First and foremost, this will be posted to the Nintendo forums in about a week. This is so I don't flood the forums with my metroid reviews all at once; so if you're here enjoy the sneak peak at the review. This message will be removed when posted.
Super Metroid. This is a game with legendary status. When a best game of all time list comes up this game is guaranteed a spot near the top. The ideas and gameplay that the first two games only toyed with; this game kicks into overdrive and essentially establishes the Metroidvania genre of games.
To start off the game recaps Metroids 1 and 2's events in the opening cutscene. The game itself takes places right after Metroid 2; after leaving the space station where Samus left the baby metroid she receives a distress beacon from there and turns to see what has happened. There she finds the station's scientist all killed and finally run's into the baby Metroid....in the clutches of Ridley; after a short scuffle he flees with Samus following after. The station explodes as Samus chases Ridley back to planet Zebes and after that the story pumps the brakes. There is no more story given to the player till the end of the game. As it stands the story is simple, yet effective and lets the gameplay shine. I do find myself wishing there was more though, but not in a way that deviates from the game. This is something later addressed by Prime, and how it handles more story elements during the core gameplay. However, this never detracts from the game; and while nice is in way a requirement.
The gameplay is the star of the show. It is a 2d side view perspective with a good dose of platforming and shooting involved and the driving element is exploration. These all combine to create a very unique and fun blend of gameplay. The platforming is fluid, and the shooting/action is fun with some great boss fights; but the exploration is the key to it all. The game is about finding a way to get to the baby metroid from the Space Pirates and so you must explore search the depths of the planet. Finding a way around is much more fun in this title compared to the cryptic predecessors. When presented with a road block it is like a puzzle to explore and find a way through or around. It really is a lot of fun, going through and exploring all of the caverns possible and finding secrets passages with upgrades. All of the upgrades are pretty fun to use and help with Samus's adventure. Many are required to progress, but there are a couple that can be skipped or missed entirely. The action works very well, and is much improved from previous titles. Samus is finally able to aim diagonally and it helps with shooting immensely. As stated boss fights are great bursts of action and generally alot of fun. The atmosphere really sucks you in as well. I found the methodical pace of the game very relaxing, and helps to engross me into the game world. The different areas feel unique enough to all stand out and each presents different challenges. I did find Maridia to be the weak segment of the game though; I felt that some of it felt tedious, the sand/mud areas stick out as a annoyance. I don't feel like I am imparting how good the game plays; it is just so smooth and flawless it really is the ultimate metroid experience. It is a flawless blend of atmospheric exploration mixed with bursts of exciting action and the thrill of finding upgrades.
Technically the game is quite good! The art style is very moody, yet utilizes a colorful palette. The graphics really help this come through and is a treat to look at. The game sounds great as a whole; with the music being a standout. In short, the audio visual experience presented is excellent overall.
To wrap up this game really lives up to its own legend. The gameplay is engrossing and alot of fun. The visuals help to draw the player in and the music ensures they'll stay there. While the story is a focal point, it doesn't need to be; though I personally would appreciate some more lore. This is a game I can recommend to anyone.