Papers, Please Problems

Hey people. This post is on Papers, Please a game where you play as a person who approves passports and permits for permission to pass through. The purpose is to provide pharmaceutics and perishables to you and your family. The pay you procure is dependent on you approving passports and permit properly and posthaste. Your pay is per person after all. The problems I provide are personal problems that I had due to my propensity to power through in panic and pass people with problematic papers, causing my pay to plummet. I am a professional at panicking under pressure. My playthroughs typically proved to be either too passive so that I played into poverty or I provided myself a private and permanent post up in prison. I am pretty positive I was put in the penitentiary every pathway in which it was possible. I’m not proud of that people. This is why I prefaced this by saying personal problems. The point is, I will provide insights into my previous playthroughs so you don’t end on my paths. The primary purpose for you should be putting your all into peacefully performing until the proper point in time. So, properly pay attention to every piece of paper provided. The most problematic point for me was people’s genders. That piece of info provided me with so many pink pieces of paper I lost a pretty sizable portion of income from just that part of the passport. It was quite painful. Once I couldn’t pay the penalty after procuring plentiful amounts and that ended that playthrough.

My first time in prison was pretty easy to pass by. You see, previously you are given some proletariat propaganda from a person whose passport you pass through properly. This person wants the power to prevail against the powers that be in this place. The problem was I was not prepared on my first playthrough. I was preoccupied with putting food out for the family. Then one day the police provided me the option to provide them pieces of evidence pointing to the EZIC group I had previously met him in passing. So my poor, proactive self passed the piece of propaganda to the police and I was put in prison promptly despite my passive playthrough thus far. Point of this is providing the police with paper trails to follow doesn’t protect you. It put me in a perilous predicament that put another end to my playthroughs. I probably should paused to ponder about the potential problems I could put myself in, although I didn’t think of prison as a possible option. Patience wore out on post prison playthroughs which let to the possession of plentiful pink slips. Simply put, I was panicking and pressuring myself to make up past progress. It went poorly.

Games like Papers, Please are problematic for me because I push myself and pass on important particulars in panic. I prefer playing through at my own pace. Any time I am put under pressure though, I end up paralyzed and my performance plummets. It is probably a point in its favor that passport inspection can produce such pressure despite the fact you are playing pretend. When my partner and progeny pass on because I couldn’t prepare them properly, I feel pain and guilt from failing to protect them. In my pursuit to pursue perfection at my post, when I pass a problematic person and see the color pink, I get depressed if it propels me into debt I can’t pay. Putting up with prison isn’t my preference. Please be prepared if you want to play this game. Pay close attention, prepare funds to power through to the path you want to take. Don’t be partial if you want to profit. Plan ahead and pave the way to prosperity. Perhaps I being paranoid about all this, but people’s patterns can’t be predicted. Personally, I posted this to put my past behind me. Papers, Please reminds me of some personal problems I have and my gaming preferences. I procrastinate and panic and try to pull things together, but it’s never proper preparation. I need to properly plan ahead so as to not panic which would also help with platformers and puzzles. Again, that’s a personal problem, but for now at least I won’t be put in prison. I will still be prudent in participating in police protocols though. Although that’s probably persisting paranoia.

Announcement #3

Been a while since I did one of these, but here we are again. First off I want to address to recent posts. The titles have not been in the same format at last year. I thought I would try to change things up this year. The topics were starting to feel a bit too constraining after the challenge last year so I wanted a bit more freedom. I may bring them back at some point, but not anytime soon. I will eventually reflect that in the about page if I don’t forget or get too lazy. The other thing to go over is the challenge for this year. There is one I promise. I just hasn’t shown up yet because it is something that will only happen once a month. I am trying not to overwork myself over a hobby after all. The theme is alliteration. There will be twelve posts with a letter used quite frequently throughout. It was an idea I had for a while so I thought it might be fun. The one for this month should be up shortly. I may also branch out a little from talking about videogames in the future. More on that at a later time though. Enjoy reading!

