Metroid: Other M Hands-On

Samus has a case of the baby blues in this sequel to Super Metroid.

by

Metroid: Other M--codeveloped by Nintendo and Team Ninja (of Ninja Gaiden fame)--is best described as a culmination of all the Metroid games that came before it. It interweaves plot points and gameplay mechanics from those games into a sequel that takes place after events of Super Metroid, but despite bringing all of these familiar characteristics together, Other M feels anything but familiar. The game forges its own identity that rests somewhere between Super Metroid and the Metroid Prime series, with the end results amounting to something that most fans will probably find surprising. A warning: This write-up includes some minor story set-up spoilers.

Our demo begins with a brief CG cinematic where the camera pans to the depths of space to find a person--bounty hunter Samus Aran--curled in the fetal position (like the scene from 2001: A Space Odyssey). After uttering the question, "Why am I still alive?" Samus awakens to find herself in the ending sequence of Super Metroid. An appropriately disgusting and angry Mother Brain stomps around as the baby Metroid (that originally appeared in Metroid II) holds Samus above ground within its maw. Just seconds before Mother Brain releases a devastating beam of energy from her massive eyeball, the baby Metroid drops Samus and takes the brunt of the blast. Its gooey remains drip down onto Samus as she readies her arm cannon and says, "It's time to go." Mother Brain is defeated.

In the following scene, Samus (shown in her Zero Suit form) awakens in a quarantine room and later remarks that she constantly dreams about her confrontation with Mother Brain, as well as the fate of the baby Metroid. In fact, a large part of developing and growing Samus as a character for Metroid: Other M seemingly stems from the loss of the baby Metroid to the extent that it's a focal point of her remaining monologue in the introduction--a suggestion of her growing motherly instincts, perhaps?

As the scene ends, Samus transforms back into her Varia suit and the tutorial begins. In it, we learn about some of her basic movements and abilities--most of which are controlled by holding the Wii Remote sideways so the layout resembles the NES controller setup. The action in Metroid: Other M takes place in 3D space from a third-person perspective, so Samus can move around much as she did in Metroid Prime by using the D pad. You can fire her arm cannon using the button 1 (button 2 performs jumps) and hold it down to perform a stronger, charged shot. By throwing a few enemies at us, the tutorial revealed that there's seemingly no manual way to target enemies, so where you shoot is a combination of where you're facing and which enemy has priority over another for the auto-aiming system. Samus also has some evasive skills--by pressing left or right on the D pad just before a projectile hits, she quickly leaps to the left or right. Lastly, changing into the morph ball is as simple as pressing A on the Wii Remote, and like previous games, Samus can plant regular or superbombs while in this state. Also of note, you can recharge missiles by simply holding the Wii Remote vertically and simultaneously holding down the B button (a similar functions works for recharging health when it gets dangerously low, but it doesn't appear to refill all of your health).

The tutorial also included a section explaining Samus's search mode, which should be immediately familiar to fans of Metroid Prime. By pointing the Wii Remote at the screen, the camera automatically transitions to a first-person, in-the-visor mode that lets you look around by holding the B button. Not only can you use this mode to investigate your surroundings, but you can also use it to lock onto and combat enemies either by using Samus's default arm cannon attack or her missiles. It's worth pointing out that when you search a room and happen to come across a special item (such as an energy tank or missile capacity upgrades), it will be marked on the map shown at the top-right portion of the screen.

With the tutorial over, we got another cutscene where a quarantine officer tells Samus to head to a meeting where news that Mother Brain has been defeated and Planet Zebes has been completely destroyed is met with a round of cheering from others in the room. Time passes and we fast forward to a scene with Samus sitting inside her ship when she suddenly receives what she refers to as a, "baby's cry," which is an SOS coming from a distant part of the galaxy. She eventually reaches the source of the SOS and what appears to be a derelict space station called the Bottle Ship, where the main portion of our gameplay session took place.

Upon arrival, we're told to take a look around using Samus's search mode--a quick inspection of the area reveals that a Galactic Federation Army ship is also docked. We take a few minutes to run and jump around (to test out the controls a little more when the camera's in a side-scrolling perspective) before going through the first door on the ship. Inside, Samus encounters the Galactic Federation group that arrived at the station earlier as it tried to get through a seemingly impenetrable door. As luck would have it, a member of this crew is none other than Adam Malkovich--Samus's former commanding officer in the Galactic Federation Army (and later, the AI construct from Metroid Fusion) before she took up the reigns of a freelance bounty hunter. Samus briefly references tension that exists between the two of them because of her previous career choices, but it's something that will more than likely expand further as the game progresses.

