Mother, May I See Metroid: Other M
Hated the sensibility that thought anyone would like it. Hated the implied insult to the audience by its belief that anyone would be entertained by it.
—Roger Ebert, on North
What do you say to that?
Metroid: Other M
is an abomination. It's truly amazing just how systematic this game is about going through the Metroid franchise and significantly damaging each game one after the other. This game seems to take perverse pleasure in rewriting previous scenes to make them subscribe to a different vision. Fusion is hurt the most, but the other games each receive some measure of Other M's absolute disgust for the franchise.
And nowhere is this made more evident than by its treatment of the protagonist. The very idea of Samus Aran is methodically dissected, so that every aspect of her character can be properly and fully annihilated in turn. Her boundless courage is absolutely murdered by her behavior towards a beast she fought 7 times prior. Her independence is crushed under the yoke of co-dependence towards Adam Malkovich. The unstoppable force that brought low entire specieses now can be taken out with a single gunshot. The ultimate warrior who happened to be a woman becomes the female object of the ideal sexist father/daughter relationship, and she likes it that way.
Where once there was a strong, iconic protagonist, all that remains is the empty husk of a character. The true "Other M" is the Metroid that leeched the life from Samus Aran, leaving only a Samus-shaped statue in its wake.
The game's best aspect is its gameplay, and even that is only mediocre. Basic locomotion is pretty tight, but the combat system is a mixed-bag of modern, 00's style action games that take control away from the player in exchange for cool-looking moves. The overarching gameplay is antithetical to basic Metroid design principles; no Metroid game strays as far from the Metroidian ideal as this. The game disrespects the player as often as the story disrespects Samus. Which I suppose has the effect of putting the player in Samus's shoes effectively.
The game commits crimes against even the most basic principles of storytelling. The use of language is so bad that it should be used as a textbook example of how not
to write. Characters spontaneously know things that they haven't been told. The game is poorly directed, preferring flashbacks and monologues to active storytelling. The voice acting ranges from stiff to Ent
. Visually the game is technically pretty yet boring. Not even the music achieves a level of quality, ranging from blaring and blandly orchestral to boring and banal.
The plot is terribly structured; the story has many plotlines, several of which are unceremoniously dumped the moment their purpose is served. The "main" plot is so anemic that the villain's plans and motivation have to be info-dumped at the end. The characters never grow or evolve; it even has entire scenes designed to remind you how characters have not grown. It tries to have a theme of motherhood, but it comes and goes, never really being established. And even when it is used, the game has nothing to say about the concept besides giving it a thumbs up.
This game is basically Metroid: Fusion
, with all of the good parts stripped out and all of the bad parts magnified. Samus monologues a lot in Fusion. Well, you ain't seen Samus monologuing till you've seen Other M. Does computer Adam seem a little overbearing, with his orders getting rather grating in Fusion? That's nothing compared to the living Adam ordering Samus into a fire area without her Varia. If you thought Fusion was linear, then hold on to your hats for Other M.
Did you like the atmosphere of being hunted by a neigh-unkillable adversary in Fusion? The clever way the game actually changed stage layouts without warning, giving the sense of a battleground environment against an implacable foe? Yeah, that's gone in Other M. The Deleter gets a single boss fight with zero buildup, and you never
feel like he's a threat. And we go from seeing damage done to stages to the game simply sealing doors behind you to funnel you to different areas. If Fusion wanted to close you in, it would usually justify
it by saying that something destroyed a door, or an X turned into an indestructible thing or something. This game just has Adam lock a door or not tell you to use something.
Indeed, I rather like Fusion, which is one of the reasons I hate this game so much. The relationship that was hinted at in Fusion is viciously stomped on in this game, going from a respectful friendship to Samus fawning over a guy who abuses her. The reveal of the GF having a Metroid breeding program is ruined by the existence of this game; Samus shouldn't even have been surprised. Other M even makes Samus's monologues in Fusion hard to read by reminding you of the constant monologuing from this game. Any praise Samus offers Adam in Fusion forces you to think about the asshole she's praising as shown in Other M.
