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YMMV / Super Metroid

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  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Crocomire has been interpreted by some fans as a Non-Malicious Monster who only fights Samus out of self-defense. It certainly helps that its Ugly Cute design caused players to feel unintentional sympathy towards it, as discussed in this interview with Crocomire's designer Mashimo Masahiko. The only way Crocomire will attack Samus first, we might note, is if Samus gets too close to it; otherwise, it refrains from attacking Samus until Samus attacks it at least twice.
  • Anti-Climax Boss:
    • Draygon, the boss of Maridia. By shooting out the wall turrets in the room, then letting Draygon grab you, you can Grapple Beam onto the turrets and electrocute Draygon, killing it in seconds. Draygon is also very vulnerable to cheese, since there are unintended methods of killing it quickly: Shinesparksnote  and Plasma Beam/X-Ray combonote .
    • For a Final Boss, Mother Brain isn't all that challenging. She has three attacks for most of the fight, then gets a fourth when low on health, but none of them deal very much damage and are fairly easy to avoid. The room is a single screen large and, due to Mother Brain's sprite design, the player can almost always hit her by aiming diagonally up at her. Finally, if the player comes here with even a moderate amount of missile upgrades, Mother Brain will go down fairly quickly. This all adds up to a Final Boss where you just stand in the corner of the room with a shoulder button held down bombarding them with missiles, only needing to occasionally jump to avoid an attack.
  • Awesome Music: Super Metroid's soundtrack is fairly memorable, especially for its era thanks to its new composers Kenji Yamamoto and Minako Hamano.
    • Crateria's Main Theme invokes a sense of heroism and the call to adventure, setting the tone for the game in general. As well as blasting the hell out of Mother Brain after she kills the Super Metroid, the grown up baby that had just recognized Samus as its "mother" a few rooms ago.
    • Brinstar (The Jungle Floor) sets the tone for delving into an alien world and uncovering its mysteries.
    • Brinstar (Underground Depths) conveys a sense of bleakness, melancholy and loneliness beautifully.
    • Norfair Ancient Ruins Area sets up the appropriate sense of dread for the area in which you fight... Not for nothing did Prime reuse the theme for the Magmoor Caverns.
    • Ridley, whose theme in this game is memorable enough that it's reused as his Leitmotif throughout the series from this point on. (The theme wasn't exclusively Ridley's in this game, but it would be used solely as his theme in future entries.)
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  • Disappointing Last Level: Tourian is short, simple and easy compared to the mazelike areas of the rest of the game. The final boss is largely a Cutscene Boss which then becomes a Zero-Effort Boss after the baby Metroid dies. There's no place where you can take advantage of all of your late-game upgrades, as they're not needed for the endgame.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Despite only being a mini boss (as opposed to a main boss of an area like Kraid or Ridley), Crocomire managed to be fairly memorable for a number of reasons, including its design, possible interpretation as a Non-Malicious Monster (considering there's no indication that it's allied with the Space Pirates), and the section after its boss fight where its skeleton attacks Samus before falling apart. These sentiments only intensified when detailed sprites and concept art were unearthed for Metroid: Zero Mission and Metroid Prime respectively, indicating that he could have become an Ascended Extra like Ridley.
  • Even Better Sequel: While the previous two games were good, and the second in particular contributed most of the core mechanics for the series's 2D platformers, Super Metroid is the game to which all other 2D Metroid games are compared, and the game which effectively codified Metroid's contribution to the Metroidvania genre.
  • Franchise Original Sin: While it would be nowhere near as linear or cinematic as say, Metroid Fusion, this game definitely began a greater focus on story and cutscenes for the franchise (along with Samus getting a starting monologue), which remains a contentious topic among Metroid fans. This cinematic aspect would be given increasing weight in Fusion and especially Other M.
  • Game-Breaker: Several movement mechanics, heavily relied upon by speedrunners to skip major sections of the game. The game's profusion of such mechanics is a major reason for its sustained popularity among the speedrun community.
    • The Wall Jump gives Samus more mobility than the game can provide challenge for. Mastering it allows players to visit areas early and get around obstacles that they weren't meant to. On the other hand, some walls are clearly (and effectively) designed to prevent the player from walljumping all the way up them, so the developers must have noticed and allowed for the "breakage" potential inherent in the game's implementation of walljumping.
    • Once you pick up a pack of Power Bombs (easily done early in Brinstar if you know where to go), you can get into the Wrecked Ship without the Grappling Beam with some careful running jumps to get to the door, and can then get the Gravity Suit. Because the developers assumed you'd already have the Varia Suit when you got the Gravity Suit, the Gravity Suit has all its upgrades on its own, granting you 75% damage reduction, full movement in liquids, and protection from lava. Speedruns do this all the time.
