Metroid Fusion

The fourth game in the 2D Metroid series, a truly fantastic portable experience!

Metroid Fusion was one of the first games I ever saw emulated in my life. I knew of Samus thanks to Super Smash Bros 64, but this is the first time I saw a Metroid game at all! I wrote about that experience recently, but I wanted to note once again how important this little gem is to me. The way I see videogames would change completely.

This game is beloved by many for a lot of reasons, and it is also very different to what the franchise had done in the past. It puts more focus on its story-telling, it is more linear in nature, it features a new threat to the galaxy, and an AI computer giving directions to lead the player.

Metroid Fusion
Metroid Fusion

A lot of people dislike the linearity of this game compared to the others. While in Super Metroid you can play it upside down, with the boss fights in opposite order, get the upgrades you want and even skip some; in Fusion, you are told what to do and where to go, and sequence-breaks are mostly impossible, due to the removal of bomb-jumping and infinite wall-jumps and the overall world design.

To me, this is perfectly justified for story and gameplay’s sake.

The story begins with Samus being attacked by a the X, a virus that deems her and her armor useless, the Federation finds a cure, but she basically starts from scratch and weaker than ever, although she’s now immune to the X which will prove useful in this adventure.

Her mission this time takes place in a space station where the X was going to be studied. Obviously, it doesn’t go well, and she now has to try and survive in this place full of enemies that can take the shape and knowledge of whatever they absorbes. Of course, the X that infected her before, have created a replica of herself, which is now free to wander around the station, wreak havoc and track you down.

With the focus on the story, they had to sacrifice some of the freedom just for the story-bits and sequences to make more sense. The upgrades are not powers left by an ancient civilization, but data sent by the Federation. And you don’t really discover them, you are told to get them to keep going.

The man-made space station is not designed to be an open canvas for exploration like the planets in the rest of the franchise. Even though it’s full of different biomes to traverse, it is still artificial and industrial. You are there to follow a mission in a more strict sense, and while you’re alone, you’re never truly free like in the other games, which makes this one quite a different take from the others.

Besides, this more linear approach makes the game ideal for handheld gaming. You can get from point A to point B in a matter of minutes, get save rooms right before a boss fight, and the map is also better than ever in the franchise, although it’s vastly improved on later games.

While the game is not as replayable—at least by the standards of other Metroid games—unless you follow a guide, you’ll still have a lot of upgrades to find, you can improve your times, master the boss fights and patterns—which are really challenging by the way—and try to go for the best ending!

I love this game, I had a blast playing it just like with Zero Mission. I highly recommend it!

My only gripe is I got 98% of the items, which makes me mad, but it is how it is.

This is day 61 of #100DaysToOffload.


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