So, Iím starting my blog with a shocker; I donít like Metroid games. This probably isnít surprising to many of you, but only because you read the title. So that doesnít really count. But, you know, thatís sort of understandable; no genre is liked by everyone. What is odd is that I actually like Metroidvanias, justÖ not the Metroid ones. Iíve played Metroid Prime and Metroid II, and Iíve beaten Fusion, Zero Mission, and Super Metroid, so I think Iíve played enough to get the general feel of the series. Iím still not entirely sure why I like Metroidvanias (Iím specifically referring to the post Symphony of the Night Castlevanias, but the genreís pretty good too), but not Metroids, but I have some ideas.
The bosses in both series are great, though. That won't be coming up.
For starters, there arenít many enemies. I know this is part of the Metroid formula; part of it is about how alone youíre supposed to feel, so there arenít many enemies. Another part is about how itís supposed to feel like youíre exploring an alien environment, so the enemies arenít actively attacking you; theyíre more like animals, fitting into their natural environment until you disturb them. The problem is, I donít enjoy that. If I wanted to feel alone, in an alien environment with only alien fauna who couldnít care less about my presence for company, I would go down to the basement and be in the general proximity of my cats.
Heh. Because cats are jerks.
Except for this one. He's awesome.
Anyway, killing enemies is fun
. Perhaps Iím comparing apple to oranges, because Castlevania has a different formula; youíre supposed to be storming the enemy castle, killing everything in sight, sending Draculaís minions back to the deepest depths of hell, and Metroidís formula is different, as Iíve already stated. ButÖ well, I like Castlevaniaís formula.
So, onto the next problem. The exploration, the bread-and-butter of Metroid games, isnít very fun. In Castlevanias, the background changes, as do the enemies. You know when youíre in the catacombs, in the clock tower, in some other, third area; each place has a certain feel
to it. ThatísÖ kind of there in Metroid, but itís not very strong. In my opinion, anyway. Castlevania has widely varying areas; youíre exploring an entire castle, whether youíre going through the deepest depths of its dungeon, or climbing to the tops of spires, or going through that goddamn clock tower. Well, no game is perfect. Each area also has its own enemies, too. With the exception of the omni-present bats, no enemy particularly fits its area, but thatís okay; theyíre all incredibly different, and sometimes the enemy choices are just as integral to an area as the level design itself. When you see medusa heads, you know youíre in the clock tower; when you see killer fish and sea monsters, you know youíre in theÖ waterÖarea. Okay, that comparison didnít work out so well, but I stand by my previous statement.
Actually, now that I think about it, the downed spaceship in Super Metroid was kind of cool. But not much else was. With the exception of the fallen spaceship, and a few isolated incidences (that one desert-ish area right before Mother Brain) nothing really stood out. Youíve got a blue background, a red background, that weird bubbly background, and some others I canít remember. Enemy variety can help this, but thatís not what Metroid is about.
This environment is greenish-blue, and I'm trying to do that thing where people have commentary on their pictures
Thereís another problem, though, that Iím not really sure how to explain. Exploring in Castlevania just seems moreÖ natural, somehow. Itís usually at least somewhat clear where youíre supposed to go, even if it can be murky at times. Metroid is less so. Thereís quite a lot of wandering around wondering what the hell youíre supposed to do, and less kicking ass and taking names. The teleporters in Castlevania also make things more enjoyable; the castle is huge, so it helps to have a faster way to traverse it. Even if youíre backtracking all over the place, itís faster than it could be. The backtracking in Metroid, which is quite frequent, takes a really long time. And, as Iíve mentioned, I get lost a lot in these games, so I end up backtracking over the entire map, which is quite an ordeal.
So, thatís why I donít like Metroid in general. These rules mostly just apply to Zero Mission and Super Metroid, but Super Metroid is considered the best Metroid, and one of the best games ever, so I figure itís a good comparison. I have a list of reasons why I donít like the others, but as Iím writing this in Microsoft Word, it bumped up the length to five and a half pages, and itís still not quite done, so I decided to cover that in later posts.
Questions, comments, advice? Also, whoo! First post!
And would you guys classify this as commentary or rant? I'm kind of new at this.
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