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 Gosh, an "Update MP3" button on our trax sure would be great :3

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Tuesday 25th of June 2013, 14:58 - 1
Okay so in 1991 Nintendo made this game called Metroid II: Return of Samus.

The number next to the word "Start" is actually a file select; you don't see if it's a blank file or anything.

So, in the other games except for, like...Fusion, you explore areas so you can kill off bosses, and killing all the bosses opens up a final area or whatever. In this game, you have 39 bosses and they are all Metroids. And it's Monday. I don't know why they didn't comfortably round that number up, but that's the least of my complaints. Rather than the squee squee sucky sucky five dolla Metroids from the end of the first game, you encounter them through four stages of molting and mutation: Alpha, Gamma, Zeta and Omega Metroids. Don't ask me what happened to Beta - regular Metroids are still just called Metroids. They get progressively more annoying. The goal is to kill every single Metroid. That is, your goal is to somehow kill a species by yourself. Luckily, despite how often they seem to hatch, there are only 39 of them in the world. I guess only the Queen can breed, and there's only one Queen, but...goddamn, now I just feel sorry for them. To conduct to this mechanic, your progress to the next major part of the game will be blocked off by a lava pool that sinks when you kill all the Metroids preceding it. The manual claims "lava will disappear in some areas and appear in others", but that's bullshit; it just gets rid of the one lava pool in your way. This is the only real block. Certain powerups are necessary to proceed with the game, but you find them as soon as you'd need them.

Samus returns to the planet she's never been on.

Right off the bat, you've got the morph ball and missiles. That little counter on the right is all the Metroids you have to kill. Not just to get to the next area; in the entire game. That includes the final boss. Powerups are strange in this game. You find the Spider Ball surprisingly early, and the Bomb a little later. Those are pretty much all you need to complete the game. You'd need the Space Jump as well, ordinarily, due to how certain passages and hazards are laid out, but a game-breaking bug circumvents this: Whenever you get hit by an enemy or hazard in midair, you get a free jump. This can and will happen repeatedly in the same jump. I have no idea how the developers didn't notice this. It can't have been intentional; it totally breaks some parts and makes vertical ascension a breeze(tedious as all fuck, but a breeze). Regarding the Space Jump, it's really annoying. Two things tend to inhibit your athletics in this game: You cannot roll into a ball in midair, and you cannot perform a midair jump with the Space Jump unless you are spinning. Samus has a habit of getting out of spin in midair, which is infuriating when you're halfway up an arbitrarily huge shaft. You can't walljump or cling to the wall with the Spider Ball(since you can't morph in midair), so unless you can take advantage of the hit-taking bug, you have to fall all the way back down, painfully, and try again. I studied my character for a while to figure out just what makes her stop spinning, because I could fucking swear it's completely random, and the answer was this: If you take too long to Space Jump after you start to descend from your jump's peak, she'll stop spinning and go into her neutral jump. So you've got to be fast. It didn't have to be designed that way, and it's really easy to fuck up, but there you go.

The only missile doors in the game - hell, the only doors in the game - lead to powerup rooms. With one exception near the very end of the game, the beams only exist to make fighting regular enemies a little easier(all Metroid types can only be hurt with missiles). It confused me a little when I got the Plasma Beam twice in a row...and then the Spazer again. It turns out you can only have one beam type at a time in this game, with the one stipulation that you keep the Wave Beam's secondary attribute of going through walls. If you want to switch beams, you can go back to a previous upgrade and pick it up. There's actually multiple instances of each beam in the game. Since the Ice Beam has no exploratory use, you'd only use it to freeze enemies. There's one particular FUCKING GARGANTUAN area where you can select between the four beams. My personal choice is the Spazer(wtf?), which returned in Super Metroid and was given the sensible name Wide Beam in Fusion. You don't want the Wave Beam, it's a bitch to hit anything with.

There is one neat if not predictable (but then again, this is Metroid II, so not much has been established yet) moment where one of the powerup orbs bursts open to reveal an enemy. The only non-Metroid boss (I use that term loosely) in the game! Fighting it's a bit tricky, but it's pretty much the same as taking on a Zeta Metroid. You can study it safely from the doorway if you'd like. It drops a new powerup on death, and it's the only powerup in the game that doesn't tell you its name when you pick it up, weirdly. Spoilers: It's the Spring Ball. I only figured that out through experimentation, but your Morph Ball does glow from that point on.

Can you solve the puzzle?

