Monday, October 4, 2021

Metroid: Other M (Nintendo Wii, 2010)

Metroid Week BEGINS. If all goes well I'll be covering the few non-Prime Metroid games that I hadn't covered in playthrough form before on here. Specifically Other M, Samus Returns, and AM2R. At some point in the future I'll also cover the Prime series, likely right before Metroid Prime 4 if it ever comes to pass.

Without further ado, starting off with Metroid Other M, a game that isn't very well-liked to say the least. It's still a halfway decent playthrough, despite its problems. That said, I don't personally intend to ever revisit this one and I've got a lot to gripe about here.

This is basically Metroid 3.5 since it takes place before Metroid Fusion. For a very long time (until now, really) this was all Metroid fans got as far as any continuation of the story goes, which makes it being a letdown even more of a...letdown. On the bright side, one doesn't particularly need to play this to understand the rest of the series, and it can be skipped.

Quick side-note. Read my original 2011 review of Metroid Other M HERE. It's hard to believe it was over ten years ago that I wrote that. Sums up the issues I had with it then, and now. I also take no responsibility for anything I said in 2011. The human body entirely replaces its own cell structure in seven year cycles, so I am literally an entirely different person now. That said, the review is probably fine. It goes over the premise of the game a bit more, and since this post is a second look, I'm not really treading as much over the same subject matter. For example, this being developed by Team Ninja. 

While I'm at it, also check out my first attempt at covering this game in-depth, in 2014 HERE. It's a quick look at the beginning of the game, while today I'll be covering a lot more. Either way, you can see how my feelings on the game evolved over time. Actually they haven't really changed at all.

The game begins with...a Space Fetus?

"He is The One" says a Methos voiceover. The one what?

Is this why the game's initials are MOM?

It turns out that the Space Fetus is none other than Samus.

The game's first cutscene is an admittedly awesome re-creation of Super Metroid's final fight, while Samus narrates in a monotone voice and says "the baby" a lot.

There are so many problems with this game, and they become apparent pretty fast. Samus having a voice actor for the first time ever is pretty cool, but everything she says is so flat and monotone.

Mother Brain's second form is still freaky as hell. But yeah, I appreciate this cutscene. We don't need a Super Metroid remake or a 3D version or, well, anything. But it's good to see it get recalled like this in newer-gen graphics.

Mother Brain blasts the Last Metroid into smithereens while it protects Samus. That moment is pretty sad if you grew up with Metroid 2. However, this game, by belaboring the point, makes it...less sad.


We get a full body-pan of Samus in the skin-tight Zero Suit, because of course we do. I prefer the purple leotard from the first game's Justin Bailey code, or that black ensemble from Super Metroid's credits. Just never found the Zero Suit interesting as an outfit.

Fun drinking game, and also a reliable way to die: Take a shot every time Samus says "THE BABY" during this game. We're midway through the intro and I'm already in the ICU.

Some guy tells Samus what to do and she just immediately obeys without saying anything, because THIS IS YOUR SAMUS NOW.

Butt Count: 1

What is this, Final Fantasy X?

Turns out Samus can summon her suit out of thin air, sort of like Iron Man. Now we get an introduction to the game's mechanics and commands, which goes on a bit too long. The other games in this series (and hell, most Nintendo games) just introduce you to commands naturally by throwing you out there and letting you learn it yourself via the level design. This one puts you in a boring lab and tells you what to do for 10 minutes.

While all of this is going on, this Tomoe-looking Federation scientist peers on creepily.

Yeah, thanks. Who are you again? Samus over here saved the galaxy like, several times now.

You can try to blast the guy, but he's got bulletproof glass in front of him. Funnily enough, the game does let you lock onto him.

This game has both a first-person and a third-person mode, and for the most part you're playing in third-person, but occasionally it switches to first. You have to switch to first-person manually to fire missiles (weird). This is also the only third-person 3D Metroid game...ever. In a way, it's what I suspect a Nintendo 64 Metroid game might have been like, just 12 years too late. this jackass negging Samus?

