Games of the Past REVIEW: Metroid: Other M

Saturday, July 7th, 2012

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Despite the critical and commercial success of the Metroid Prime Trilogy, Nintendo took their renowned sci-fi adventure from the skilled hands at Retro Studios and handed it over to Team Ninja, the developers behind the Ninja Gaiden and Dead or Alive series.  The fruit of Team Ninja’s labor, Metroid: Other M,  put more of an emphasis on plot and promised to develop Samus Aran as a character.

Other M tries to develop the back story of one of video game’s most famous heroines.

 

Right off the bat, Metroid Other M has something other Metroid games do not: an in-depth plot.  The story takes place after the events of the SNES classic, Super Metroid, with Samus answering a distress call that seems to be coming from a massive space station, the Bottle Ship.  The plot thickens when Samus runs across her old military buddies, who have also heeded the distress call and have come to search for survivors.  By this point, Other M already has more characters in its exposition than other Metroid games had for the entire presentation, a testament to its emphasis on plot.  Unfortunately, although the plot is more developed than other Metroid games, it is poorly written.  The story is ridden with plot holes, not only when stacked against the rest of the series, but within the game itself.  When the story finally withers to an end, the player has no sense of accomplishment as Samus’s actions have little to no impact on the plot.

Every character is wooden and one-dimensional.  None of them are ever given a chance to develop and we are given little reason to sympathize with their plight.  At the forefront of the poorly written cast is Samus Aran, the main protagonist of the series.  While it is nice to see Nintendo trying to give one of their most popular characters emotional depth, the emotions they have given her are completely inconsistent with prior games.  Samus is depicted as being a more fragile character than previous games had shown her.  For instance, she has a breakdown in front of a recurring boss in the series, one she has confronted and defeated time and time again.

You’ll never guess who that boss is…

 

The biggest problem with the story by far is that it seems to put itself before gameplay in many regards.  Not only do the lengthy, poorly voice acted cutscenes break up the action, the game made much more linear than previous Metroid games for the sake of plot.  This may be fine for other series, but one of the many joys of Metroid is non-linear exploration, the ability to explore your environment free from the confines of a restricting plot.  Exploration and backtracking are often rendered impossible as the game is prone to lock doors to previous areas, even more so than Metroid Fusion, forcing the player to move forward and advance the dull, uninteresting plot.

Another example of Other M’s story taking precedence over gameplay is that Samus does not find suit expansions hidden across the game world.  Instead, she starts out with all of her equipment and suit features in tact.  Samus is limited in her capabilities by her ex-commanding officer, Adam Malkovich, the one commanding the expedition on the Bottle Ship.  One can somewhat understand limiting Samus’s weaponry as much of her arsenal is capable of extensive destruction, which might harm any pontential survivors.  However, Samus’s weaponry was not the only thing that was limited.  The quality of her armor and her mobility enhancements are also inhibited for the better part of the game.  Why would these things be locked when they would bring no harm to survivors at all and only hamper Samus’s ability to aid in the mission?  This is where story crosses the fine line between enhancing the gameplay to holding it back.

However, Other M’s story does not entirely hold the gameplay up.  Team Ninja deserves a proverbial medal for the work they have done on Other M (keep in mind that Nintendo wrote the story, not Team Ninja).  Players use the Wii Remote held horizontally, moving Samus with the D-pad while firing and jumping with the 1 and 2 buttons.  Essentially, they used an NES controller, applied it to a modern, 3D game, and managed to make the experience enjoyable, although moving Samus through 3D space with the D-pad is not the best choice.  In the end, combat is fast-paced and exciting, and should be the only reason anyone should buy this game.

Action is the high point of Other M.

 

As if to please Metroid Prime fans, Other M includes a way to switch to a first person perspective to blast foes with missiles and better examine the environment.  Unfortunately, this option is more of a hassle than anything else.  It is initially jarring and takes a lot of getting used to.  Also, you are rooted to one spot when in this perspective, making it infinitely less desirable and less useful in combat than the third person view.

The most annoying part of the shifts to first person perspective are the all too common investigation sequences.  In these plot-halting, adrenaline-stopping scenes, players are restricted to first-person view and the game forces them to find a miniscule detail in a given piece of scenery before allowing them to progress any further.  Close observation will rarely do players any good and they will only get through these parts by either blind luck, a heavy-handed hint given before the sequence begins, or by looking the answer up on a walkthrough.

If you remember the Metroid Prime games, you may recall how detailed and lush the environments were.  The art style takes a different direction in Other M.  Though it is no Metroid Prime when comes to living, breathing worlds, Other M still looks great thanks to an emphasis on color and animation.  The colors are brighter and more saturated and the animation runs smoothly and gracefully.  In some ways, the art style change from Prime to Other M is similar to the art style change from Zelda’s Twilight Princess to Skyward Sword, in that detail is lessened at the expense of color.

Music is one way the Metroid series has always established its mood.  From the very first NES game, its score has always created an eerie atmosphere.  Other M’s music may not create the uncanny sense of solitude that permeates throughout the previous games, but it still keeps you on the edge of your seat.  The background music is tense and suspenseful, making even a humdrum stroll down a long corridor somewhat exciting.  There are also some excellent symphonic pieces scattered throughout the game.

