Video Game / Metroid II: Return of Samus

Metroid II: Return of Samus is an action-adventure video game, the second game in the Metroid series, and the only one developed for the Nintendo Game Boy. The sixth installment in the overall series story (the later Metroid Prime Trilogy games serving as Interquels between Metroid 1 and this game), the game was developed and published by Nintendo in North America in November 1991, in Japan in January 1992, and in Europe in May 1992.

The story of Metroid II follows the protagonist and playable character Samus Aran, who is sent on a mission to exterminate the Metroid creatures from their home planet SR388 before the antagonistic Space Pirates obtain and use them yet again. On the planet, Samus encounters Metroids in different stages of their evolution cycle, ranging in forms from small jellyfish-like creatures to large, hovering, reptilian beasts.

In Metroid II, the developers added round metal shoulders on Samus's Varia Suit to differentiate it from her Power Suit, since both looked similar on the Game Boy's limited greyscale display. The updated suit has since been a staple of the series, appearing in all subsequent games. The game also introduces elements that would become franchise staples, such as the Space Jump, the gunship used by Samus, and Save Stations (which replace the password system from the first game).

Also note that there is no definite article in the title. It's Return of Samus, not The Return of Samus.

In 2017, Nintendo announced a remake for the Nintendo 3DS: Metroid: Samus Returns, which now has its very own page.

The original game contains examples of:

