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I'm sure they could think of something to make a new 2D Metroid unique. New gadgets and weapons should be a given. I've recently been wondering what the possibilities would be for giving Samus some close-range moves. I wouldn't mind seeing her gain a punch or melee weapon of some sort.

As for story, I'd like to see what happens after Fusion. The last known traces of Metroid DNA in the universe are located in Samus' body. I'm sure they could think of something to do with that. Maybe the Space Pirates (are they still around at all at that point? I forget. If not, some other evil entity) could try to hunt Samus down and use her DNA to their advantage. Since the games usually involve stopping the bad guys from completing some task, it'd be interesting to see a situation in which their goal is to kill Samus rather than have that as their side-mission.

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There's also the one giant huge mystery of the Metroid series that's never even been given a hint of an answer: Where are the Chozo? Does Samus know? Are they dead, ascended, or just in hiding? If they created Metroids and Mother Brain what other dangerous stuff might they be building?

Tons of story left uncovered.

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I think Metroid is at its best when you're dealing with something unknown. The early introduction to Phazon works great, as is unraveling the mystery of what the Space pirates are up to and how the Chozo are connected to it all. But in Metroid Prime 3 there's not really a lot of mystery in the main plot.

While I love Prime 3, it's easily my least favorite in the series for a multitude of reasons, none more than how blandly and anticlimactically it handles the mystery behind Phazon. The first two games have you explore two worlds that were devastated by this substance, seeing it's impact on the environment, dangerous potential and strange idiosyncrasies compared to other matter. You watch it horrifically mutate wildlife. Harvested to empower a race of militant, Machiavellian warmongers. Split a world into two states of existence. I was looking forward to Prime 3 to see what this substance truly was, how it was created and why it exists. Prime 3 throws that mystery under the fucking bus, just taking you to this random planet that's the source of all the Phazon in the universe for the last twenty minutes of the game, destroy it and PROBLEM SOLVED. Seriously? At least in Mass Effect 3 they explained what the Reapers were before letting you press the magic button that ends the war. Even if this is the end of the Prime series, I really hope this isn't truly the end of the Phazon arc, because there's just so much intrigue to this stuff that I can't simply watch it vanish and feel satisfied.

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I really feel like playing Echoes now (a whole year after buying it), but when I was playing the first game, I had this obsession with finding every missable scan and keeping track of every single item I find. I got pretty OCD about 100% completing it, but it meant I had to frequently cross something off a checklist every time I did something of importance.

So aside from scans, which I definitely am going to consult a guide for, does Prime 2 have anything else I can permanently miss?

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I think it's a stylistic choice. Prime 1 has you get to Tallon IV long after everything has happened, after the end if you will. Echoes kind of has you get there at almost before the end, where everything's getting fucked and the Luminoth are at the brink of extinction. Corruption has a bit of everything, you get to stop the corruption happening to Norion, the other planets are in the process of becoming corrupted, and then you have shit like the Valhalla where it's desolate, bleak, and beyond saving.

Phaaze was a bit of an ass pull though, and having no save points was a dick move.

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I really feel like playing Echoes now (a whole year after buying it), but when I was playing the first game, I had this obsession with finding every missable scan and keeping track of every single item I find. I got pretty OCD about 100% completing it, but it meant I had to frequently cross something off a checklist every time I did something of importance.

So aside from scans, which I definitely am going to consult a guide for, does Prime 2 have anything else I can permanently miss?

Not really, all the non-main story items (stuff like keys and Suit Upgrades don't count) that can be picked up you can pick them up whenever you want. With a scan guide you'll be alright.

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^Read the manga. Ridley wiped them out.

Ah, the manga in which Adam died, and Samus had character development that's null and void in Other M.

Yeah, I think we can ignore that now. The Prime games make it abundandly clear that fate of the Chozo is unknown, and I have a very strong feeling that the next Metroid game won't have Sakamoto as the sole story writer, so we can also cheerfully ignore his idiot decision to skip over the Prime canon.

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I really feel like playing Echoes now (a whole year after buying it), but when I was playing the first game, I had this obsession with finding every missable scan and keeping track of every single item I find. I got pretty OCD about 100% completing it, but it meant I had to frequently cross something off a checklist every time I did something of importance.

So aside from scans, which I definitely am going to consult a guide for, does Prime 2 have anything else I can permanently miss?