After helping the team get through the door via a missile from Samus's weapon, the team moves forward and Samus is left behind to make her way to the control room on her own. Along the way, we encounter some of the familiar, weaker enemies of Metroid's past, such as zoomers and skree. We take out these enemies using Samus's regular attack and continue to explore before coming upon an empty bathroom area. Normally, such a room wouldn't be a big deal, but it is in this case because we get a glimpse of a new perspective that places that camera closely behind Samus (similar to the camera perspective found in the Resident Evil 4 and 5) and forces her to walk at a slower pace. Whether this camera perspective has any kind of significance over just accommodating the tight space remains to be seen, but it was quite a surprise when we came upon it for the first time.

We continue to go from room to room, putting Samus's acrobatic abilities to good use as she wall jumps and clings to ledges before pulling herself up to make her way to the control room where she meets up with the rest of the Galactic Federation crew, as well as the first boss encounter. This giant, purple monster flings its tentacles about, making it difficult to find enough time to jump into the first-person mode and take shots at its eye using missiles. When we do get a solid shot in, the Galactic Federation soldiers manage to freeze parts of its limbs, which you then have to target and fire upon with missiles in first person. After doing this a few times, the creature is defeated. Adam takes up a position in the main portion of the control room where he tells the rest of his crew to infiltrate other parts of the ship and asks Samus to restore power to the system management area. This requires a bit of backtracking to an earlier part of the level (where we get some more time to snoop around for extra items, some of which can only be accessed via the morph ball), but it only takes a few minutes before we find the designated area, clear out the enemies that were preventing power from reaching other parts of the ship, and head back to the control room where the demo ends.

At this point, Metroid: Other M seems to succeed in creating a new type of Metroid experience, but it's really hard to explain just how different it feels until you get your hands on it. The mixture of old Metroid and Metroid Prime elements seems like it's not an amazing fit initially, but as time goes on, changing from third to first person feels more natural. We'll have more on Metroid: Other M before its release on June 27.

Discussion

273 comments
danel3213
danel3213

So cool it is! want it now! The best Metroid game is comeing soon~~~ Waiting for it!

Jajathinx
Jajathinx

Looks very interesting, the top of my wii list for 2010, along with Super Mario Galaxy 2. I would have to say that Metroid's predecessors were somewhat repetitive, what with retrieving weapons and fighting a corresponding boss. The proposed different views, stunning graphics, story, and more should be enough to save this game....we'll see.

raith616
raith616

cool!, hasn't been a wii game in a while i've taken an intrest in like this one

Sunrie
Sunrie

I'm excited about this game. It looks great and the gameplay sounds very interesting. I can't wait to get my hands on it.

regix416_basic
regix416_basic

Why did the Nintendo Channel drop the Demos? I want to TRY this!

Darth-Samus
Darth-Samus

WANT NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

DarknautXXX
DarknautXXX

Metriod always had some action, but the main things have been the platforming and the off-the-beaten-track exploration. Action is okay, just as long as it isn't like the mindless shooting and pathetic exploration of Metriod Prime Hunters. Not that hunters isn't a bad game.

Warnerator
Warnerator

@ShootTheCore Oh yes, Metroid games in the past have never had any action what so ever, I don't know why they would start with this game...sheesh *facepalm*

ShootTheCore
ShootTheCore

This is going to suck hard; how come they have to turn everything into an action game?

Leg3nd4ry
Leg3nd4ry

I love metroid and im looking forward to this...but i do not like the control scheme they have described here. PLEASE let me use the nunchuck over the dpad for the 3d or first person mode.

Philbrush
Philbrush

Sounds, and looks like it's going to be a great game...this is definately going on the "games I gotta get" list!

oblivionownn
oblivionownn

Are you sure what you say is true, smooth81_basic...? I think the Prime series is a standalone, and not part of the storyline, I think...

smooth81_basic
smooth81_basic

SuperfastSonic: Metroid Timeline as we know it today: Metroid (or the update, Metroid: Zero Mission) Metroid Prime Metroid Prime Hunters Metroid Prime 2: Echos Metroid Prime 3: Corruption Metroid II: Return of Samus Super Metroid Metroid Fusion And, according to this article, Metroid: Other M takes place between Super Metroid & Metroid Fusion.

smurfandbuffalo
smurfandbuffalo

@SOG_DJmorphosis yeah, I totaly agree. If it sounded really pornogenic that would ruin the whole game maybe the giant breasts/blonde outlook may give people ideas...

SOG_DJmorphosis
SOG_DJmorphosis

sounds to me like they are going to give her a voice now. Team ninja better make sure whoever does it does it justice becuase one that doesn't do a good job would really ruin it for me

dandaily4
dandaily4

...I got chills... and they won't stop.