I have to say, the game has some shockingly good design at points. Putting aside the obvious good decision to give Samus her characteristic round shoulders to differentiate the Varia Suit from the Regular Suit on the Game Boy's limited color palette - No solution to getting to another room is truly bullshit; you always have a reason for inspecting a certain plot of land for an invisible tunnel or bombable spot, simply because of layout or a subtle visual indicator. Don't get me wrong, it's a pain in the ass, but at least I never had to look up a walkthrough. Furthermore, because the game blatantly reuses rooms and just fills them with different assets in order to save on memory, the scenario in the picture above above implants a meme into your Metroid II dictionary: In every room like this one, that particular spot above the missile pack is always bombable. It doesn't always go somewhere, but it often proves to be the key for progressing in a certain path or finding a powerup. This assumes you already know that bombs can blow up certain map squares, which you wouldn't know unless you've played another Metroid game or read the manual, but it's a nice way to play the player. Another thing I admire is how, near the end of the game, you're teased with a Metroid egg that you can see, but not reach, as it sits on the ground while you roll through a ballway below. You finally get to reach the egg yourself after beating the final boss. This is the earliest game I know of that uses this narrative technique. The Metroid series has a habit of introducing design tactics that would become staples later on, and for all the shit you can give this game, it doesn't except.

Back to stupid.

This is 30% of the game.

Fighting Metroids is dumb. To use some game dev speak, Metroids don't update unless most of their body is on the screen. That means if they're off the screen, they do nothing. They don't move toward you. You cannot fire at them. They just sit there until you get them back in the camera. Even if they're partially in the frame and you fire missiles at them, nothing will happen until you edge closer. You might get one free hit when the game realizes what's going on, but here is where the huge sprites bite you: Samus is huge. The Metroids are huge. Omega Metroids are balls huge. For anything to happen, you have to get right up in their fucking faces. This turns battles into mindless slugfests where you fire missiles and tank hits. There's no using the terrain to your advantage. The areas in which you fight Metroids seem to want to make the topography a big factor in the battle, but it can't be, because if you run away, it won't chase you. The only strategy you can really employ is to find some way to cheese their AI, which can be strangely gratifying sometimes and expectedly stupid others. Alpha and Gamma Metroids tend to get stuck on objects and get knocked back further by your hits than the later models, so there can be some fun gunplay, but there's nothing intelligent behind the Zeta and Omega fights; You are completely at the mercy of what the game considers to be collision. Now, regarding that cool narrative design I mentioned earlier, the first Metroid you fight in the game introduces itself by emerging from a shell. A couple of the Alpha Metroids do this, but it's important that the first one does, because that shell never goes away, both physically and mentally. Like the bombable block in the Chozo room, it's implanted into your mind. You also realize at some point that you can go into the crack in the shell. From that point on, anywhere there's a Metroid around, you'll find a shell nearby. That would be an excellent investigative cue if not for the game's abysmal map design.

This is 70% of the game.

Metroid II is hallways. This review was difficult to write because half my lexicon was replaced with hallway. Near the end of the game, you tunnel through a series of quiet, linear rooms on your way to the final series of challenges, but it loses its dramatic impact because you have so much hallway fatigue by that point. I can't tell you how many area transitions in this game replaced the background music with my voice going "Is this really necessary?". Even if so many adjacent rooms didn't resemble one another, there's no definition to any particular major area, something Metroid 1 had down alright. Really, there aren't "major areas" at all; just sections of level separated by an arbitrary screen fade and music change. There's three or four consecutive instances of unique, interesting tilesets, and they all come in the last few rooms of the game. Where nothing happens. SR388 is the worst planet I've ever been on.

I refuse to believe I navigated this.

That's the other thing about exploration: It's hard to build a mental image of where everything is in your head because the game's map is four-dimensional. Shit overlaps all over the place. Okay, I guess technically it could be three-dimensional, but I find it more likely that they were lazy fucks. It seems like they laid out the rooms first, then chose stuff to put in them afterwards, a classic level design fallacy. To be fair, they probably had to pick and choose between the handful of rooms they could place into the game's memory budget, but most of them are underutilized anyway, existing only to lead into an area of the game that actually has something in it.

She needs to get laid. No, seriously. Her species is dying out.

You've got four main types of Metroid in this game, spanned over 39 total, but they don't start switching it up until about 11 left, and they don't throw Omegas at you until, I think, about 5. For all this game's shown me of its understanding of pacing and progression, I seriously expected the last couple to be Alphas or Betas or something. I thought the classic jellyfish Metroids might not end up making an appearance in this game, but a neat thing happens near the end: Your Metroid counter, which is now at 1, suddenly jumps up, and you get to pick off a few of the classic Metroids. There's a split path before this area, which I didn't realize, so I thought I had to fight the Realtroids with what I had. After all, you don't keep the Ice Beam's freezing effect if you've switched from it. Turned out I was fighting a battle I couldn't win. One path off to the right (again with unique assets - how the hell did you allocate your shit, game?) houses an Ice Beam, which is necessary. Finally you get to the Metroid Queen, who holy shit is actually a legitimate fight. With strategy and everything. Sure, her projectiles make no sense and she has two attacks total, but it's an actual boss fight! She takes a ludicrous amount of missiles to take down, but you can roll into her mouth and lay bombs to do massive damage. I could never get the damn thing to swallow me, and I have no idea how you're supposed to, so I just did the missiles. She acts like she's dying a lot, but those are just cues that she's getting faster. You can leave the room if you want (lol what) to refill your health and save...and then go all the way back to the boss. It's a pain. The Metroid Queen is refreshing in that, unlike every other enemy in the game, she fulfills the characteristics of a boss fight: She has a pattern for you to learn and try to circumvent, and you have to get better at it the further along you go. She's just sort of...simple. She's like a midway boss you'd fight in Zero Mission. And, of course, when you beat her, the game's over, so

