Metroid, which debuted in 1986, would go on to spawn one of Nintendo’s most-revered franchises. The ongoing adventures of bounty hunter Samus Aran differed quite a bit from the company’s other big names, like Zelda and Mario. In comparison, Metroid was dark and solemn, with a looming feeling of isolation and a powerfully alien sense of place, inspired in large part by the first Alien film. It was also a game that felt unique in its structure. While Metroid was a 2D, side-scrolling game, it took place in an expansive, interconnected world. Players could explore in a nonlinear fashion, and would often have to return to areas using newfound abilities.
The game went on to spawn a number of beloved follow-ups, including the sublime Super Metroid in 1994, and the Metroid Prime spinoff series that transformed the 2D adventures into a first-person, 3D experience. Most recently, Nintendo is set to release Metroid: Samus Returns on the Nintendo 3DS, the first traditional side-scrolling Metroid in nearly a decade. But the importance of Metroid can be seen in more than the games released by Nintendo. The series has also had a profound influence on gaming as a whole, inspiring a generation of designers along the way.
I ordered a special edition New 3DS XL just for the new Samus Returns. The Metroid series is one of my favourite series in gaming, and many of them are classics all of us have played at some point in our lives. Personally, I greatly prefer the 2D, side-scrolling Metroid games, as the series foray into 3D/FPS – the Prime series – fell a bit flat to me.