Sunday, February 28, 2016

Gameday Sunday: Memories of Metroid Part IV

And here's the fourth and final installment of Frank Warden's retrospective on the Metroid franchise. Enjoy! - Azure

In 2007 the Nintendo Wii served as the console to accommodate the final chapter in the Prime trilogy—Metroid Prime 3: Corruption

In our heroine’s efforts to rid the galaxy of the mutagenic Phazon, she runs into her old enemy, the space pirates, currently led by the sinister Dark Samus. Boasting excellent motion controls, thanks to the Wii, moving Samus and aiming her trademark arm cannon has never been easier. The entire Metroid Prime trilogy was later re-released for the console in 2009, each enhanced with motion controls.

Samus Aran made an appearance in Super Smash Bros. Brawl in 2008, also on the Nintendo Wii. Aside from a few characters and level stages from the Metroid series, it served as little more than a guest role for the Galactic Federation’s legendary bounty hunter.

Rumors of a live-action Metroid film made the rounds back in 2003. After the licensing rights expired John Woo was said to acquire them but, aside from a written treatment, the project never progressed any further. It was ‘officially’ abandoned in 2007.

2010 ushered in Metroid: Other M, developed for the Wii by Team Ninja, the company behind the popular Ninja Gaiden games. The events of Other M occur directly after the climax of Super Metroid and find Samus recovering from her battle with Mother Brain. Soon afterwards, Samus investigates a distress signal from a derelict ship where she finds her former commanding officer, Adam Malkovich, and a team of Marines. It becomes clear that the ship was being used for illegal biological experimentation, but what other horrors are still lurking aboard? And is there a traitor among the Federation, willing to silence Samus and the other Marines?

Other M was a radical departure from previous games and the most ambitious title in the franchise. Using the Wii remote, players could change from third-person to first-person modes and a selection of new moves was integrated into the gameplay, including melee attacks. Extensive cutscenes were also included to flesh out the story and, for the first time, Samus was given spoken dialogue. Regardless, Other M divided the fan base between those that despised the portrayal of the Metroid-hunting heroine and others that loved the cinematic nature of this new outing.

As of early 2016, there's much speculation regarding any upcoming Metroid games. With the Nintendo’s first high-definition console, the Wii U, still turning out new titles, it would seem that now is the time for Samus to don her armor once more and take on the Space Pirate scourge. It’s only fitting that Alien, one of the greatest sci-fi film franchises of all time, played such an enormous role in shaping one of the greatest sci-fi video game series in history. It will be interesting to see where Samus’ story goes from here—but gamers can be assured that wherever her adventures take her, there will be peace in space. 

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