Nick_2266
Nick_2266

looks pretty cool...but i still would prefer a full 3d one like the past 3.....still can't wait till that and SMGalaxy 2 come out

gamespot4life
gamespot4life

is this what i think it is???????? a 2d metroid????? omg my dream, finally came true.

shaze8
shaze8

I cant wait for the new type off gameplay but what kinda stinks is that when you are in first person view you cant walk but still looks awsome!

Fox_Mercenary
Fox_Mercenary

I'm not a Metroid fan but this looks great!!!

bluntmanandkron
bluntmanandkron

To us old fashioned gamers this is a must buy. With the Zelda and Mario series, this one wont disappoint.

leon-graham
leon-graham

People, dont forget it is a metroid game! It will be awesome!

SuperfastSonic
SuperfastSonic

Now if only Nintendo would reveal the time line these games take place in order - or they could just not tell us like they did with Zelda.:P

gomersith
gomersith

You know it's gonna be an awesome Metroid game , Have you ever known Nintendo to release a " bad " Metroid game ? I don't recall any. GOW III and SMG 2 are gonna be new eye candy , but same ol , same ol......This game will be Wii's game of the year ! The Budweiser told me so !!!

JjaRaJaJja
JjaRaJaJja

i hope it looks as well as the cg cut-scenes during gameplay

Sethbeastalan
Sethbeastalan

About 10 years ago, Metroid fans cried foul when Prime was going to be first person. Now some of those same fans are complaining about it going back to what it 'should' be?

deathtrooper31
deathtrooper31

It's about time they take it back to the way it all started!!

bonvoyage10122
bonvoyage10122

looks great! ... but why can't I shake the feeling that it might fail... epically...? =/

Justinian103
Justinian103

Definitely showing alot of promise. the seem to have some good game mechanic ideas down.

freema
freema

Why is everybody so excited about a game which looks like such an obvious step back from Metroid Prime?

HerbalVideogame
HerbalVideogame

I love Metroid Prime. And I have watched one trailer on Other M, I'm not watching this one because I want to know nothing when it comes out, but it seems like Metroid is finally being brought back to "Super" status. Word.

SoRa-KeYbLaDe
SoRa-KeYbLaDe

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Darthkaiser
Darthkaiser moderator moderator

For some reason I feel like I was more excited with this game on the E3 Trailer than now guess I must wait and see then

14monkey
14monkey

this game doesn't excite me i mean i just stick to buying monster hunter tri and super Mario Galaxy 2

robph4
robph4

metroid looks cool

SuperBomber
SuperBomber

ahh this game looks awesome =D can't wait, but my problem is... Super mario Galaxy 2 or Metroid: Other M..... i know God of War 3 is on my list atleast =D

GNWPCD
GNWPCD

I for one am glad for the more historic roots for the game in both game play and story line. While Metroid Prime was a fine series to me it felt like a deviation from what the series was and should be. I understand a lot who are into the Metroid series will be upset with the loss of the 24/7 3D world and interactions that was Metroid Prime but this game looks really sweet and it's a nice return to what the series was and in my opinion should be. It will be a nice mixture of everything from every Metroid game out there previously and be user friendly for everyone who wants to play it. Sorry I just didn't enjoy Metroid Prime that much compared to even the GBA Metroid games. Like I said they were all sweet and fun and all but this is the game I have really been waiting for in the Metroid series to fit todays standards and I think it will be a really great game. I for one can't wait and am quite excited about it. Hopefully those who only see graphics and 3D as being a reason for a game being good can look past those things and see that this really will be a nice addition to the Metroid series if not one of the best. If not, worry not folks, as I'm sure you haven't seen the last of Metroid in 3D only type setting.

huntervaneg
huntervaneg

It will be more than other M... It wil be Mmmmmmm... Supreme game!!

Crazyguy105
Crazyguy105

I love how 360?PS3 fanboys come onto Wii game updates and thumb every single comment down. XD Just shows how pathetic they can get. Anyway, I'm looking forward to this.

lamensmari
lamensmari

I would just really like to play a demo. the d-pad isnt the most comfortable thing to use in a 3D environment but it seems like the majority is in 2D. Its metroid so im excited but ill wait til i play it to give my final two cents. ps the story element i think is gonna be sweet

Snicker-Man
Snicker-Man

this game is going to be alsome cant wait till it comes out!!!!! :D

freema
freema

WTF! THIS after the awesomeness that was Metroid Prime trilogy?! Did this franchise just take 5 generational steps back? This is not 1989 and my big screen plasma TV is not a handheld. So why make a game that looks like it was made for psp?

Destiny_Hero
Destiny_Hero

This looks incredibly disappointing. Next gen cutscenes on what's just a Game Boy game with better graphics. It's an overwhelming shame they didn't keep it 1st person like Corruption. Its excuse for 1st person sucks.