The Switch in 2021

Now for those of you who know me or have read my blog posts previously, you know that I have a bit of a soft spot for Nintendo. I grew up with them and so I have a tendency to be more lenient on some of their more questionable choices in game releases. However, the Switch was doing great and was coming out with some quality titles during its first introduction. It has since continued to release interesting titles throughout the years. That is why it sort of pains me to say that I feel like last year was some of the least I used my Switch. Why? The main reason is simple. There wasn’t a very strong game lineup this year. I am not saying that this was specific to only Nintendo, but they are the company I am most familiar with for better or worse so it only feels right that I don’t delve too deep into other companies game development cycles. So I just want to talk a little about my personal experience with this year. Some people may have gotten better use out of it, but I feel like I should say something to put in perspective how barren last year felt. There were maybe five games I played on the Switch during the entirety of last year. Of those five, I only spent a good amount of time with one of them. That one as you can guess, was Metroid Dread. The others were mainly just little distractions or games that I might play with friends. Truth be told, there wasn’t a lot that felt new this year. I know this is the same Nintendo which likes to reuse the same properties over and over, but nothing really got me excited like the previously Metroid Dread and New Pokémon Snap. The latter of those two was mainly because of the fact that is was a continuation of an idea that hadn’t been touched on in decades, although the same is somewhat true of the former. Now why I am bringing this up?

Basically I am a little bit concerned about things with Nintendo. Don’t get me wrong, I will still continue to support them so long as the games are fun. I am just noticing that they didn’t cover a lot of new ground in the previous year. The two titles I mentioned were probably two of the three most noteworthy things that happened for Nintendo last year. The third was without question the appearance of the final DLC fighter in the latest Super Smash Bros. game which had just about everyone losing their minds. There seemed to be a lot more coming this year at least with the announcement of the sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, a new Kirby game called Kirby and the Forgotten Land, Splatoon 3 and multiple other games. the thing is that now that a lot of people are not forced to stay at home anymore, I wonder if the Switch may have missed its time. There was barely anything to really keep people on the Switch last year in terms of games that people were really waiting on. Sure there were some fun surprises, but I honestly feel like as a whole there was not a lot of ground covered last year for Switch gamers. That isn’t to say there weren’t good games you could find on it, it is just that there weren’t many that were exclusive to the system itself. For a company, exclusives are what allow it to stand out from the crowd and make a name for themselves. So it is slightly concerning that we are getting most of them now is all. I just wonder if maybe by the time these games come out, people might not be using their Switch as much.

Look, I am not saying the Switch is in any danger. This isn’t the Wii U here after all. The thing that concerned me is that a lot of the games I played on Switch last year were mostly forgettable and that kind of shocked me. I remember I had fun when I played them, but I barely remembered much about the games at all. There was only one game I did have clear memories of other than Metroid Dread and that is because I decided to play Luigi’s Mansion 3 again for the heck of it. That is worrying to me, and I just wonder will that trend continue into this year as well. I have games I am excited for from them this year, and I will probably enjoy them too. I just don’t want them to feel forgettable. Just because a game is fun doesn’t mean it can’t easily be forgotten. I consider games that fall under fun but forgettable to be snacking games that merely serve as distraction. There is no substance to them, but they are a simple time killer. There is nothing wrong with those types of game, but they are not my types of games. I want games to feel like a challenge while also allowing me to have some fun. =Nintendo didn’t really do much of that last year in my opinion. I just hope that this year will be different. I guess the whole point of all of this was to pour out my anxieties to make myself feel a bit better. I do want Nintendo to keep making fun games. I just hope that I will have a favorable impression of them after I play them. In fact I would even take a bad impression, since that honestly beats no impression at all. Here’s hoping Pokémon Legends: Arceus delivers on that front.

Hollow Knight and Multiple Playthroughs

Last time I touched on this topic I spent time talking about how multiple playthroughs can branch into multiple different endings. Things will be a little bit different this time. The thing about this game is that multiple playthroughs feel different to me in this game for a different reason. Now Metroidvanias are notoriously known for having multiple different approaches to exploration and the more you play the more the world opens up for you to explore. Hollow Knight is no exception. You also fight so many bosses that really want you dead. Some of those you have to hunt for so you can actually fight them though. To this day, I still haven’t found everything the game has to offer, and that is exactly what I love about the game. You see, I have done multiple different playthroughs throughout the years and each time I have found something new. Certain upgrades and items have taken me months to find. Each time I play I feel like I find something new because I play the game differently each time. It isn’t like in Undertale where the game changes through your actions. It just feels like I play through the game differently each time. For instance the first time I played through the game, I didn’t find the upgrade that let’s me swim through acid until I was nearly fully upgraded. Due to that I missed an item needed to fight a boss. In a later playthrough though, since I managed to find that item earlier, I managed to find the item I needed to access that boss. Another time I did a playthrough where I found a key and didn’t find out where to use it until two playthroughs later.