Well aside from the Beam Combs, I don't think there's much to miss.

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I'm halfway through Elysia of Metroid Prime 3 and so far I haven't used Ship Missiles a single time it wasn't specifically necessary to proceed. In fact, I've NEVER used Ship Missiles at a whim when I've played the game because whenever I remember that the option exists it turns out I'm in a room where you can't call your ship.

Where in MP3 are Ship Missiles useful? You get a lot of them, and it's obvious that they're supposed to supplement the missing Power Bombs, but where are you supposed to use them?

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There are a few open areas where you can use them to assault and OHKO many things, but overall you only need them a handful of times to proceed. Apparently there was going to be space combat areas to justify the extra expansions, but they were cut. Or so I heard.

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Honestly I barely ever use them. There's maybe one or two places on Bryyo where I've used them (the only one I remember is at the start of the jungle area, after you use them to take out a wall and one of those big miniboss pirates shows up; you can just fire off another round from your ship instead of bothering fighting him properly). Aside from that, they don't seem to be worth it. I don't think there's a whole lot of significant fights that happen outdoors, where your ship can reach, anyway. And when there are, you're generally more concerned with being shot at than checking to see if your ship can do anything.

It really wasn't one of their better ideas. Not really a damaging one, just kind of lame.

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Another issue is that you keep getting refills every time you use them which don't help to justify the expansions.

Also is it me, or are Missiles overall less useful too? It's just much easier to go into Hyper mode as the Ice Missiles never get that strong, and the Hyper Missiles, while being a lot of fun to use and quick firing, use a heck of a lot of phazon and don't have the reliability of the beam. I felt the phazon weaponry wasn't well balanced, with the beam being much more useful than anything else. I would get the 255 missiles during the game but even after 110 or so I was never worried about running out on a big boss.

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I only used the ship missiles when it was necessary to progress or get an energy cell. I never even considered using them in normal combat situations. I was kinda confused as to why they bothered putting all the extra ship missile expansions to be found, since I never felt like running out was going to be a problem.

In general, I never felt like I was in danger of running out of any of my items, be it health or missiles. Even when I was wasting missiles 4 at a time in some fights, I usually had at least 40 left over. By the time I got near the end of the game, I felt like exploring to find more items was pointless (unless I wanted to go for 100%, which I didn't feel like). Once I hit 75%, I pretty much passed up on finding items that were out of the way.

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Also is it me, or are Missiles overall less useful too?
They're not all that useful in any of the Prime games, I think (though they're at their least useful in Corruption, yeah). They're so slow to fire compared to in the 2D games, and they don't seem to have an appreciable power boost over your beams to make up for it. The decent beam combos help a bit, but they're not always the best solution.

And yeah they give you way more than you need, if you make any attempt to look for expansions. Even spamming Super Missiles or whatever you're not likely to run out except for very early on.

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They're not all that useful in any of the Prime games, I think (though they're at their least useful in Corruption, yeah). They're so slow to fire compared to in the 2D games, and they don't seem to have an appreciable power boost over your beams to make up for it. The decent beam combos help a bit, but they're not always the best solution.

And yeah they give you way more than you need, if you make any attempt to look for expansions. Even spamming Super Missiles or whatever you're not likely to run out except for very early on.

I love the Super Missile. I use it on loads of things. I rarely run out but often dip to low levels, especially in the Phazon Mines where the Power Troopers don't die easily without it, and sometimes I'll use the Wavebuster on the Wave Troopers in a pinch. Flamethrower is pretty much worthless and the Ice Spreader is just useful for keeping Metroid Prime's first part STILL.

In Echoes I tend to run out more because of the Sonic Boom with the Annihilator Beam, it's just insane on Emperor Ing's first form provided you hit it just right.

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I like to use the Wavebuster on the Cloaked Drone because after that long of not being able to save, I want to not die and I want to get it over with.

Additionally I enjoy using the Sonic Boom on those little black enemies that appear in shoals in the lower parts of Torvus Bog - they all essentially go down and you get enough ammo to replenish what you lost!

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It takes some skill to get good at hitting boss weak points with Super Missiles and Beam Combos, but once you get some practice there's almost no situation in Metroid Prime 1&2 where having lots of missile expansions won't help you.

