Filling up the Queen [Metroid II: Return of Samus]

Games I beat in 2015: #4 - Metroid II: Return of Samus

I sat on the linoleum of the kitchen, phone cord tugged tight, back against the wall, Gameboy in hand. My best friend Paul sat on the other end, helping me navigate SR388 via his copy of Nintendo Power. Which was extra kind considering that it was his copy of Metroid II that he let me borrow after we went to Chuck E. Cheese for his birthday. I was constantly told that it wasn't Chucky Cheese. That sticks in my memory, but not if I finished Metroid II or not.

I kept a map open on my laptop the whole time. After Metroid: Zero Mission, a remake of Metroid II was constantly something I hoped would pop up in the news. Cartography is not a skill I desire. Games, tell me where I went and where I left something behind. If the map on GameFAQs could have only shown where I had been, I wouldn't have felt like I maybe, kinda cheated. But when Samus was nearly dizzy from not figuring out where to go, that map.

Metroid II was short, straightforward and clunky. Samus was so damn big on the screen that I hoped putting the 3DS a bit further a way might help with the zoom. Even with a map to tell me where to go and the locations of where to restore Samus's health and missiles with a simple touch, the game wasn't easy. Keeping those Alphas and Gammas and Omegas at bay to get the necessary number of missiles into their bodies before earning that game over explosion was a constant challenge. It wasn't unfair - it just wanted the player to keep track where they had been and where they were going.

Figuring out how to take down the Queen was where I stumbled the most. It ended up being no tricks, no misunderstandings on my part. Just pump those missiles in. Dodge those attacks. Repeat. Get that pattern down. Boom. Done. Designing some action scenes in a game right now, it feels weird in the "Well, yeah, but if there are patterns, won't players just figure it out and do it right every time?" And then I play Metroid II and see how easy there being patterns makes it for me.


Having just beaten Super Metroid again last month, perhaps it is time to go back even further and finish the original game. Another map will be at my side, but I'm okay with that. There are going to be some patterns to learn.