Want to know what Metroid: Other M
really is? It's fan-fiction
of Metroid: Fusion
. Bad fanfic often comes from an inexperienced writer trying to ape something that they don't really understand. They do it poorly, without grace or subtlety. Isn't that what Other M's gameplay is? The hyper-linear level designs are nothing more than Fusion's linear design only without the atmospheric elements that made them work.
The story is bog-standard for bad fanfic. It takes some undeveloped element of the main work and develops it. Badly
. Adam is a classic example of a self-insert Mary Sue, and like most Mary Sue's, he overshadows the actual protagonist. Samus becomes far less effective and strong, being shown to be easily cowed and frightened by events. All intended to add "depth" to her character, but without any understanding of how to really do that or what to do with that depth. The plot structure is schizophrenic like many bad-fics, never able to focus on any one thing. And the story handles theme as though the author had no idea what that word means.
Despite all of that, it might not be a bad idea to search the game out and watch it. Why? Because quite frankly, my description of it cannot do it justice. It really is that bad.
I had heard about many of the major problems before watching, but the reality was so much worse. I never imagined that the Ridley scene was as bad as it was, and nobody ever pointed out the fact that she never gets her revenge for it. You can only appreciate the "quality" of the voice acting by hearing it.
You can find videos on YouTube that show Theater Mode
; there is also a good Long Play of it available
. Neither have commentary, if that's what you're concerned about. However, if you don't like suffering alone (and I don't recommend that on your first outing), there's an absolutely epic Let's Play available. It's available on the archives
. Slowbeef and Diabetus of Retsupurae
(and Let's Play) fame took a look at Theater Mode
, with the usually hilarious results. They managed to make even the Ridley scene tolerable.
The saddest part of all? This game may be the herald of the future for Metroid. He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named is ultimately the father of the series. While I'm grateful that the game didn't sell well (even in Japan, despite shockingly good Famitsu reviews), I don't know if that's going to be enough. Whoever gets to make a new Metroid game isn't going to be allowed to overrule or reject this game; Other M is canon
now. The best they could do is try to stay out of its way and ignore it, treating it like Star Trek 5.
My biggest concern for the future is if they do what they did before: hand the license to someone else. Whether it's Retro again or some other studio, it doesn't matter. Because while they might do better, it's going to come back home sooner or later. And considering how much roughshod this game loves running over prior games, little-to-no respect will likely be paid to them. We would just be getting another Other M 6-8 years from now.
It's one thing when someone else takes a property and screws it to hell. But when the creator does it, there's little that can be done to fix it. Our best hope is that Nintendo recognizes that Metroid still holds value and that Other M was a failure. Thus, they'll keep future installments of the game out of his hands. Or at least provide greater oversight. How likely is that? Who knows.
Final number of times that Other M shat upon the Metroid franchise? Fifteen
. On average, Theater Mode alone shit on the Metroid franchise once every 10 minutes.
That's a lot of shit.
Hate to bring this up again, but the bits where Samus monologued about things she "couldn't possibly know" were in fact her commenting on stuff that was implied to have been told to her. The writers were too lazy to fill in the whole conversation and give the real Madeline more lines than they deemed necessary, so we're left with Samus' narration mixing things up terribly as a result.
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31st May 12
And so, having seen this, I think I'm going to avoid this game.
In general, I'm going to treat this as out of canon, because it is sorely outnumbered
in terms of the games that have to be re-written for it to have ever happened, from her previous work with the GF in destroying Phaaze, to her actions in II and Super. This BS on the BS adds nothing to the plot, gives us nothing that previous games didn't already do better, and actively removes stuff we already knew happened.
Samus, as seen in Corruption, is not
the kind of person that this game shows us. In Corruption, she worked well with the GF, but under her own initiative. She is consistently shown to be their best soldier, enduring pain (of Phazon corruption) and danger (Skytown nuke drop) that nobody else could weather, without flinching.
Adam, as alluded to in Fusion, absolutely could not have been this sort of person. In Fusion, Samus draws a distinct line between Adam and the AI with his name. Specifically, she mentions that, unlike an unfeeling machine, he had some level of human decency and compassion. She distrusts the AI because it is cold and unfeeling.
If Adam truly was like he is in this game, then the AI, before the final mission, would have been a perfect replica.