Yes, you are right that this is stuff that I could look up if I wanted to find things without having to do multiple playthroughs. The thing is though, that I don’t want to because I enjoy exploring the world so much. I love finding new challenges and playing in different ways so that I can become stronger and test myself. The world is designed it a way so that you can do so much with what you know, while allowing you to still find new ways of doing things. It is just fun to explore an environment where you feel like you don’t know everything. I am honestly just kind of gushing at this point. So let’s gush some more. The visuals and sound design are amazing. The game is difficult but it never feels like things are impossible. You can use badges to alter your playstyle to make things more of a fit for you. You can uncover abilities that make traveling through areas an absolute blast. Look, I just enjoy the game and each time I play it, I end up enjoying it more. My only fear is that one day I might run out of content, but I don’t have to worry about it with the sequel game on the way. However, there is one problem with that. The sequel game isn’t here yet.

Alright, let me get to why I really decided to write this post. It is because Hollow Knight: Silksong is not here yet and I want it so bad. I and may others have been waiting for it for years and I just want it so much. I know I need to be patient and I don’t want the game to be rushed. I would just like the game at some point and I wanted to vent a little bit. Trust me when the game comes out, actually even if all I get is a release date, there is a chance I might actually shed tears. When it does come out, I am going to play it over and over again. The reason? I want to fall in love with a world again. Usually when I play games the games themselves might play perfectly fine. There is nothing stopping me from having fun with them. However, I haven’t felt like I have felt the enjoyment of exploring a world in a while where even though things are out to get you, your sense of adventure shines even brighter due to that fact. I know that I will enjoy exploring again, just as I will continue to do with Hollow Knight and many other games. I just want people to understand that sometimes a game doesn’t have to give you the same experience each time you play. There will inevitably be things you miss on a first playthrough, so continue to find everything the game has to offer. You won’t regret it. Unless you go for the genocide ending in Undertale. That you will regret.

Mario’s 100 Coin Missions

We all remember the classic games in the Super Mario Bros. series right? Okay, maybe not necessarily remember but we probably all know a lot about the series regardless. One of the staples of the games was collecting 100 coins gave you an extra life. However, things changed once we moved into the 3D games. I talked about them to some extent at the beginning of last year. They are still fun games to this day, but there is one specific thing that every completionist dreads from them and that is the 100 coin missions. Before we get into that, I want to elaborate on the structure of the games themselves. The 3D titles have two different types of structures. The first is scavenger hunt based where you are given clues to find a star hidden somewhere in the level and it is up to you to explore where to find it. This is more indicative of Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Odyssey. The second type is a mission based structure where you travel to select areas in order to retrieve a specific star with the area design usually undergoing some change based on the design. This is more indicative of Super Mario Sunshine and Super Mario Galaxy. Granted there is some overlap in Super Mario 64 since they didn’t have a set formula at that point. Now time for a quiz. Of the two types I just mentioned, which do you think would be easier for allowing you to collect 100 coins? The answer is the first one. The reason is because since you have the whole map to move through to search for coins. You do not have that when dealing with a smaller section of the map geared only for a certain purpose. That is why Super Mario 64 is better for collecting coins than Super Mario Sunshine. Again, one day I will complete that game. Super Mario Galaxy at least makes them prankster comets after you beat the game, but things are a bit different from the previous two games in the series.

You see, unlike the previous two games the coins you collect are specific to that mission only and are guaranteed to be in a space where you can collect them. The problem lies in which type of mission you get. Each one of these missions gives you the ability to get purple coins to get the power star. There are two different types of missions. The first is when there are only 100 coins you have to get, sometimes with a time limit. The second is where you have 130 coins and you have to get 100 of them within the time limit provided to you. The first one is more manageable usually, unless it is on rails in which case I want to die. The second type though can be so brutal even with giving you extra coins. They don’t give you extra coins to be nice, but to make it actually possible. Fun, fun FUN. Now before I get even saltier, I want to talk about Super Mario Odyssey and how it approaches these coins. They are scattered throughout a world that you can freely explore and you do not need them all for completion. You just get them all if you want alternate costumes. Thank goodness. Although the game is still pretty difficult to fully complete even with that reprieve. After all there are 999 Power Moons (stars but different shape) to collect in the game. The closest thing to the 100 coin missions of old are those challenges that require you to do 100 of some task like volleyball returns. Now why did I bring this up? I’m getting to that, I hope.