Holy shit, he IS negging Samus. You need to back up, dude.

Also, if the Federation ends up being an antagonist in future games (as this and Fusion both indicate) I hope this guy returns as some major villain so we can murder him. He certainly isn't doing the Federation any favors on the "we're not evil, we promise" front.


In a way, this game is intensely somber and melancholy at times. Right at the outset, the title screen music is sad and depressing, and feels like the audio version of a rain cloud over a person's head.

Samus has PTSD over the events of Super Metroid that she needs to recover from, as well as the sense that her deeds are being forgotten as time goes on, opening the window for misguided people to accidentally-or-not repeat the sins of the past.

Weeks of her drifting in space, alone, rotting...concludes with an emergency SOS!

The SOS is called "Baby's Cry" which Samus repeats a lot and talks about babies more.

Wait a this entire game an allegory for post-partum depression? would explain a lot.

At least her ship looks good. That's the ship we remember from the earlier games, not the weird purple crab-ship she has in Fusion.

This space station, where the entire game takes place, is known as the Bottle Ship. It's a Federation research lab shaped like a bottle.

....because babies and bottles, get it

It's a little redundant that both this and Fusion take place in Federation laboratory stations. There's a difference though. The Biologic Space Lab from Fusion is a completely active, modern, and advanced Federation vessel, while the Bottle Ship here is an older, decommissioned derelict craft that they're continuing to use.

Samus runs into a bunch of Federation troops and they're all like "lol it's Samus"

No? Who?

They should have seized this opportunity to have Houston from the Nintendo Power comics actually be a character in a game. Come to think of it, those Nintendo Power comics had their own issue (heh) with Samus frequently needing saving. I liked them as a kid, but in light of this game, I don't know. Just let her be a powerful badass in peace.

Here is our first exposure to ::thunder crashes:: ADAM. He's her former commanding officer, since she quit the Federation to become a bounty hunter. He permanently has a scowl on his face, and he's even more of a charisma-vacuum than Samus is in this game.

She recounts the story of how once upon a time, she took orders from Adam, but wasn't afraid to disagree with him. UNLIKE NOW.

Adam immediately negs her by saying that "outsiders" don't need to know any information on this ship or the distress signal. Rather than speak up, Samus goes into an internal monologue, analyzing Adam's choice of words. What is this, 50 Shades of Grey?

Funny scene here as the Feds are having trouble getting a door open, so Samus just effortlessly blasts it open with a missile. They're all shocked by this. DID SHE GET PERMISSION FIRST?

Also, these Federation armor suits look pretty shite compared to Samus' suit. I guess that's the difference between human ingenuity and Chozo ingenuity. After all, Samus' power suit was made by the Chozo and can only be worn by her.

Samus automatically homes-in on the nearest enemy at any given time, so you can just hammer the fire button to blast everything around you. Between that and being able to dodge-roll, the game is actually fun to play when it gets out of its own way. Unfortunately, even the decent gameplay is hampered by how completely dull these environments are.

Try to execute an ability that you have, but Adam hasn't given you permission to use yet, and you get this message. Get ready to see this message a LOT when you instinctively try to bomb things.

I've mentioned before how drab the environments in this game can be. They really are, though. It's just metal corridor after metal corridor, like if that space station at the beginning of Super Metroid had been the visual style for the entire game.

At the very least, there are a few synthetic biomes in this station, much like Fusion, so you've got a fire area and a snow area.

Next up is a purple boss-thing. It's notable because you fight it alongside the Federation troopers (whose weapons do like, nothing).


So that confirms it, her blasting the door earlier was NOT authorized.

Man, this really is the dumbest thing about this game. There's a reason that I'm harping on it.

After Samus single-handedly defeats the purple monster that was owning the squad, Adam begrudgingly "lets" her join them. This is like when Bowser lets Mario and company join him in Mario RPG, only even more comical.

