I am a pathetic Pavlovian Dog when I hear these three words: "It's like Metroid."
My addiction has caused me to own every Castlevania since SOTN (yes even the okay PS2 ones) and every metroid game. When I started seeing videos for Shadow Complex I became quite excited for the possibility of a well-made, modernized Metroid. It's like dreams come true! So I just wanted to give some reasons why this game could be awesome upon Wednesday's release. Or not.
Why this game has the potential to be awesome:
1. An indie heart with a good publisher to support it. These arrangements always make me happy. From what is sounds like, Epic hasn't interfered in or imposed anything into this game, just providing financial support. Also, the creative director for the game is named Donald Mustard. Please tell me he is a colonel.
2. XBLA is a good choice for both its price and easy distribution A very common remark about this game is that "I can't believe it will only be 1200 MS points! I would have easily paid more than $20 for this!". This makes me very happy. Also, no, I'm not xbox-biased. I would have said the same thing if it was coming to PSN.
4. LOOK AT IT. IT'S JUST LIKE SUPER METROID. IT EVEN HAS THE LITTLE MAP IN THE CORNER.
Please tell me there will be a little jingle when you get items and power-ups.
Why this game has the potential to utterly screw this up:
1. I don't want a story, just throw me in and let me figure things out. Ok, I already know this isn't going to happen already, but one of the things people consistently say about Metroid is that it is a game that throws you in and say "get to it, we have an instruction manual if you have issues". If you are going to go the obligatory intro scene route (and it looks like this is the case), make it short. Tell us what needs to die and let us go.
2. This goes double if you're going to derail this with cutscenes Please, at least do them on-screen. I know a comic book writer is penning this story, but if I'm trying to play though the game, and it cuts to any cheesy comic book panels that swoosh in, I am going to be pissed.
3. Bigger is not always better. One of the things Col. Mustard said about the map of Shadow Complex is that the game will occupy a space of 780 map grid squares, utterly massive compared to Super Metroid's paltry size of 256 squares. That's really awesome and all, but does that mean every room in Shadow Complexwill be unique and serve a purpose, or does it just mean there will be a ton of copy and paste corridors? I'll take 256 awesomely made areas instead of 780 mediocre ones.
4. Give me an even flow and progression. I shouldn't have every item thrown at me at once, but provide me with an upgrade when the time is necessary to get one. People who have played Super Metroid will understand what I am getting at here.
5. Don't make backtracking painful. Backtracking is a common trait of the exploratory platformer genre. However, it should be fun to do so and not total searing pain. Backtracking, for the most part, should be optional if you want to get extra items, not an essential cornerstone of the game. I'll summarize what I mean here.
Good Backtracking = finding power bomb upgrades in Super Metroid. Do you need to? Not really. Can you do so if so inclined? Of course!
Bad Backtracking = The keys to the Dark Temple in Metroid Prime 2. OH GOD NO.
..so yeah, fingers crossed on this Wednesday's release.