I’m pretty sure I would have been about Duncan’s age (in grade 6) when my cousins and I finally got through the original Metroid on the Nintendo NES. In the days prior to the internet we actually spent several days lost, leaving the NES on at night so we would pick up exactly where we left off, and when we finally got to the ending it was awesome! Until we got to the Samus reveal, which I… did not take well. My juvenile brain didn’t comprehend the idea of “twists”, and I dinstinctly recall the manual describing Samus as a dude, and I felt like we’d been lied to! For someone described as a “smart kid” I was pretty much the opposite at times.
Fast forward a couple of years, and the marketing for Super Metroid came out, and by this time I was not only over it, Samus was one of my favourite characters! I feel like for pubescent me, things like the cover of Nintendo Magazine System might have helped, but we’ll unpack that at some point I’m sure.
Being somewhat of limited financial means, I only ever rented Super Metroid a couple of times, and never managed to buy it, and consequently I never finished it. By the time I got an SNES Mini (which comes with it), I’d already watched several speedruns, so that idea of getting lost isn’t there… though I will still play through it at some point, because it is by all accounts an absolute classic.
Indeed, I have Samus Returns for the 3DS, which is as far as most reviewers go probably one of the worst games in the series, though I actually enjoy it a lot - my excuse for not finishing that one is regardless of game, it seems like I can hold the 3DS for about 20 minutes before my hands hurt… not even long enough to resume getting lost from last time, let alone getting lost in a whole new way! I also didn’t entirely hate Other M, I am just not a fan of the Wiimote for any serious game and we lack a decent controller for it.
The games I don’t particularly like are the Prime series, I didn’t care for the first-person shooter variants because I don’t really care for FPSes on the console. Luckily for me, the Metroid canon is complicated and apparently there’s debate over whether it’s limited to the 2D games, and if so, which ones. Shit, the variants of Samus are the ones I like to play on Smash even (though I absolutely suck at Dark Samus).
Anyway, this long-winded introduction is pointing out that I’m a huge Metroid fan, despite not actually being very good at them. But I loved that feeling of being lost, and I love the series in general, so when Metroid Dread was announced I jumped on it - the risks of it being a letdown be damned.
It released over a week ago, and I was slogging through it at night, switching it out with playing Scrap Mechanic with Duncan. In my humble opinion (which, take with a grain of salt, because remember I liked Samus Returns! And Other M! It seems I am not hard to please…), it’s definitely not a letdown.
There was lots of complaints about the EMMIs, which as they’re fenced in, limits their ability to contribute to the “Dread” - I found the zones interesting, and frequently found myself looking at the map, realizing where I wanted to go required crossing one and going… ugh. There were further complaints about the framerate drops, particularly when docked. I’m playing on an original Switch, docked, that’s never been serviced or reinstalled or anything, and the only framerate drops I had were on loading screens (who gives a shit?) and during one of the mini boss fights towards the end, which in no way made the game “unplayable”, it was just annoying (particularly because I was getting beat on by that mini boss, and I should not have).
I finished it last night, turning in what I think is a fairly average clear time of about 10 hours (I’ve seen people do it faster, but I’m not worried, and I’d also heard there’s about 12 hours of content in it for the average player, so it checks out) - but keeping in mind that every time you die and restart from a checkpoint, the playtime is reset to that checkpoint too, so there was a lot of time in there that was not counted.
I’m not sure I have the energy to go back through it on Hard Mode? We’ll see.