April 10th, 2007 | Feature
The Game Center CX Episode Guide
The front-to-back tribute to the Japanese TV show that flies in the face of Nintendo's epilepsy warnings.

 

Game Center CX Special – Back to Contents
Virtual Console
Super Metroid

Part 1

Arino first met Samus Aran in 2004, and since 2010 marks the release of the Wii game Metroid: Other M, it’s only fitting to have Arino once again tackle a Metroid game, and on the Nintendo Channel, no less. Super Metroid, the 1994 sequel to Metroid II, is repeatedly called one of the best games of all time. It’s also one of the longer and tougher entries in the franchise, so Arino may have his hands full for this one.

Before starting, Arino is greeted by AP Nakayama, who tells the kacho that he has to finish the game in 3 hours or less to get the game’s best ending, which features a bikini-clad Samus. That… probably won’t happen, but Arino accepts the challenge and begins.

The game begins in a ruined space colony station, where Arino finds a capsule with the Baby Metroid, the last of its kind, trapped in a room. Just then, he’s attacked by Ridley, Samus’ somewhat demonic nemesis. After a short firefight, Ridley flies away, leaving the space colony to self-destruct. Arino makes a dash dash out of the station, in a mild panic, as usual — he makes it to the exit with just eight seconds left on the clock, preceded by him falling off the ledges a couple of times. Nonetheless, Arino, as Samus, escapes, and the game formally begins.

Arino lands on the planet Zebes, stage of the first Metroid, and grabs familiar items like the Morph Ball and the first batch of missiles. He also finds a map station and downloads the map of the first area, Crateria. He’s a bit taken aback at how large the map is, even this early on.

He pushes on, though, and later picks up the first set of bombs, as well. One problem: the door behind him shuts, and the Torizo statue that held the bombs comes to life! A miniboss fight ensues, and Arino just isn’t prepared, eventually getting hit too many times and dying. Though he’s delighted by the brief sight of scanitly-clad Samus bursting from her power suit.

Arino continues, and rushes back to get the bombs and fight the re-animated statue once again. Though he’s nearly killed again, he stays still and pumps the enemy full of missiles, eventually winning the battle. Aside from keeping the bombs, Arino also gets restorative items to replenish his energy and missiles. He then uses the bombs to use a previously-blocked passage to the western part of the map, leading to Brinstar.

In Brinstar, he acquires the Charge Beam, but dies soon after after failing to really understand how to use it.After continuing, Arino explores a little further, and lucks into the chamber for anotherminiboss, the Spore Spawn. The giant spiky plant bulb rocks back and forth, eventually opening up to leave itself vulnerable to Arino’s attacks. But it also rains down spores that hurt Arino quite a bit. His strategy? Curl up in ball form and chill out in a corner, where he can’t get hurt, and wait for the Spawn to open again.

It’s a slow process, but it seems to work — provided that Arino actually hits the Spawn in time. At first, he doesn’t, and it continues to swing back and forth, hitting Arino and eventually killing him. Arino tries again, this time turtling on an upper ledge, which definitely seems to be more effective. After enough hits, the Spawn is destroyed and Arino can keep going. Next item: the Super Missiles!

In one room, Arino falls victim to a collapsible bridge that he can’t simply jog across. It’s then that he discovers the B-button dash, which lets him sprint across the bridge fast enough without falling, and also reminds him of Mario. After that he grabs the Spazer, a spread gun.

A few minutes later, he enters the chamber of another boss, and this one is far from mini — it’s Kraid, the humongous green alien who’s grown a bit since the first Metroid. Kraid fires large spiky things form his chest, which keep hitting Arino, and without missiles, our hero is really no match for the big guy. Soon enough, Arino’s dead again.

The second attempt is much better, as Arino has missiles this time. He sends them all into Kraid’s mouth, ad the towering lizard eventually cllapses back into the ground he came from. His big reward is the Varia Suit (not "Salt," as he first reads it), which upgrades Samus’ overall powers.