250 missiles were completely useful when I decided to say "screw it" to conservative gameplay and unleash every missile combo I had on Metroid Prime itself. Made the boss fight a hell of a lot more fun.

And 255 missiles were a comfortable addition when I figured out it'd be a lot easier to deal with the tentacles of Emperor Ing's first form by using Seeker Missiles, and then aiming a Super MIssile into the opening of its eye. ...ran out of light/dark beam ammo with a miss-aimed Sonic Boom, though.

But the 255 missiles in Metroid Prime 3...um... Yeah, total waste of space.

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Retro Studios Versus Plot Holes Part Three: The Final Reckoning!

Q: Where the Federation get Phazon from in the first place?

A: From Aether. Samus had to report back on those Federation marines she was sent to track down to begin with, remember? "Good job finding out what happened to our missing team and inadvertently saving the galaxy, Samus! Now tell us more about this amazing mutagenic substance with unrivalled power applications"

Q: Why bother attacking a dump like Bryyo?

A: Because it's the Federation's primary source of starship fuel. The Space Pirates can't match the feds' star fleet, but they can easily win a war of attrition if their enemies can't refuel.

Q: Why bother attacking a mausoleum like Elysia?

A: Because the Elysians provide intelligence for the Federation via their interstellar satelite surveylance system. With that advantage gone the feds' would be blinded and vulnerable to hit-and-run tactics across the board.

Q: Sure is a lot of Power Suit compatible technology and conveniently positioned golems on Bryyo. Coincidence?

A: Not at all. Like the Luminoth, the ancient Reptilicans were good chums with the Chozo before they went all War To End All Wars on each other. That's not all, the sidekick of the narrator in all those lore tablets you find had future visions like the Chozo on Tallon IV, so he went out of his way to prepare for the Leviathan impact.

Q: Am I reading the history of Bryyo right? There was a war of basically barbarian wizards versus mad scientists with robot armies?

A: Yes, and that's awesome. Shame it destroyed the planet and reduced the species to stone age culture.

Q: Where the heck are the Elysians anyway?

A: Uh...yeah. You know those goofy steampunk robots and annoying fliers you've been shooting, blowing up, and melting down with your awesome plasma beam? That's them. And until a couple of weeks ago they were completely self-aware and benign. Then Ghor brain-washed them all. Not so much fun killing those things anymore is it?

Q: Is that really the Space Pirate Homeworld?

A: Kinda. It's a world that is their home, but it's not the planet their species evolved on. Just one they conquered and said "This is ours - anybody who disagrees dies!" Same thing they did with Zebes. Zebesian Space Pirates are NOT native, man.

Q: Say, how is Tallon IV doing?

A: Hang on, let me launch a satellite from the Chozo Observator on Elysia and take a look. Yeah, it's doing pretty great. All traces of Phazon corruption gone and the native wildlife is making a strong comeback.

Q: How about Aether?

A: The Luminoth are busy rebuilding their civilisation, but everything looks promising. Feels good to know you made a real difference, doesn't it? Might even help with that nasty reputation you have for blowing up planets all the time.

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I totally forgot about the 'Zebesian' thing before I played Other M, so I got really confused for a while there when Samus started throwing the word around. It's pretty silly that they're called that at all, but the way Other M only used that name in lieu of ever (as far as I can recall, at least) just calling them Space Pirates was particularly weird. Wouldn't Samus be more concerned about how the Federation is cloning Space Pirates at all than the fact that they're specifically cloning the kind with the big crab claws?

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You know, I find this old interview from 2003 interesting. It would certainly help explain certain reasons for Other M.

The original Metroid first came into being as our desire to create a game that took place in a gloopy, alien-like world. In early development, there were only rows of blocks, and the backgrounds didn’t give you the sense that they were alive. The were also something that resulted from this process. The game was headed up by then-newcomers and , but when it came to representing the civilization of an undiscovered planet, I’d hand what I’d written to Matsuoka and tell him “Put this in,” and he would. [laugh]

wrote some really incredible songs for Metroid that made you feel as though you were actually there. Ever since then, I’ve maintained a strong conviction that music has an incredible power to project certain atmospheres. That’s why I was very conscious of when and where the music would play when making . even had pieces of code embedded in the characters’ dialogue that allowed for complete control of the sound.

