Metroid 2: Return of Samus (Nintendo Game Boy, 1991)
|Metroid II: Return of Samus is an action-adventure video game developed and published by Nintendo for the Game Boy handheld game console. The second installment and the first handheld title in the Metroid series, it was released in North America in November 1991, and in Japan and Europe the following year. The story of Metroid II follows the protagonist and playable character Samus Aran, who is sent on a mission to exterminate the Metroid creatures from their home planet SR388 before the antagonistic Space Pirates obtain and use them. The gameplay of Metroid II involves killing a fixed number of Metroids before the player can advance deeper through the planet's tunnels.
With its nonlinear action, tight controls, large areas to explore and familiar gameplay, Metroid II: Return of Samus will please fans of the classic NES title. The popular Samus Aran has returned, but this time she's on planet SR388 --- home of the Metroids. Her mission is to seek out and destroy 39 of the creatures, each of which acts as an entry point to another area. Samus has a number of new weapons at her disposal, including the spring ball, which lets her jump while curled into a ball, and the spider ball, which lets her climb on walls. In addition, level progression can now be saved via battery backup-up, eliminating the old password system. The backgrounds are more detailed and Samus looks great, but there are fewer hidden secrets in this game than there are in the original.
The game was given generally favorable reviews. Critics praised Metroid II for its story and settings, while other reviews criticized its graphics and audio. A follow-up to the game, Super Metroid, was released for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in 1994.
Because Metroid II has a single large level instead of multiple small ones, Tim Jones of IGN found the game a "refreshing departure from the norm", which made him feel claustrophobic the further into the game he ventured. He praised Metroid II's replay value, considering its non-linearity as the primary reason for this. AllGame's Brett Alan Weiss believed that Metroid II would please fans of the original Metroid, and they noticed that the backgrounds were more detailed in this Game Boy iteration. Marcel Van Duyn of Nintendo Life noted that the difficulty was improved over the original game due to the inclusion of "hot spots" that restores health and missiles. He also praised the game's visual detail on "the platforms in the foreground and the enemies on and around them". On the other hand, Jeremy Parish of 1UP.com was particularly critical of the game, stating that it is "really a painful play these days – partly because it's something of a dark spot on a brilliant series' reputation". Parish, however, found the game's premise "ambitious", adding that it "provide[d] the series' story with a vital crux. Samus' actions in Metroid II fuel the plots of both its sequels: Super Metroid [...] and Metroid Fusion".
|Game||Metroid II: Return of Samus|
|Platform||Nintendo Game Boy|
|ESRB Rating||K-A - Kids to Adults|
|ESRB Descriptor||Mild Animated Violence|
|Number of Players||1|
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