Metroid Has Tons to Offer For New Fans On The Nintendo Switch
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Metroid Has Tons to Offer For New Fans On The Nintendo Switch

The Metroid franchise helped set the standard for platformers that is still followed today. While only one-half of the Metroidvania genre, it helped lay the foundation for other fantastic titles such as Hollow Knight and Guacamele. It also broke ground in other ways that have made its hero Samus even more beloved. One example is the revelation that Samus was actually a woman all along, breaking norms and making Samus as beloved as the likes of Lara Croft. Since then, her series has transcended consoles and evolved gameplay in amazing ways.

Now, the Nintendo Switch may be the best way to experience most of the series. While not all Metroid games are available, Nintendo Switch Online, it’s Expansion Pack, and the eShop offer six titles that span decades of the franchise. Still, not all of them are perfect or play the same way. As a result, it’s best to know where the six available titles rank on average, according to Metacritic and the Internet Games Database, before playing.

Following the success of the original, Metroid II: Return of Samus was just as much a game of firsts as the original. The title sent Samus to the Metroid’s home planet to eradicate the species on SR388. However, Samus’ choices no doubt surprised Game Boy players all the way back in 1991 when she spared the queen and left with an infant Metroid. The game also marked the debut of the iconic Varia suit and the Spider and Spring Balls. Critics at the time also found the value in its linear map storytelling rather than level based, which made the experience all the more fun and nerve-racking.

The original Metroid for the NES was a huge step forward for platformers, showing the level of range and stakes the genre could hold when handled properly. The game followed Samus Aran as she tried to combat a group of space pirates led by Ridley, who sought to capture and multiply the parasitic Metroids. In doing so, they could wage war with the galaxy unopposed. The game pushed the skill of its players and offered a character like Samus to shine based on her unique abilities. Its fast-paced gameplay and amazing score also aided in players coming back as it promoted speedrunning in a world unlike anything seen before.

Metroid Fusion for the Game Boy Advance is one of the more unique entries in the franchise, as it fundamentally changed some of Samus’ known abilities. After being infected by the X parasite, Samus is given a cure that gives her an aversion to the cold similar to the Metroids. The rest of the game follows her efforts to investigate the parasite that destroyed a Federation space station. As she continues to dig, more secrets are revealed that culminate in a battle with the Omega Metroid. Critics praised the game, mentioning it was a refreshing experience, likely due to its stronger focus on the narrative.

The latest entry in the franchise’s story, Metroid Dread has Samus explore the planet of ZDR where remnants of the X parasite are said to reside. There, she’s forced to face various enemy types, including dangerous EMMI robots sent by the Federation. Thanks to new gameplay mechanics, including stealth, she can finally learn to outsmart the robotic enemies. Ultimately, Metroid Dread has been praised for how it brought the franchise back to basics while implementing new mechanics that both enhance the experience and add to how creepy the world can be. Critics also praised the game for never missing a beat and merging two eras of the franchise, making Metroid Dread perfect for both new and old fans.

Set between the first two Metroid titles, Metroid Prime is a first-person 3D outing in the Prime series that has Samus explore the planet of Tallon IV. While there, Samus faces a new enemy known as the Phazon, as well as space pirates like Ridley. This leads to the discovery of the Metroid Prime, a dangerous creature that entered the planet through a meteor. Metroid Prime Remastered also captured the intensity of the story and featured enhanced graphics and gameplay to suit the Switch, with an option for a more classic control scheme. Like the original, the remaster was given top marks by critics and has proven that the Metroid formula is truly built to last no matter the console or gameplay style.

Released on the SNES, Super Metroid is one of the best entries in the franchise thanks to both its gameplay (which added a grappling beam and various other power-ups) and its story. The narrative has Samus trying to save the Metroid offspring after it’s stolen by Ridley and his space pirates. This forces Samus to face new enemies on the planet Zebes and gives a new perspective to the Metroid species that shows they’re not all malicious entities when raised in a different environment. While the game is short, critics at the time called it an unforgettable experience that would have players coming back for more.

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