As far as I'm concerned, Adam's involvement with Samus and his death are the Metroid equivalent of Castlevania's War of 1999. We may speculate, but we'll never know how it went about.
And if something like this
is the alternative? Then never knowing is just fine with me.
31st May 12
1st Jun 12
This. This was FINALLY the perfect analysis of everything - and I mean EVERYFUCKINGTHING - that's oh so wrong with Metroid Other M
. There's nothing to add and (even better): nothing to argue
, you're just right. With everything.
God, this feels so good. Every single flaw mentioned, every "argument" of its fans deconstructed, it's DONE. Finally.
This really feels like some kind closure for me. I can FINALLY forget about this piece of bullcrap, this monstrosity, this abomination of a "game". Everything's said and done, and I especially like the "Shitting on Metroid" count. It really helps to reinforce the fact that this is in no way a Metroid-game.
This is a "game" (the quotation marks are important, because an actual
game has something to do with being fun
) that only wants us to believe that everything about Metroid - and especially about its main character - is just plain wrong
. It wants us to believe that ALL the Metroid-games we played so far are in fact antithetical
to what Metroid is "really" about (that is, being an obedient slave if you're born without a penis). Acts of heroism? Not what Other M wants us to play. Overcoming a threat? Hell no, it's not the player character's job
to do something of value! Showing that female
character might be capable to be efficient atNO THEY AREN'T
. I mean, WHAT THE HELL?
But that's over. You analyzed it completeley
. The moronic writing, the misogyny, the sexism, EVERYTHING. There's no point in discussing it any more. We can finally end this
30th Jun 12
2nd Jul 12
So.... what now? what do you plan to deconstruct next? a movie perhaps? Prometheus or Cabin In The Woods?
3rd Jul 12
Oh and some people have actually defended the game for having this "monologues" that remind them of Legacy of Kain........i shit you not.
3rd Jul 12
You know, I have to wonder if the writing was better in the Japanese version. You do mention how awkward "Deleter" sounds in English and that it probably sounded better in Japanese, but it makes me wonder just how much of the dialogue sounded better in the original.
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(edited by: Diabolo)
I think Nintendo pull a Gene Roddenberry and remove Sakamoto from all future Metroid projects. Strangely I actually support the idea of remaking this game but in doing so I would fundamentally alter the story and gameplay. It would basically be an entirely new game that uses this as its base and strips out all the bad parts, so...pretty much everything but I think some stuff can be pulled from this husk and fashioned into a good game.
17th Jul 12
In the above post there needs to be a should after Nintendo. Sorry about the grammar error.
17th Jul 12
28th Aug 12
Whew, what a read. I registered just to say something nitpicky :P. The SA-X is well capable of killing Samus in just a few shots, unlike you stated. And the SA-X didn't actually lay a trap, it was Nettori's roots that caused her to go to Sector TRO. Those are just the tiniest of errors and most readers wouldn't even care, but I do care since Fusion was my first Metroid game :P
3rd Sep 12
^^Wow, this post is bizarrely paranoid. It feels like you have a bone to pick with this person, whoever she is.
17th Jan 13
18th Apr 13
That director only stepped in during the very final phases of production on the NES game and suggested a maze to finish things more quickly.
Well, considering that you're talking about the worst game in the series (pre-Other M), that's not saying much. Ultimately, Super Metroid is the progenitor of all modern Metroid games, and he owned that.
It also seems rather silly to be dismissive of him by saying that he was "one of many" in Super Metroid, yet tie Other M around his neck as though he were the only human being who did anything. I bet if Other M had been awesome, people would be talking up his leadership role in Super Metroid a lot.
People are good sometimes and bad other times. I'm totally fine with denigrating someone's effort when they do poorly. But that doesn't mean we should start retroactively pretending that their prior, good contributions weren't important, just because he's doing terrible work now.
Super Metroid is his. He had the title of "Director", so it's his.
Metroid: Other M is his too.
It's sad when someone who makes good stuff starts turning out crap. But that's no reason to suddenly start taking away accolades that they rightfully earned
. Nobody demanded Jamie Foxx's Oscar for Ray back, just because he did hackwork like Stealth.
