Continued from last weeks Part 1, Matt, Christian and Don discuss what makes Metroid Metroid.
Christian: That’s a major problem the game has. It doesn’t do a good job of convincing people “it’s not a shooter, it’s Metroid.”
Don: I have to agree – that is where MP3 FAILS.
Christian: The opening planet screams “HEY GUYS YOU LIKE HALO RIGHT?” “WE”VE GOT HALO! AND STAR WARS! AND DRAGONS!”
Matt: I think this was more of the fact that it’s the end of a trilogy, and they need to flesh the universe out more.
Don: I, a fairly devout Metroid fan, found the Prime series to be a wedge. A way to get ‘the hardcore’ into a dying (yes, I said it) franchise.
Matt: Wow, can’t say I agree.
Christian: To me, at the very least Nintendo doesn’t know what to do with Metroid.
Don: But Matt, from what I’ve read – had the same level designers made Biochock’s levels, and had the main character from Bioshock had the gun attached, it would’ve been the same. I would argue that he does have the gun attached, in the form of plasmids. At what point in the MP series (not boss battles) did you ever use your environment to kill your enemies?
Don: How does that make it richer? More engrossing?
Matt: First, the scan visor.
Don: Scan visor = recordings.
Matt: That’s story.
Don: Some historical crap about the environment. Scan visor = camera. Statistical analysis of events and enemies.
Matt: A chair is a chair in Bioshock but it’s far richer in MP
Don: A chair is what, then, in MP?
Matt: Simple lights become beacons for ships in storms. Statues are machines that helped wage war years ago. And it also does what Bioshock does, by advancing the story but I like the fact that you have to physically scan things. You are looking for it, instead of running into diaries.
Don: So it is the Metroid universe that is more attractive.
Matt: Both games aren’t perfect of course, but i think MP was far more immersive. It is an adventure game. Bioshock is half an adventure and half an FPS. I prefer traversing crazy alien worlds and I like the fact that you have infinite bullets – makes the game more accessible.
Christian: We can settle this debate by insulting both games. Metroid has the problem that no amount of firepower will damage some masonry. Bioshock has the problem of crashing a plane hull into a transport tube without ever making me worry about drowning from the incoming water. One is a diorama, one is a Disney ride.
Don: And the bigger question: where is the adventure in mp3? Slogging through caverns? Jumping a lot? Shooting the hell out of people? We know that it isn’t the caverns or the shooting (all terrible FPS stuff, right?) so is it the jumping? No – that’s platformer…
Christian: Has Metroid ever been easy to define?
Don: NO, that’s EXACTLY my point.
Christian: I mean the original was like a mutant twist between Mario and Zelda.
Don: In fact, I will wager that the prime (excuse the pun) Metroid fans are older.
Matt: I would assume that as well.
Don: There is not ONE gamer I have met (my whole office is to the brim with gamers – all systems, all back stories) who understands the appeal of MP3 and hasn’t played and loved a Metroid game in the past. 360 owners are lost, completely. Old school gamers who never moved past the NES – also lost. They BOTH ay the same thing: just another FPS.
Matt: Metroid Prime 3 did sell well though.
Don: It did. There are a lot of us, Matt. A LOT. I played the SHIT out of that game
Matt: Ok, it just sounds to me that people don’t really know what MP is about. It’s just ignorance to me – that could be Nintendo’s fault. It’s still very much different from another FPS and the people who say it isn’t probably prefer something else. They want blood, they want realism.
Don: Agreed – but here’s the problem, I DO know what it is about and I can’t express to them how it isn’t ‘Bioshock in the far future’ without making allusions to the fact that deep inside I know it is an adventure game, or a list of tiny little subtleties. And, from countless discussions like this, I don’t think any of us can.
Matt: It does lend itself to a loss of words situation. People need to be more open minded. Maybe that’s why Nintendo added in those Halo bits – they saw what was popular.
Don: It is a sad reality – but the MP series is an FPS series with, perhaps, LESS action than others. That doesn’t make it an adventure game, the fact that you can get lost and not shoot anything for an hour.
Matt: Echoes sold horribly.
Don: Matt, I don’t think it is a people problem, I think it is a game problem.
Matt: Do you want MP to be a straight shooter?
Don: It IS a straight shooter. Why do we pretend it isn’t?
Matt: I can’t agree. You’re doing more than just shooting.
Don: I shot some shit, walked around until I shot a huge guy, and walked to the next place where I shot some shit. Right -there is walking and jumping. Sometimes you get to be a ball.
Reminder: I think MP3 is a fucking masterpiece.
Christian: Well you’ll both hate me because I don’t think it’s a masterpiece.
Matt: MP1 was the masterpiece. I think MP3 lends itself to the shooter mentality because of the Wii-mote. That makes it seem more fast-paced.
Don: I love them all – I love the controls in MP3, so it gets my masterpiece stamp. Again, Matt, you are pointing to a people problem. The game lets me run it fast, that is a GAME issue. As well, no one has answered which part of running and jumping between skirmishes and boss fights is the ‘adventure.’ Is it the reading? Is that the adventure?
Matt: The traversing of the area.
Don: The walking then and jumping.
Matt: You can’t just walk straight like Halo.
Don: I do both, en masse, in Bioshock. Halo3 as well.
Matt: You have to figure out how to advance.
Don: Ok – Bioshock alone, then.
Matt: Not really.
Christian: The adventure was blowing up the shield generators for the leviathan and saying “I wonder what the hell is in there” and then – going in there.
Don: Point: have you beaten Halo? Last level = NO WALKING STRAIGHT :)
Matt: Bioshock has like 2 points where you have to think
Don: Matt, here’s the part that will twist your noodle: Bioshock was like that because you PLAYED it like that – I spent the game being a goddamned ninja. MP3 let me play it like it was Halo. So, why isn’t it like Halo then? Ridley fight = FPS. Combat = FPS. ‘Get key to unlock door’ = Doom = FPS.
Matt: MP3 is more combat oriented, yes.
Christian: So we still don’t know what makes Metroid Metroid. I would argue the early games heavily emphasize survival in a hostile world.
Don: Christian — AGREED.
Christian: The Prime games more about shooting and dominating the environment.
Don: I second.
Matt: I actually can’t see much of a difference between Super Metroid and Prime1 and I think the z-targeting helps with that.
Don: Some hated the z-targeting.
Matt: I’m sure.
Don: I always worked it into the lore. She had an awesome suit. Robocop has z-targeting :)
Matt: Hellz yeah.
Don: Why not Samus? ‘It’s cheap’ they said. ‘Fuck off, it is a combat suit’ I replied. ‘Made for SHOOTING PEOPLE.’
Christian: Hey thanks for bringing that up Don. I think Matt and I discussed before the way Samus is now characterized – used to be she was like Robocop in space.
Don: She was, totally. In fact, as a kid I would pretend she WAS. But then… she took off the suit and boobs came out.
Christian: Now she’s kind of a bugglegum princess who has a big ol’ suit to keep her safe
Don: I agree – she isn’t a badass *character* anymore. She’s a badass suit.
Christian: It’s like Retro got too inspired by Bubblegum Crisis.
Don: Like, *I* could get into that shit and be Samus (sans boobs).