VERDICT

Many of the problems Other M faces could easily be rectified if it were an earlier entry in the series chronology, perhaps set before Zero Mission.  Samus’s fragility would not only be excusable, but understandable, as she has not yet become the strong, fearless bounty hunter portrayed in later games in the series.  It would give us true insight into her past and make her all the more interesting.  Unfortunately, Nintendo was more focused on making the Super Metroid fans squeal by tethering the latest game in the franchise to that classic title.  By doing so, they have placed Other M near the end of the Metroid timeline, when Samus should be the least emotionally vulnerable.  Story aside, the game works rather well, but it is still not up to the standards set by Super Metroid and the Prime Trilogy.  So, do yourself a favor and buy either Super Metroid or the Trilogy, if not both, and leave Other M in the bargain bin.  But, if you have already played both of those games and simply need a Metroid fix, go ahead and buy it.  Just keep this in mind: buy it for the action or you will end up disappointed.

Play the Metroid Prime Trilogy instead if you haven’t.

 

Review Score
Overallwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
  • 5 Stars- A Must Own Game. Games don’t get much better than this. We recommend you buy it if you can.
  • 4 Stars- A Great Game. It’s not perfect, but it’s close. If you like the genre, you should like this game.
  • 3 Stars- A Good Game. This game may have some flaws, but is enjoyable. Give it a try.
  • 2 Stars- A Poor Game. There is something off about this game. Fans of the series or genre might like it.
  • 1 Star- A Bad Game. There are obvious flaws that keep the game from being enjoyable.

Buy Metroid: Other M for the Nintendo Wii on Amazon today for the incredibly low price of  $15.07
Or, try Metroid Prime for the Nintendo Gamecube/Wii from Amazon.

About James Best

James Best is a recent addition to the oprainfall staff, joining just before E3 2012. Primarily a video game critic, he also reports on news occasionally. He hopes to become a professional critic sometime in the future. While he does enjoy a good RPG, he can appreciate a wide variety of genres from platformers to shooters.




  • Dan

    Not you guys too…

    • ArtIristic

      We all have our different opinions. You can’t expect everyone to love the same.

  • Other M is one of those games where some of the staff really like it while others (read: me) wish this mistake never happened.

  • RyanOPR

    Yeah it comes down to the opinion of the reviewer. I haven’t personally played the game so I cannot say if I agree with the review but I like reading what others think.

  • I disagree wholeheartedly.

    I enjoyed the gameplay of Other M quite a bit. It wasn’t perfect, but it was a very fun interpretation of the standard Metroid gameplay outside of the traditional two-dimensional plane. It was unique, novel, and I though it worked great.

    As for Samus’s characterization and personality, the primary faults are in its writing, There’s far, far, faaaaar more telling than showing. A decreased emphasis on narration via Samus and more actual depiction of events she alludes to would have done wonders for the script. The nature of the upgrade system, which requires authorization from Adam to use specific gear, was a fine idea that was unfortunately hampered by allowing the armor upgrades to fall under the same rules. But as for the depiction of her personality specifically, who’s to say what she’s like when only taking the previous games into account?

    Because let’s be clear here. Prior to Other M, only Metroid Fusion attempted to infuse Samus with any sense of personality. In every other game in the series, she has no personality. She is a cypher for the player to experience the game world. What do we otherwise knoow about her? That she takes mercy on a baby Metroid at the end of Metroid II and has a habit of finishing her missions with timed escape sequences.

    That’s it.

    And who’s to say that Samus can’t have weaknesses, or even show signs of weakness? To craft a believable protagonist with a well-rounded personality, a character should have their weaknesses in addition to their strengths. She is not an emotionless killbot, but she’s not Princess Peach, either. She’s a human being, able to take care of herself a lot of the time, but sometimes needs assistance. She suffers from the lingering effects of childhood emotional trauma; hence her moment of frozen panic upon seeing her archnemesis Ridley, the being responsible for the destruction of her home colony, and whom she had finally killed in Super Metroid, perfectly alive and well.

    It doesn’t matter how many times Samus has fought him; she had finally killed him, and now he’s back, and HOLY SHIT.

    And I’m curious to know what it is you consider plot holes, as the game actually goes out of its way to fill in story gaps that were left between Super Metroid and Metroid Fusion.

    I will say this. While Other M has its definite flaws, it is also the Metroid game I had wanted for a very, very long time. The game that finally gave Samus a human personality and explored her story and background, at least to some extent, bringing with it a greater emphasis on character and narrative than any other entry in the series to date. Are there areas that could have been improved in that regard? Absolutely. But I also love this game despite its faults and will defend it to my dying breath.

    • Samus has killed Ridley on several occassions before Other M and he has been brought to life and never has she had any emotional breakdown in his presence. As for plot holes, I’d be here all day listing them all, so I’ll limit myself to one of them. We know that the Federation deployed Adam’s team to investigate the Bottle Ship and supplanted it with an assassin (The Deleter), to kill anyone involved in the Bottle Ship incident, including the marines under Adam’s command. Why would the Federation bother? It’s a waste of manpower sending several marines, most of whom will have to be killed anyway, to investigate a ship they just blow up in the end.

    • Ridley wasn’t actually killed, though. Near death, yes, but never completely killed.