You see, completion is starting to get a little bit crazy in more recent games. It is to the point where it stops being fun or feeling rewarding. That could just be me getting old, but I am going to stubbornly insist that is not the case. Besides, I’m 25 so I have plenty of time right? Please don’t answer that. Look it isn’t so much that I have a problem with games becoming more challenging. I have a problem if they become less fun in doing so. Now the hardest part of Super Mario 64 was collecting all of those 100 coin stars. That was especially true in the later levels where the platforming got a lot less forgiving. Then Super Mario Sunshine decided to make it so you did it less often, but you could only get the 100 coin Shine Sprite (see Power Moons in previous paragraph) in select missions as you couldn’t explore areas freely unless you were in certain missions. Then Super Mario Galaxy and its sequel decided to make it so the missions were always doable, but they bumped the difficulty up to an eleven. And before you ask, yes, that is out of ten. This is by Nintendo standards obviously. So I appreciate enjoying going through a scavenger hunt this time. I understand that what I am talking amount is a completionist thing and that is doesn’t apply to everyone. I just want to say that I want to feel something other than relief when I put my all into something. That’s all. Hopefully this post makes up for me from last year. I promise this is not a themed month this time. That was last year’s challenge.

Thoughts on Metroid Dread

We have finally reached the end of the year everybody. It’s potentially the start of a new one depending on when you read this/ when I put this out. Truth be told, I am amazed I was able to hold off this long in talking about this game. However, I wanted to do this properly so I waited to the end of the month to address this game. For those who do follow the series, they know this is a game that has been in the making for years and was one of, actually maybe the most anticipated title in the series since it was first teased. It would be such a shame it if didn’t turn out to be a good game after all of that waiting. Well, this isn’t like Duke Nukem Forever everybody, the game is actually really good. It isn’t perfect, but it is one of the most entertaining games I have played this year. I am sure it is a must have for anyone who was remotely a fan of the series before this game came out. I am not a huge Metroid fan myself, but I still find the games fun to play and do appreciate them coming out with new entries into the series. I do hope that there is at least a little less development time necessary if they plan to do a Metroid 6. This is more addressed to those who don’t really have this on their radar. This is a series that needs more attention from people, since otherwise Nintendo won’t give it any mention for the next five years. So I want people to understand why they should get it. I understand it has sold pretty well so far, but just in case people have still reserved judgment or somehow missed all of their promotions for it, I want to show the reasons why it should be added to part of your library.

First off you really don’t have to worry about not knowing about the overall plot. Even though the Metroid series has a more cohesive overall story, it gives you all the information you need before you start the game up proper by having Samus recount her previous missions leading up to this game. You should have to worry about getting lost too often because the game gives you easy access to maps and you will never be short of an ability you need to progress as long as you explore while going back to places every once in a while with new abilities. The game is challenging, but it isn’t terribly unfair with the exception of the E.M.M.I. sections. Those sections can be pretty anxiety inducing if you aren’t careful/lucky, but considering the game is built around the horror aspect all of that is to be expected to a certain extent. Like most games in the series, it is one where the more you play the better you get. Actually, that should be true of most games. The point is that you be rewarded with abilities as you go through and explore so that you can take on bigger and tougher enemies. It also has some really cool moments that I don’t want to spoil, even if you aren’t a longtime fan. The biggest reason though, is that the game is a lot of fun to play. What better reason could there be to play a game? It especially helps that Samus controls like an absolute dream in this game. Again, I understand that the game isn’t perfect, but I think that just about anyone into exploration and platformers can enjoy it so why not give it a shot. I will even give a few tips from my experience in playing the game.