His remake of the first game omits the one thing he suggested that established the genre in the first place.
... What exactly is it that Zero Mission omits from Metroid 1? Was it the part where Metroid 1 was pointlessly difficult to navigate? Was it where Metroid 1 was horribly obtuse? Was it where Metroid 1 was brutally unfair to the player? Was it how Metroid 1 sucked ass
Because I'm totally fine with games that omit all
of those things.
In short, we should have listened to Sean Malstrom, who predicted much of this.
Really? He predicted the horrible misogyny and deprotagonization? He predicted the Ridley scene or the Adam scene?
No, he predicted that it wouldn't be a good game, that it would have a crap story. That's not a prediction; that's a coin-toss.
Saying that a videogame has a crap story is not a hard prediction. Videogames often have crap stories; hell, you'd probably be 95% correct if you predicted that every game that comes out this year with a story would have a crap story.
You don't make money on the short odds.
23rd Apr 13
(edited by: Korval)
Correct me if I'm wrong, it's been a few days since I've re-read your article, but there are some things you forgot to mention:
1)The introduction scene. You described it as it happened, but you forgot to mention this: that scene is the same as the official manga where Samus is being infused with Chozo DNA. That said, the game never bothers to tell you this, and discards it right away. Only fans would know what that scene was about, and even so, that scene made nothing. As you said, it was pointless, and only took precious space in disk that could be used to put more into level design and gameplay.
2)I don't remember if you mentioned this or not, but the game never tells who Ridley actually is (the leader of the Space Pirates), and what he represents to Samus (he's the one who killed her parents when she was 3 years old). The game does state that Samus lost her parents when she was young, but never mentions how (after all that infodump, I believe they had enough time and space in disk to say - or show - how her parents were killed and by who), which leads to the next point:
3)The game erases completely the existence of the entities known as Chozo. never once in the game the name of the race appears. There isn't a single structure, like there are in other games, resembling Chozo architecture (understandable, as this is a GF made station, but even in Fusion there was that fake Chozo Statue, showing how they could've made something similar). Specially when Samus calls the cybernetic Space Pirate a "Zebesian": the purpose of calling it Zebesian is to erase the existence of any other entity that could be Samus's father figure (a.k.a. the Chozo race, specially Grey Voice, if you've read the official manga), thus, rendering the "Adam is the father figure" plot point impossible. Oh yeah, it also serves to completely erase the existence of Corruption, where the Pirate Homeworld was shown.
4)Regarding gameplay, there's something awful in Hard Mode: it's a Metroid game, it's supposed to be about collecting power-ups throughout the complex scenarios; even so, the Hard Mode completely erases any power-up! Other Metroid titles had other ways to deal with it, by either the fake difficulty mechanism (more damage on you, less on enemies), in Prime titles, or limiting to half the ammount of ammo and energy you receive per power-up, on 2D titles. They would never think of taking away the core gameplay of the series, which is based in exploring and finding items scattered around the map; Other M completely negates the core gameplay of the franchise on it's Hard Mode.
5)Although, in western versions, Samus calls the larva Metroid a "hatchling", in the Japanese version of Fusion, she does indeed call it "Baby" (ベビー). But it was never for the sake of motherhood complexes, like in Other M; it was merely a name, a way of calling it, a title, she used when referring to it. If you read those instances where she calls it "baby", she sounds pretty could.
That said, you've also pointed out a lot of stuff I hadn't realized, even after reading other pretty competent analysis, like the fact that the station is pretty clean even though there was a massacre there (only two bodies found), or that the Power Bomb couldn't hurt Madeline Bergman, like Adam said it would.
You made a real deep analysis, extremely well constructed, and showed lots of undeniable arguments! Congratulations, it's a master piece!
16th Jul 13
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What is omitted in Zero Mission is freedom progress and re-playability.
Freedom? It's the first Metroid game with sanctioned sequence breaking
. How can you call that not being free? You can sequence break it from minute one. You don't even need the Long Beam
, the first powerup you can get in the game.
As for replayability, again, sanctioned sequence breaking
. There are entire areas of the game that exist for the sole purpose of doing a Ridley-first, Varia-less run. If you didn't replay the game to find and explore these, that's your fault
, not the game's.