      Also, while the Federation sent the team, it was a conspiratorial group within the government that both authorized the Bottle Ship’s experiments and who planted the Deleter in order to make sure that no one found out the truth. That the mission was going to be sent in the first place was out of their hands, so they had to manipulate it to ensure that it was a failure.

    • Ridley was killed at the end of Zero Mission, revived in Prime as a cyborg in Prime and killed again, revived once again as a cyborg in Prime 3 and killed again, revived again through Phazon in Prime 3 and killed, cloned in Super Metroid and killed. Even if he wasn’t killed, Samus has defeated him on several occassions, which should be enough to get over one’s fear of a monster.

    • Ridley may have been brought to near total death and revived through technology on several occasions, but he was never outright killed dead until Super Metroid. Samus not only defeated him, but the planet he and his allies were on exploded into nothing at the end of the game. Even the space pirates as an organization still existed after this point (Other M’s introduction makes it evident that they are no more), there was nothing left of Ridley left to resuscitate. Basically, after countless battles, Samus had finally, permanently defeated her arch-nemesis. He was dead. He was no more. He was an ex-Ridley. He had ceased to be.

      So Samus has absolutely no reason to believe that he’d ever come back again because there was nothing to bring back and no one to bring him back. And then suddenly he is back, entering stage right because the Bottle Ship staff made very poor decisions.

      And yes, Samus’s reaction is justifiable. I mean, look at it this way. If a victim of child molestation finally confronts his tormentor and sees him sentenced to prison for the rest of his life without a possibility of parole, he’s ensured that he no longer has to deal with that demon of his past ever again. So how is this person supposed to react if, six months or a year later, he opens the front door and finds the monster standing on his porch, free, healthy, and ready to continue where he left off?

    • Ridley literally explodes every time Samus kills him. There is nothing left for the Space Pirates to “resuscitate”. There would be enough blood and residue to clone him, but Samus still would have killed him. Samus’s breakdown maybe justifiable, but it’s not understandable given how many times she has faced Ridley and defeated him. If she had a breakdown everytime she met Ridley, the monster would have killed her. The only reason she survived Other M’s breakdown was because Uncle Rhemus (I mean Anthony) was there to save her. Her breakdown is inconsistent with rest the series, which is why I’m so opposed to it.

    • VIDEO GAMES.

      That’s right, these are video games. Things tend to explode when they die, or blink out of existence. In Ninja Gaiden on the NES, do you seriously think that the enemies Ryu slashes with a sword pop like a balloon when they’re defeated? In that regard, I can accept the occasional retcon based on the fact that, in a work of fiction that is attempting to tell a narrative, video game logic isn’t always the most effective thing to go by. I mean, Kraid went from a small guy about Samus’s height in Metroid to a screen-filling giant in Super Metroid with no explanation given. And then in Zero Mission, they go back and insert a retcon to show that, actually, he was always a giant.

      And yes, Samus did receive aid from Anthony, which gave her the time she needed to recover. But like I’ve said before, she’s human. Humans can’t always do everything by themselves, no matter how strong they are, because everyone has their own weaknesses. Remove elements like that, and you remove dimensions of characterization.

      You’re free to argue with this, but it sounds like to me, more or less, is that you can’t accept Samus as a human being. You want her to be a ruthless, emotionless killbot that stalks her prey and murders her enemies like a Predator hunts for sport. You want her to be less a fully-developed character with a range of emotions and more of a sociopath that shows no capability for compassion or empathy. Or to be someone that never, under any circumstances, needs a little help standing after taking a fall. You wish for her to be two-dimensional, at best.

    • Ridley exploded even in more recent games like Fusion and Zero Mission. If they wanted him to leave a corpse, they could have done so without him exploding. But he explodes, leaving no corpse behind to be “almost dead”. This is not an instance of “video game logic”. Even if Samus never killed Ridley, she defeated him, logically making him less of threat in her mind. After all, once you beat something over and over again, its hard to be afraid of it.
      I don’t have a problem with Samus receiving aid from Anthony. The problem is that she wouldn’t have anyone to save her during her previous encounters with Ridley in the other games. If she had a breakdown in Other M, she’d have to have a breakdown in other games before Ridley. That kind of fear is constant or it never happened.
      As for your last comment, nothing can be further from the truth. I’m all for Nintendo deepening Samus as a character, but what they did in Other M was the completely wrong way to do it. They could have portrayed in Samus in such a way that it did not clash with her portrayal in previous games (i.e. her reaction to Ridley and her attachment to the Baby Metroid). We know she never fear-froze in front of Ridley and we know that she never had feelings for the Baby Metroid, at least not so strong feelings as to hinder her capabilities in subsequent missions.

    • That may be a suitable explanation, but the game never explains it, leaving it as a plot hole. And there are other plot holes as well: why cold-resistant Metroids are such a threat when they’ve been dealt with in the past, why Samus cares so much about a creature (the Baby Metroid) she dropped off with a bunch of scientists the first chance she got, and why she bothers to work with the Federation in Metroid Fusion when she has seen them as the pack of inept idiots that they are.

    • Actually, I thought that it was clearly inferred, given the information provided by the game. Much like how the game never has a scene where Samus tears the Deleter’s helmet off, Scooby-Doo style, and so we’re left to infer who the culprit was based on the process of elimination. Details are present; they’re just not spelled out in big neon lettering.

