Let me begin this by saying, “I’m a Nintendo fan-boy.” I cannot deny it, so I won’t even try. Though I rarely speak for games and systems I have never played, that does not stop others on gaming sites from belittling my tastes. Fellow Nintendo fans know the feeling, I’m sure. I know Nintendo has its faults (what company doesn’t?), but I just can’t get enough of my favorite franchises. Many people will argue that Nintendo’s library isn’t diverse enough, and though I have my own opinions on the matter, what I really want to write about is the commonly raised complaint:
Nintendo’s franchises aren’t diverse within their own series.
I believe this is completely untrue. I have a hard time saying that A Link to the Past is the same as Ocarina of Time is the same as Majora’s Mask is the same as Skyward Sword. I have a hard time saying Kirby’s Dreamland is the same as Epic Yarn is the same as Canvas Curse is the same as Mass Attack. In fact, I could apply this same line of reasoning to almost any major Nintendo franchise (except maybe Animal Crossing, Pikmin and some other smaller properties).
If you really dig deep, you can find some of the most unique experiences on Nintendo platforms. Ace Attorney, Elebits, Electroplankton, Elite Beat Agents, Rhythm Heaven, The World Ends with You, and Hotel Dusk come to mind. Actually, the reason I thought to write this article is because I just recently imported the sequel to Hotel Dusk, which was never released in the states (shame on you, Nintendo). As I was playing this game and reading comments that made ridiculous claims like, “EVERY MARIO GAME IS EXACTLY THE SAME!!!!,” I thought to myself, “wouldn’t it be cool if Nintendo would incorporate this gameplay style with an established franchise?”
At first I figured Metroid could make a really interesting point and click adventure. She does a lot of environment scans in the Prime series, so what if she could use that to help her track down a bounty? She could still occupy the same types of environments, but the story would have more of a narrative and puzzles to solve.
All of a sudden, I started thinking of some of these other crossover games: Pokemon Conquest, Shin Megami Tensei x Fire Emblem, and Hyrule Warriors. What would an Elite Beat Agents-style Starfox game be like? Or how about a Legend of Zelda JRPG? Kirby needs a cooking game, Captain Falcon needs an open-world, GTA-style game, and Nintendo would make a killing with a Pokemon/Animal Crossing crossover.
At any rate, these are the crazy ideas I come up with as a Nintendo fan. What do you think? Do you have any far out there ideas for franchise genre-swapping? For those of you that think Nintendo is stuck in a rut, would any of this change your opinion?
I’ll admit that I am relatively new to the Metroid series. My first Nintendo system was the Nintendo 64, so naturally, I missed out on Super Metroid. When Super Smash Bros. came out, I was one of many children who reacted, “Samus? Who’s he?” When the Gamecube came out, there was more Smash Bros. and more Samus. Who is this guy?
Well, all my questions were about to be answered the next year, which marked the release of Metroid Prime and Metroid Fusion. First person shooters were all the rage and I knew I was supposed to like Prime, but that dual analog input just never flowed quite right for me. I made it past the first boss and stopped. I also got to try the original for the first time. That is a huge mistake for a novice. Fusion, on the other hand, was my cup o’ tea. Platforming, action, shooting, awesome character design. I was still young and inexperienced, so I couldn’t make it all the way to the end at the time (don’t worry, I have since corrected this), but I enjoyed it nonetheless.
After Metroid Prime 3 was released, a friend convinced me I had to try it. I told him I wasn’t crazy about Prime, but he insisted. I tried it, and I gotta say… it was awesome! I bought the game myself, played it, and bought the trilogy when that was released. I guess the point and click interface just seemed more natural.
I tell you all this because it is the entire history of my Metroid experience before the announcement of Other M. I remember the E3 trailer. Pure awesome… well, except for when that guy says, “remember me?” I honestly had to look up whether or not I was supposed to remember him. But that did not detract from how hyped I was for the new game. I made it my personal quest to finish all the Metroid games. That meant finishing Fusion, Prime and Prime 2, as well as buying and playing Super Metroid and Zero Mission. Fantastic games. I refuse to play Hunters because that demo gave me serious headaches, and I haven’t played the pinball game. At that point, I considered myself to be a real Metroid fan. I have even finished the original since my previous attempts. So, you could imagine how excited I was for Other M. I had it preordered and everything. Previews and early reviews were positive, and I was ecstatic, like I assume many of you were.
The day finally came for me to pick up and play Metroid: Other M, and you guys will never guess what happened next… I loved it. Another great entry in the franchise. Maybe it was a little short, maybe the cut scenes were a little long, and the lack of nunchuck support is a little ridiculous, but it was still tremendous fun. In fact, some parts of the game surprised me with how good they were. I complained about controls, but I never once had an issue with switching from third to first person. The game is absolutely gorgeous, and some of these enemies look seriously intimidating. Again, I loved it. I played it TWICE!
Guess what? It turns out that this game I had a blast with is really bad. Not just bad, but the worst game ever made. Turns out, Nintendo completely destroyed Samus’ character. Apparently, the series died when Other M was released. Even reviewers who had rated this game quite highly decided that they actually hated it only a few days later. Why? Because other people said it was bad? I hate to bring up review scores, but a quick search on Metacritic will show you that most of the reviews were positive and some were mixed. Not a single negative review. Yet, if you compare that to the user reviews, a quarter of players have decided that this is pretty much the worst game ever created.
So, what’s the point of all this? I’m writing about Other M only because of the new Smash Bros. stage which has been whipping up some controversy. I think what I’m getting at is, I still enjoyed Other M. I think there were a lot of people who DID enjoy Other M, but who have since decided that they hated it. Some people didn’t like it, and that’s ok. This is a call to all other gamers who had fun with Other M: it’s ok. You’re allowed to like a game. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to respond to hundreds of angry messages.
Edit: It's been brought to my attention that the original Prime games did NOT use duel analog. This doesn't change my feelings about them as not being able to move and aim at the same time would have driven me crazy.