So as you may have surmised so far, I love this game. Well… no, actually, I really don’t. I love the Metroid series as a whole, in particular 1993’s Super Metroid and 2004’s Metroid: Zero Mission. For me, those are perfect games that make this series the powerhouse that it is. Zero Mission is a remake that fixes the problems in Metroid that left me feeling so despondent while also giving players a brand new experience. But, I also accept that this is due to the fact that 18 years had come and gone resulting in a vastly improved gaming experience. Even so, there are things that could have been and should have been fixed. And here they are!


Number 1: MAPS!!!

With a game this vast set inside of a maze, why the hell wasn’t there a map feature of some kind? I mean, seriously! I remember my friends back in middle school sitting there and actually drawing a map as they played to ensure they wouldn’t get lost. Maps would become a mainstay necessity in later entries, but this game was made all the more difficult because there wasn’t one. Getting turned around and going through the same rooms over and over again or taking a wrong turn somewhere and not realizing it until you’ve wound up back in Ridley’s Lair can drive players insane! And all of this could have been avoided with a simple map!

Number 2: Confusion/Monotony

I know this is an NES game and I realize that there are limited graphics. I understand these limitations and I can totally respect them. That being said, would it have been so difficult to make sure that each new room or corridor really stood out? Many times I found myself going back and forth between the same few rooms because they all looked so similar! This harkens back to the map feature, but it also creates an issue for people like me that absolutely have to find each and every item. With many rooms looking the exact same, it became extremely difficult to keep track of which one I was supposed to be going to and where I was supposed to be looking for the hidden items. Konami managed to make each area in Castlevania unique in both color and design, so why couldn’t R&D1 accomplish the same feat for Metroid? Yeah, yeah, yeah, Castlevania was a linear game experience with a dedicated end goal, but this is something that would have greatly improved the immersion experience.

Number 3: Death

Get used to it! You will die as Samus many times in the game (which she does by literally exploding…naturally). That’s to be expected but what drives me up the wall is that she respawns with only her initial health count of 30 points – no matter how many Energy Tanks you have! To make matters worse, health drops are difficult enough to come across as is. Roughly one in five enemies dropped health and even with that, the most common drop was a mere 5 health points. The Metroid themselves would drop significantly more health, but they also had a tendency to drain you as fast as you could gather it. This meant that if you died with all the Energy Tanks, you’d be spending a looooooooooong time refilling them. While at the time it helped to increase longevity for the game, it also added to the monotony I mentioned above.

Number 4: Passwords

This one is more nitpicky, but I stand by it. When Metroid was released stateside, it didn’t have the SAVE function the way the Japanese release did. The battery backup found in Legend of Zelda wasn’t fully realized in time for Metroid’s release, resulting in a password system. While the password would allow you to continue playing with all the upgrades you’d located up to that point, it would start you over at the last elevator you used in whatever section you were in. Furthermore, since passwords were only given by getting a game over, you started up with only 30 health… see my point here? Later entries would provide save rooms with energy and weapons refills nearby. A benefit of improved technology? Maybe, or maybe it just wasn’t considered at the time.


With all my cards laid out on the table, you can see why I don’t particularly enjoy this entry in the Nintendo library. While many people still rank this as one of the best NES games made, I just don’t care for it. The technical limitations and overall missing functions make for an unenjoyable game. And since I have a tendency to die quite a bit when playing games, the immersion is ruined by constantly having to farm health and weapons energy. Although the game is extremely important for the characters it introduced and concepts it brought about, it isn’t as much fun to play as one would expect of such a classic title.

While playing a game, I expect a certain level of engagement, enjoyment, and excitement. The issues I’ve listed above prevented me from being able to fully dedicate myself to Samus’ mission and left me feeling more like this was a survival game… oh shit… I love survival horror games. Damn epiphanies… Look, maybe that’s how I should look at this title, but I can’t because that’s not what the Metroid games are about. They’re about a lone warrior armed with a state of the art battle suit taking on all manner of enemies and obstacles, wiping out galactic threats, and collecting bounties for the skulls of her enemies.

It’d be like making a Predator game where you, as the Predator, spend the entire game learning the boy scout basics of outdoor survival rather than being, well, predatory!

I suggest skipping this title, instead opting for Metroid: Zero Mission. You’ll get the same experience, without the rage inducing headaches, plus you get entirely new segments! The improved play mechanics, inclusion of a map, better SAVE functions, and all together welcoming atmosphere of the game create a better play experience while still providing players with the origin story for this incredible series…

Sai & Stormy are writers, gamers, and full time nerds. Sai can often be found with a comic in one hand and a game controller in the other. He specializes in the history/mythology of comic books, legends of video games, and sculpting figurines. When Stormy is not fully immersing herself into her 80's childhood fandoms, she enjoys making cosplay, desperately tries to get her old Nintendo games to work, and will do whatever it takes to make time to read her favorite books. They live somewhere down south where it gets very hot with a boneheaded dog named Melvin.