      As for why Samus would care so much for the baby Metroid, well, she might not have thought much of it at first, as she did deliver it to that research station. However, when it found to defend her from Mother Brain’s assault and died protecting her, that obviously left an impact. And why wouldn’t it? The Metroid did everything it did for Samus based on the wrongly imprinted belief that she was its mother. For her to deny that fact, particularly to herself, would be callous.

      Samus didn’t have to spare the baby Metroid. Her mission in Metroid II was to exterminate them all. She could have killed it very easily, but she didn’t because, even though she delivered it to the scientists, she felt at least enough empathy to spare it from her arm cannon.

      As for her involvement in Fusion, its not the entire Federation that are inept idiots. Like I said before, the entire plot behind the Bottle Ship was orchestrated by individuals within the government that were clearly acting outside the bounds of the law. They set up the Bottle Ship and began their illegal bioweapon research. They collected the genetic material from Samus’s suit, and then tried making Metroids. They planted the Deleter in Adam’s squad after the distress signal was received by the government and a rescue mission was organized. They were in collusion with the officer that appears near the story’s end and tries to force Samus into handing over Madeline; the one remaining survivor that could testify against others that were involved in the whole affair. But then Anthony shows up, asserts his authority as a member of Adam’s squad, and Madeline could be delivered to proper authorities that wouldn’t just make her “disappear.”

      As for the frozen Metroids, the most common, larval form of Metroid’s one weakness is being frozen. If you alter its genetic structure to make it resistant to that, and thus make it far more dangerous than it already was to begin with, and you have a whole section of the ship filled with them, you’ve got a danger on your hands. And if, say, that ship were to be commandeered by a hostile artificial intelligence that sets it on a course for Federation HQ to make a special delivery that only a relative few outside the Bottle Ship are aware even exists, you’ve got a bigger problem.

    • I can appreciate the game trying to use subtlety, but when the rest of the plot is laid out in glaring, neon lights, it feels out of place. Be consistent. If you’re going to go out of your way to explain plot elements in minute detail, you might as well do it for every plot element, especially for something so important as the Deleter. As for unfreezable Metroids, I was referring to Fission Metroids in Prime. They couldn’t be frozen and yet they could be killed. Furthermore, these Metroids are hardly not as invincible as the game would have believe as they can be blown up.

    • Figuring out the identity of the Deleter really wasn’t that difficult. And I can’t fault the game for being subtle about the reveal. I mean, I’d rather take the subtle with the glaringly obvious than to have every last detail hammered into my head with the subtlety of a railroad spike. The game asked me to pay attention to what was going on, and so I did.

      The Fission Metroids aren’t exactly what I would call standard Metroids. The unfreezable Metroids in Other M were devised by another means and aren’t the same as Fission Metroids. It would be like saying, “Well, Metroid Prime didn’t need to be frozen, so what’s the big deal?” And while they could be blown up, it required the destruction of the entire sector of the ship in which they were housed. If the Metroids in question were to make it to their intended target, blowing them up wouldn’t have necessarily been an option. And even if they were destroyed, they would have likely caused enough damage for MB to consider it worth it.

    • But the rest of the game is as you describe: “glaringly obvious” and “every last detail hammered into my head with the subtlety of a railroad spike”. Other elements of the plot are lain out in painfully explicit detail, the length the cutscenes is evidence of that. Why would someone got to such great lengths with other plot points and leave other, often more important, plot points up to extrapolation? The identity of the Deleter and the existance of multiple branches of the Federation are all things that should have been explained alongside everything else instead of being left up to inference.

  • Other M is already a “game of the past, ” the thought of it makes me chuckle. I found it for $8 in the bargain bin, and that’s about all it’s worth, so it’s probably better off left in “the past” (of a whole year ago).

    • RyanOPR

      Well we’re thinking games of the past in terms of a general meaning. Any game that has not been released say in the last year, from games that were released 20 years ago. We have released reviews of some older games already, but we decided to actually give a name to the feature and pick a day of the week to post them; Saturday.

  • Sadly, I feel like this review was way to forgiving of Other M. The entire game felt like taking ten steps backward from everything the Prime series accomplished. When I played it… it just felt… wrong.

  • Gian

    Justin apparently doesn’t know that Nintendo and Retro had already established a personality for Samus trough her actions in the games. She didn’t need to talk to show that she wasn’t a goddamn immature crybaby, like Other M portrays. Hunters showed that. Prime 1, 2 and 3 did too. Super did too at the beggining and the end. Metroid 2 also did that.

    Storytelling was beyond awful. they forced us to feel sympathy for unsympathetic characters, most notably Adam, along with giving Samus one of the most boring, robotical-soundingVAs I’ve ever had the displeasure to hear in a game. Mix that with a cringeworthy, bad script (The baby the baby the baby the baby the baby Adam Adam Adam Adam, Hello I repeat what happened 5 seconds ago) and you’ve got yourself the perfect bake for turning one of the best strong willed female characters in gaming into a crybaby useless bimbo that needs a strong man to defend her.