    • The Speed Booster allows for "Shinesparking" and super jumping, which a careful player can likewise use to bypass obstacles much earlier than intended.
    • The recoil jump, which may or may not be an intentional addition to the game, lets the player turn simple damage knockback into a long jump with a uniquely flat trajectory. This is useful in many areas, and instrumental to getting the X-Ray Scope ahead of the Grapple Beam.
    • The "mock ball", whose frame-perfect timing requirement means it's also probably an exploit rather than a deliberate mechanic, allows Samus to use the Morph Ball at running speed. This permits the player to bypass timed obstacles which are designed to require the Speed Booster, which in turn enables early acquisition of Super Missiles and the Ice Beam. The same technique can be used with the Speed Booster, allowing Samus to carry a charge into places where a shinespark wouldn't normally be possible, and also to roll straight through blocks which ordinarily require bombs to break.
    • There's also a whole variety of extremely detailed and timing-sensitive animation exploits, which make use of quirks in the game's 2D approximation of physics to preserve momentum, improve agility, and otherwise move Samus through the game a lot faster than the developers likely intended to make possible. Unlike the prior tricks, which a skilled and practiced player can perform by hand, many of these exploits require software assistance to reliably achieve, giving rise to the "tool-assisted" category of speedrun.
    • An intentional example is the Screw Attack. Combined with the Space Jump, it makes Samus a very nearly invulnerable one-woman wrecking crew, since she cannot be damaged while spinning. This makes subsequent boss fights a lot easier. However, given that in the vanilla game, the Space Jump is only available after defeating Draygon in Maridia and the Screw Attack is only available after defeating the Golden Torizo in Lower Norfair, this means ordinary runs won't get this combination until fairly late into the game. In the item randomizer, they could be almost anywhere, though, depending upon the settings you used.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: The game eventually resulted in Metroid being considered the third strongest of Nintendo's franchises in the West (the equal of Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda). In Japan, most of the Metroid games failed to make much of an impact. The same is true of the entire Metroidvania sub genre.
  • Good Bad Bugs: Quite a few of them exist. Most of them can be used for Sequence Breaking, like a bug that lets you open certain Super Missile gates from the wrong side, but one that involves equipping both the Spazer and Plasma Beams lets you travel back in time, resetting all the game's events and collectibles while leaving Samus' inventory (minus missiles) intact.
    • The Mockball, a trick that lets you move faster than normally as a Morph Ball, relies on quirks in the way the game handles Samus' speed when curling into a Morph Ball while moving. This can also be used to maintain a Speed Booster effect while rolling, and is the cornerstone of several important sequence breaks and time-saving moves.
    • Arm-pumping and Somersault Ledge Grabbing, two tricks revolving around Hitbox Dissonance exploitation:
      • When running, Samus' hitbox is moved forward very slightly when you quickly aim up and down diagonally as you run, producing the impression of Samus pumping her arm cannon. This will very gradually allow Samus to cover ground faster than normal, and was quickly adopted by many notable speedrunners once discovered.
      • Samus' hitbox changes dramatically when she somersaults or aims her arm cannon upwards or downwards while in mid-air, so speedrunners learnt to make even tighter jumps possible by manipulating her hitbox while platforming, allowing her to complete jumps and land on platforms faster and more efficiently.
    • Moonfalling, a trick discovered in the 2010s, which is a trick to fall faster than the game's default terminal velocity by exploiting the way the game handles Samus' falling speed if you enable Moonwalking as a special control option and walk backwards off a platform in a specific way.
    • The Blue Suit, a Speed Booster exploit revolving around defeating Draygon while Shinesparking, caused by the game resetting you to a standing position without removing the Speed Booster's effect from you. This is mainly used to carry the Speed Booster buff to a place where you can then turn it into an easy Shinespark to save serious time travelling across a large room.
    • X-Ray Plasma, a glitch revolving around how the Charge Beam, Plasma Beam, and X-Ray Visor interact, allowing you to make a single Charged Plasma Beam projectile do tremendous damage to Phantoon, Draygon, and Botwoon.
    • Using the Spazer/Plasma combo glitch can lead to one of three unintentional weapons.
    • Combining all the beams but Wave create the Space-Time Beam; with it, Samus can reset time, beginning the game again with everything but her missiles intact.
    • The Murder Beam (all beams) continually damages bosses to the left of the shot, making bosses that are generally to the left of you (Ridley and Mother Brain) near enough a Curb-Stomp Battle to Samus.
    • The Chainsaw Beam, the least useful of the three, does no damage to enemies, but breaks blocks insanely fast, making it more of a Utility Weapon than an actual weapon.
    • Baby Skip, a tricky move employed by Speedrunners, allows players to bypass the cutscene where the Super Metroid latches onto you.
