A classic 8bit game for the NES which featured Samus Aran. The word 'Metroid' is also the name of a the featured monster in the story.

Metroids are a lifeforce draining type of alien originally from Planet SR388 which attached themselves, a bit like a leech, over and around the head of their victim. They resemble a tenticle-less jellyfish with incisor like teeth.

As of late-2002, the original Metroid game had four sequals, one for the Gameboy, "Metroid II", one for the SNES, "Super Metroid", one for the Gameboy Advance, "Metroid Fusion", and one for the Gamecube, "Metroid Prime".

In summary, the plot involves Samus penetrating the defenses of the planet Zebes to destroy Mother Brain, the leader of the Space Pirates, to prevent them from creating an army of Metroids.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the game was the discovery that Samus is female.

The story from the manual reads:
In the year 2000 of the history of the cosmos, representatives from the many different planets in the galaxy established a congress called the Galactic Federation, and an age of prosperity began. A successful exchange of cultures and civilization resulted, and thousands of interstellar spaceships ferried back and forth between planets. But space pirates also appeared to attack the spaceships.

The Federation Bureau created the Galactic Federation Police, but the pirates' attacks were powerful and it was not easy to catch them in the vastness of space. The Federation Bureau and the Federation Police called together warriors known for their great courage and sent them to do battle with the pirates. These great warriors were called "space hunters." They received large rewards when they captured pirates, and made their living as space bounty hunters.

It is now year 20X5 of the history of the cosmos, and something terrible has happened. Space pirates have attacked a deep-space research spaceship and seized a capsule containing an unknown life-form that had just been discovered on Planet SR388. This life-form is in a state of suspended animation, but can be reactivated and will multiply when exposed to beta rays for 24 hours. It is suspected that the entire civilization of Planet SR388 was destroyed by some unknown person or thing, and there is a strong possibility that the life-form just discovered was the cause of the planet's destruction. To carelessly let it multiply would be extremely dangerous. The Federation researchers had named it "Metroid" and were bringing it back to Earth-- when it was stolen by the space pirates!

If Metroid is multiplied by the space pirates and then used as a weapon, the entire galactic civilization will be destroyed. After a desperate search, the Federation Police have at last found the pirates' headquarters, the fortress planet Zebes, and launched a general attack. But the pirates' resistance is strong, and the Police have been unable to take the planet. Meanwhile, in a room hidden deep within the center of the fortress, the preparations for multiplying the Metroid are progressing steadily.

As a last resort, the Federation Police have decided on this strategy: to send a space hunter to penetrate the center of the fortress and destroy Mother Brain. The space hunter chosen for this mission is Samus Aran. He is the greatest of all the space hunters and has successfully completed numerous missions that everybody thought were absolutely impossible. He is a cyborg: his entire body has been surgically strengthened with robotics, giving him superpowers. Even the space pirates fear his space suit, which can absorb any enemy's power. But his true form is shrouded in mystery.

The planet Zebes is a natural fortress. Its sides are covered with a special kind of stone, and its interior is a complicated maze. On top of that, the pirates have planted devices and booby traps in the maze, and the pirates' eery followers lie in wait around every corner. Samus has now succeeded in penetrating Zebes. But time is running out. Will he be able to destroy the Metroid and save the galaxy?

Metroid's music is some of the best ever in a video game. The opening credits music was running through my head as I was rehearsing Verdi's Requiem last week! Ridley's lair music is especially good, at times resembling Sibelius' Tapiola. Freaky as hell. The only problem with it is that there isn't enough of it. The loops are short by today's standards, and there are but a few tracks. But one cannot blame it for raising the bar so little.

Oh yeah - and the play is really good too. It was rare that a dodge or shot is impossible, but is often difficult (so skill makes a difference). After a short linear phase in which one finds the basic adventuring equipment, one gains a great deal of freedom, much like in The Legend of Zelda. There is a lot of territory for which there is no good reason to ever go there except for your being totally lost. It is not hard to get totally lost in the depths of Norfair, or Ridley's lair, or especially Kraid's lair.

If you are just beginning, there are a few things you will need to do before you find this massive freedom. Here is a beginning walkthrough. This is just a list of directions - the early part of the game where you can't do much of anything is the only potentially boring part, and this helps you get through it with a sense of purpose rather than blind frustration.

  1. Get the maru-mari, aka morphing ball. Go left about one screen. It's the glowing ball sitting on the pedestal.
  2. Get some missiles , five of which are needed to open red doors. Go right until you can't go right any longer. At this point, you will be in a blue vertical passage. Go up until you come to a door heading right. Take it, passing through an airlock kind of thing, and enter a golden vertical passage. Head down. Near the bottom, there is a door. Take it, heading right. After some time you will find three floating pedestals, and the middle one has a missile tank containing five missile capacity on top. Be careful not to fall into the sand as you pick up the missiles! Go back the way you came. At the airlock kind of thing, you have some options.
  3. At this point you can grab a useful but not necessary item. I'll leave finding it as an exercise for the reader.
  4. Get bombs, which can attack enemies on the ground and open up many more secret passages. To get them, go back to the airlock kind of thing. Go right all the way (through a corridor of blue bubbles with sand), then up this second golden vertical passage until you find another door, then left. Once again, you will need 5 missiles to open this door.
  5. Get freeze beam. Proceeding back along the path you took to get here, there are two short passages. Both have a block in the floor which can be bombed. If you bomb the the first one you come to returning from the bomb room, you will open up the passage to the freeze beam. DO NOT bomb the other one, it is a trap. Note that to get out of the freeze beam area you will need to shoot the block you bombed to get in, then jump up and be at the apex of your jump just as the block rematerializes. Try different jumping rhythms if it doesn't work immediately.