Yes, the game has a sequence. But see below for why that's a good
thing. And again, the game lets you ignore it if and when you want.
You could finish the whole thing with just ice beam, missiles, morph ball and bombs.
You can finish Zero Mission with just those, the Speed Booster (taken from Kraid, who you were going to kill anyway), and possibly
some Super Missiles and Charge Beam. I don't count the 3 Unknown Items and Power Bombs, because those are post-game items that you get after Metroid 1 would have ended.
So yeah, I'm not seeing much difference here.
The problems with the original game were no that all the rooms looked the same, there was no map and no convenient way to save progress.
Um, no; there was a lot more than that. And the best way to explain that is to look at quite literally the first thing Zero Mission fixed.
Where do you go first in Zero Mission? To the Kraid/Ridley statue room. Why? Because it is vitally important
that you see it. If you don't see it, if you don't know it's there, you will never know what your goal is.
That's one of the major failings of Metroid 1: it communicates horribly
with the player. It basically dumps you into a maze with no idea that there even is a goal. And yet it expects you to know that you're supposed to find 2 guys and kill them, then go to this one room that was a total dead end with nothing in it, which will magically grow a bridge for some reason.
There's also the lack of beam combining, or any knowledge that you had better get the ice beam (back) before going into Tourian. Without that, it's very possible to run into Metroids while using the Wave Beam and die a quick death through no fault of your own.
Metroid 1 is a terribly unfair game. Zero Mission took the game and made a fair one from it.
Taking what was almost completely open ended up to the Metroids and making it "Fusion, but you can go the wrong way if your try hard enough".
Um, no. I didn't do any sequence breaking in my first playthrough of Super Metroid. I sequence broke Zero Mission by accident in my first playthrough. Fusion cannot
be sequence broken.
So which game is Zero Mission more like? Fusion or Super Metroid.
The game was not trying very hard to keep you on the rails.
8th Aug 13
(edited by: Korval)
The original Metroid was fair to people who knew to RTFM.
11th Aug 13
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13th Nov 13
I think Other M is getting a lot more hate then it deserves. Not to mention how many times the author had to reach to valid his claims and hate.
25th Nov 13
How was he reaching? All his claims were valid, and Korval's never reached beyond interpreting what Sakamoto was trying to portray, which seemed to him like forcing Samus into a maid outfit to serve as Adam/Sakamoto's mistress.
22nd Dec 13
Yes, but without the manual, the original Metroid is...painful, and you likely did not read the manual if you played it through Fusion, Prime, Zero Mission
or the Virtual Console (my NES owning babysitter did not grasp the concept of instruction manuals).
Reading that manual I find the contrast between what Samus started as and ended as amazing. A bounty hunter shrouded in myth
who has completed numerous impossible missions. His
body has been surgically altered with mechanical parts, giving him
super powers and even space pirates fear his
suit which can absorb any enemy's power. (AKA health and Ammo pickups). Wait, he
is a she? She
is six foot three and built like an Olympic track star and her suit has shoulders of doom
, can climb walls and fly
). She is actually restrained, not the unrelenting killing machine the very presence of an arm cannon suggests? She
is a being of such courage and resolve that even incorporeal apparitions who have ascended beyond three dimensional space can only marvel at unhindered progression through the planet ravaged by the great poison. She is also learned in biology, mechanics and the sport of glider swinging?
The "manga" was annoying enough when it came out. Everyone knew Samus was a girl. Suddenly she had no interest in academia
yet saw the need for doing constant contemplation
the games never implied she was doing. In fact, everything talked too much
. But now I miss manga Samus even. She didn't take shit from anybody, not counting her own Ridley scene, least of all Adam. Adam's role may have been inflated (I found bombs and missiles myself, thank you) but he was not joking when he called her a lady. Manga Adam did not
value Samus as a weapon.
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(edited by: metroidfreak64)
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28th Nov 14
I enjoyed reading the liveblog, and I'm glad I never played this game. It's a nice analysis of the various problems with the game, and the various ways it "shits on" established facts of Metroid, including, in some cases, things that Other M itself established. It was well-written, quite witty, and very enjoyabl to read.
5th Jan 15