Which makes it even more egregious when Adam LAYS DOWN THE LAW.

We get more flashbacks. Samus gives the thumbs-down if she doesn't like what's going on, while all the other Federation troops are obediently giving thumbs-up. Historically, the one person who refuses to follow the zeitgeist is often onto something.

We finally get out of the drab corridors of the metallic first area, and enter...the drab corridors of the jungle-themed area. At least this place sorta has colors.

This freakish pokemon is found gobbling up the remains of scientists. First of all, why are there scientists on an abandoned derelict ship? Secondly...WTF.

The pokemon then scuttles off. I can't tell if it was supposed to be cute or grotesque. Later it'll probably Raichu-evolve into Ridley or something ludicrous like that.

The troops get into the ship's computer system and confirm that it's not so derelict after all. What's worse, the Federation is using this place to conduct biological weapon experiments. It's the Wuhan Lab all over again plzdon'tsue

Meanwhile during all of this, Samus wonders what Adam thinks of her.

The answer? I don't know, I'm pretty sure Adam is busy thinking about what he's gonna have for dinner later.

A bunch of enemies attack, and Adam helpfully tells Samus how to deal with it. Phew, if he hadn't said anything, she was going to stand there and helplessly wave her arms in the air trying to get the enemies to stop attacking them. It would have looked like sending an unarmed social worker to deal with a domestic violence call. Reimagine Justice (tm)

We find some pretty heavily-murdered scientists laying around. Or maybe they're social workers

Another super-lame thing this game does is these frequent "investigation mode" things where you go to a forced first-person perspective and have to examine the environment to find something. Usually the game gives you little to no clue what you're looking for, and being locked into place while you pick around the immediate environment is the kind of thing that'll make someone turn the game off forever.

Here, you can't continue until you examine this one blotch of green poop. It looks like part of the ground, so the first time I played this I was stuck on this one screen for ages.

Samus is put off by the Federation breaking galaxy-law so flagrantly. She might have to destroy this ship, whether Adam likes it or not! what I wish the game would have suggested here, but instead she just sorta drops the subject after voicing her displeasure. Adam, of course, claims to know nothing. No word on if that's true or not.

It's worth noting that Adam would be digitized and become the command AI for Metroid Fusion due to his relationship with Samus. I don't know if that means Adam is trapped forever in a computer like a Black Mirror episode, or if it's just a computerized re-creation of his persona.

Energy Parts are a new concept to Metroid that was introduced in this game. They're basically Heart Containers from Zelda. So instead of getting an Energy Tank, you get four of these and THEN you get an Energy Tank. I'd prefer to just get Energy Tanks when it comes to Metroid games. At least in Zelda, Heart Containers have a certain charm to them and can be routinely dropped as rewards for doing well in minigames etc without breaking your HP pool. In Metroid, Energy Tanks have always been more of a full-on level-up that happens at specific points. Metroid Dread will be bringing back the Energy Part idea, and who knows, maybe it'll be fun to collect them.

Next up is the fire-themed area. Nintendo hitting all of the area themes here. The Metroid series has a rich history with fire-themed areas, and they're usually among the most interesting places in their respective games.

However, this game ruins it by having it be a RACE AGAINST TIME~! as you rush through taking damage the entire way because Adam won't authorize you to activate the Varia suit's fire protection.

"Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!" said Randy Orton when reached for comment.

After making Samus WORK FOR IT~! and GRAB THE BRASS RING~! Adam finally lets our heroine use the Varia suit before she dies.

You know... fuck this game. Excuse my language, but seriously. Or more precisely, fuck whoever wrote this scene. They damn-near ruin Samus' character in this game. And everyone who defended this game by saying "Samus didn't have much of a character before, at least she has one now" is part of the problem. Regardless of how much personal character development she got in the past, she was always known to be resourceful, capable, and self-reliant. This "taking damage in fire until someone tells you not to" horseshit is beyond ludicrous for any main character to be doing, much less one with her traits, that represents what she represents.