Later, Arino grabs the Speed Booster, which increases his dash speed, and which he has to use immediately, as lava starts rising below him. Then, he dashes through another corridor to get past some fast-closing gates, and soon he acquires the Ice Beam and Power Bombs. Both are very useful, but then he dies before getting to use them properly. Well, it’s just a simple continue after that, and then dropping down into another suspicious corridor…

This time, Arino must face the Crocomire, a big red creature that lives near the lava. Its one real defense mechanism is to slowly advance and pin Arino to the west wall, which is covered in spikes. Once again, panic takes over, and Arino’s turned into swiss cheese. Arino must keep pumping missiles into Crocomire’s mouth to push it back and ultimately into the lava.

Arino does succeed, and the Crocomire disappears into the lava. But no nearby doors are opening, so Arino goes back towards the spike wall. After some rumbling, the wall is busted down from the other side from the skeletonized Crocomire! Arino immediately pauses the game out of fear steeling himself for another fight. He takes a moment, unpauses, and then… the Crocomire collapses, leaving Arino with a reward of more energy items. The staff has a good laugh.

Arino gets to the next save station, and then AP Nakayama reappears. Time’s up! These challenges usually go for five hours, so Nakayama has Arino back out of the game. It says he’s only been playing for a little less than two hours though, but of course, Metroid time is different from real world time. Either way, Arino has next week to continue playing the game and see if he can still beat it in under three hours.

Part 2

Arino returns to his post, and Nakayama hands him a new tool: a cardboard sign that says "HELP" on it, that he can perch whenever he feels stuck. Unfotunately, that happens from the get-go: Arino enters a large room with small platforms a ledge way up above, but he can’t find a way to get up to the ledge. After several minutes of failure, he finally realizes he didn’t activate the Hi-Jump Boots, but all his jumping still isn’t doing anything.

After 20 more minutes, he finally puts up the Help sign. AP Nakayama comes in and gives him a vague hint about jumping at the right moment. Confused, Arino walks around a bit, and then figures it out — he goes back to the entrance, then from the end of the room, dashes to the edge of the hall and leaps up, which akes him perform a flying leap right up to that door on the high ledge. Well then.

From there, Arino gets the Grappling Beam. It’s fun to use, but Arino spends more time swinging and not enough time jumping over to the next door he needs to be at — instead, he falls into th enearby water and gets nipped by alien leeches a few too many times, stupidly dying right there.

He smartens up, and finally uses the beam to swing across the gaps he needs to, and then picks up the Wave Beam (no, Arino, not Wide Beam) and an extra tank of energy. From there, it’s on to the next area, the Wrecked Ship.

The ship is crawling with alien life, and when exploring, Arino gets shut into a small room with another boss, Phantoon, a balloon-like alien that floats around and drops blue fireballs from the ceiling. Arino continues to pump missiles into it, and just when he thinks he’s won, the Phantoon reappears and starts shooting out spirals of flame, eventually killing our hero.

But again, the second time’s the charm, and Arino survives with but 30 points of energy left. That also restores power to the ship, letting him save nearby and get more map data. From there, Arino hitches a ride on a Chozo statue that takes him to a secret room with the Gravity Suit, another upgrade that also turns Samus pink and lets Arino access the more submerged parts of the world.

The Maridia area is next, where Arino dies a couple of times, but it’s one particular room, a wide-open space where he needs to use the Grappling Beam to get through, that causes the most trouble. After what seems like two eternities, Arino finally makes it through that spot and makes his way to another boss fight against Botwoon, a small but slippery alien serpent. Despite his best efforts, Arino dies once, but once again wins by a hair on the second attempt.

Further exploration of Maridia follows, until Arino happens upon the real boss of the area, the Draygon, another lizardy creature that resembles Kraid just a tad, but with it own very lethal attacks. It grabs Arino at one point and wings him around, pinching him and choking him until he dies. And dies, and dies. Eventually, Arino fires the grappling beam at an electified spot on the wall, which sends the current through him and into the Draygon, electrocuting it.