Now you are ready to go just about anywhere!

General tips:

  • You enter a spinning jump (later converted into screw attack) when you jump while running. This spinning jump has faster in-air motion, but you can't stop moving laterally. To open up your jump, shoot. You will stand up and be able to stabilize. This is very important for jumping accurately above sand, especially where you pick up the first missiles. It is VERY important if you have screw attack and want to land on a frozen enemy (as you often will).
  • Note that even if you have screw attack, it loses its power once you are below the height at which you started.
  • Enemies which rapidly respawn from a specific location (from 'bug pots', as I call them) will not respawn if its predecessor left a powerup which is still onscreen. So, you can silence a 'bug pot' for a while by killing it and NOT picking up the missiles or energy. And of course you can just freeze them. Also, this means if you're camping a bug pot for powerups, make sure not to kill the big above the pot, or it'll spawn into you when you pick up the powerup. Ouch.
  • Each room can either scroll vertically or horizontally - never both. Horizontally scrolling rooms NEVER have vertical exits. Also, the only horizontal exits from vertically scrolling passages are doors. This will greatly ease your treasure hunt.
  • If you enter a short passage room with doors on either side of the screen, and a floor and ceiling - essentially, a short simple corridor - be VERY suspicious. There are very few such rooms that are as simple as they look (the airlock is one, and there is one each in Norfair and Ridley's lair. I can't think of any others).
  • Metroids give energy and missiles in very large quantity. They are the fastest way to get back to full heath and armament - if you can avoid getting eaten.
  • If you pass through a door, any metroid sucking on you will be peeled off. Aside from that, the only way to bust free is bombs, and I still don't know how to do that reliably.

This game is a classic. The controls leave obvious glaring gaps, its graphics and effects are laughable by today's standards, and its story is similarly pretty silly. But seventeen years later, it is still capable of entertaining, and even capturing new fans: my daughter, too little to play it herself, had a lot of fun navigating me. And I had a lot of fun trying to survive Kraid's lair without the freeze beam - something I wouldn't normally try!

A turn-based game based on Metroid, Meteoid, appears in the Kingdom of Loathing.

In addition to what was mentioned above, Metroids can also mutate into stronger forms, as seen on Metroid 2. From a Regular Metroid, that needs to be frozen then hit with five missiles to be defeated, they evolve to: Alpha Metroid:A bony growth appears on the Metroid, with small round eyes. It is actually more vulnerable than the original Metroid: It only takes five missiles, even unfrozen. Gamma Metroid:The Metroid grows several spikes forward and downwards, and becomes capable of launching electrical charges at its enemies. It takes ten missiles. Zeta Metroid:An almost humanoid creature, apparenting a cross between a dragon and a turtle: Only the transparent belly resembles the original Metroid. The Metroid becomes able to spit fireballs, and the bony shell protects him from back attacks. Even hitting it on the head or belly, it still takes 20 missiles to put them down. Omega Metroid:A larger version of the Zeta, larger than a human, with rib-like growths protecting the belly. It can now shoot guided fireballs at its few foolish enemies, and is protected from back attacks just like the Zeta. It takes 40 missiles to put one of these behemoths down. Queen Metroid:A monstruous, quadrupedal dinosaur-like alien, it can easily swallow a person with its immense jaws. Its belly is its only vulnerable spot, unless a brave attacker decides to try a lunge into its internal organs. It can resist nothing less than 150 missiles before falling.
There are now five games in the Metroid series; the original Metroid for the NES came out around 1986. Then in 1992 Metroid II for Game boy was released. In 1994 SNES version of Metroid. In 2002 it is expected that will be a new Game Boy Advanced version, which contains new moves and actions while staying true to the 2-d nature, and there is also a first person game being made for the Gamecube, both should be released on the same day.

Each of these games follows one of the most famous female character in video games, Samus Aran. She wears a large suit of armor and has a laser or beam weapon.

The original Metroid was a very advanced version of a cartridge for the NES. It was a 2-D side scrolling adventure. It contained a few famous characters such as Kraid, Ridley and Mother Brain.

The second game in the series, Metroid II was a simplified version where Samus Aran chased down various Metroid types in a monochrome color scheme.

The third game for the SNES was an improved version of the first game with more weapons and items, and a large amount of exploration area, a large version of Kraid and more dangerous version of Ridley reappear as well as mother brain. While it also was a 2-D Side scroller, it also felt like it was a a huge improvement in all most every way.

There are two new versions to come out in the next year. They are Metroid Fusion on the Game Boy Advanced,and Metroid Prime on the Gamecube.

In addition the figure of Samus Aran can be played in both Super Smash Brothers and its sequel Super Smash Bros. Melee

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