You’d be forgiven for thinking that the days of 2D Metroid games were over following the release of Fusion, but a follow-up is now actually happening in the form of a 3DS remake of Metroid II, giving us cause for celebration. And while we’re yet to play the series’ new entry, we’ve decided to rank every 2D Metroid in anticipation for Samus’s return to SR388.
5. Metroid II: Return of Samus
The very first time players were able to play the adventures of Samus Aran portably, Metroid II’s decision to scale back story and fit the small screen would end up being its greatest curse. The caverns of SR388 are detailed and Samus’s weapons fun to use, but the lack of a map makes the gameplay idea of revisiting areas somewhat of a pain. Sadly a product of its time, Metroid II was the prime candidate for a fresh coat of paint.
Dropping jaws left, right, and centre when it was originally released for the NES in 1886, the original Metroid might not hold up from an aesthetic point of view today, but the degree of ambience and atmosphere remains intact. The concept of brushing up against dead ends in the world, only to acquire an item that lets you return later had never been done until that point, being a mechanic that’s left a treasured legacy on all of gaming. Couple this with the surprise end reveal of Samus’s gender and you have one memorable 2D adventure.
3. Metroid Fusion
The latest entry on this list of 2D Metroid games, Fusion was our last taste of Metroid in its purest from, even if it did dial back the sense of discovery a little to make for more narrative. Pushing the GBA’s graphical capability to the max with some incredibly detailed sprites, Fusion was the deserving follow-up to Super Metroid fans had been waiting for, with plenty of hidden secrets to find and Geiger-esque creatures to hunt down and destroy.
2. Metroid: Zero Mission
A respectable remake of the very first Metroid game, Zero Mission once again lets us live out Samus Aran’s original otherworldly adventure, making it more digestible thanks to an overhauled art-style and refined gameplay. While brief comparatively to other entries on this list, Metroid: Zero Mission is the ‘Metroidvania’ concept in its purest form, and the fact that we could take this adventure on-the-go was even more mind-blowing.
1. Super Metroid
Largely considered one of the greatest games ever made, Super Metroid is not only the best Metroid game, but by far the SNES’s best game. And that’s including Super Mario World! While the original Metroid set the template, it was this game that truly let the concept of hunting down items, defeating space pirates, and just generally being a badass live up to its full promise. To this day the game’s 16-bit sprites make the game a marvel to look at, while the non-linear approach to bosses and gameplay renders Super Metroid infinitely re-playable.