Hands-onMetroid Fusion

We get to check out a new build of Metroid Fusion.

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Nintendo had an updated build of Metroid Fusion at its Gamers' Day event that appeared to be much further along in development than the E3 build. The game starts with Samus explaining that she's been put in charge of a new mission issued by the federation and as such has to follow orders from a computer that she names Adam--after another commanding officer that she knew from a previous mission. You're then shown a map from a section of the space station where Samus has traveled to after collecting specimens on the planet SR388. Here, you learn that Samus was infected with a new virus named X (which can replicate any life-form it comes in contact with) while she was on SR388 and that the metroid DNA in her body, along with a vaccine, helped save her life because the metroid was the natural predator of the deadly virus. However, the X virus not only manages to break out of the containment area of the station, but it also creates another Samus out of the infected pieces of her old armor.

So it appears Samus has been given some sleek new armor, and while she only has the regular weapon at the beginning of the game, Samus does have some new physical abilities, including a wall grab that enables Samus to pull herself up on ledges. She can also climb ladders that have been placed around various environments and shoot from them Contra-style. When you reach navigation areas (or essentially map rooms), Adam will give you mission objectives as well as information on where Samus can obtain power-ups. One of the first she has to find is the missile power-up, which she can use to blast through doors guarded by creatures or other types of barriers. The next few power-ups in Metroid Fusion are the charge beam (which lets Samus charge up her primary weapon for a stronger attack), the morph ball, and bombs. Most of these power-ups are obtained by beating sub-boss characters that come in the form of an armadillo-like character and what appears to be a large version of the X virus enclosed in a shield. Most of the first area is pretty basic, but there are some particularly cool moments such as a subzero temperature area where a frozen Ridley resides. Also, one of your first missions is to restore the climate controls, which have been infected by the X virus, and as you destroy each one, the conditions in the room immediately change.

When you've gone through the initial portion of the station, Adam tells you that other parts of the station have been infested by X and that these parts of the station have been designed to mimic the environment on SR388. After you go down the elevator into this area, you get a close-up of Samus talking about her mission, and shortly thereafter, you get a quick glimpse of the X-virus version of Samus, who subsequently destroys the door and the elevator back up to the main part of the station. Since the virus infected her old armor, the doppelganger has all of Samus' old powers, including the freeze ray, which Samus is especially vulnerable to because of her metroid DNA.

Visually, the game looks quite similar to Super Metroid, though there seems to be a little more color, and the sprites appear to be slightly more detailed. The ambient music in the first few areas fits the game incredibly well, and you'll also get to hear the familiar Metroid theme whenever you find a new power-up.

Metroid Fusion is shaping up to be more than a worthy sequel to Super Metroid. The story elements seem to be much more prevalent in Fusion than in any other Metroid game simply because there's now a narrator (Adam) giving context to all of the events transpiring on the station, so you know why Samus is there, why she has new armor, and why there's another Samus running around. Indeed, the story does an excellent job of giving you the feeling that the new Samus really shouldn't be messed with and that you should run the second you see it--similar to the way Nemesis was integrated into the Resident Evil 3 storyline. Needless to say, we're excited.

Metroid Fusion is scheduled for release on November 18.

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