    • Stand-Up Glitch, an exploit of the way Samus' state is handled after being blasted by Mother Brain's version of a Hyper Beam, was quickly adopted by some speedrunners and racers that use it as a way to speed up the endgame even more.
  • Growing the Beard: The first two Metroid games were fine games but had very noticeable flaws. The original Metroid had very confusing environments and downright merciless difficulty. Metroid II added some very welcome improvements such as the Save Stations, attempted more diverse environments and cut slack on the difficulty, but was a more slow paced, linear adventure as a tradeoff. Super Metroid improved all of that, and everything else. It had better gameplay, better bosses (including one of the most highly regarded Final Bosses of all time), masterfully told a minimalist story and most importantly, finally added a map. It also practically defined the Metroidvania genre.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: In a 4-koma comic, after obtaining an Ice Beam, Samus starts smacking things, to a Metroid, a robot, and finally a Space Pirate. In Metroid: Samus Returns, it's an actual counter mechanic for smacking enemies with it.
  • It Was His Sled: Whenever people bring up this game in conversation, it's usually in response to the genre it spawned or in reference to the baby Metroid's death. Said moment is held up in reverence by retro gamers as the most infamous Gut Punch of the 16-bit era, and the fallout on Samus' psyche has taken an oversized role in the plot of every game that takes place after this one.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • The Maridia Power Bomb Pipe (a glass tunnel that you shatter from the inside with a Power Bomb in order to access Maridia) has become an established element in gaming culture, being featured in numerous shoutouts and parodies used in various games.
    • "Why can't Metroid crawl?" explanation 
    • The very large (for the time) scale of the game and the incredibly high number of secret passages and hidden powerups, a lot of which were unnecessary for beating the game, prompted some Metroid fans to mess with new players by spreading rumors of secret areas and upgrades, such as talking about the hidden region of "Warfair" and the super-hidden items known as the "Wood Beam" and "Pipe Boots". With the proliferation of sites like GameFAQs that make it rather more obvious that this is a hoax, this meme has mostly died about, but it still occasionally pops up on boards filled with Metroid veterans.
    • Save/Kill the animals! explanation 
    • D E E R   F O R C E explanation 
    • Taking Kraid to the prom/Kraid Stand-Up DLC explanation 
  • Most Wonderful Sound: The sound of the fully charged Spazer Beam—and later on, the Hyper Beam—firing.
  • Nightmare Retardant: When portrayed in the game's spectacular pixel art, Mother Brain's final form is absolutely terrifying. However, its official art is cartoony and almost downright cute, taking away a lot of the fear associated with it otherwise. That gross brain's looking a lot more like a red perm, Miss Brain.
  • Player Punch: The death of the Super Metroid, right after it saves you. This makes the subsequent Curb-Stomp Battle that much more satisfying.
  • Sacred Cow: The game is frequently cited as THE pinnacle of game design and environmental storytelling. While most of the other Metroid games have at least a few criticisms, Super Metroid is easily the definitive Metroid game for most Metroid fans and is generally tied with Castlevania: Symphony of the Night among audiences for the position of the greatest Metroidvania of all time.
  • Scrappy Mechanic:
    • The run button. Novice players often don't remember (or know about) it, which makes the noob bridge an infuriating impasse; contrariwise, veteran players hardly ever let go of it, because of the additional speed and agility it imparts to Samus' movement. The 2D sequels to Super Metroid dispense with the run button entirely, increasing the character's base speed and automatically invoking the Speed Booster during movement rather than requiring a button be held down to do so.
    • Wall jumping in this game, while it would go on to become one of the core mechanics of 2D Metroid games later on, is relatively finicky in comparison to the sequels, and easily one of the trickiest advanced mechanics to master. This makes the room where you're required to do it several times in a row rather infamous among people who play this game — especially since there's a save point down there, which if used leaves you with a choice between getting good at wall jumping and starting the game over entirely. (On the other hand, you don't reach that save point until you've already fallen down the long, long shaft, so getting yourself stuck with it borders on Unwinnable by Insanity.) Even the developers seem to have had a less than stellar opinion of this part of the game, considering that their official storyboard refers to it as "Hell".
    • The "moonwalk", which is unique among movement mechanics in being toggle-able in the game settings. This is all to the good, because Samus moves so slowly while moonwalking as to make the technique worse than useless. The moonwalk was reintroduced in Another Metroid 2 Remake as a similarly optional feature, but Samus is much faster with it.
    • The quicksand in Maridia is infuriatingly difficult to jump out of if you fall in, especially with the nearby creatures cherry tapping you with projectiles every so often. Good luck if you decided to go without the Gravity Suit.