Despite how it's portrayed in Super Metroid, the hatching of the infant Metroid (oh wait I'm sorry; THE BABY) isn't exactly dramatic. You're just running along, it cracks open and follows you, you can't shoot it, and it eats through some shit to let you through. And then you take it home. Alright. I have to stress: While I've mentioned some key dramatic or well-designed moments in the game, I have mentioned all of them. They are drops of water in the desert; few and far between, and only valuable because. Everything else is filled with boring meandering, nonsensical combat, clearing shit only for it to reappear when it's onscreen, unsatisfying powerups, and figuring out where the next bombable wall is and where you were going anyway. Warfire was right: If you forget what you're doing in this game, you're just done.

The sound Of the handful of tracks that actually convey a melody, the dramatic ones are all lazy chromatic key-hammering. Most of the game's music is nonsensical atmospheric noise, which I don't mind, to be honest. It's just that the reuse of assets doesn't do much in helping to distinguish one area from another, and in retrospect, the game only has one good track, here it is:

The credits music is a legit melody and all that, but whatever. It just didn't stand out at all. I remember being pretty surprised by how good Metroid 1's credits music was, for all the faults the game had. This is just kinda generic.

I clocked in at 4 hours and 59 minutes, and I'm not one to accuse Nintendo of capitalization(it says METROID right there in the title), but I have to wonder how much of that I'd call content. I didn't get to see Samus with the suit off, but you're not wringing a replay out of me. I don't understand how people can tout this game as replayable. What else is there to see? The only things I possibly missed were a couple missile packs, and even then, I got 200 of them. What, might I find more rooms generated from the same area in memory as the ones I've previously explored? No, once you've played it, you've played it all, and in the end, giving this game another run would just be barreling through sixty more goddamn hallways. If you want to see Samus half-naked that badly, here:

If you'd like to know less, read this inferior review by professional dipshit David Archey:
Edited: 25/06/13 - 15:01
~ Common sense isn't all truth.
Tuesday 25th of June 2013, 15:21 - 2
tl;dr ;)

What was the request, before I rename and move this thread in the Gameboy section?
Chiptune Justice League™ (ง'̀-'́)ง
Tuesday 25th of June 2013, 16:21 - 3
The request was what I put in the thread title: The ability to replace the MP3 on a track we've already uploaded without having to delete the entry and reup it.

I didn't know what to say in the post itself since that was completely encapsulated by the title, so I just posted the entirety of an old breakdown I did of Metroid II: Return of Samus for the Game Boy.
~ Common sense isn't all truth.
Tuesday 25th of June 2013, 19:02 - 4
What if somebody charted a submission then renamed that submission and re-upped a new file?
I mean, I guess there could be an 'edited' trail of files for that submission, so users could listen to or view older versions of the submission.

I'll have a think about it.
Chiptune Justice League™ (ง'̀-'́)ง
Tuesday 25th of June 2013, 19:09 - 5
There have been a couple times where something I uploaded had an issue with it.
plz do it sam <3
Wednesday 26th of June 2013, 07:04 - 6
supporting both the proposal AND the lovely gameboy game review~
Wednesday 26th of June 2013, 18:40 - 7
for ultimate power make a button to automatically edit the ID3 tags to whats on the site
Wednesday 26th of June 2013, 19:42 - 8
Musho wrote:
for ultimate power make a button to automatically edit the ID3 tags to whats on the site
The only decent ID3 library for PHP is massive and takes a long time to load.

I mean, I could study MP3 header/ID3 structure and write a slimmed down tagger script...

Shall add this to my long long "Maybe... if I get through enough stuff" list.
Chiptune Justice League™ (ง'̀-'́)ง
Thursday 27th of June 2013, 01:44 - 9
2xAA wrote:
Musho wrote:
for ultimate power make a button to automatically edit the ID3 tags to whats on the site
The only decent ID3 library for PHP is massive and takes a long time to load.
I mean, I could study MP3 header/ID3 structure and write a slimmed down tagger script...
Shall add this to my long long "Maybe... if I get through enough stuff" list.

haha! PHP libraries are a hassle :|
and this is maybe not the most important feature hehe
Sunday 13th of October 2013, 09:22 - 10
man, remember when I made this request? Those were the days.
~ Common sense isn't all truth.
Sunday 13th of October 2013, 14:17 - 11
This is still on my list, don't worry.
Sunday 13th of October 2013, 14:46 - 12
I actually want this feature, too, just in case I want to perform bugfixes to my songs.
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