  • Ambidextrous Sprite: First game in the series to avert this.
  • Art Evolution: Enforced, since the game's monochrome nature prevented the designers from using Palette Swap to differentiate some aspects of the suit. This resulted in changes to Samus's suit that carried forward into later titles. First, the barrel of Samus's Arm Cannon visibly opened when switching to missiles. Second, the Varia Suit looked significantly different from the baseline Power Suit (including larger shoulders). In the original Metroid, both the missiles and Varia Suit were represented by color changes. All flashbacks to the first game depict the redesigned armor, though Zero Mission's Varia Suit lacked the shoulders (the Gravity Suit had them, though).
  • Artificial Stupidity: Turns out there's a massive blind spot for Zeta Metroid attacks, as this video demonstrates. If Samus rolls into morph ball form and sits underneath the Zeta, its attacks won't hit Samus. This allows Samus to attack the Zeta with impunity.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The Plasma Beam is the most powerful gun you get, but it fires a straight shot that can't penetrate certain enemies' armor, unlike the Wave Beam.
  • Bag of Spilling: You start off with about 30 missiles, since they're needed to even damage the Metroids she's hunting, and the Morph Ball and Long Beam. Everything else from the previous chronological games are lost.
  • Big Bad: The Queen Metroid.
  • Broken Bridge: A hazardous liquid drains from the caverns via periodic earthquakes (in one case, it actually fills in a cavern). The trigger? Killing all the Metroids in a section. One section of liquid near the end of the game even has a set of spikes added to the end of the tunnel to prevent a Dungeon Bypass.
  • Captain Ersatz: The Metroids already cribbed a page from Facehuggers and this game makes the similarities even more blatant by having the Metroid phases of evolution crib a page from the Xenomorphs. They even have a Queen Metroid that lays eggs!
  • Color Wash: When played on a Super Game Boy, the game defaults to using a red, black, green, and yellow palette, befitting the "alien" nature of SR388. Because this game was released before the Super Game Boy started development, however, this default palette is precoded into the SGB's hardware (as with numerous other pre-SGB games), and does not feature any of the more advanced color trickery seen in SGB-optimized titles.
  • Convection Schmonvection: One of only two games to play it straight, the other being the original Metroid—if that damaging liquid in the main tunnels is lava. The manual never calls that liquid "lava", only a "hazardous liquid", so for all we know it could be Hollywood Acid instead.
  • Developers' Foresight: In most sections of the game, you won't be able to traverse the hazardous liquid without dying a horrible death. At one point near the end, though, you would have enough armor and energy tanks to attempt it normally—if the dev team hadn't added a set of spikes blocking that part of the tunnel. The spikes go away after you destroy the Omega Metroids in the previous section, as does the liquid. Further, the various beam items respawn after you collect them, so unless you somehow screw with this aspect, you can never get an Unwinnable by Insanity by overwriting your Ice Beam permanently, as you will always be able to collect an Ice Beam at the end.
  • Double Jump: This is the first appearance of the Space Jump, which can let Samus double jump (or rather, infinite jump).
  • Endangered Species: The entire Metroid species apparently consists of 47 Metroids that you kill (including their queen) and one infant Metroid, and Samus herself is the reason that the species is almost driven to extinction. Left alone, the Metroids are definitely dangerous, but are far too small to be a true threat to the whole Galaxy—the real problem is that the Space Pirates want to clone them using Beta Rays and exploit their abilities, just like they did in the first game, thus forcing the Galactic Federation to hire Samus to exterminate them all to prevent this from happening.
  • Everything's Better with Spinning: The Space Jump causes Samus's spin jump to spin extremely fast. With the Screw Attack, everything is even better with spinning.
  • Gotta Kill Em All: An ever-present counter shows how many Metroids are left to kill. This becomes more disconcerting as the Metroids start to mutate, resulting in a mini-boss encounter with each one. At one point, the counter jumps from one to nine (The fourty-seventh and final Metroid is, of course, the dreaded Queen). Ironically, the game concludes with Samus adopting a Metroid hatchling; rather than snuff out the hated race once and for all ("Have I the right?"), Samus takes it under her wing and begins a peaceful climb back to the surface.
  • Jump Scare: The player will encounter a few of these simply with how Samus will be walking along, then the sudden change in music announces the presence of a Metroid, often without more than a split-second warning as it appears onscreen.
  • Last of His Kind: The baby Metroid at the end of the game.
  • Load-Bearing Boss: Averted; killing the Queen Metroid doesn't cause the place to collapse—though it does result in an earthquake which prevents Samus from returning to prior parts of the game.
  • Lone Wolf Boss: Arachnus, an optional mini-boss that gives you the Spring Ball power up. It's the only non-Metroid boss fight in the entire game.
  • Minus World: The Secret Worlds from the first game make a reappearance in this one. They can be accessed by spamming the select button but moving up and down or left and right quickly, despawning tiles and allowing Samus to sneak by the walls.
  • Nintendo Hard: Not as much as the original game since you have more abilities and can shoot in multiple directions, plus you're not given much room to get lost, but it still qualifies. You still lack a map and Metroids you encounter can really drain your missile count. There are also a lot of fake walls which can make getting to some of the Metroids you need to kill frustrating.
  • Non-Indicative Name: Arachnus, which doesn't look remotely spider like, but like an alien mashup of an armadillo and Cthulhu.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: Most of the game, you aren't even fighting the Metroids. Instead, you're completely isolated on the abandoned planet SR388, fighting the sporadic local wildlife or just working through the environment and ruins. And most of the music is surprisingly atmospheric for a Game Boy game—a lot of the tracks rely on ambience or scrambling alien like sound effects in lieu of any familiar melody. And on top of all that, you have no map, so for all you know, a Metroid could literally be lurking just around the corner. It adds a lot of suspense and tension between the battles. And then you get to the final area with the standard Metroids, and before you even encounter them, the player will notice the entire area is almost completely devoid of enemies (save a handful of flying platform creatures), a visual red flag that its a hot spot for the life-sucking parasites.
  • Oh, Crap!: When you enter the final area and the Metroid counter starts going back up.
  • Puzzle Boss: Arachnus. While he's a pushover of a fight, it's up to the player to figure out that you can only damage him with the Morph Ball Bombs. The game gives a vague clue to it due to the Arachnus curling up and bouncing around like a Morph Ball.
  • Railroading: The game is deliberately designed to downplay exploration in favor of combat and a more linear approach to gameplay. The main obstacle to progress is that the caverns you have to traverse are flooded by acid, and the only way to lower it is to kill a certain number of Metroids in each area. And because you need abilities like the Spider Ball and the Space Jump to find the Metroids, you have to thoroughly explore whatever of the world you can before you can make any more progress.
  • Sequence Breaking: Not to the extent of the original game due to this games more linear nature, but there are some spots in the game where you can pull this off due to some useful tricks:
    • Samus can roll off a ledge in Morph Ball form and unmorph, and then jump in midair.
    • If Samus jumps into an enemy, she will be knocked back, and can jump higher than normal in the air. This has particular use when she is trying to climb a wall of Autracks. Further, if Samus is damaged while she is in midair, the game will allow the player to jump again off nothing.
    • Samus can make an indefinite Bomb Jump if you have very good timing. She must lay a Bomb, and before it explodes, lay another one, and so forth.
    • If Samus has two Energy Tanks at the very least and the Varia Suit, she can run through the acid to reach Phase 3.
    • Samus can rapidly fire her weapons when in an enemy-filled room, to slow their movement down.
  • Shows Damage: Audibly, at least. As you chip away at the Queen Metroid's health, her digitized grunts gradually go into more agonized shrieking.
  • Songs in the Key of Panic: Near the end of the game, when Samus discovers a new batch of Metroids have just hatched (shooting the counter up from 1 to 9) , the already tense song playing raises an octave for the whole final level.
  • Sound of No Damage: A clanking sound plays if your missile, beam, or bomb hits something without damaging it. Also, if you try and Screw Attack a Metroid, you get a grinding sound as you and it bounce off each other.
  • Underground Level: All of the action in Metroid II takes place in the caverns of SR388. The only part of the surface the player sees is the immediate area around Samus' ship, and the hills behind it at the end of the game.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: The nest of the Queen Metroid.
  • Video Game Remake: Double Subverted. Metroid 2 was originally going to get a DX Remake for the Game Boy Color like The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening, but the project was canceled. And then, over twenty years later, Nintendo announced Metroid Samus Returns.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: The Alpha and Gamma Metroids weren't all that difficult to deal with; one reliable way to deal with them was to get below them and shoot up. That's not an option with the Zeta Metroid; shooting it from below results in a Sound of No Damage. Also, you can't run from it unless you leave the room—the Zeta scrolls with you. Add the fact that it's actually smaller than a Gamma Metroid, moves faster and more aggressively, and has a ranged attack, and you have the toughest foe in the game except for the Final Boss.
  • Wall Crawl: This game features the debut of the Spider Ball, which allows Samus to crawl along any wall, giving her incredible exploration opportunities. Metroid II is still the only 2D Metroid game to feature this upgrade.

Alternative Title(s): Metroid 2, Metroid 2 Return Of Samus