(Nintendo, August 1987)

The legendary first Metroid started right here on the original Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) way back in 1987, although this is only a single Meg 8-bit game with outdated NES style graphics and all but it's still one of the greatest adventure games ever made and now I'm going to tell you why.

In the game you play the role of Samus Aran, a lone bounty hunter on a mission to destroy the life sucking Metroids of planet Zebeth. What makes these alien Metroids so powerful and so dangerous is that these creatures can easily drain the life of their prey in a matter of seconds and if they are not stopped soon they could rapidly reproduce and conquer the galaxy. It doesn't help your mission to hunts these menacing Metroids when they are being breed by the evil Space Pirates, a vicious group of a planet destroying outlaws that invaded the once peaceful world of Zebeth. Samus's only hope to end the Metroid threat is to kill the two mini bosses, Kraig and Ridley and then go after the well guarded Mother Brain of the Space Pirates, it won't be a easy task especially since there are five huge worlds to explore first.

This mysterious warrior Samus sure has a tough challenge on his hands but luckily he isn't the only one who wants to get rid of these deadly Space Pirates (I know, I know but don't spoil it for newbie's, eh?). Samus can get some much needed help from the Chozos, a peaceful bird-like race and former inhabitations of planet Zebeth. The Chozos have several stone statues with secret power ups all over the place specially made just for you; all you have to do is find them. The beauty of finding a particle power up like the morphing ball near the beginning of the game is that you go to new areas of the map now. Metroid is also one of the first video games to introduce non linear game play to players around the world. Games like Super Mario Brothers before it usually have a point A to point B aspect to there game play but not Metroid, sometimes when going to point A to point B is not so easy when point B is blocked off but you can always try and go to higher ground at point C and point D to find new power ups hopefully unlock point B but point C may have stronger monsters while point D is sealed by bricks, plus you may even find a point E merely by shooting a wall by accident, just as a example of course. Metroid is a very deep game with many secrets to discover for players who may be just fooling around or just curious. Now that's an excellent example of great adventure title, uh?

Metroid's graphics were sure amazing back in 1987 but we have to remember that games were pretty limited in the early NES era. A good example of these early graphics is the fact there are no background details at all here, it always just black void in the distance. Metroid also lacks any major character detail either thanks to some flat looking colours mainly in part to the NES small on screen colour palette. The game looks manage to look decent though with 5 nicely themed liars to explore and the graphics still fit the space atmosphere well too. Don't forget Samus also has some good animations for the day.

Turning on the old NES again and looking at the graphics is one thing but what about the sound? I'm happy to report that the music is still awesome even 15 years later. The music is either intense (like in the Tourian fortress) or very eerie (like in the fiery caverns of Norfair) plus I also love the attention given to the many sound effects (you can even hear Samus's footsteps as he runs). My favourite soundtrack is the Britstar liar theme, that track always gives me the chills but in a good way. The music is so good in the original that many of the soundtracks have been ported over or remixed for the sequels like Metroid Prime and Metroid Fusion.

Conclusion: Video Review:
One cool thing about Metriod is the ability to see some slightly different, but very innovative endings (5 endings in all) depending on your performance and if you didn't get the good ending at first then you easily go through the quest again plus you get to keep your weapons and items. Just to give you a idea on how to get the game's surprise endings you need to finish the game in under three hours to learn the real identity of this guy behind the mask (please don't ruin the ending for somebody else if you already know) and if you want a real challenge, you can go for a even better ending if you can somehow finish the game in under a hour. Now how that's for incentive to play this game again and again, eh? I would like to dedicate this review to the late Gunpei Yokoi, one of the produces of this superior game. Yokoi not only helped to create the first three Metroid games but he was also the man behind the original Gameboy, the underrated Virtual Boy, and many more popular games. Gunpei Yokoi died in a car accident in 1997 just shortly after he left Nintendo of Japan. I just thought I would remember the original 'Man of Metroid' who gave me hours of entertainment during my childhood. Rest in Peace.

This is not an easy game, the levels are huge, the enemies can be overwhelming, and sometimes there could be a lot of dead ends as well but it's not impossible and Samus gets stronger with each power up this guy finds. Even in it's old age, Metroid is still an excellent action/adventure gaming experience with a huge amount Easter eggs to keep players wanting more and the graphics and sounds were too bad either! Whether you play it on a NES, GameCube, Emulator or E-reader, Metroid is a must for any generation!
Here is my video of Metroid:

*500 points to download on the Nintendo Wii

overall rating: 97/100
Find Metroid on eBay here!

For 1 player only
graphics: 6 .............. play Metroid Prime then this.
sound: 9 .............. perfect sci fi music for this game.
gameplay: 9 ............. explore, destroy, and discover!

(Ryan Genno) 2003

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