Next up is a fight with some kind of lava dragon that looks more like a Mario boss. I don't care any 'mo.

Out of the fire area, it's time for the ice area. This place is pretty rad, all things considered. Probably as nice as the environments get in this game.

That said, it's no Phendrana Drifts, and - like the rest of the game - lacks the memorable soundtrack to put this area over the top.

The next boss is this power loader thing. The bosses in this game? Not memorable. I don't remember any of this stuff. Is this an Aliens reference?

We get another flashback to the time Adam let his little brother die because it'd be disobeying orders if he let Samus run in and save said brother. Instead of just doing it anyway, Samus argues with him about it until it's too late. Sounds like both of them have an order-following problem.

We get some sweet purple lasers as we head back to the fire area for a Part 2, much like Super Metroid.

Super Missiles randomly get unlocked somewhere in here. Would have been nice to have these YESTERDAY

Next up, RIDLEY attacks. I think he digi-volved out of that pokemon from earlier. It doesn't make a lot of sense. Was it a disguise?

In any case, when he appears...Samus falls down and stumbles backwards like Sarah Connor when an elevator door opens.

That's right. Samus, who has beaten Ridley like seven times, has a panic attack and nearly collapses at the sight of him here.

Yeaaaaah that checks out

Ridley gets the better of Samus until one of her allies (Anthony, the only Federation trooper she likes besides Adam) intervenes just in time to free her from Ridley's clutches.

...that's right, Samus needed to be saved by a semi-random trooper.

This unlocks the Plasma Beam. Thanks Adam! I was going to stand here and get chomped on some more.

What follows is a good boss fight, as usual with Ridley. He's the "90% of the way" boss in just about every game he appears in.

Get him weakened and he falls to the ground, like in Metroid Prime. Here, instead of just damaging him, you can run in and unleash a critical melee hit to do some serious damage. When it comes down to it, the combat in this game is probably the strong point.

After the fight, Ridley escapes yet again.

This leads us to Blonde Scientist Lady, who spills the beans on everything the Federation is secretly doing here.

She's also like 4 feet tall for some reason.

She explains that the Federation was able to reconstitute Metroids using residue on Samus' armor from the end of Super Metroid. That's right, they scraped Metroid DNA off of her and cloned more Metroids. Now Tomoe's words from the beginning are cast in a far more nefarious light.

She tells Samus of Sector Zero, the deepest, darkest section of Bottle Ship. It's full of Metroids that have been harvested by the Federation and are in various stages of development. Some of them are new Metroids that are resistant to Samus' weapons.

Man, I can't wait to get into Sector Zero and fight the horrors that await within, after all this buildup.

It is also revealed that the Federation sent a "Deleter" along with Adam's unit, whose job it is to cover up the whole thing (i.e. kill everyone after the mission).

Who is the Deleter? Is it Adam? Anthony? The 1989 Denver Broncos?

After Samus leaves Blonde Scientist Lady alone and sets out for Sector Zero, a mysterious pair of boots walk into the room. It's the Deleter, and the last thing we hear is a gunshot. Well, so much for her.

Next up is a fight with Nightmare from Metroid Fusion. One of that game's most memorable a lot less memorable here for whatever reason. Part of it is that you can hardly see the boss compared to Fusion because it's so dark and you're further away. It also lacks the bone-chilling music from Fusion.

After that, Samus heads into the hallway leading to Sector Zero. It figures that the Federation would have a Nightmare guarding it. I think Nightmare is the biggest example in any game of the Federation actually being bad guys. Because I don't know of any "peaceful application" for that horrifying monstrosity.

Samus encounters a Baby Metroid. It flutters about and makes cute sounds, as Baby Metroids do.

I mean Larval Metroids. They're larva. That doesn't stop Samus from saying "The Baby" again. DRINK.

Quick flashback to SR388 and her initial rescue of the hatchling there.

In retrospect a lot of problems would have been avoided if she'd blown the hatchling away here. Which is kind of depressing because it was such a cool moment at the time, and the hatchling really was harmless, said problems were no fault of its own.

