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Metroid Fusion

Review By:  Josh Fishburn

Developer:  Intelligent Systems
Publisher:  Nintendo
# of Players:  1
Genre:  Platform
ESRB:  Everyone
Accessories:  GBA/GCN Link Cable (Metroid Prime)
Date Posted:  3-7-03

Ah, what a frustratingly enjoyable game! Metroid Fusion is a game that, in retrospect, is not as good as I thought it was while playing it. This leads me to believe that I am perhaps thinking too much, but that’s a story for another day. Much like Samus, I am infected; a fusion of two camps of thought on this game; a fence sitter. Will I accept my fate of flux, or will I pull this picket out of my butt and stubbornly defend my position? Read on to find out!

Metroid Fusion plays like a greatest hits collection of Metroid games. It has a great introduction with ties to history, all your old favorites, and none of the excess. Fortunately, this results in a great game. Unfortunately, the game is also short and linear. The biggest change from previous Metroid games is actually the story, so I’ll start there. On SR388 supervising a biologic research mission, a strange amoeba-looking organism attacks Samus. Eventually we find out that this organism (called the "X" virus) has infected Samus’s central nervous system and is disrupting her power suit, even rendering some of the suit irremovable (except by surgery). It is a good thing that somebody kept the Metroid DNA around (from the last Metroid in Super Metroid) because Samus needs it! After being given little chance of survival, a vaccine for X is developed, from this final Metroid’s DNA, that completely cures Samus. In a great plot development Samus starts the game as a "fusion" of Metroid and her former self. She is also immune to the X virus, which automatically qualifies her to investigate the research lab where X may be hiding.

All of this is introduced in the opening cut scenes with graphics that are, along with the rest of the game, gorgeous and smooth. The animation is where the in-game graphics really impress. If you think Samus animates well, wait until you see some of the bosses…wow! I only once experienced slight slowdown while fighting one of the larger bosses.

The story here is seamlessly integrated with the gameplay, which may be exciting or groan-inducing depending on who you ask. Throughout the research lab there are navigation rooms, in which you can activate a computer that explains your next objective and shows you where it is on the map. While this cuts down on expensive backtracking and fruitless searching, it also cuts down on the gameplay time. You can argue that it only cuts down on unwanted or wasted play; if this is your argument you will be happy with the play here. That said the rest of the story is really impressive. Although they seem like a pretty generic virus at the beginning of the game, we later find out that the X have the ability to mimic their past hosts; they have memory. They become a malleable element of the story and are used to great effect along with holding weapon powerups and suit upgrades in the game.

As I mentioned earlier, this game is pretty linear. Unlike previous Metroid games, the only motivation for me to deviate from the assigned path was to explore for weapons upgrades. In previous Metroid games you could spend a lot of time wandering the worlds looking for a new door to open or a new world to access. Here you know exactly where it is you are supposed to head next. The gameplay itself remains exciting and the control is near perfect. I have always loved platform games, and this does the genre and Metroid series justice. You can now grab ledges and pull yourself up; you can even pull yourself up directly into a morph ball for those ledges that require it. Although your computer helps you along through the game, there is still a challenge to be had. There were a couple times that I found myself stuck with seemingly no way to get to my destination. Some of the bosses are also quite difficult.

One aspect I wanted to give special mention to is the sound. While the music is very good, the sound really impressed me. From the bass rumble at the title screen to layers of ambience in the game, the sound stands out. Even the computer blips and bleeps have an air of authenticity to them. I highly recommend playing this game with headphones.


  • Great story with interesting plot twists
  • Silky smooth animation
  • Good pacing – you are not forced to wander if you don’t want to
  • Play the original Metroid if you have Prime and the GBA-GCN link
  • You’ll want to play this game again


  • Can be beaten very quickly
  • No mystery as to where you are supposed to go next, computer tells all
  • Doesn’t have the same epic feel that defined Super Metroid

Final Verdict:

Hooray, I am no longer on Metroid Fusion’s fence. I was able to mostly reason away its two major shortcomings. First, it is short. But I have already played through the game almost twice, one after the other, and I still have not been bored. Second, it is linear. Granted, the first time I played through the game I did not take the time to search out a lot of powerups, but the difficulty of some of the bosses does encourage exploration for upgrades. This game was meant to be played more than once, and it became less linear for me the second time through because of my focus on exploring for weapon upgrades. I can definitely recommend this game to anyone who enjoys platformers, Metroid, or Samus. Just be prepared to play it a couple times to really get your moneys worth. Not that this should be tedious, it’s a lot of fun to play.

Overall Score: 8.5

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