Metroid is a series I have a lot of respect for, but not one I have played all the games with. It’s not been because I don’t enjoy games or respect the impact Metroid has had on gaming. Metroidvania is a term for a reason.
The simple reason for not playing them is growing up, console wise I had Atari and Sega, and then PlayStation. I pretty much skipped Nintendo until the Switch with one huge exception. That exception was the handhelds.
I first played Metroid II: Return of Samus on my original Game Boy in the mid-90s. About 10 years later, I then played Metroid: Zero Mission on my Game Boy Advance. This was great, as I got to see where Samus story began.
So it seems fitting that about 15 years later, I played Metroid Dread on the Switch. I know I had missed playing a lot of Metroid games, but I had been keeping tabs on Samus adventures story-wise. I couldn’t wait to see where the series was heading
On the ‘old’ site I described how getting older bad hands made Metroid Dread challenging. Not impossible by any means, but the controls and timings were hard on my old hands. Coupled with working longer hours and playing tired, it was hard to find dedicated time to play.
This might sound like a negative, but this reveals a massive positive for the game. I could pick up Metroid Dread after 3 weeks and jump right back into gameplay. There aren’t many games I can say this about these days. It’s this difficulty in picking a game back up after an extended absence that my backlog is so impressive.
Yes, there were instances of the boss fights being quicker than the new power tutorials. This is when I felt old. But these areas are fairly safe areas where you can practice the new controls, so being ‘stuck’ wasn’t so bad. And after these areas, in the game proper, I don’t remember any area where I had a problem using the abilities.
But coming into the end of 2021, I had made my way to the end game. I had only to make my way to the final boss, beat them, and escape planet ZDR.
This final battle with Raven Beak was one of the best boss battles I have had in a while. Raven Beak is a powered-up mirror version of Samus ability-wise. Anything you have been spamming to get out of trouble, Raven Beak does. This makes the fight challenging right off the bat.
Speed, invulnerability coupled and area of effect abilities in three long phases. The odds for this battle are stacked in Raven Beak’s favour. But, the fight is winnable through practice. Everything Raven Beak throws at you can be avoided or even countered.
The fight took me about an hour to beat, but it never got frustrating. Don’t get me wrong, I got frustrated. That frustration was never with Metroid Dread though. Old hands, tiredness, misreading the attacks – every time I failed, I knew it was because of what I did (or didn’t) do. And I could learn how to not make the same mistakes again.
Metroid Dread shows how old school gameplay can done with new tech. The new graphical style of Metroid Dread even builds on the experience. Subtle environmental storytelling takes place all through the game.
This makes for an amazing and satisfying gameplay experience. And for me, I will wait for the next Metroid experience. There is more of Metroid Dread for me to discover, but I am not up to speed runs or 100% exploration.
So I will take the finish for Metroid Dread, and with luck, I won’t have to wait 20 years for the next Metroid game. My hands couldn’t handle it. 🙃