During the development of , I took into consideration the fact that we’d have players who would be picking up a Metroid title for the first time and tried to make the game easy for them. Nine years had passed since the release of its predecessor, on the SNES, and I figured the type of gameplay in Metroid (wandering around, lost, while searching for secret passages) would be pretty rough on beginners. That’s why I instead chose to emphasize the dramatic aspects and use the game’s story to motivate people to keep playing. I also adjusted the degree of difficulty by restricting the players’ movements, thereby ensuring the game wouldn’t get too hard. In contrast, Metroid: Zero Mission, which we’re currently developing, is a remake based on the original Metroid, so it brings the series’ original style of gameplay closer to the surface.

I experimented with putting some monologues by Samus in Metroid: Fusion in order to put some importance on the drama, but I still don’t know whether it’s right to be taking the series in that direction. I think the true fun of Metroid lies in spending time searching for secret passages and getting yourself hopelessly lost. That’s why I started out by choosing to emphasize the story in Fusion, and now I’m showcasing Metroid’s roots in Zero Mission. If I don’t continue releasing games that feature Metroid’s origins and games that feature Metroid’s story, I won’t get any ideas about where to go next.

Even while we were making of Super Metroid for the SNES, I stuck stubbornly to my decision that there wouldn’t be any dialogue, no matter what. I have to stick to my guns for Zero Mission, as well. It’s too easy to have players wandering around a huge map, indifferent to their surroundings. I have to find a way to spice things up a bit and stimulate their brains. If all we do is extract the essence of Metroid over and over again, every game we release will turn out exactly the same. I try to challenge myself by focusing on developing a new gameplay mechanism every time in order to avoid complaints like that.

When it comes to comparing 2D and 3D games, I can’t say that 3D games are always better. The Super Nintendo was a direct evolution of the Nintendo, but when developers moved from the SNES to the N64, they were forced to change dimensions. When 3D rolled around, my department was in an area separate from the 3D division, so at the time I felt like I was late to the forefront of the new wave of gaming. I felt rushed back then, thinking that if I missed the train now, I might end up being too late. Thinking back, however, I don’t think I had any idea that I would have to change the way I approached video games. All I had was the vague notion that I needed to be at the forefront of video game development.

When I made the transition from the Nintendo to the Super Nintendo, I was recklessly pursuing superiority, but thanks to the fact that I was late in moving from the Super Nintendo to the N64, I was blessed with the opportunity to take another look at the fundamentals of what made a game fun and what I really wanted to experience in a game. I was able to see the Game Boy in a new light, and that’s the reason I want to keep focusing on the GBA. The only thing is that if it looks like we’ll need the GameCube’s specs in order to resolve the themes that Metroid is comprised of, we may need to move the series to that system in the future instead.

I think that the benefits of the original Nintendo were ubiquitous. We had to ask ourselves how we could give players an emotional gameplay experience using the system’s limited specs and expressive capabilities. The Nintendo had a large presence, and developing for the system really forced us to think. If you worked hard at devising tricks, the possibilities became limitless, and the number of games we could have made would have been infinite. Despite the inconvenience, the Nintendo was an interesting tool and a fun toy, an entertaining system that tantalized us with its possibilities.

Perhaps this is why Other M was so dialogue heavy versus the rest of the series. It was meant as an introduction to the entire series as a whole. It was meant to appeal to non Metroid fans and introduce them to the gameplay style of Metroid. The linearity was also meant for simplification to ease them into the franchise.

I can respect that to an extent, and I can respect the idea that Sakamoto didn't know what to do with the story. He just didn't know how to write Samus and was pretty much making stuff up on the go, similar to Akira Toriyama (the man made up everything on the fly), but the problem is, he didn't take much reference from the other games which he didn't have a huge part in making (Prime), and didn't consider the opinions of long standing Metroid fans.

It makes me wonder if he was given another chance he would give us a Zero Mission in 3D (metaphorically), since he wouldn't be developing for newbies anymore and would take the heavy criticisms of his story in consideration. After all, he didn't seem against the idea of following the proper Metroid formula.

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I think it's sad that Sakamoto demonstrates that he knows what the strengths of Metroid are, yet in the end he decided to go in the opposite direction and ignore everything he did right with Super Metroid and Zero Mission. I would gladly try to learn to trust him again with the gameplay direction, but I don't want him anywhere near a script until hell freezes over.

Edited by Grumpy Old Guy

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