2D Metroids From Zero to Dread Ranked

Now that Metroid Dread is here, it is time to officially rank the five Metroid titles that make up the 2D storyline. 35 years of Metroid storytelling finally coming to a close, and now it is time to crown the official queen of the lineup. Jason Capp is here to put the five in proper order.

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56d ago
oldenjon56d ago (Edited 56d ago )

I haven't played Samus Returns but I would've put dread in 4th or 5th place. It had big shoes to fill being the first 2D Metroid designed for home consoles and AAA sensibilities in a long time. It borrowed its innovations from modern metroidvanias, and honestly seemed it was cashing in on their popularity. The level design design and progression was a hot mess. Abilities and their order didn't really make sense in the context of these things. Bosses were basically straight out of hollow knight. Controls were clumsy and as poorly thought out as the rest of the game. It basically boils down to a bland remix of metroid and a clone of clones; A decent game when it should've been incredible.

Jeriphro56d ago

Umm... did we play the same game?? Because Dread is the best controlled 2D Metroid game to date by a long shot. Not only that, but I would argue that this is one of the most fluid 2D Metroidvania controls in recent memory.

Not only that, but the boss fights in Dread are excellent.

Decent is a major understatement. Dread is fantastic!

oldenjon56d ago (Edited 56d ago )

I'm talking about free aiming and button combos instead of weapon selection. The joy cons controls are tiny and it was really clumsy. Move your thumb even a mm then your aim is off and have EMMI fucking your face. Some reviews echo this complaint so it's not just me.

Some boss fights are good, some are bad like that electric insect. In any case, the damage they do is extreme, patterns and overall design are decisively not referencing old Metroid. There was an insane difficulty spike in the middle of the game with back to back boss fights, EMMIs, and X enemies. Then you get a uniquely OP screw attack mid-game that trivializes the rest of it and makes for whiplash and a cheap game breaking mechanic. It's all just really sloppy and incongruous IMO.

ChubbyBlade56d ago

I’m gonna hit the hard disagree on this one. I haven’t felt this way playing Metroid since Fusion and Super before that.

oldenjon56d ago (Edited 56d ago )

Um... it's a mainline sequel to Fusion and maybe even more so Super because it's not being relegated to the handheld console and the lower production values and design sensibilities that comes with. The point is that we waited almost 20 years for a game that feels like it's inspired by the games it inspired and sort of lost its identity. It should be inspiring a new generation of games. Super is vastly vastly superior to this game.

jsiddlehfx55d ago (Edited 55d ago )

I'd like to chime in. Let me first state I am pretty big metroid fan, as well as metroidvania genre player. Just going to go through your remarks here. Of course it's going to use newer innovations than stick to the gameplay limitations of old, it only makes sense trying to bring in a newer generation into the metroid universe. I am ok with this as it still felt like a metroid first and foremost to me.

Level Design was really well done, if you paid attention to the maps (not saying you didnt), there was a very elegant flow from one zone into the next. I will agree that some abilities and their orders were a bit weird (I wont go into this too deep if theres any new players reading), but yes having some of the more powerful abilities mid game and having some lighter more obvious early game abilities later was a little strange, but thats a minor gripe.

Lets talk on controls: I have 100% the game on normal as of now, so I have completed all of the pretty intense "Shinespark Puzzles" they threw in the game that really test your skills at controlling Samus. The controls are just fine, even using the joy cons to beat the game. The ability to hold buttons to alter what weapon you're using made from some extremely badass attack combos in boss fights.

You first mentioned Hollow Knight, and not sure as to how far you got on that, but if you did play it, you are aware of the damage those creatures and bosses do. So I am confused as to how you are shocked by the damage bosses in MD put out. I welcome this as its another step forward into a realm where gamers are wanting more challenging games (This coming from a person who loves souls games and can complete super metroid sub 3 hrs on 100%). The boss fights were incredible. There were a couple "bug" bosses that I didnt really consider full bosses, more like mini bosses, but I get your point.

All in All, Dread was a BLAST. It was a fluid, fast paced, fun experience. My only real complaint, was I was expecting a soundtrack that could rival or get close to that of super metroid and I was a bit let down there.

oldenjon55d ago (Edited 55d ago )

They just don't make soundtracks like Super's anymore. I would argue that Dreads chief innovations is the difficulty and boss design, which is why I think comparisons to Hollow knight are especially apt. But also, and maybe you didn't notice, the numerous spear wielding Chozo mini-bosses were very similar to hornet and mantis lords from hollow knight. Beak raven was unlike any 2D metroid boss I've ever fought, and a lot like some endgame bosses in hollow knight. I revisited Super yesterday and noticed the damage bosses do is a stark contrast to dread where it almost treats energy tanks like the soul containers in hollow knight; one hit will often deplete an entire tank. Hollow knight has mechanics that compliment its boss design (healing, deflection, badges) and dread just has dated QTEs. I died more than I did in hollow knight and didn't feel like I was having as much fun or control over the experience.

In super, screw attack is optional and along with space jump the last items you get in the game. It mostly facilitates backtracking, and the list of things it can't do is much shorter than in dread. You get speedboost and need to use it to get through a couple of obstacles, but there's not really any terrain designed to utilize it in a way that feels natural or powerful, and it's most compelling in that sloppy sort of energy/missle tank mini-game. You get grapple beam and use to grapple across a couple of ceilings, which is really bad honestly and sort of skippable too. It basically just becomes a door and hole opening tool.

It's just bad design honestly. Metroid is supposed to have an organic progression that is complemented by level design that conveys a story, and dread just feels like it randomizes progression in an uninspired maze of rectangular rooms. There's no rhyme or reason to anything that happens, it's just there because it was there before.

Like I said, it's a decent game but Super is a masterpiece of level design and just being good enough by other standards kind can unfortunately mean it's a piece of shit by metroid's standards. Oh and apparently Samus is a Jedi and Darth Vader is her dad. That's the cherry on top.

oldenjon55d ago

oops meant the list of things screw attack can't do is shorter in dread than super. it's basically OP and the level and enemy design is not an impedance to cheaping out the way it is in super. there's just no thought put into it or what it represented in super at all.

jsiddlehfx55d ago

@oldenjon it'll never be a super metroid, and nothing will touch that game, which is true. and on those remarks, its super unfair to really compare any of them to such a godlike title. All in all, I had a great time 100% it on normal. The music was lackluster, the item order list was a bit strange, but overall was super fun... I look forward to running it every so often and trying out hard mode! (All games look to others for reference. Hell even metroid looked to the Alien franchise as reference. So to critique dread for referencing another metroidvania (hollow knight) without criticizing hollow knight for referencing the obvious (super metroid) is a bit looney.

oldenjon54d ago (Edited 54d ago )

I don't think it's looney at all. Let's be honest, pretty much anything sci-fi horror is referencing alien. Samus was not originally written as a woman, and Super's story is only vaguely alien whereas Dread's story is blatantly Star Wars. Hollow Knight was a very long game that balanced its challenges with good atmosphere, exploration, platforming, secrets etc. Started my 2nd playthrough and Dread is a short, frustrating, and jumbled mess that doesn't excel at any one thing and probably shouldn't cost $60. Realized you get spin boost, then 30 mins later space jump. WTF? It's OK that this game is not perfect, and tempered my expectations before going into it. I did not think it would fail to reference, and at least try to improve upon, itself and it's own ideas though. It doesn't bode well that it will ultimately be the breakthrough title in the series. More short, derivative and expensive experiences with the metroid brand stamped on it coming your way.

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HeliosHex54d ago

"it's inspired by the games it inspired and sort of lost its identity."
That's deep.

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