    I won’t even go into details about that stupid PTSD part, taking into account that she had alerady fought Ridley what, 5 times now? It doesn’t even try to make sense.
    If Sakamoto’s objective was to turn samus into a moeblob, he achieved it.

    Awful story aside, the gameplay did felt solid when you actually got to play after enduring 30 minutes of unskippable cutscenes. But while it did felt solid, abusing the insta charge ability was way too easy and made the game itself too easy in the end.

    The powerup-acquiring method made sense at first, but why disable the Varia suit? Hell, now that I think of it all that section was absolutely dumb. Adam could clearly see that Samus was entering a hot area and that she needed the Varia Suit for surviving, yet he didn’t authorize it right away, why? Does he get off seeing Samus getting hurt or something?

    The pixel hunting sections were boring, and sometimes showed just how badly this game was designed (green blood on green blood, absolutely genius.)
    The transition to 1st person was fast, but using only the wiimote was a bad idea because you couldn’t move while aiming. Team Ninja warned Sakamoto about this lack of control options, advising integrating the nunchuk, but Sakamoto was too stubborn and stuck to the NES layout. Retro style is good sometimes, but applying it on a game like this was a huge glaring flaw.

    Adding to the mess, the game was way too linear, even more than Fusion. Where’s the exploration? There is none. they might as well put a line on the floor telling you where to go next. What about graphics? they managed to make them look worse than Retro’s Prime 3 (arguably the best graphics on Wii.) Complete lazyness. And why does everybody look like they were oiled up? Why does Samus’s suit look so bad?

    On the topic of music, I can’t remember a single track from the OST. Absolutely forgettable, it was more like elevator music. There also wasn’t a jingle whenever you grabbed a powerup. And I don’t really want to say how stupid is the “hey here’s the powerup you dumbass” after you kill all the enemies. They weren’t even trying.

    I can’t help but think that OpRainfall was being generous giving this 2.5 stars, it deserves 1 or 1.5. Terrible game, rental at best and only if you’re very bored. There are way better games to play. Complete stepdown from Prime. Here’s hoping that Sakamoto or Nintendo themselves don’t touch the Metroid Series in a similar fashion again.

    • If you honestly believe that any sense of personality and characterization were successfully portrayed in the Prime series, you’re mistaken. In those games, Samus displayed about as much personality as Gordon Freeman or Doomguy. (i.e.: Not much.)

      That is the exact opposite of characterization. Once again, it’s the character merely serving as a cypher for the player. In the Prime series, Samus never says a word. In the instances she’s among other characters and is requested to do something, there’s no dialogue on her part. In Metroid Prime 3 in particular, Samus is forced to confront former allies that have become corrupted through Phazon. However, the game treats this as little more than, “Hey, whatevs. Boss fight!”

      Retro Studios succeeded in making three high quality games using the Metroid milieu adapted to a first-person format, but that’s where the real successes begin and end. The games did absolutely nothing with Samus as a character. There’s no evolution, no depth of personality (no, giving a thumbs up and sending a cheesy “Mission Complete” text message at the end of Prime 3 doesn’t count). Storywise, the Prime series was meant to fit neatly between Metroid and Metroid II without rocking the boat.

      And as for the exploration aspect in Other M, if you want the full, pre-Fusion style of exploration, it comes in the epilogue chapter. Samus can move around the ship at will and has access to portions of the ship that she couldn’t previously reach. The epilogue is also the only means that allows the player to collect all of the power-ups and earn 100% completion. It’s not a feat that can be accomplished in the more linear portion of the main game.

    • You don’t need to have dialogue to portray character personality/depth. Just watch Wall-E.

    • When you spend an entire game being passively talked at, as is is the case in Prime 3, as opposed to talked to, that’s not a demonstration of personality. Deeds alone also do not define personality or character, save for the broadest and flattest sense of the of the idea.

    • Gian

      The whole point of these posts are to say that samus character portrayal in Other M is INCONSISTENT with the rest of the series. I honestly can’t see Other M samus doing the job well in the Prime games.
      If she unnecessarily weeps half an a hour for a Metroid baby, I can only imagine her crying while the three bounty hunters kill her.
      It doesn’t even try to make sense or to at least be a bit consistent, It’s just Sakamoto’s wet dream of turning samus into a useless crybaby bimbo.
      And actions do define character. You don’t need dialogue for that.

    • At what point was she openly weeping, again?

      I mean, really. Point that out.

    • Gian

      The comment system is just fine, wait a bit before complaining.
      And okay. maybe she wasn’t crying. But you tell me: Is it really necessary to extend on and on and on and on that “the baby went kaput and is dead” for what, 20 minutes on the intro video?
      I mean really, it’s cool and all that they want to convey some kind of motherly love but that was way too excessive, it’s an alien lifeform that Samus allowed to live, not her goddamn son or daughter or some shit. And to top things off, the writing of that part sucked. Never have I seen two words repeating so much on a single cinematic.
      The books and movie industry would have a field day with that stuff.

    • An alien lifeform that happened to sacrifice itself for her because it thought she was its mother.

      And I never said the writing was good. Like I said, there’s too much telling, not enough showing, and on top of that, the localization probably stayed too true to the original source in terms of intonation. But even so, to say that it droned on for twenty minutes is also exaggerating, so hey.

    • Ack. I don’t know why this comment system is flaking out on me. This is the second time a response hasn’t posted.