Next thing you know, Samus gets blasted with a stun ray that also de-activates her Iron Man suit.

The Metroid is still fluttering around her...and actually goes to attack as soon as she's vulnerable, showing that she already gave it too much leeway. Luckily, an ice beam flies out of nowhere and knocks it out of the air. The fire-er of these beams is another mysterious pair of boots. Is it the Deleter?

No, it's Adam.

Wait, what? Why did Adam incapacitate Samus? ...and why isn't Samus angry about it? As she sits here nearly paralyzed, she has a rational discussion with Adam. Who just shot her. WHILE A METROID WAS FLYING AROUND OVER HER HEAD.

He explains that Sector Zero is much too dangerous for Samus. He stunned her so she can't go in there. He's gonna go instead, and sacrifice himself to detonate the self-destruct on that area.

So no Sector Zero for me. Imagine if Super Metroid didn't let you go to Tourian because some dude had already handled it. Imagine if Final Fantasy VI didn't let you go to Kefka's Tower because Banon had already blown it up.

He gives Samus her final mission: Defeat Ridley, who is still around somewhere, as well as some new Mother Brain clone the Federation developed here.

I mean, a Mother Brain might be interesting in 3D, but I'd have rather seen Sector Zero.

Adam finally gives Samus some sort of props, telling her that she can defeat the bad guys while he can't, but what he can do is sacrifice himself so she doesn't have to. I guess that makes some sense, except that Samus probably could have wiped out Sector Zero so that nobody needed to be sacrificed. But I don't know, supposedly the new Metroids are impervious to her weapons and all that, so yeah. It just feels like the writers were trying to find a way to get her out of going to Sector Zero so they wouldn't have to make the place.

Adam heads into Sector Zero while heroic music plays and Samus ineffectually bangs on a glass wall.

The final shot of Adam...and the ONLY shot we get of the mysterious Sector Zero.

It looks like some sort of spotlight swivels around and targets him before the scene ends. This place will be a mystery forever, and strikes me as a ton of wasted potential.

Adam succeeds in disengaging Sector Zero so it floats off into space and self-destructs. Truly, Adam is the hero of Metroid: Other M.

She continues to prop up Adam. Why isn't she angry that he shot her with a stun gun, leaving her totally vulnerable to attack, and then stole all of her thunder despite her questioning the whole thing?

Seriously, there was a Metroid hovering over her and menacing her while she laid there paralyzed and Adam took his time shooting it down. Was that to punish her too? It's stunning (heh) how incredibly bad this scene was.

Also, Butt Alert. FFX has nothing on Metroid: Other M's lovingly-crafted Samus posteriors.

With Adam gone, Samus is FREE. She immediately activates all the remaining powerups like the Gravity Suit and Screw Attack and goes absolutely nuts rampaging through the Bottle Ship.

She finds the corpse of The Deleter, and it's one of the minor trooper characters I barely noticed. So that isn't much of a shock reveal. Wait, if he's dead...did Blonde Scientist Lady somehow get the better of him?

Samus locates Ridley, only to find him...completely petrified. So this was the last time Ridley was alive in the chronological Metroid series so far...and something else finished him off.

For those keeping track, we've been robbed of:
A) Taking on Sector Zero, which the game built up as the big finale
B) Stopping the Deleter
C) Killing Ridley

A lot is about to be forgiven though, because that something that finished Ridley a QUEEN METROID. It's awesome to see this thing in 3D for once. We may not have gotten any other Metroid forms in this game, but I'm glad they included this.

It likely escaped from Sector Zero, or was simply not kept there. This is easily the hardest fight in the game, but also the most mind-blowing for fans of Metroid 2.

The original incarnation of this thing. Since it isn't a unique creature and is the natural evolution of one Metroid per area (like ants), it's possible we'll see another of these in a future game.