The first is that you will die a decent amount. Don’t let that get you down and focus on the attack patterns of enemies and bosses. As an important note, most enemies and bosses are susceptible to Samus’ counter ability so try and master this so that you can deal serious damage to bosses and other enemies. If you get even better at it, you can even have an increased chance of countering the E.M.M.I. if they capture you. You do get two chances so make sure to time it well, even though it is pretty difficult to pull off. Also, do not be afraid to use missiles for extra damage. You get easily get missile expansions with minimal exploring so do not be afraid of using them when it counts. Another ability you may want to spend a lot of time getting to grips with is the speed booster since it allows you to rinse through most enemies and there are even some bosses that it can be used against to wipe out a significant portion of their health. If you are more into dodging though, I recommend getting used to the phase shifter ability as the midair dodge is insanely useful. It is probably my favorite new addition to Samus’ arsenal and I hope it make a return in future 2D games. Oh and even though you you get them extremely late, remember to use power bombs during the final boss. It makes things a lot easier. The last thing I want to mention is that most puzzles have alternate solutions so if you can’t complete it, that might mean there is an easier or more efficient way of doing it. I learned that one the hard way. That’s all the tips I am willing to share without spoiling too much so with all that said buy the game if you can. You won’t regret it. See you again in 2022 everybody!

Now Hear Me Out: Metroid Completion

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.

Hard Reset Cliché

You know what I am talking about here. Actually, maybe you don’t know. I can’t assume that everyone reading this is a fan of the Metroid series can I? That would be irresponsible and unprofessional of me. Does that mean I am responsible and professional? Not really, but it’s the thought that counts right. Anyway since we are still in the middle of Metroid month, it would be remiss of me to not bring up this particular cliché. For those who are not familiar with it, it is the scenario in which for whatever reason you start with basic equipment despite the fact that in previous game you ended with a lot more abilities and thus should still have them and the beginning of a new adventure. This happens with quite a number of videogames which this series being one of the more well known examples of this happening frequently. The main reason for this is typically because of the nature of the game. A lot of Metroid games are centered around building yourself back up so that you can contend with the enemies you are facing and complete the mission successfully. So, if you started the game with all of your abilities from previously, then there wouldn’t be able sort of growth curve for you to follow. That and you wouldn’t have any abilities you would need to look for to progress to different areas. At that point you might as well just make it an open world game. So, it essentially has become Metroid tradition that Samus will lose all of her powerups between each game. Frankly speaking, I wanted to address either this or the fact the Samus keeps blowing up each area she fights a final boss, but this one seemed easier to talk about for this game. Yes, I will still be talking about Super Metroid, I promise.

Now normally when one talks about Super Metroid, they would talk about the new features and mechanics such as shinesparks and stacking beam weapons. Or maybe they would talk about the controls allow you to pull off insane maneuvers that allow for intense speedruns and sequence breaking. Or maybe they would talk about how much bigger the game is compared to its predecessors which so many different enemies and environments. Well, you already know that I am not going to be doing any of that. Truth be told, other people could probably do it better than me considering I haven’t beat the game yet. Yes, I still have yet to complete it, mainly because I usually forget what I am doing every time I pick up the game. I could look up a walkthrough, but that would take away from the whole point of exploring on my own, so right now we are at a standstill. I will definitely beat it one day, but until that day comes I will find other things to talk about regarding this game. Truth be told, I didn’t just pick this topic for this game because I haven’t finished it. I’m not that hopeless. You see, the Metroid series has spent a good amount of time justifying why this happens to Samus at the start of each of her adventures. The first Metroid doesn’t really need an explanation. With the introduction of the Metroid Prime spinoffs, we know a considerable amount of time has passed between the first two mainline games so it understandable how she could have lost her upgrades in between games. Metroid Fusion starts with you undergoing surgery that causes your DNA to change and having most of your Power Suit stripped off, so it is reasonable to see that there were some changes that resulted from that. Maybe that is why Samus got the ability to climb ledges? The latest game has a similar reason for her loss of power suit functionality as well, although it feels a bit more contrived this time around. At least this time it wasn’t hitting an elevator wall. Super Metroid is the only game in the series where I can’t really think of an explanation for why you lose your abilities.

