Metroid II: Return of Samus (GB)

Though I couldn’t stand this game when I was younger, I decided to go back and play through it.

1991 - Game Boy (Nintendo)

I only marginally liked the first game, but when Metroid II was finally released in ’91, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy of it.  I’m not sure why, really…  maybe because everyone else wanted it.  Anyhow, on a trip to my Aunt’s in Bristol, CT, we picked up the still relatively new title.  It was a rare treat not to have to wait before returning home to Canada to play a new game.  This was going to be great!

Or, so I thought…

The game’s controls were decent enough, and it was pretty straightforward.  I just never really got into it.  Here’s this massive area to explore, and the Game Boy’s tiny screen shows even less of Samus’ surroundings than the first game did…  if a game could feel claustrophobic, this one certainly did.

So here’s this game I owned, and I barely touched it…  until this baby came out.

My gaming Holy Grail...

Long before the Super Game Boy converter even came out, I was looking for it.  Well, not it specifically, but something like it.  GamePro Magazine had printed a photo of an NES cartridge with a “pop-out” Game Boy game slot where the NES game sticker went.  It was apparently only available in Japan at the time, but I was hell-bent on finding it in silly ol’ Canada.

I had my sisters looking for it.  I once got an excited call from one of them, saying they had seen something they had never seen before…  after a closer look, it was just Dr. Mario.  Foiled again!

Eventually, I gave up my search.  Of course, shortly after I did that, the Super Game Boy was announced.  Score!!

Ironically, it was on another one of our yearly trips to Connecticut that we picked it up.  It was a week of torture – here I was, 10 hours from home with a fresh, new, Super Game Boy, and no way of playing it.  I just read my Instruction Booklet and hoped the rest of the week would go by as quickly as it could.

When we got back home, sitting at the bottom of the huge pile of mail our neighbor brought in for us…

Yet another benefit of being a Nintendo Power subscriber!

The Super Game Boy allowed you to enter 12-digit codes to fully customize the colors for whatever games you played, and this guide gave you specific codes for each level…  just to give that extra sense of depth.  Each Link’s Awakening dungeon felt different, each world in Super Mario Land had its own character, and each area in Metroid II: Return of Samus…  felt exactly the same.

Once again, I put Samus on the back burner.

This project of turning games into movies inevitably reached the Metroid series, and I was torn about whether or not Metroid II should be skipped.  I bit the bullet, followed an online walkthrough and took my time in trying to enjoy this game I had so long ago set aside.  Though I often cheat with games I suck at, none of them worked for this game…  I was on my own.

I’m really quite glad I did go back and play it.  Yes, all the areas look alike.  Yes, it’s a heck of a lot more linear, and yes, the bosses are a bit more repetitive and boring.  It still plays like a solid action game, though, and if you know where you’re going, it helps…  a lot.  Be sure to collect every last missile tank, because of the 250 maximum that Samus carries (just where does she store them, anyway?), 150 of them are needed to kill the final boss – the Metroid Queen.

Speaking of which, I didn’t know you couldn’t pause the game during the final boss battle!!  That was crazy!  Since I wasn’t cheating, I had to rely heavily on save states as to not look like a complete buffoon playing the game.  A chance to pause and get my bearings would have been nice, but no, I had to Shift-F1 quicker than a mo-fo!!  As you can see, I made it through the game fine eventually.

Even though I made sure to take my time and collect every item, I managed to beat the game under three hours and get the “good” ending.  So, here’s the story of how Samus’ visit to SR388 progresses from title screen, to battling bosses and collecting items, all the way to crawling out of that cumbersome space suit.

PS:  If I can somehow find that old GamePro and post that picture of the Game Boy conversion cartridge for the NES, I’ll be posting it!  I might still have that issue at home!

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