I solve the mysteries of the game engine this time.
My Playthrough, part 4:
I was investigating Kraidís Hideout again, when I noticed that sometimes the enemies you need to freeze with the Ice Beam to climb certain areas donít show up. Iíd leave the climbing area for another room, then turn around and jump up to the spot to start climbing and the enemies still wouldnít show up. I looked at the enemies as I entered the room, and started thinking. It turns out, if you move through the vertical scrolling areas too quickly or without killing all the enemies on the way, the enemies that you freeze for stair steps wonít be put on the screen. Some kind of technical limitation, I guess. Whatever it is, itís the reason I assumed I couldnít climb the rightmost shaft of Brinstar. This game sucks because itís technically flawed.
Harder than it looks.
So I headed over there, and was careful to kill all the enemies on the way up, and sure enough thereís a new enemy, the exact one I need to reach the next door. It wasnít as easy as that, either, as these enemies move in a wave pattern, and only reaches the height you need every other period. I got knocked around a bunch trying to set these platforms up. You can only freeze an enemy once and it has to completely thaw before you can freeze it again. Also, Samus canít shoot down. I started at about 200 energy, and made it to the door with 21 energy left.
Thereís an Energy Tank behind that door. Thereís also a path from the other sideÖ I could have collected that Energy Tank after I got Bombs, I just didnít think to shoot up from the end of the corridor coming from the left after I got the Missile upgrade 10 hours ago. Good to know for a timed run, I guess. This game sucks, but now itís because it makes me feel like an idiot.
Red = horizontal room, blue = vertical room, thin lines = possible hidden area
I think I see a hint in the map. Every time the screen transitions through a door, the scrolling direction switches between horizontal and vertical. Single screen rooms connected to horizontal rooms scroll vertically (if you canít break the ceiling or roof, the room still scrolls vertically, but is only one screen tall). There are only a couple of single screen horizontally scrolling rooms. There are a couple doors that are exceptions to the rule, though.
Hey look, it's Metroid with an automap!
Vertical rooms donít have hidden exits on the walls, only on the floors and ceilings. Horizontal rooms donít have hidden exits on the floors and ceilings, and walls with no doors are to be inspected thoroughly. Knowing this, the path to the Ice Beam would have stuck out like a sore thumb. Looking at the empty spaces and the rules of how the rooms work, I think I might be able to make some real headway now.
This is a good place to stop; Iím not looking forward to backtracking over most of the map. On the other hand, once I have the map and know where everything is, a timed run would be a lot of fun, and my opinion of this game may swing back to a positive one. If anyone reading this is to take away one thing from these posts, itís that the Internet is a terrific resource and only idiots and sadists discover previously known information on their own.
After death 14, day 10:
Morph Ball, Bombs, Long Beam, Ice Beam, 150 Missiles, 3 Energy Tanks, Kraid down.
My Playthrough, part 5:
I started investigating the feelers I marked on the map. The first one that panned out was in Kraidís Hideout. It led to a Fake Kraid, and further past him was Kraidís lair. I didnít get any upgrades but I discovered that you donít need the Ice Beam to get to Kraid. Iím not yet sure if this will help in my timed run, but itís good to have options. I died a few more times after that checking all the other walls and headed back to Brinstar.
In Brinstar, one of the first places I checked out was where I found the Long Beam. I realized that every room with a Chozo statue holding an upgrade scrolls horizontally, so the colored map is slightly inaccurate, and there are a few more doors that are an exception to the scrolling rule. Still, that map was the only lead I had and I thought it would still lead me somewhere.
I found a ceiling to shoot out at the top of Brinstar. I need the High Jump Boots to reach the room above it. There was nothing else I could find so I headed to Norfair.
On the right end of Norfair, near the Ice Beam, I found out that there was a fake lava pool with a destructible floor that doesnít actually lead anywhere. Thatís all that I found. Yet again, Iím suck. I know the elevator to Ridleyís Hideout has to be above Ridleyís Hideout, which has to be Norfair. There are a couple spots in Kraidís Hideout where itís conceivable the elevator could be there, but I checked those too. Now we see how long Iím willing to run around and randomly drop bombs before I resort to a walkthrough.
For the hell of it I tried Nintendoís automated tip line, the Power Line at (425) 885-7529, but the voice at the end said they were having technical difficulties. Afterwards I filled my energy back up and headed back to Norfair. I blew a hole in the floor of the room on the far right, I have no idea how I missed it on my first pass. Now Iím being very careful, and I pretty much know which spots in the floors and ceilings to check. The path led to the High Jump Boots and the Screw Attack. The Screw Attack isnít quite as awesome as it is in the other games, as you fall out of it before you land, but itís still pretty cheap.
I kept pressing into Norfair, and the tile set changed a couple times. The one that looked like a bunch of eyeballs made it seem like I was getting somewhere interesting. I found another Energy Tank and the Wave Beam (which overwrites the Ice Beam). I also found out that there are some spots in this area where you get stuck and die if you fall in, even with the High Jump Boots. I fell in more than once.
I took the chance on my new lives to check out the one door at the top of Brinstar and get the energy tank from Kraidís lair. On the way I noticed how much more powerful I had become in such a short period. I could shoot through walls, I could shoot things shorter than me, my shots were more powerful, I could climb faster, and I could jump into enemies to kill them. I was hoping it was the Varia Suit at the top of Brinstar, and it was. Now all thatís left is Ridley, then Mother Brain.
Thinking of the timed run, I regret going to get the Varia Suit before visiting Ridley. Iíd like to know how difficult he is without it. It might save me some time to grab the Varia Suit last, since itís so far away. It seems the best route right now would be to grab everything on the way to Ridley, then double back and get the Varia Suit on the way to Kraid. Another issue for the timed run is the Wave Beam. You lose the Ice Beam, so if you need to travel through Norfair again you have to go pick up the extra Ice Beam there. Also, the Ice Beam is needed to kill Metroids so it may not be worth picking up the Wave Beam at all.
After death 23, day 16:
Morph Ball, Bombs, Long Beam, Ice Beam or Wave Beam, High Jump Boots, Screw Attack, 165 Missiles, 5 Energy Tanks, Kraid down.
If you want to see a higher res image of the map so far, it's in the gallery.