At the end of the Metroid II: Return of Samus when you kill all the Metroids, you actually find a baby Metroid that imprints on you and follows you back. You end up giving it to the Federation scientists to study and heading out after having completed your mission. However, later you get a distress call from the very same research and arrive to find out that Ridley has retrieved the baby Metroid and it manages to escape with it back to the Space Pirates’ home planet of Zebes. You arrive there with none of the upgrades you had from the previous game and the question is why? Not only is there not a clear explanation for it, but not a lot of time passed between the events of the second and third games so there is no reason she shouldn’t have access to her full powered suit. It shouldn’t have anything to do with the confrontation against Ridley since he didn’t really do anything to you in his escape sequence that would cause such malfunctions. So I do wonder if there is more to the story? Like maybe we are supposed to pretend that was considered to be an actual boss battle so we got wrecked and he taunted us by running away? That doesn’t make much sense when I say it out loud. Maybe there is just something about Samus’ power suit that causes it to lose functionality more easily since he isn’t full Chozo? I know I am just winging it here, but I hope you can see where I am going with this. The game itself is not very heavy on story as many of the older ones were and it hasn’t had any spinoffs to add to the lore surrounding the events leading up to that game. I wonder it maybe a remake of the game could help with that. You know, maybe add it some more details that weren’t in the original. Who knows? I am just saying that for a series that has embraced starting from scratch, it feels weird to leave this game as the outlier by not giving it much in the way of explanation. Then again, I will still take it over having all of my abilities and the start and not getting to use them. So maybe I should just such my mouth now. Abrupt ending in 3. 2.

Now Hear Me Out: Bounty Hunting

So today let’s talk about one of Samus’ other identities. In addition to being one of the most famous female characters in videogames, she is also known as a top bounty hunter. Truthfully this title isn’t as impactful as she pretty much only excepts bounties from the Galactic Federation. It concerns me how often she is called in since it gives the impression that the Federation isn’t equipped to deal with any unexpected situation. Seriously, why do they even bother sending troops or drones in the first place. They are going to lose them anyway so maybe they should call for help first. Maybe Samus keeps answering their calls because she knows how hopeless they are without her. That’s what I like to believe anyway. I’m pretty sure it doesn’t matter much anyway since they originally gave Samus that title is because it sounds cool. However, it isn’t like she hasn’t done any bounty hunting. It just hasn’t happened very often. The thing is, that is probably for the best. Just hear me out as I talk a bit about the second Metroid game in the series to highlight this point for you all.

Metroid II: Return of Samus is one of the more interesting titles in the series. Not necessarily to play mind you, but that is jumping the gun a little bit. No, it is because the premise of this game is specifically to kill Metroids and wipe them out form existence. Pretty drastic of a sequel to have you go so far as eliminate the very thing your entire series is named after with only two games to go on. However, I have once again digressed. Your main goal is different this time around as you are required to kill every single Metroid on the planet. You are no longer allowed to run from them as you are now being tasked with their elimination so you better find that ice beam as soon as possible. Yes you have lost your arsenal, but I feel this cliché is best saved for next time so I will give it a pass. Doesn’t mean you aren’t any less fragile at the start though. Not only that, but many of the Metroids have started undergoing mutations which have caused them to be harder to kill. So Samus has a lot of work to do so she can find the upgrades she needs on the planet to kill all these Metroids. Not this is a lot closer to how a bounty hunter would operate in the sense that the mission is not considered complete until all targets specified have been eliminated. The main problem with this setup is that it is very different from the normal setup of a Metroid game. A Metroid game consists of you scouring the areas, finding pickups and items to steadily get strong enough to take on foes and defeat whatever threats pop up in your wake and then usually cause something to explode. Is the explosion necessary? Yes. That’s the problem with the sequel to Metroid. There’s just not enough explosions. Also, you don’t really feel like you are getting stronger because the Metroids keep evolving and so you have to keep dishing out more punishment each time you come across one. You’re still making progress, but it doesn’t feel the same.

The main thing about bounty hunting is that while it might be fun in other games, it isn’t really that fun in a Metroid game because if handled poorly it can completely break the pace. That is something you definitely want to avoid, especially in a series that gives you different rewards based on completion times. This game has been remade thankfully into a game that at least controls better known as Metroid: Samus Returns. While the game controls a lot better, it doesn’t still have some pacing issues the game is unfortunately stuck with even if things can be more efficiently done. There are even some new issues with placing such as chasing Gamma Metroids, a mechanic that should be sent to life in prison for the crime of making me waste my time. As you can tell, I quite enjoyed these sections. I can still forgive the remake though for giving us better boss battles and controls at least. The main thing I want you to take away from this is that if you have played another game in the Metroid series and expect this game to be a similar experience, then I just want you to bring your hopes down a peg. It is a game all about Metroids, but I promise it doesn’t really work like a standard Metroid game. If you really want to see this game as it is, then definitely play the remake since it is better in just about every way. However, if you are a hardcore Metroid fan, there may be a fan game that may also do Metroid II: Return of Samus some justice. You might already know about it, but if you didn’t then you just have a little homework to do now it seems. Anyway, that’s it from me. Tune in next time… same site, potentially a similar time.

