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CONSOLE: Game Boy Advance DEVELOPER: Nintendo PUBLISHER: Nintendo
RELEASE DATE (NA): November 17, 2002 GENRE: Action-Adventure
// review by Lydia

A fusion of old and new.

If there's one thing you should know about me, it's that I am a sucker for a good Metroid game. I may not have played every single Metroid game in existence, but I've played enough of them to get a feel for how the games play—and I love them! Samus Aran may not be the most vocal character, but who needs conversation when you have big guns? Metroid Fusion was the game that drew me into the series like a black hole eating another black hole full of vacuums. These games will kick your butt—some more than others. Luckily, Metroid Fusion is on the kinder side. It's perfect for a player who is just beginning their bounty hunter adventures in deep space...like me!

Metroid Fusion starts with Samus Aran babysitting some scientist dudes as they explore the surface of the planet SR388. What does the SR stand for? Uhhh...Science Raft? Super Rad? It doesn't matter. What does matter is what this motley crew finds on this planet. Upon encountering a seemingly simple enemy, Samus finds herself in a sticky situation. Apparently, there is an entity inhabiting that planet which kills and mimics its victims to the greatest detail—even their memories. The parasite/virus/glob thing takes over Samus and starts doing some major damage. We find out that this entity, creatively named the "X", comes very close to killing our beloved heroine. Fortunately, a Metroid infant comes to the rescue yet again. A successful vaccine is created, but Samus has lost most of her suit and their functions in the effort to save her life. Go figure. One of these days, they're going to make a game where Samus has full capability of her weapons from the beginning of the game. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the games immensely. However, I do wonder how the games would change if your primary goal in them was not to explore every nook and cranny of a space station in order to find your "missing parts". How cool would it be to be able to kick Space Pirate butt only to find that there's an obstacle or enemy that can't be overcome or defeated with your giant lady guns! That's just my opinion though.

Anyway, let's get back to Samus. Our damsel in mild distress gets a mission to check out a space laboratory that's in a less milder distress. As it turns out, the entire station has been infiltrated by the X, which have wreaked all kinds of squishy havoc over the walls, floors, and inhabitants. (Does that make Samus the cleaning lady? Rude!) More importantly, the X that took over Samus have formed into a deadlier, more violent Samus double. It's like if you looked into a mirror and saw a deranged, psychotic version of yourself (or a normal version of yourself if you are already deranged and psychotic).

What's a girl to do in a situation akin to someone wearing the same dress as you are to the prom? The only thing a girl can do—pull out her fancy guns and blast those pesky aliens to high heaven! Girl power, yeah!

The first time that I played through Metroid Fusion, I had quite a time figuring out the specific strategies to defeating the bosses and navigating through what appeared to be a maze of levels. This was the first time I had played a Metroid game to completion, so I was blissfully ignorant as to how everything worked and pieced together. It was kind of like doing a half-finished puzzle without the puzzle box. You have a good chunk already there, but you still don't know how all the pieces fit together quite yet. It was only after I had played some of the other Metroid games that I realized how much easier Metroid Fusion is.


Hope Samus brought a spare change of underwear.

It's not "hold your hand as you walk through a shallow puddle with bubble wrap shoes" easy. It's more like "roller blade through warm maple syrup with partly cushioned walls" easy. As I said before, Metroid Fusion is perfect for the optimistic player who wants to try their hand at the series. Their first playthrough is challenging enough to keep them interested and occupied but is simple enough for them to get the main jist of the Metroid games. The story is unique and interesting. The bosses are tricky at times, but the patterns and strategies to defeat them can be easily recognized. If not? Charged plasma beams all the way, baby! Every boss in Metroid Fusion is unique to this game with the exception of an X-infested Ridley. Each one is a creature that has been infected by the parasite and each has its own individual method of busting your armored butt if you don't react quickly enough.

Unfortunately, the one thing I hate when it comes to bosses was present in the game—the game forces you to lose health when fighting a boss. I know it happens in other Metroid games, but that specifically irks me. I'm not saying I could do a perfect "no damage" playthrough, but when you have to defeat not only the boss but also the X virus spiky demon ball after the boss, you realize that every health point counts. It's like trying to climb a ladder with someone at the top kicking you in the face when you get close. If you're lucky, you'll narrowly escape...only to die because of something stupid like falling in acid or being bombarded by bees from Hell. I swear those were gross little caterpillar slugs five minutes ago. As for Samus' fully armed and legged X alter ego? Yeah, it'll give you a good chase if you come across it. Luckily, most of the time you will already be in safety when it decides to show up and prowl around like a cat with a vengeance. If you happen to do something stupid like drop a bomb or fall through the floor or sneeze, you will probably die. For once, there is an enemy that you are forced to run from. That doesn't mean the Samus double is an unstoppable force though since it appears as its own boss battle at the end of the game. It was inevitable, I suppose, because you spend the entire game collecting power-ups to better defend yourself from that specific enemy. In other words, good luck! You'll need it just as much as you'll need all those energy tanks...

Feast your eyes upon this Game Boy Advance game that doesn't look like regurgitated garbage! Metroid Fusion isn't a graphically intense game, but it honestly doesn't need to be. Trust me, with some of the freaky stuff going on, you'll be glad it isn't super mega HD 3D 1080p...VR or whatever the kids are playing on these days. The Nightmare alone will infect your dreams with its 2D face-melting horror. Seriously, that thing freaked me out. The whole place just has an "infected" feel to it during almost the entire game. It reminds me of the defunct but semi-famous prison around here. You were afraid to look the walls let alone touch them in fear of contracting gross stuff from it. I don't think a mop has been within 100 yards of the place in decades. You get the same feeling running around the wastes of the space lab. Just....ewwww. But that's okay! It gives the game a proper atmosphere. Viruses are gross and hostile and it makes sense that an environment infested with a virus would be the same way.

METROID!
SAMUS!
YAY!

It's a great game in a great series...and a great time as well! Metroid Fusion is a game that you can play over and over again. It's a fun adventure with an intriguing story and, of course, a kickass protagonist! Who can beat that?

Oh yeah...I did.
Three times.
And I'll do it again.


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