Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Metroid Fusion (Game Boy Advance, 2002)

Metroid Fusion is chronologically the final part of the Metroid series. It's also effectively the end of the Metroid series as a 2D entity. It's a pretty huge game story-wise, with a lot of ground to cover, so I'll be breaking it into multiple parts rather than doing one Super-style megapost.

Technically, this is Metroid 4. However, if you count all of the Prime games and non-numbered entries it's like Metroid 9. Hell if you count Metroid Pinball, it's Metroid 10! Think about that one, because Nintendo probably hasn't.

This game transpires on a space station, as opposed to the usual planet settings. I guess they figured previous games weren't similar enough to Ridley Scott's Alien.


Samus is chilling in her ship, zipping around. This picture reminds me of Bill Clinton on the cover of Esquire...

"Hello, Ladies."

But wait! It's SR388! Unfortunately, it's only in the intro of the game. No relation to LV-428.

Samus is sweeping SR-388 to make sure that the Metroids are gone. As this is the only game to take place after Metroid: Other M, it's a wonder she was able to get over her mental trauma at losing Adam and get back to work. Check out the Jobber Squad in the background there. Those guys should have their own game.

Here's the big bad of the game... a face-hugging, body-assimilating Thing-like thing called an X-Parasite. Seems that Metroids were the natural predators of these things, and with the Metroids gone, the X-Parasites are running rampant. Instead of just nuking the planet from orbit (or...leaving it alone), The Federation tries to fight the X-Parasites.

Samus gets infected by the X, which she had no defense against. No word on what happened to the Jobber Duo. DAMMIT WHAT HAPPENED TO THOSE MEN? THEY HAD FAMILIES!

Samus goes through an operation and gets turned into a Metroid.

Wait, did I just say "Samus gets turned into a Metroid"? Yes, I did. Since only Metroids are resistant to the X, Samus has to get infused with Metroid DNA to fight them.

The result is a permanently-disfigured Samus who is one with her suit. That sound you hear is the possibility of chronologically-later Metroid games being flushed down the drain. Ah well.

You sure do.

...seriously, they can't do ANY Metroid games after this if she's like this permanently. Well, unless she looks like this, I guess. They could just ignore this game in the canon of future games, but it's actually a very good game so that'd be a waste...

Wait, I want more SR388! Isn't that where the X originated? Let's go back there! Oh well. I wish this series would go to more planets. Aside from Metroid Prime 3, none of the games really cover more than one planet.

Speaking of the Prime sub-series, I can safely say that Aether, the planet from Metroid Prime 2, is one of the most atmospheric locations I've ever experienced in a game. Man, I miss when we got these games at all.

What's this? Hella Story? That's right. A Metroid game... has Hella Story.

A lot of series fans really dislike this game because it constantly tells you where to go, largely removing the element of exploration from the game. I don't really have a problem with this because it still plays very well. It's still debatably the longest Metroid game, even without any real exploration time.

Even Samus' ship is transformed for this game. Did it get Metroid cells too?

Samus herself is all weird and hunched over. Zero Suit Samus, this ain't.

The objective here is to clear the space station of X Parasites. Upon arrival, it has already been decimated. Apparently one X Parasite assimilated Samus' old armor, and has all of her powers.

Oh God, not Adam Malkovich. Fuck this guy.

Powerups in this game are obtained via downloads, not via the Santa Claus like Chozo Statues. This is like a hip, trendy, modern Metroid.

The boss doors return in this game, too. For all the changes, it's still unmistakably a Metroid game. That said, fans waited a solid eight years between Super Metroid and this game, and looked at from that vantage point, one can certainly see why some fans wouldn't be super enthused by this game if it's a dramatic departure from the mood of the earlier games.

Some items aren't downloads, like the iconic E Tanks.

The bosses in this game are X Parasites that have possessed/mimiced other life forms. This makes for some interesting fights. Here's a shot of an X Parasite(s?) in its natural state.

Whoa, it's Arachnus from Metroid 2... only super powered-up and HURLING ENERGY WAVES. Whoa! This is a hell of a first boss to throw at players.

The first sign of things not being what they appear in this game comes early on, as Samus finds a cryogenically frozen Ridley. What's the leader of the Space Pirates doing in a Federation space station? And didn't Samus blow him to bits in the last game?

Meanwhile, we see quick cuts to the SA-X, the parasite that mimiced Samus.

::multiple ReDead screams::

The station is divided into six distinct areas, all reached from a central elevator hub. It's convenient design.

The first of the six areas is a re-creation of SR-388's ecosystem. So in a roundabout way, you sorta DO get to traverse some SR-388 in this game.

Whoa! Space Pirates? They're menacing-looking pushovers, as usual.

Lo and behold, a Chozo Statue.

"We call them Engineers."

The statue has...nothing. It was somehow an X in disguise, which promptly goes rabid and attacks. Wonder why it didn't stay in statue form and fight Samus like that, would have been a nice throwback fight.

Samus' Order Computer finally notices the SA-X roaming around destroying everything. This is a pretty compelling reason for Samus to lose all of her powers; the SA-X took all of them. As a result, it'd blow her away if they were to encounter each other at this point, but this story gives you the objective of getting strong enough to fight the SA-X on an even level.

Looks like this game has the equivalent of Metal Gear Solid's color-coded security keycards. Wow.

Samus is downloading like crazy as the quest to regain what was lost continues.

Another boss. The bosses in this game tend to be pretty unusual to fight. This one can only be damaged from right below it. The good news is that it spends a lot of time attacking from the ceiling.

Nice, that boss quickening was a two-fer. Jumpball is what we normally know as the Spring Ball, one of my favorite Metroid items. Unfortunately, it's usually a well-hidden item that isn't required, so a lot of people miss it entirely in the other games.

Some of the better sequences in this game involve Samus hiding from the SA-X as it stalks about being menacing.

An eerie skeleton lurks in the bottom of this pool. It's a portent of things to come, as Samus soon finds herself face-to-snout with...

...whatever the hell this thing is. This game totally pushes the boundaries of the GBA hardware with some of these bosses. They roar and screech and take up the whole screen.

Defeating it is a simple matter of shooting it in the head... but what you can't see here is that it moves INCREDIBLY FAST.

Ah, there's my favorite power in the series. Good times.

But wait! It seems there's something shady afoot in The Federation, as a Weyland-Yutani style communication comes through to the ship's computer. The Federation always did seem pretty seedy to me. What does it all mean? Tune in for the next episode.


  1. I'm creeped out by the story. As for the Prometheus deleted scenes, it's nice to think they deleted them to tell a more coherent tale rather than for time purposes, but...

  2. "Starring Gotenks!"

    Ha. I get it.

    I'll be honest: the only Metroid game I've ever played is Metroid Prime 1 (I got a used copy of Prime 3 a while back, but the disk crapped out). But from what I've played of Prime, I can see why people like the franchise.

    Ramblings -- and regrets -- aside, thanks for posting this. IIRC, I've heard plenty of good things about Fusion, and it's nice to see you're going the distance to show it off for us unfortunate children that could never get a GBA.

    1. Thanks for the comment. Since you're familiar with Prime, you might want to check out my reviews of that series: http://www.coronajumper.com/search/label/Metroid%20Prime%20Trilogy