Metroid Completion Cliché?

I realize that the title is a bit confusing. Don’t worry, I’ll get to that soon enough. First let’s talk about the original impact when people first completed the original game Metroid. Well, it depended on the completion time, but those who completed the game under a certain time were given the surprise that the character they were playing as, Samus Aran, was actually a woman the whole time. Considering that this game came out in 1986, the fact that there was a cool female hero on the videogame scene was kind of a big deal. At the very least, it made the series feel unique. The original Metroid game mainly stands out to its unique gameplay style and the fact that you can speedrun to get different endings featuring Samus in different outfits. Going back to play the original game these days is honestly pretty rough though. Again, this was first released in 1986. Nothing feels like it plays smooth without an analog stick anymore, unless it’s an RPG with grid based movement. However, it is good to acknowledge the history of the series. That being said, there is only three bosses in the entire game which is kind of sad to think about. At least they added a few more in the remake to spice things up, although none of them are particularly difficult. They also add in the remake the ability to grab ledges, which is most appreciated, and some more post game content. Although the interesting thing about the post game content is that you send a good chunk of it as Zero Suit Samus as you end up in a random stealth section at the end of the game. And yet, the main reward for speedrunning the game is still artwork of Samus without her power suit. So, I will now address the title by asking is this reward becoming a cliché?

Now, let’s talk about words for a little bit here. My understanding of a cliché is when something is overdone and because of that loses the original intention behind it. So when it was first introduced that Samus was a woman, they were most likely trying to go for that shock and wow factor. You know, they wanted to mess with people’s expectations. Then what reason would there be for doing it after that first game? Let’s talk about another word now. Tradition is when certain ideas get passed down over a period of time right? So it probably has something to do with tradition right? Is there a point though when a tradition becomes a cliché? If I had to guess it would be when the meaning is lost. After all, there is not much point is preserving a tradition if there is no meaning behind it or if the meaning behind it doesn’t apply to new understandings or sensibilities. So that means there would have to still be meaning to it. The question then is does this reward still have meaning, even if it feels different from the original reveal? I realize I have asks a ton of questions today to the point where I am probably coming off as more annoying than interesting here. So I will step back from 20 Questions here and actually answer a question for a change. Yes, it does still have meaning. I know because I still get excited when I see that final time or completion rating and get that alternate ending that I worked so hard to unlock. I am definitely excited that there is a payoff and while there isn’t any wow factor, it is still a great reminder to see that this bounty hunter is a woman who can get the job done. Granted we now have more female protagonists since it is now longer the 80’s, but it fairness they are usually less fun to speedrun. So, it is a nice little tradition for sure, but is there any chance it could lose its meaning? Honestly, I don’t know.

Look, I never want to pretend that I have all of the answers. I don’t, and that’s okay. Every now and then though I am plagued with a question and I want to just role with it. to be honest, this isn’t the first time I have asked this question and it probably won’t be the last. I just wonder if this series will always carry the same meaning as it continues into the future. It has been shown very clearly in more recent games in the franchise that Samus is a woman and while there is nothing wrong with that, I wonder if maybe it might cause us to forget about the history of this series. Maybe we might not remember the first reveal way back when in 1986 when she first took that helmet off. I could just be unnecessarily worrying. I am fully aware of that. It also seems like the Metroid series is in a good place right now. And then I remember that it doesn’t matter with this series because the gap between main series games has been pretty brutal to say the least. There may come a day where no one actually cares about it. Maybe that is the case now. Do people still care? Does this matter to people when they play a Metroid game? It has become pretty normalized to see female protagonists now so maybe it wouldn’t matter to someone who just picked up the series. I guess I am fine with it being normalized, but I feel like something is being glossed over. At first it was that she was both cool and a woman. It hasn’t really changed since then, but we have had some close calls. Looking at you specifically, game that I swore not to mention this month. I guess I am just worried that Samus could one day become a cliché character. I love the acknowledgement that she is a woman, but I hope that the fact that she is a woman remains cool. I hope I conveyed what I wanted to say. I am honestly not sure if I did. Let’s hope so. See you next week.