I like Metroid 3 (Super Metroid). It had some nice points, but there are several problems:

  • The game designers linearized the item progression, so that in order to go out of order it takes a LOT of effort. This eliminated to a great extent the vast freedom of the original. You are aimed at things. There is no hunting: you are funneled towards every major item. Everyone but the highest experts has to get them, in pretty much a fixed order. The only major items it is possible to skip without a high degree of skill are the scope, charge beam, and spazer, and those are very easy to find.
  • The second problem is that you have better character control so that the monsters aren't so hard to hit anymore - and there has been no corresponding increase in the difficulty of the monster behavior. For example, in the original game one of the main problems was that you couldn't shoot along the ground because you couldn't kneel or shoot diagonally. The monsters were designed with this in mind. Well, those old monsters have stuck around, but now it's really really easy to pick them off. Some new monsters have been designed to make life difficult even with the improved controls, but they don't show up very often outside of Maridia and lower Norfair. Even there, it's mainly wall-walkers and slow-moving metal fish that don't do anything. Other monsters have been added, but are weak enough not to present difficulties anyway.
  • Third, having twenty or so energy tanks* really detracts from the credibility of any kind of threat. It is perfectly possible to get all the way up to Ridley with only one energy tank -- and, outside of the bosses, it is not particularly challenging to do so. (If you don't believe it's possible because of the underwater boss that grabs you, you can get lucky. I made it with 4 energy points remaining).
  • Fourth, super bombs are like a reset switch for monsters. Not so bad if the access is limited, but the moment you have any of them you have five, and you can quickly find ten more. Three super bombs can take out nearly anything but a boss or miniboss. If super bomb tanks contained ONE superbomb, I wouldn't have a problem.
  • Fifth, the screen is 15 boxes wide (so you're 7 boxes from the edge). You are 3 boxes tall. That's right: Samus can see about 5 meters in front of herself. If you like to be able to see things that aren't on your nose, try some other game.

Concentrating the difficulty in the bosses made this game weak for someone who can beat the original game. A better arrangement would maintain the idea of gaining your benefits at the bosses, but would spread the difficulty out across the game. And go ahead, leave the bosses hard!

If you liked this game, try Cave Story.

* Each contains 100 life, which is gradually depleted as you are damaged. Since few attacks cause more than 30 damage, and it is rare that one cannot avoid being hit, this is excessive. (I count reserve tanks in this figure of 20)