When Samus Aran utters the words, “Mother, it’s time to Die,” in Metroid: Other M's explosive introductory package, it’s clear this we’re not going to be dealing with another primed up mission chasing space pirates. Metroid: Other M is a ninja sized beast that offers up a new approach to one of Nintendo’s most beloved series. Welcome to the future.
Metroid: Other M reintroduces the Metroid saga with a new cinematically rendered package that retells the ending of ‘Super Metroid.’ I guess the new Metroid development partners 'Team Ninja' aren't too worried about a major *spoiler alert* in the begging of their game. Really, most gamers who are picking up Metroid: Other M have likely finished 'Super Metroid' years ago or already know most of the history behind the game. The way I see it, it is a nice dose of fan service for all those who love Metroid as they are treated to a beautifully reimagined moment from a SNES classic. On that note, Metroid: Other M is very welcoming to new gamers who haven't had the chance to play a Metroid game in the past. It's a tough line to walk, pleasing the hardcore devotees while staying accessible enough to reach a new audience, but Nintendo and 'Team Ninja' did an excellent job balancing the two. Metroid: Other M might not go down as a classic, like the previous editions, but it has enough of the magic to engage both crowds.
It’s Tutorial Time
Starting off Metroid: Other M you will jump into the skin-tight zero suit of your lead heroine, the beautiful and busty (DOA Approved) Samus Aran. Awakening after the events shown in the introductory film you get acquainted with a new Samus Aran in an ever-so-convenient rehabilitation/tutorial mode. Here you will learn all of Samus’ new tricks and some old standards, remixed to Team Ninja’s satisfaction. This includes your charge beam, morph ball (with bomb dropping abilities), evasive manoeuvres, searching abilities and even how to access end kill animations.
Surprisingly, all this action s doesn't include the use of the 'Wii-motion Plus' attachment or the Wii's Nunchuck, which should be a relief to most non-Wii gamers. Most the game is played with the Wii-Mote held horizontally, and only turned vertically when going into the 1st person "search view" mode. Metroid can be played in either view point; however, you are unable to move when you are in first person mode. I have never really approved of this stuck to floor style of FPS action games as it seems very limiting and against the nature of the design. Given that this mode is secondary, it’s acceptable, but it would have been nice to have the option to play Metroid as a both 3rd person and full-out 1st person shooter. The controls themselves are very intuitive and dumbed down so anyone can pick up the controller and feel like a bad ass space bounty hunter. Samus shoots and moves with ease, showcasing why her Ninja-nimble character has been so popular over the years.
Samus has a Voice
Once the tutorial is done, it is time to get to business, Metroid style. Although this time you can hear Samus talking as she narrates and blabs her way through the adventure. The decision to give Samus a voice only adds to the Other M experience, and I am glad Nintendo okayed this feature. This fact alone makes Other M, one of the best Metroid experiences I have had. Finally you will learn how Samus feels being one of the most feared bounty hunters in the galaxy. Voiced by 'Jessica Martin,' Jessica seems to be the perfect fit for Samus, and even though the performance is a little dry, you will likely feel at ease when you hear her speak. It’s almost like she never stopped. Unfortunately, Samus is the only stand out character in Other M, which makes the supporting cast feel like needless accessories. Samus might be a little loquacious for some, but this new persona is more fitting to her character.
And the Sci-Fi Soap Opera Beings…
The story of Metroid: Other M is told on a single ship called the “Bottle Ship” as Samus helps her former Federation superior ‘Adam Malkovich’ and his band of militants investigate a distress signal. The set-up isn’t the most original of ideas, but it does enough to get you going. From there you will be enticed with the adventurous task to explore the maze like spacecraft and solve the mysteries aboard the ship.
You will also gain a deeper understanding of the character of Samus as she often reflects on her memories in narrated cut-scenes about the supporting characters and the influence they had on her life. Samus might be one tough cookie when it comes to defeating intergalactic life-forms, but when it comes down to emotions, she doesn’t have the same perseverance. Without going into too much of drama (and there is a hell of a lot of that) Samus explores her feelings of being an outsider such as being treated with “kids gloves” in the Federation to more complex issues of loss, and so on. Having Metroid explore these "heavier" issues provides a more personal experience. However, Metorid: Other M often crosses the line into 'Soap Opera' dramatics. Soaking in tears isn't everyone's idea of a Metroid game, which could end up alienating some of the fans who want Samus to remain the "silent and strong" character from the past.