Samus unlocks the Power Bombs just in time to finish this fight by dropping a Power Bomb in the stomach of the boss.

After that climactic battle, the game ends. Well, no, but it should have. Next we've got Madeline Bergman, another scientist. She says that Blonde Scientist Lady was pretending to be her...but in actuality BSL is "MB", the Mother Brain clone we've heard about. They built her as an android to help with Federation science projects, then she became sentient, and now she's taking over the Bottle Ship to turn it against the Federation and kill tons of people. That's right, Blonde Scientist Lady is the villain of Metroid: Other M.

...they shoulda just had the Queen be the final fight

Speaking of the Queen, we get a neat wireframe image here. The Federation was basically breeding Metroids with the Queen, which wasn't one of the fancy new genetically-altered Metroids (that we'll never get to see because they were all in Sector Zero).

MB shows up with a gun and has a standoff with Samus and Madeline. Since she's like four feet tall, her supposedly being a super-powerful android still isn't that intimidating. Also...MB? Like Mother Brain? ...I don't know, let's just get this done.

What follows is the "final battle" and it's a joke. It's a first-person whack-a-mole session where she summons tons of adds until you blast her with a missile and she dies.

In other words, we couldn't even get the "new Mother Brain" fight in 3D that I said would be cool, because it's just this android you beat in one shot. It's like the developers of this game made sure to get rid of anything that would be really cool for the player. It's amazing they didn't get rid of the Queen Metroid, or have some other character kill her for you or something.

Federation troops arrive to clean up the Bottle Ship. I mean, they could probably scrape some Queen Metroid DNA off the walls. This creates so many plot holes, so much so that you're probably better off ignoring that this game exists at all. It does add a bit to Fusion's story, but that's about it as far as this game having a point goes. And Fusion existed fine without it prior to 2010, so...

Samus flies off with Anthony and Madeline and that's it for this mission. Everyone lived happily ever after, except Samus because not long after this she got infected with the X-Parasite and Fusion happened.

Unfortunately, they make sure to give Adam all the credit in the ending. Well, par for the course.

The last scene is Samus looking out over the Federation capitol city and...smiling fondly at the memory of Adam.


After the credits roll, the game drops you right back onto the Bottle Ship so that Samus can "get something she left behind". Yeah, like, maybe we could destroy this place so the Federation can't harvest any Metroid DNA? ...oh, too late. In any case, here's the Speed Booster in action.

Get to this new room that opened up, which appears to be the bridge for the entire ship, and you find yourself face-to-snout with Phantoon. Yeah, THE Phantoon. This thing latches onto spaceships and drains their energy until they crash, I guess. It's a little odd to have this be a postgame fight rather than a midgame fight since Phantoon was never a huge deal, but it's still cool for nostalgia's sake.

This fight is easier than the Queen Metroid, and probably easier than Ridley too. Samus quickly mops it up. Though I'm also now seeing how grotesque Phantoon actually is. A mouth with giant sharp teeth and an eyeball in it?

Phantoon EXPLODES. So was he the final boss? I mean, when it comes down to it, yes. The Queen Metroid is kinda the real final boss, though. She's the hardest fight, and even though there's still the "fight" with Blonde Scientist Lady after that, it's such a quick and easy fight that it barely counts. Then you've got Phantoon here, but it's post-credits, and easier than the Queen. This feels more like an optional bonus fight.

So, what did she go all the way back in there for? Adam's equipment that he left behind.

In any case, Samus gets great helmet and then we get the hell outta here.

We get the customary escape sequence, and Samus is playable in Zero Suit for the first time all game. I may not be a huge Zero Suit fan, but it would have been cool to have the option to be in this form for the entire game ala the NES original's Justin Bailey code.

After that, the Bottle Ship explodes. Yep, all that Federation research, up in smoke. They won't end up going after Samus like Sosa at the end of Scarface, right?

Kind of strange that this part was a post-credits sequence. I don't know whether to consider it "postgame" or what.

Metroid Week continues.

Other Metroid Posts

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