Earlier this month we talked a little about how speedrunning Metroid games gave you different endings based on how fast you completed them. Today we are going to take things up a notch. You see, in 2002 when Metroid Fusion came out and we were given the fourth game in the series, we started to see a change in what was expected of a complete run. Metroid Fusion has multiple endings just like its predecessors, but it has more than before due to the inclusion of item completion into the mix. Previous games showed you your item completion, but having a perfect item completion did not effect the ending screen. Now item completion became a key component to the game in addition to being fast at completing the game. So not only does it matter how fast you go, but how efficient the route is when it comes to picking up items. After all, the game is now asking a lot more of you if you want to get the best ending. This means probably trying to experiment with the different routes you can take and trying to map out where all the items are hidden. At least, that would normally be the case for a Metroid game, however Metroid Fusion is a bit different from the typical Metroid game. You see, despite having never beaten Super Metroid, I know that I have already unlocked power bombs because the game is structured in a way that makes it easy to sequence break and try different routes. That is probably why I keep getting lost each time I play. In Metroid Fusion, not only does the game repeatedly give you a general idea of where to go, you are also locked into certain areas and can’t fully explore them until you reach a certain point in the story. This makes it one of the most linear entries in the series and they made completing it more complicated. Why? No idea. Anyway, let’s move on.
So, now the strategies are a lot more complicated. Now you have to figure out how to get all the items in the games while doing it quickly and being severely railroaded. Fun. Especially now that there is a brand new mechanic to shinesparks. You see, you can release the shinespark and store it again as long as you are going up a ramp. This leads to some very involved puzzles for certain items needed for full completion. Not to mention that they can be very precise. Which isn’t exactly want you want when you are on a time limit. So naturally, that can be a wee bit frustrating. The completion is made a lot easier on subsequent playthroughs, but that is only if you go for 100% item completion on a previous run. You are probably more likely to speedrun the game due to its linear nature. There are certain items that make collection easier, but you only really run into those in the late game. Going back a bit, maybe the reason they made item collecting harder is because they decided to start implementing different endings using collecting the items. I can’t be sure, but considering they decided to do that in so many more games after the fact I might be onto something here. I might be exaggerating the difficulty a bit, but collecting all the items was never even the biggest problem for me. The biggest problem is that it isn’t really worth it. Not to say that the items don’t help you get stronger. It’s just that in Metroid Fusion you get so many power bombs that you really don’t need and so you don’t even get that much stronger. Thankfully the game itself isn’t that hard, but at least give me a reason to want to explore.
You see, in certain games I feel less inclined to search for everything because there isn’t much reason to go out of my way to do so. If I don’t feel like it is worth my time, there isn’t much point in doing a bunch of precise technical challenges to just get some bonus art. In the Metroid Prime series they at least give you a teaser at the end for later games in the series. You don’t get much for 100% completion in Metroid Fusion. I would say the same for Metroid: Zero Mission as well. At least they give you the Robo Ridley fight in that game for full completion. The Omega Metroid never gets any harder. They are really not kind to completionists in the GBA titles are they? The truth is that when I try to complete a game, I hope that I am getting something worthwhile from it. I don’t want it to just be bragging rights. There is not a lot to be gained from doing exploration other than getting missiles, energy tanks and power bombs. Sure they are all useful items, but you can get by just fine by what you run into as you play through the game. At least in the Legend of Zelda series, I can usually get a useful item from exploration. I don’t need to get a million of the same item if the game’s difficulty doesn’t reflect that. So to just sum up how I feel, usually just playing through the game at your leisure is the best way to approach things. I would probably choose between picking getting items or speedrunning, but not both if the game isn’t designed around both being equally viable options. It is also possible that I am just trash at old school Metroid games. I won’t admit to that yet though. Well, that’s all I have for tonight. For those of you who celebrate, have a Merry Christmas! If not, have a good Saturday.