    • Tourian's final save point is a Point of No Return. Not only does the game not inform you of this, and not only does this make 100% Completion impossible if not done already, but it also makes the game potentially Unwinnable by Mistake if you don't have the Charge Beam and at least three Energy Tanks (both required for Mother Brain.)
    • As cool as it was for the time, the Grapple Beam can become this. It is reasonably useful against some enemies, but many are immune to it. Otherwise, it can be a slight pain with aiming and launching yourself if you're even a slight second off. Granted, it's still somewhat useful until you find the Space Jump, which renders it useless entirely. Needless to say, many hacks have tried to implement the Grapple Beam better in their puzzles, such as using the crumbling grapple blocks to cover hidden paths.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny:
    • While the game's overall design is still held in universal high regard, several players hold the controls to have aged poorly. Issues include Samus' floaty jumping, a redundant run button, having to switch between various weapons with the Select button, overly strict timing for the Wall Jump, and using both triggers to aim diagonally up or down. For newer Metroid fans, the smoother controls of later 2D games can make Super's controls hard to get accustomed to.
  • Signature Scene: The Baby Metroid sacrificing itself for Samus is easily the signature scene not only for the game, but for the entire Metroid series.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: The prologue music, called "Theme of Super Metroid" on the soundtrack, is a soundalike of the title music from The Terminator.
  • Tear Jerker: The Super Metroid's Heroic Sacrifice, done completely without dialogue, is one of the saddest moments in the entire series.
  • That One Boss: Phantoon, thanks to its unpredictable movement, brief vulnerability periods, devastating flame-sweep attack, and being far away from a save point or any good energy/missile farming spots.
  • That One Level: Maridia generally gets this opinion, due to the quicksand sections slowing down gameplay as well as being more labyrinthine than most of the other levels in the game.
  • Tough Act to Follow:
    • The biggest reason there was not a Metroid game for the Nintendo 64, was because nobody could figure out how to make a worthy successor to Super Metroid. Thankfully, when Metroid Prime was released, it mostly avoided this.
    • Metroid Fusion, the true sequel, was pretty much designed to improve many features from Super Metroid, while also ramping up the difficulty. Unfortunately, in replacing the exploration-driven gameplay with a linear plot that forbids backtracking, and discarding environmental storytelling in favor of an annoying Voice with an Internet Connection that practically dictates your every move, Fusion was seen as this when it first came out. Also, outside of 100% completion, most of the difficulty in Metroid Fusion comes from simply making the enemies hit harder, while combat in Super Metroid was comparatively varied.
  • Underused Game Mechanic:
    • Toggling abilities off in the Start Menu. While different weapons can be turned on or off to create unique (and probably unnecessary) abilities, the only other upgrade you turn off is the High-Jump Boots for making one jump in a particular area, and only until you get the Space Jump.
    • The Reserve Tanks act as spare energy tanks, but apart from showing up at a different place in the inventory, offer almost zero benefit over regular energy tanks. It seems like a concept that never found use in gameplay.
    • Special Charge Beam Attacks: by charging Samus' arm cannon while only the Charge Beam and one of the other four beams is equipped, and having Power Bombs selected, it activates a screen-clearing special attack, depending on which of the other four beams was used. Aside from this mechanic never being explained, the special attacks are not required for any puzzles or exploration, are not particularly useful, and are inconvenient to use given the need to unequip your other special beams. Most players will play through the game without knowing they exist, and if they do they'll probably never use them.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion: The voice that did the line "The last Metroid is in captivity. The galaxy is at peace" is sometimes mistaken for a woman, but it is actually voiced by a man named Dan Owsen. According to Kenji Yamamoto, he was a Nintendo of America employee who made frequent visits to Japan, and so they selected him to do the voice in the opening script.
  • Vindicated by History: Super Metroid was initially overshadowed by Donkey Kong Country in the US and the UK. It was not until Metroid Prime became an unexpected hit that Metroid was considered to have franchise potential beyond being series of video games, but fans of Metroid Prime also looked back on Super Metroid to see what they had missed and Super Metroid soon became a Sacred Cow among Nintendo fans of these regions, akin to Super Mario World and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: Especially for an over-20-year-old game, Super Metroid has some very detailed and very cool sprite-based graphics.
  • The Woobie: The sub boss Crocomire is minding his own business until Samus comes in and attacks him, and gets pushed into a pit of acid and starts melting until all the skin and flesh come off his bones. Compare this to the other bosses, which just generally explode, and you might feel bad for him.
  • Woolseyism: In Japanese, Chozo statues and Torizo statues are identically named. English guidebooks used an Alternate Character Reading of their Japanese name when referring specifically to the mini-bosses, and fans widely accepted this method of distinguishing the two types of statues.


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