Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Video Game Tribute #8: Metroid

When I think of women who kick butt, there's only one name that comes to mind... and it's not Ellen Ripley, Laura Croft, or even Amy Winehouse... It's Samus Aran... the baddest intergalactic bounty hunter in the universe, the bane of every parasitic space alien's existence... and coincidentally the protagonist of one of my favorite video game series of all time... Metroid.

For those unfamiliar with these games, they're about a Bounty Hunter named Samus Aran who gets hired to infiltrate a group of Space Pirates living on the planet Zebes (who are replicating a dangerous organism called a "Metroid") and inevitably kill anything that moves. Sounds simple enough, but I've got to give credit where it's due, this was probably one of the more detailed game plots of its time... generally, an NES game would start out with something like this:

(Characrer's Name),

There's something bad happening... you should seriously consider stopping it.


Because let's be real... Japan couldn't make a Nintendo game without throwing Mario in there somewhere... I'm still not sure why a chubby Italian is the mascot of a major Japanese industry... Anyway, from there, Chaos ensues and Samus blows everything on the planet Zebes to high heaven.

There's a billion reasons why I think these games are so awesome... the main reason being that every obstacle in the game is solved in one fashion, and one fashion only... by blowing it up. Right down to the means of opening doors. Typically, you open a door by turning a knob and applying force. In most futuristic concepts, there's some kind of console on the wall, you push a button and a hatch opens... but Metroid is based so far in the future that civilization decided, "Hey, why are we wasting our time pushing buttons and turning knobs? Let's just shoot lasers!" That's right. In Metroid, hatches don't open unless you fire your gun at them. If the hatch is red, then it won't open by shooting it... so clearly you need some kind of key right? WRONG. You need a missile. I'd hate to have Samus over for dinner at my parents. They have a red door...

"Crap, can someone call AAA? I left my gun in the car!"

"Hey man, hand me that pistol, the keypad on my phone is locked..."

I swear, any further in the future and we'd be using nuclear weapons just to start up our computers. Though, given the extremity of Samus Aran's sheer badness, I'm sure it's possible that the doors in the future actually do use key cards, but Samus just feels like making a mess... and she does it with one hand tied behind her back... and the other stuffed inside a Plasma Cannon set to "Kill"... No, for real though, Samus only has one usable hand, the other is a gun. I'd like to see Amy Winehouse do THAT.

Any objections, Lady?
~ Mark

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