      Anyway, point out to me when she spends time weeping, as you claim.

      Because she doesn’t.

    • I beg to differ. Not every character has to be endowed with concrete characterization. Blank slates like Gordon Freeman, Link, and Samus (pre-Other M) have their place and many are far more memorable than some characters with personality. In the case of Samus, inferring aspects of her character in pre-Other M Metroid games from her actions and body language made her far more interesting for most people as opposed to having her entire personality laid out through cutscenes.

    • I disagree. The best, most interesting characters are the ones with defined personality and characterization. Note that this doesn’t necessarily need to be the most complex characterization (I love Mario, Bowser, and Peach for the simple archetypes that they are), And as for Link, there has never been much personality behind him other than that each of his incarnations is the destined hero. He fights the evil force, whether it be Ganon, or Majora, or whoever, because he’s thrust into the situation that demands his action. But once again, he is merely serving as an archetype with little in the way of actual personality to call his own.

      Also, perhaps you don’t know this, but Samus’s background had been in the mind of its creator for years prior to Other M. Around the time that Fusion was produced, Sakamoto also oversaw the creation of a two-volume manga that details Samus’s life from early childhood up until just before the first Metroid. Aspects of Samus’s origin as depicted in the manga were adapted for use in both Metroid: Zero Mission and Other M. (ex: Her early childhood on Zebes after being rescued by the Chozo, her life in the military.)

      Samus’s background has been there for a long time. Western audiences just didn’t have easy access to the whole thing. But it’s out there.

      I mean, if so much about Samus is expressed through her body language, give me some examples. Don’t just say that it exudes personality and expect me to understand.

    • Gian

      Manga isn’t canon and to be honest it’s pretty damn bad too.
      Also, did you even play the Prime games?
      Samus clearly shows character in Prime 1, pay attention. Prime 2 I don’t remember much because I honestly didn’t like it a lot.
      In Prime 3, she also shows character, or did you already forgot the fights with her fellow bounty hunters?
      Replay the Prime series and you’ll clearly see that Samus character was being formed by actions, not bye a boring VA with poorly written lines.

    • No, it’s not canon, but the story concepts that appear in it have obviously either been influenced by the canon or have influenced the canon.

      And yes, I’ve played the Prime games, and I honestly don’t recall Samus ever displaying much in the way of character. Maybe if you provided examples of how instead of stating that it’s obvious you could get me to understand your point of view better?

      Also, in Prime 3, Samus fights with other bounty hunters, yes, but she does not express any personality in her interactions with them. As I said before, she’s passively talked at over the course of the game rather than truly interacted with. When the times come to fight the corrupted bounty hunters, there’s nothing meaningful in their relationship to Samus depicted. They’re just boss fights.

    • Pay attention during the cutscenes at the end of each boss fight. When Dark Samus’s ghost appears, Samus retaliates violently. When the ghost disappears, she clenches her fist in anger, as if vowing to avenge her fallen comrades. At the end of Prime 3, we see Samus reminiscing about her fallen comrades, apparently grieving their loss. It is evident that she does have feelings for Rundas, Ghandrayda, and Ghor. She mourns their death but does not let her grief keep her from doing her job, as she did Other M when she went all weepy over a monster (the Baby Metroid) that she cared next to nothing about up to that point.

    • For all of your clamoring over the ability of Samus to emote in the Prime games and for story to be told without dialogue, you sure do miss the big, important plot details in Super Metroid.

    • There aren’t any big important plot details in Super Metroid. Like other Metroid games aside from Other M, Super Metroid doesn’t put much of an emphasis on plot, which is the way it should be.

    • So…the baby Metroid coming to Samus’s rescue at the end of the game and sacrificing itself so that she might live and take down Mother Brain doesn’t count as a plot point?

      Are you intentionally being obtuse?

    • For some reason, this didn’t post the first time, but I’ll try this again:

      So, the baby Metroid saving Samus at the end of Super Metroid doesn’t count as a plot point? Its protection of her? It’s sacrifice? Its willingness to protect a being that it believes to be its mother based on a natural, if incorrect, instinct?

      None of that counts as plot?

      Are you intentionally being obtuse?

    • It counts as plot, but its only slightly more plot than was in other games like Prime and Zero Mission and far less plot than in Prime 2, Prime 3, and Fusion. What I’m saying is Super Metroid’s plot was pretty basic compared to the entries mentioned above. The Baby Metroid thing was touching, but not terribly complex and doesn’t have that much bearing on the series. I’m not saying that it’s any worse because of it; the SNES was the golden age of gaming because its emphasis on gameplay over storytelling.

    • That’s just it. The baby Metroid has a lot of bearing on the series. Not just in Other M, but in Fusion as well. It was DNA from the baby Metroid that was used to save Samus’s life after she was infected by the X-Parasite at the beginning of the game.

      Not to mention that it’s also the impetus of Samus’s quest in Super Metroid to begin with. She wouldn’t have gone back to Zebes if Ridley hadn’t attacked the research station and stolen the Metroid away.

      And to go even further back, it plays a significant role in Metroid II, as Samus doesn’t simply murder it, but rather takes pity on it and leaves SR388 with it.

