Saturday, November 7, 2015

Metroid Fusion #2 - Space Madness

This Thanksgiving, I'm thankful for Samus arching her back while wearing a micro-outfit.

...What? I'm a dude.

Here's a missile that I never figured out how to get. Acquiring 100% of the items in this game would be interesting, but I never went for it. I like that these games have multiple challenges aside from merely finishing the game. They're so good that you'll be looking for a reason to replay them, and going for 100% gives you that reason. If that isn't enough, you can see how fast you can get through the game, and if you still want more after that, you can try a speedrun with 100%. On top of all of that, Metroid Prime has an unlockable Hard mode where the enemies are beefed up. Having conquered it, I can safely say that it was a blast.

Speed boosting looks a little odd in this game. Between it being a GBA title and Samus' suddenly pointy boots, something is just... off.

The next area of the game involves lowering water levels. Since the water is electrified here, it's pretty unpleasant to drop into.

Samus' fully-powered evil clone has been wreaking quite a bit of havoc. Formerly pristine areas are reduced to rubble after it passes through. This gives the game designers a great way to seal off areas when they feel it's necessary. It also increases the general linearity of the game, though, which was a problem a lot of players had with it. It already has security locks everywhere to funnel the player where they need to be, so it sealing off formerly-accessible doors can be annoying.

Speaking of security locks, here's the unlocking terminal for green doors. Touch this and all green doors are now open. I liked organically finding items to unlock different doors in the other games, but hey. At least this way you don't need to constantly switch weapons.

Remember these things? They're in Super Metroid, and they're creepy. As a result, they fit right into this mega-creepy game.

Super Missiles make a return here, and they're as potent as ever.

Another tricky boss follows soon after. This out-of-control mech roars a lot and thunders around the screen on its multitude of legs. Sorta reminds me of Quadraxis in Metroid Prime 2, only vastly less advanced.

Like most of the bosses in this game, it has a hard-to-hit weak point. In this case, it's that center area on the top. This requires hanging from the ceiling and firing diagonally. One reason I like this game as much as I do is that it finds ways to innovate... even when it seemed like the rest of the series had explored every possible scenario or type of boss, this game invents new ones. Considering this got a concurrent release with the original Metroid Prime in 2002, Metroid fans really lucked out that year. Both games are insanely creative.

The next sector of the ship doesn't have an elemental theme like most of the others. It's simply in a state of darkness. This ratchets up the creepy factor. And why is there a giant metal hand hanging out in the background? Did I step into Five Nights At Samuses?

The SA-X is more prevalent than ever here. Luckily, every time it shows up, there's a convenient place to hide.

Boss fight. It's a giant X parasite. Not too difficult, and winning nets Samus the...

...Varia effect (not the suit, I guess). No word on if this increases defense or just makes her fire-resistant. This game breaks so many conventions that you never know quite what you're getting in situations like this. Luckily, the Metroid convention-breaking is done well here, unlike Other M.

Another boon of the Varia effect? Samus can absorb ice-elemental X parasites. Before, they'd freeze her due to her Metroid DNA. Metroids, of course, are vulnerable to ice. Still wouldn't recommend that she fire an ice beam any time soon, though.

But wait! Speaking of ice, the shady computer informs Samus that the Federation has developed a way for her to utilize ice offensively despite being weak to it. This could be interesting.

The next area is a deep freeze. The Wavers from the older games make a reappearance here. They're memorable foes.

The third of the four door-types becomes a non-issue at this point. Only one left is red. While I'm still not a fan of this kind of "keycard" game design, it is one way to know your progress in the game. At the outset it tells you that there are four Security Levels to unlock, so the higher you get, the further along you know you are.

Here's what "HQ" developed. Oddly enough, this game actually has Missile upgrades past Super Missiles. The first are Ice Missiles, which freeze enemies. Not sure if they do more damage than Super Missiles alone, but the freezing component makes them quite overpowered against regular run-of-the-mill foes.

That said, I'm not really a fan of the Ice Missiles. They just seem... weird. I understand the storyline perspective of Samus, now being part Metroid, having a weakness to ice. Firing beams of ice wouldn't be very good for her health, so she has to fire missiles with ice energy insulated inside of them. That makes sense. It just doesn't seem very Metroid-esque to me. Then again, I like the way the missiles create a little blue explosion when they impact, and the sound effect (an ice-cracking thud) is pretty great too.

Another X parasite boss attacks here during a short escape sequence. Ice Missiles make quick work of it.

Victory nets Samus the Wide Beam, which is basically a Spazer. Only difference is it fires rings instead of straight lasers. I wonder if the Spazer was called the Wide Beam in Japan all along? It'd make sense, given that the original game had the Long Beam.

