Without question, one of the most controversial (if I could actually generate controversy) reviews is the one I’ve done for Metroid. The video review, which I published early in 2009, laid out all of the problems I had with the game: the nearly hopeless controls, the cheese-out hits, having guns that could neither hit monsters below your waist nor damage them sufficiently, and on and on. The response has been generally 50/50: about half the people who comment on the video think I’m right, and the other half just think I’m being a whiner because I’m terrible at the game and need to blame it on something other than my ineptitude.
After having received a wave of comments on the review this past month, I decided to respond by reviewing the much more palatable Super Metroid.
You’ll notice that there are a few clips of the original game in there. In case you’re wondering, yes, I did play through the first game again as I was reviewing the SNES rendition. I played it all the way through, in fact, and was quite a bit more efficient in this playthrough than I was in my first review where I very clearly was tripping over myself (not having played the game for several years will do that to ya). But all the things I railed about originally were still there – I was still sent flying into lava pits from excessive recoil, I still got hit by monsters the moment I emerged from a door, I still overshot narrow platforms when using a spin jump, et cetera.
I got into it with one of the commenters of the first video (who partially retracted his complaints), and explained to him why my opinions of the game were just as valid as his. It boils down to the fact that most of the people who like the game probably owned the game when it first came out or very soon afterwards. Since they didn’t have many other options for their NES, they really had no choice but to learn how to overcome the disadvantages you had with the controls and challenge. They did, and ended up appreciating the game’s original purpose: to provide a game that emphasized exploration over simple monster killing. Some like myself, though, who gets the game when he already has a fair number of games in his collection, is not going to put up with those things. I have given Metroid plenty of chances over the years, and it continues to fall short of my expectations of what the game should be.
And if you think I’m tough on Metroid, you really ought to see how I eviscerated Final Fantasy VII.