      The baby Metroid is as much a character in the overarching storyline of Samus’s journey through the Metroid series as much as any other character that appears in it.

    • Ah, yes. The Metroid Vaccine from Fusion had slipped my mind, I will admit. Thank you for reminding me of it.

    • First off, we know Samus is a bounty hunter, a difficult job that is not for the faint of heart, especially those who start feeling maternal towards biological abominations. From her choice in career and success in said career, we can guess that she is a strong-willed person. Second, she employs intimidation tactics to instill fear into her enemies, similar to Batman. The way she walks with her arm cannon up at all times and stomping about in a weighty suit of armor makes her look frightening to the opposition and she has made quite a name for herself among the Space Pirates. Third, we know she has a softer side as she spared the Baby Metroid at the end of Metroid II. But, we know that softer side isn’t as strong as shown in Other M as she promptly dropped the creature off with some scientists as soon as she could and left it in their care to go about her own job. How much could she care about it if she did that to it?

    • Even strong-willed people are prone to mental and emotional weaknesses.

      Also, what intimidation tactics are you talking about? She doesn’t creep about in the night dressed in a bat-themed cape and cowl. She doesn’t use stealth. She explores, fights her way from one chamber to the next, generally against enemies that are either not sentient or that have no apparent fear of their own mortality.

      Does she look imposing in that armor? Yes. It’s a metal suit with an arm canon. And of course she holds the cannon up as she explores, as its her primary means of defense. But those are just tools that she has at her disposal. They are her weapons that she uses to fight, her tools she uses to explore, and her protection against enemies and environmental hazards.

      What they are not, is Samus. They do not define Samus as a person. They are a part of who she is, but they do not represent her in their entirety.

      And yes, Samus delivered the baby Metroid to the scientists for study, but what else could she have done with it at the time? The government classifies Metroids as highly dangerous creatures and she was tasked with their extermination. What was she going to do? Convince the government to allow he to raise it as a pet? Oh, hell no. The best option she had in sparing the Metroid’s life was delivering it to the scientists for their research, and who had very quickly discovered that Metroids, for all the danger that they pose, do have some properties that could benefit galactic civilization. (However, that line of thinking was cut short once Ridley smashed in and made off with it.)

      But Samus’s softer side for the Metroid only grew stronger during the course of the game; particularly in the end, when it saves her life.

    • While it is true strong-willed people can be prone to emotional issues, the emotional issues Samus suffers from in Other M are not consistent with the way she’s acted in previous entries (her excessive mourning of the Baby Metroid and her breakdown in front of Ridley).She doesn’t have to use stealth, her mere presence and the power of her weapons inspire fear in the Space Pirates after what she single-handedly did to their stronghold on Zebes, which is what I meant by the Batman reference. Criminals aren’t afraid of Batman because he’s dressed up like a bat, but because they know what he’s capable of, taking down entire gangs with his bare fists. The bat costume only reinforces the intimidation factor, much as Samus’s armor does for her. As for her decision to leave the Baby Metroid with the scientists, there is no evidence that she was under any compulsion by the Federation to give it up, nor would the Federation have known about it, given the creature was taken from an isolated planet during a mission that was accomplished by Samus alone. She gave it up of her own free will. Even after Other M, in Metroid Fusion, Samus doesn’t care that much about the Baby Metroid.
      As for the thing you said about Samus’s armor not defining Samus’s self, I think that is the sort of thing that Other M should have discussed, instead of focusing on Samus’s relationship with Adam and her PTSD. If they had made Other M a prequel to the series, they could have made her character as weak and invulnerable as they pleased, gradually building her up into the badass everyone sees her as today and coming to terms with her image being decided by the armor, like their doing with the Tomb Raider series and Lara Croft. That would go on to explain why Samus was so susceptible to Ridley and why the marines didn’t seem to care they were in the presence of Samus Aran: the slayer of the most powerful Metroid, savior of the universe from the Phazon threat, and the eternal bane of the Space Pirates.

    • Tomb Raider is going for a total reboot. They’re throwing out everything we know about Lara for the new story. She will not be the same person going forward after the new game comes out.

      And Other M isn’t a prequel; it’s a sequel, and the story relates to Adam and to her PTSD. What good would focusing on Samus’s armor do? By discussing other aspects of her character, it naturally becomes evident that she’s more than just her armor.

      Also, once Samus spared the Metroid, what was she supposed to do with it? I’m pretty sure that Samus would consider it an irresponsible act to raise a Metroid in secret outside the eye of the Federation government. Why would she ever want to risk such an act? Getting caught would almost certainly lead to criminal charges. “Oh, Samus. I see you have a Metroid in your home. That’s funny. I thought we had specifically told you to kill every last one of them. Maybe you’d care to explain to the courts why you decided to keep one without telling us?”

      But once again, your ignorance on the significance of the ending of Super Metroid is astonishing.

    • There is no significance to the Baby. Samus never cared that much about it. She gave it away because she couldn’t do anything with it, as you said, but she had no feelings for it. Heck, when she hands the Baby over to the scientist, she shakes his hand. She’s perfectly okay with letting it go into the hands of a guy who’s probably going to go all Aperture up its arse. The Baby was plot point for Super Metroid alone and should have stayed that way. It didn’t even have much mention in Other M. Samus just brings it up a couple times and it has little importance to her decision making or character (aside from weakening it, which makes no sense to begin with).

