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the Super black sheep returns: Metroid the awakening and deep slumber


Last week I dished out some goods on Metroid: The Black Sheep. Nows I got parts two, I'm going to try to make it less pasta. So what happens next? The second Metroid title, Metroid II: Return of Samus, was released and sold "well" in the US. What was next for Gunpei Yokoi's R&D1 team?

They ended up splitting up into two sections, one for developing console games and one for handhelds. The first was Intelligent Systems which was further split up into two groups. One of these led by Yoshio Sakamoto, and they were determined to develop a TRUE sequel to Metroid for the Super NES. This group was known as Team Shikamaru. It was made up of members from the other teams and despite being overwhelmed with sequels of Mario titles, they pressed on to create their dream game, Sakamoto's dream game.

Even though Japan doesn't necessarily think high of the Metroid franchise, it wasn't hard to push for a third game after the first two did sell reasonably well, though its budget was still cut. And the game almost did not come to be three times all cause it was so HUGE! How huge? Very huge! So huge that, well it was the biggest cartridge game ever made ... at that time.

Despite all this, the team pressed on. Bad timing be darned! Their latest installment would be the stuff epic is made of. It became Legen...wait for it.........................

DARY! You should all know by now but the game would be come to known as Super Metroid. A game so good, that it sticks in your mind and is constantly being hailed as the best in the series. It not only got Dtoid's first Memory Card Save File but it came back around and hit up the 19th Memory Car Save File spot. I think that is saying something.

They kept this game just like the original, dark and moody. The title screen said it all. Seeing the dead scientists with the logo and silence, it just spoke of atmosphere and the epicness that would follow. From the opening intro with the fight with Ridley and escape, to the big bosses and levels on Zebes, this is how sequels should be made. Probably some of the most memorable stuff came from the new power-ups. Whoever thought up the X-Ray vision is a genius!

Among the power-ups, the grapple beam (which was featured exclusively in the Memory Card Save File 19) has come along way since then. The G.Beam (for us "trendy" peeps) was taken to a new level in Samus Aran's latest venture in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption. It was really sweet the way you could use it in that game but its origins is not something to snuff at.

Click this for the full size version, more detail = win

This title resorted back to the old non-linear style. Big open maps where you could go anywhere you wanted at anytime, if you could get there in one piece that is. This combined with the speed boots, led to the first fine-tuned speed run game. How much could you skip to finish the game at the quickest time? Of course some bugs were exploited but that is all in the name of the game, right? I never tried but I am sure Samus and I could take you all on! Or not...

We got new suit upgrads, bigger levels, and bigger baddies. Why not bigger music? Why not indeed, and that is just what we got. Kenji Yamamoto had his video game debut in Super Metroid. I wondered if anyone else made this soundtrack, would they have retired afterwards and said, "I will never be able to make anything better." It is something to think about. If you love the music and want to hear a bit of some "modern" versions of the tracks, Stemage has the hook-up for you over at Metroid Metal. I believe they also have the original version up as well. Remember, they have a SWEET shirt for sale that is pretty much ftw.

Nothing to do with the game, just a cool picture. Click this link to view it full size!
Look at how cool she is! How could you not want to play with her...wait no, that is MY JOB!

Super Metroid had it all. One of the best games around, getting comfy in top 100 games all over the place. With all this, you would think that Nintendo would've put some bleach on this sheep, but no ... no they didn't. The title was released at another wrong time. It was the same point when some big hitters like Donkey Kong Country, PlayStation, and Sega Saturn came out. So of course it didn't sell well in Japan. America did buy quite a few but not enough considering it was crowded by other 1994 releases that seem to tower over this game.

What's up Nintendo? How about you give my baby's game a break and give it a good release time? This game has enormous potential but you sweep it under the rug. Is that how you are going to do us?

This is where it gets sad...

This was Samus' third strike. Three titles that sold but wasn't able to reach the success that Mario and Link had. Why cater to Western games when they are Eastern. I didn't know this was a gang war but I guess I was wrong. Metroid was hung up and as some say, the "dark era" began, the Nintendo 64 was released. And next, the dreaded Virtual Boy appeared and went. This took away half of the resources R&D1 had and Gunpei made his peace with Nintendo and left.

Gunpei Yokoi was killed in a car accident shortly after.

So much sadness, everything was a mess and 6 long years without Samus by our sides went by. Ooo, Game Boy Color is new, let's do a game on that? Intelligent Systems thought about it, but would that technology be able to make a title that follows the legendary Super Metroid? No, pass on that, and they did.

Then in a shocking move, Miaymoto was heard toying with the idea of a N64 Metroid title. Rumors have it, the Shikamuru team was briefly reunited but then dispersed once it was canned. Not a bad move but I am just glad I didn't hear of it so I didn't get my hopes up. With Pokémon arising on Game Boy and N64 (Pokémon Snap ftw!), it is no wonder the Metroid was far from the top of their list. Who needs a game that doesn't sell well in Japan right?


For some reason Samus was featured in Super Smash Bros. Not sure why but I am not going to complain. This was the only Nintendo 64 filling of Samus you could and would get. And as the internet rose from infancy (not saying this is when internet came to be!), so did the cry of fans for a new Metroid. As you all know, it was heard, boy was it heard.

[Inspired, copiedpastaed from CVG]
Less pasta this time, right?
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About BlindsideDorkone of us since 11:46 AM on 11.10.2006

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