then set about collecting actual copies of all the Metroid games for my collection. Really sad to see how the franchise has been treated of late. I think it’s not really light and fun enough to be a high priority for Nintendo, unfortunately. Not sure what NX will be like but my fingers are crossed that it will have something Metroid focused at launch. I’m not really a big multiplayer gamer so while I would normally jump at Federation Force just to play something Metroid again, the difficulty doesn’t scale with the number of players so solo players will likely have a hard time. Sigh. Oh well, maybe Retro will return to Metroid next given that Donkey Kong got two games.

    Any other Metroid fans out there?

  • I’ve got an original Metroid II game boy cart plus a Super Metroid SNES cart, Prime and Echoes were amazing but for some reason never played Corruption or Other M. Hunters on DS was pretty great, as were Fusion and Zero Mission on GBA. So much goodness here it’s ridiculous, Nintendo are sitting on a gold mine with this IP but just can’t seem to pull the trigger, fingers crossed for something on NX.

    • I adored Prime and Echos, but I could never get into Corruption. I think the Wii controls really threw me. I so wish the Trilogy was playable with GC controls on the Wii U gamepad.

      Fusion and Zero Mission are great too. So many good gaming memories.

  • Where’s Metroid Dread already :p

    Personally I’d love to see another game in the style of Other M, gameplay-wise it was great. Just so long as they don’t force us to use shitty sideways Wii remote again. Otherwise I’m still hanging out for a Metroid 5. And would not be opposed to another Metroid Pinball :p

    Looking forward to Fed Force.

  • First game I played was actually Metroid: Fusion on GBA. I remember being confused for a while, because for some reason (I was 12) I assumed the station was like level 1, and kept wondering when level 2 would come; I hadn’t played a metroidvania style of game prior.

    It introduced me, and it was a great game. It also carried on that Alien influence in having the ‘fake’ spooky Samus make suspenseful appearances which gave me some goosebumps back then.

  • My friend and I used to play hours of the original Metroid on N.E.S, meticulously drawing our own maps so that we wouldn’t get lost. I can remember watching him beat Mother Brain, my heart pounding through my chest at the intense battle and panic-inducing escape sequence!

    I didn’t particularly like Metroid II when it first came out, because although it added a lot of new features, I couldn’t stand the fact that it was in black-and-white and every area looked pretty much the same.

    Then came Super Metroid… The reviews preceded its arrival in Australia. Everyone overseas was saying that one of Nintendo’s B-grade series had just been upgraded to A+.

    When I finally convinced my parents to give it to me as a 15th birthday present – it was a really hard choice between Super Metroid and Mega Man X – I can remember sneaking the cartridge out of my parents’ “secret” presents cupboard and playing it in my room. By the time I received it for my birthday, I was already halfway through. ^_^

    Then we went on holidays, and I quietly packed the Super Nintendo into my case so that I could play Super Metroid at every hotel we stayed at. Haha! Pretty sure I finished it on that holiday!
    I have played it many times since then, most recently in my “Year of Retro Gaming” series. Such a classic!

    • Hahaha, I did the exact same thing with Fusion. Snuck it out of the box which I found in their wardrobe, replaced it with the Golden Sun cart to that it didn’t feel any different, then secretly started playing it. Though kept erasing my progress once I was done, just in case they somehow checked it for some reason 😛

  • I was a latecomer to Metroid, so I’ve only really played the Prime trilogy and Other M.

    I would play a new ‘real’ Prime game so hard. The original was probably my favourite game on the Cube.

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