At this point there's a section where Samus has to save these rambunctious scamps from Super Metroid. What are they, and why do they keep getting into trouble?

The good news is that their getting rescued at the end of Super is clearly canon, so people can finally rest easy.

I hope they end up being super-villains if they ever make a Metroid game to follow this one. YOU LET YOUR TRUE ENEMY GET AWAY, SAMUS.

More powerups are had... really, the middle part of this game is just a powerup-gathering fest. The third and final part of this series will probably be where the meat is, but keep reading.

The SA-X nearly catches Samus here. The fact that this unstoppable force is stalking Samus throughout the game adds another layer to the atmosphere at work here. You can always choose to stand your ground and fight, but at this point there's no way to win. The speed with which the SA-X completely shreds Samus is insane.

Samus takes an elevator into one of the forbidden areas of the ship at this point.

There's... frozen Ridley, seen earlier through a window. What does all of this mean? Why is Ridley frozen in the cargo hold of a Federation ship? What is going on here?

Ridley quickly crumbles to pieces. I was sure that he was going to thaw out and attack.

 Speaking of Ridley, this might be a good time to link one of the greatest GIFs I've ever seen. Sums up one of the huge problems with Other M in a nutshell. Man, the hell with that game.

Soon after her creepy encounter with frozen Ridley, Samus falls into a pit where she has to contend with a GIANT SPIDER. At least, I think that's what this thing is. It vaguely resembles a Metroid mutation.

This thing is almost a callback to Draygon in that it has a highly punishing grab-and-hold attack that is hard to get free from. Much like most of the bosses in this game, this is a tough fight. Fusion is almost without a doubt the most difficult of the 2D Metroid games, with the possible exception of the NES original. While the original game was difficult because it lacked maps and travel was an ordeal, this game is difficult purely because the bosses are absolutely vicious.

Victory gets Samus yet another of her powers. This is the same power Draygon guarded in Super Metroid, and I wonder if that was intentional on the part of the creators given that the giant spider was a similar fight.

The SA-X appears more frequently at this point, chasing Samus through a rotting greenhouse.

While fleeing, Samus falls into the hidden chamber of another creepy boss. I don't know what the hell this fungus-covered beast is supposed to be. The fight is similar to the various Mother Brain fights in that the boss is stationary and doesn't attack often, instead having objects in the room rain projectiles at the player.

Sometimes it does attack, though... and when it does, it's with a devastating beam that you do NOT want to get hit by. What beam is that, you ask?

...why, it's the most powerful non-Hyper beam in the Metroid series! (Unless you count Prime 3's Nova Beam, which was clearly intended to be a Plasma Beam upgrade)

The computer... is not thrilled that Samus regained Plasma Beam power without permission. Samus doesn't particularly care what the computer thinks, because this isn't Other M where Samus was replaced by a lobotomized stepford wife.

The Plasma Beam fires a trio of beams in this game, something you couldn't do in Super. I guess Samus figured out how to mix her two best beams after all. The Plasma Beam also slices through everything, and chances are now she might be able to stop the SA-X.

Here's the charged shot. It's highly damaging and few things can survive one hit from it.

Samus crosses through the containment ward of the forbidden area. Something that was penned up here got loose...and whatever it was, it completely wreaked havoc.

Here's one of the myriad new creatures in this game: aquatic space pirates. What the hell kind of creation of Satan is this? They're like mermen crossed with Zebesians. There are some shady creatures in these laboratories.

And speaking of Satanic creations... here's Nightmare. Widely regarded as the most difficult boss in the game, this bio-mechanoid is pretty damn freakish.

Nightmare has a weird contraption for a groin that can control the gravity in the room and slow down time (thereby making this fight even more bizarre than it already is). This contraption is a prime target to blast with Ice Missiles.

As the fight goes on, Nightmare's mask breaks away, revealing an organic face within. And herein lies the creepiest thing about Nightmare: it's alive. It's also apparently a Federation creation that got loose.

Given that Nightmare could control gravity, it figures that Samus would recover this power after the fight. No word on if it substantially increases defense like it does in Super Metroid. It's worth noting that another Nightmare showed up in Other M. In that game, the fight with the clearly unwilling bio-weapon is even more disturbing. Whatever Nightmare is, it's pretty clear that it was suffering. This concludes part two on a bit of a downer.


  1. Oh no, those plants on the ground are back again?

  2. First time I've seen Nightmare, and that was a trip. A bad trip.
    I like the color scheme of this game just because it's different.