Ah Samus, everyone’s favourite bounty hunter who they thought was a man but was finally revealed to be a woman (take that male dominated gaming world). It always feels as though people forget about Samus and the Metroid series, and that might be due to the infrequent releases in the series over the last few years, despite our ongoing pleas for a new one.
It means that we have to rather be content with revisiting some of the older Metroid games, and there is definitely nothing wrong with that. Metroid Fusion, which is available on the Wii U Virtual Console, is one such game, and revisiting this Gameboy Advance classic is certainly worth your time and money (the same goes for visiting it for the first time if you haven’t played it before).
In Metroid Fusion, Samus is down and out, although her suit saves her from going down that dark and dangerous tunnel. Brought back to life she finds herself without many of her powers, and under siege from an attack from something called Parasite-X, which was the same entity that almost killed her. Samus regains some of her strength and heads out to stop the evil villain before the entire ship is destroyed and everyone goes down with it.
Metroid Fusion, much like the previous games, is a 2D side-scrolling action platformer. It’s not quite like the early Mario games though. In this adventure you can go any direction you choose and visit places numerous times. That said, the main story is still broken up into sections. As Samus goes off to find eliminate the enemy, she also needs to regain her powers. To do so, certain sections must be visited (or discovered) and enemies must be destroyed so that her suit can regain the powers she needs to succeed.
To start, Samus only has her basic abilities in the form of shooting and jumping. As you progress you will fight common enemies, and of course boss battles throughout the various areas. Each area has a theme to it such as water, jungle and the likes and a boss battle to tie in with it. Once Samus takes out a boss her powers are reacquired. This is also done through visiting data rooms, but the boss battles are important to access her lost powers.
All the powers Samus is known for return eventually, such as using missiles, higher jumps, rolling up into a ball and dropping bombs, and a few other surprises. With each power regained, new sections can be accessed which allows the exploration to go even further. There are also tons of hidden passages and areas where more information and upgrades can be found.
Metroid Fusion has some great action and platforming elements to it. The game is relatively simple to get to grips with but the enemies and in particular the boss battles can be quite testing, especially towards the end of the game. The story is not exactly an elaborate one, though there are some nice elements to it, of which won’t be described for those who have never played it.
Metroid Fusion has aged well in terms of the gameplay and the type of graphics it goes for. There are no loading times which makes it all feel seamless and it really does take one back to the good old gaming days. The Wii U version doesn’t really add much to it, except for the very useful ability to create a restore point at any time. This means that if you do die you can start from a restore point, rather than an in-game save point which at times can be much further away.
Metroid Fusion brought back some good memories. It’s the third time I have played it and I have enjoyed it just as much as the first time. It’s not going to blow your mind with special effects or incredible graphics, but it will keep you busy for a good 5-7 hours with some great action, platforming and of course the boss battles which have loaned so much to other games since. In terms of retro gaming, you will find little better to play than this.