    • I said it would have been better if Other M had been a prequel. Emphasis on the word “if”. If it were a prequel, some elements would have to be removed, like the Baby Metroid. But it would clear up a lot of inconsistencies with Samus’s character, like her reaction to Ridley. If it were a prequel, it probably would have been the first time Samus had seen Ridley since he killed her parents, which would explain why she was susceptible to him. As Ridley would be a boss character, Samus would probably defeat him, explaining why she didn’t have breakdowns in front of Ridley in subsequent titles.
      As for her armor, it would be used to show how people around her (Adam, Anthony, and Marines) saw her. They would recognize that she carried an extremely powerful weapon on her shoulders. In one way, they would revere her as an asset to the mission. On the other hand, they might fear her for the threat she would pose should she be an enemy. Let’s suppose that some of the marines thought Samus were the Deleter. That would create some well-needed tension to spice the story up a bit and would make sense as Samus was considered an outsider by some of the marines.

  • I honestly thought the game was great as far as, you know, being a game.

    The story was off and the build of Samus’s character (which was all Sakamoto, not Team Ninja, which many seem to think) was retarded, but the game itself felt really solid and like a Metroid game to me, with the exception of being linear (but if you’ve been playing the games recently, most of them have been linear since they started up again).

    The only actual gameplay element I didn’t like was the first person stuff, which felt forced and broke up the gameplay in a negative way. And the fact the game, like said, took a backseat to the story. Some bosses were painfully easy (Nightmare) while others were really hard (Queen).

    But for the 18-ish hours that I played, I enjoyed the hell out of the game itself.

    So while I’d give the story a low score, I feel like it deserves a 3 (going by your rating set-up), honestly.

    Though on a scale of 1-10, I’d give it a 7 or so.

  • I disagree with this review, but that is going to happen with a controversial game like Metroid: Other M.
    I played the game after hearing a lot of complaints about it. I remember, the first time I played it was at a kiosk in Best Buy. I was expecting something of low quality, considering the fan backlash, but I was pleasantly surprised.
    Other M can be an enjoyable game if you let it. It just depends on your taste.
    And for the record, I don’t think the story is bad, nor the voice acting. There are moments in the game that could have been better, for sure, but it is a solid game.

  • Wow, where to begin here with regards to my own opinion on the matter.

    Other M really is one of the most controversial games in recent years, but I liked it. True, the characterization of Samus was definitely not to everyone’s taste, but it seemed to be in line with Japanese cultural mores. In other words, I’m glad that Sakamoto tried to give Samus a more human personality, but he did so with the subtlety of a sledgehammer. However, if you play Fusion or read even some of the manga, you could tell that Samus has something going on with her psyche.

    As for the game’s gameplay segments, I liked them a lot. The first person mechanic was pretty innovative when it worked, but felt a bit broken at times. Another nitpick: the difficulty curve was pretty high, especially during that infamous “green blood” segment and the boss fight with the Metroid Queen (both previously mentioned).

    But, other than that, I’d give it a 3. Definitely not perfect, but there are worse ways to spend $10.

  • SecretX

    yeah i play the game and think the game was better than the review. Even a horror website thought the game was amazing and gave it a 9 or was it a 8 i dont remember but it was still good and this was my first metroid game i played.

  • this game gets 4 stars at least. It’s easily better than Super Metroid or the Prime Games, and one of the few Metroid games that has gameplay that’s compelling enough for the player to want to play again and try to get 100%. The plot was obviously handled last during development, but the “game” part of this video game makes it easily worth buying.

    The complaints about the search moments are ridiculous. There are a grand total of THREE of those throughout this 20 HOUR adventure, most of the rest of which consists running, jumping, and fighting freaky alien creatures and bosses.

    For each complaint about the seach moments, there should be heaps of praise about the combat, platforming, and overall intensity of this game. If you’ve never played Metroid Other M, but you liked Super Metroid, Metroid Zero Mission, and Metroid Fusion, then you won’t regret buying Other M.

  • I would have given this a 4. The gameplay was ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE, I mean seriously. With the exception of those annoying “we’re going to stick you in first person mode until you find what we want you to find” bits.

    It was the writers that brought this game down, because of the way they portrayed Samus, I think.

  • ZanetheWise

    Maybe it was just my low expectations following the angry rants by series fans, but I really enjoyed Other M.

    The only problem I had with the game (besides the pixel-hunt first person sequences, which were thankfully few and far between) was their portrayal of Samus as a character, and that could have been fixed with a simple rewrite. Even the game’s plot was pretty intriguing.

    Just do your best to blot out the monotone droning of Samus’ narrator and you’ve got a pretty excellent Metroid adventure on your hands IMO.

    • Nettacki

      “The only problem I had with the game (besides the pixel-hunt first
      person sequences, which were thankfully few and far between) was their
      portrayal of Samus as a character, and that could have been fixed with a
      simple rewrite.”

      To be honest, I agree. It’s just so frustrating that the story ended up like it did, when so many of its flaws can be fixed by a simple rewrite. Yet they never did rewrite it, they never realized what was wrong with the portrayal until it came out and people complained. Surely, Nintendo should have realized this sooner.