Recently, a group of people released a remake of Metroid II: The Return of Samus. The remake it something akin to Metroid: Zero Mission in spirit, and is something Metroid fans wish Nintendo would make because Another Metroid 2 Remake (or AM2R as it’s abbreviated) gets back to what makes the Metroid games so great by focusing on exploration and mystery, challenging difficulty, and gripping action.
What’s old is usually new to me because most of my favorite game franchises were conceived and born in the 1980s. Metroid and the series beloved bounty hunter, Samus Aran, and the franchise’s fan base are celebrating 30 years of blasting Space Pirates, Metroids, and other outer space beasties and bosses. Unfortunately, Nintendo is apparently snubbing the anniversary.
Metroid fans on the other hand got a brief time to rejoice with the launch of the fan-made AM2R, which is a remake Nintendo should have made and could have made. But that’s another discussion for another day. I wanna discuss the game. As a disclaimer, I haven’t played the original Metroid II: the Return of Samus. I just know it exists, so this review won’t make many comparisons to the original source material.
AM2R is a wonderful Metroidvania style 2-D, side-scrolling, shooting platform game. The story is pretty simple: Samus Aran has to destroy all of the Metroids on Planet SR-388. There’s not much more to it than that. The game tells some of its story about the Metroids and their creation through some background lore and the environment itself, which is littered with Chozo (they’re the aliens that raised Samus since she was three years old and gave her the Power Suit) locations and artifacts.
The game is best played with a controller. The control scheme was basically ripped out of Super Metroid and feels pretty good. Shooting feels right, the platforming is solid, and Samus is able to pull off old tricks like wall jumps and spine spark jumps once she acquires the Speed Booster.
The combat is pretty basic for a Metroid game: shoot the monsters. However, the game’s bosses and later stage Metroids on Normal difficulty can prove to be quite challenging. You need to figure out the right weapon to use, be it missiles, charged beams, or anything else. Fortunately, the game helps a little with that by giving suggestions from a logbook. It took me about four or five times to beat my first Omega Metroid, and that’s really the only enemy that proved to be more annoying and patience trying than difficult in the game.
The game is relatively short and linear; it took me around 6 hours to beat it on my first play-through on the Normal difficulty setting. However, it offers plenty of stuff to explore. Some of the power-ups such as the Varia Suit and the Wave Beam are tucked away and require a bit more extra effort to locate. There are also plenty of ammo tanks to locate–some are trickier to get to than others. There are also a total of eight energy tanks in the game to get as well, and nearly every tank is going be needed in the last stages of the game. Each area also has its own little environment and carry at least one little surprise or two for players and hardcore Metroid fans.
Nintendo ordered the game to be taken down and gave a cease and desist letter to the game’s creator, but the game’s blog is still up. It was available for a while, but the Internet being the Internet, you can probably acquire a copy if you look hard enough. I won’t be providing any download links or mirrors. I just wanted to tell you about a fun game you could beat in an afternoon if you feel interested in finding and playing it.