Roughly two weeks ago now, I finished reviewing the last of the Metroid games with Samus Returns on the 3DS. Now I’m sitting here with no more Metroid to play until Prime 4 comes out on the Switch.
In about twenty years.
So to sate my craving, I’m going to put them all in a list from my least favorite to my absolute favorite. For this, I’ll be playing every game canon to the timeline of the series. This will include remakes, as those are different enough to be listed as separate games for me. With that in mind, let’s get started at the bottom of the list.
Metroid Prime: Federation Force
This game makes me want to die.
Metroid Other M
This is easily the most infamous game in the series, and that’s for a good reason. While I did find it mostly fun to play and it looked pretty nice, that fun and beauty was quickly drowned away by the terrible story and unlikable characters. Combine that with terrible voice acting and a script that butchers the character of Samus Aran completely, and you’ve got a game that seems built from the ground up to piss off Metroid fans.
If you skip this one, you will miss absolutely nothing. The story has no consequence whatsoever to the games that came before or after.
Metroid Prime: Hunters
This game is a mess. It adds some cool locations and characters to the Metroid lore, but the game itself isn’t fun to play. It’s clunky to control, looks like garbage, and the plot is practically non existent. It’s a real shame, because this could’ve been really cool if it weren’t crammed into a DS game.
It’s a shame, but you can skip this one without missing much.
I’ll give credit where it’s due: this is the one that started it all. Without it, we wouldn’t have all of these wonderful games that came after. On top of that, it still looks pretty nice for an NES game, and playing it is still pretty fun.
However, it cannot be denied that this game has aged. A lot. The controls are clunky, the world is vast and confusing, and the boss fights are super weak. It’s still a decent game, don’t get me wrong, but going back to this one after playing the later games in the series is incredibly challenging.
If you want to play the remake over this one, you could hardly be blamed. The remake is a far better game in terms of controls.
Metroid 2: Return of Samus
Age has not treated this game very kindly either. The environments are very similar, making it easy to get lost in. While Samus controls pretty well, she is still horribly limited compared to the later games. It’s really hard to go back to this one all these years later, especially since it was just remade last year.
Still, this game has a lot of positives going for it. The designs of both the Metroids and Samus are awesome, the use of music makes each environment haunting, especially towards the end, and the boss fights are pretty cool. All in all, the positives perfectly balance out with the negatives.
You could either play this or the remake. Either one is a valid option.
Metroid: Zero Mission
As a remake, this game is fantastic. It looks great, controls super well, and makes dozens of improvements to the original game. The extra content, from the boss fights to the extra epilogue chapter, are all fun and challenging, just as Metroid should be.
However, this game suffers from one critical flaw: linearity. This game is super linear, and it doesn’t really open up until after the epilogue. In a series all about isolated exploration, this is a major problem.
Still, if you want to experience the story of the original without playing a clunky NES game, this is the best alternative to go with.
Metroid Prime 3: Corruption
This game is pretty underrated, if you ask me. The levels are cool, the story is pretty engaging, and the new characters are all interesting and fun. The PED mechanic is fun to play with, even if it’s pretty easy to cheat the game with, and it makes for some super thrilling boss fights. It looks good, controls well, and the sound design is almost flawless. I love this game a lot.
However, it’s far from flawless. Much like Zero Mission, it is extremely linear, although it does have a few moments where it opens up to explore throughout the game. Plus, you often have NPCs talking to you, which spoils the sense of isolation and makes the game feel less creepy. The only exception is the final level, which feels extremely Metroid in all the best ways.
Still, I’d recommend this game. It isn’t flawless, yes, but it’s very fun to play. It’s easily one of my favorite Wii games.
Metroid: Samus Returns
This game is great. It looks good, plays well, and makes a series of improvements to the original Metroid 2. On top of that, it adds quite a few new mechanics that improve the Metroid series, such as the Counter-Strike, Aeon abilities, and 360 degree aiming.
However, while it is a ton of fun to play, it does fail to keep much of the magic of Metroid 2. Many of the creepy or somber moments are no longer there, such as the isolated and quiet final hallway of the game. While it is a better game, it does sort of miss the point.
Like I said earlier: you could either play this or the original. There isn’t any issue with playing either.
This game has a lot going for it. The story is pretty cool (and mildly terrifying at points), it feels really good to play, and the game sounds and looks fantastic. Combine that with the constant threat of the SA-X, which could appear at any moment and ruin your day, and you have the most terrifying game in the entire Metroid franchise.
However, it does suffer from linear level design. Not nearly as badly as Zero Mission does, but your movements through the space station are very limited. Plus, some of the puzzles are pretty repetitive.
Still, this is a must play for any Metroid fan.
For being the first 3D entry in the series, this game is surprisingly fantastic! It captures the isolation and adventure that Metroid is so well known for, and it still looks and sounds great to this day. It controls great and plays great.
Honestly, there aren’t many flaws I can think of. I guess the hunt for the Chozo Relics at the end is pretty tedious, but you can collect those as you explore before the end. Aside from that, I can’t think of many issues.
This is easily one of the best games of the series, and one of the best on the Gamecube. It’s an absolute must play.
Metroid Prime 2: Echoes
This is my favorite 3D Metroid game. It takes everything the first game laid out and improved upon it. The story is engaging, the world feels dead and isolated, and each area is fun to explore. While the Dark World mechanic is directly ripped from Zelda, it is different enough (what with how the world itself fucking murders you) to make it stand out.
Now, it’s not perfect. The end game is pretty much a copy-paste from the Chozo Relic hunt from the first, and some of the boss fights can be really tedious (looking at you, Speed Guardian!!). Also… that multiplayer is pretty weak.
Still, this is an absolute must play for any Metroid fan.
This isn’t just the best Metroid game. It’s one of the best games ever made. The story is fantastic, the levels are wide and fun to explore, the boss fights are intense and fun, and all the different power ups feel fun to use. Literally everything in this game is fun to play, and the atmosphere is the best Metroid ever was.
The only real flaw I can think of is the power up selection. Mashing the Select button to get to what you need can be pretty annoying. Still, I never found it to be a huge issue during any of my many playthroughs.
This is a must play for any Metroid fan, and any video game lover in general. It is easily one of the best ever made.
And that’s all of them. That’s where each game sits in my heart. Now I can put this series to rest for a few years. But you can be damn well sure that I’ll be back when Prime 4 comes out.
So I’ll see you guys in a decade or two.