Of course, it also saps Arino’s energy, so he has to be careful. But then he dies through other means, forcing him to once again restart. The Draygon is unpredictable, so Arino has to time his firing just right. But in due time, he finishes it off, and then collects the Space Jump upgrade, which lets him multi-jump in the air and through the rooms.

But then AP Nakayama comes back and says time’s up again for today. In the game, Arino’s playtime is 3:38, which puts him over the limit to get the best ending. But the game can still be completed, so Arino gets set to return to Super Metroid in another week.

Part 3

By now, the challenge has taken over 10 hours, so Arino wastes no time in getting back to Maridia and finishing up that area. In one hallway, he’s blocked by a wall of soft rock, guarded by an odd somesaulting enemy. Confused, Arino eventually lets the enemy walk free, and sees that it actually burrows through the wall, letting Arino pass. He then accidentally destroys it in the middle of the wall.

Once he actually gets past the wall, Arino acquires the Spring Ball, letting him jump in Morph Ball form. Later, he sees a missile upgrade, but a false-bottomed floor sends him down into another large room, where a re-animated Gold Torizo attacks him, just like earlier with the bomb upgrade. At one point he traps the Torizo in a corner while he keeps firing, but it doesn’t seem to actually be hurting the enemy. Eventually, Arino is killed again.

On the next try, the Torizo is defeated, and once more Arino explores the rest of the area, and now makes a second encounter with Ridley! Ridley is really itching for a fight this time, and wastes Arino quickly more than a couple of times. After a bit, AP Nakayama comes in to offer some advice (Arino hadn’t been using the Help sign). His chief tip is to have Arino activate automatic reserve energy, which will refill Arino’s energy the second he’s depleted, thus letting him live a little longer.

That’s enough to defeat Ridley, and Arino then makes his way to the boss monument, which opens the path to Tourian, the lair of Mother Brain and the vicious metroids. In one hall, Arino is stopped by a random hopper enemy, but then a giant metroid swoops in to devour it. Arino is then forced to fight the metroid. It soon grabs hold of him and saps his energy. But he doesn’t die — rather, the metroid lets him live.

Relieved yet still a bit panicked, Arino escapes, finds a recharge station, and continues through Tourian, finally reaching Mother Brain’s chamber, just as it was on the NES. He encounters the Mother Brain and destroys it — much faster than you would expect. And indeed, Arino walks into rear room to see the Mother Brain’s, er, brain become revived, yet attached to a giant host body.

Mother Brain’s much nastier now, killing Arino with ease. On the second try, he brings the brain near defeat, but then MB blasts Arino with a super laser, once again killing him instantly. More attempts pass, up to a dozen. Is there no way out? But on that last, 12th attempt, Arino actually had enough reserve tanks to be kept alive after the laser blasts him.

Close to being finished again, Arino watches the giant metroid swoop in and destroy Mother Brain, turning her immobile, and then restoring Arino’s energy to full. But Mother Brain rewakens, and blasts the metroid point blank. With the metroid destroyed and Samus now with more power than ever, Arino slaps Mother Brain Around with a super laser not unlike the monster’s.

Finally, the alien tyrant is destroyed, but now Arino must once again escape the planet in under three minutes. And once again, it’s another mad dash to get the hell out. Unfortunately for Arino, the escape route is long and spacious, and designed to keep him failing. He’s careful, but perhaps too careful, as he nearly makes it out of the caverns with just 10 seconds left, but as soon as he reaches one of the last doors, the clock ticks down to zero, and it’s an instant Game Over.

But again, the second time is the charm, as Arino makes it to the ship with 30 seconds to go. The game is completed in four hours and 54 minutes, but the ending bonus doesn’t show Samus removing her suit, just her helmet. Nevertheless, it’s another Virtual Console challenge in the bag for Arino.

 

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