Metroid Other M Showed Me What Metroid Could Be

Metroid Other M is weird.

I never owned the Nintendo Wii, so I missed out on almost that entire library. But I had always heard about the two Metroid games: Metroid Prime 3 and Metroid Other M. One was praised highly while the other was practically ignored. It made me curious as to why people seemed to despise Other M.

For those unaware, Metroid Other M takes place between Super Metroid and Metroid Fusion. The game features a blend of 3D and first-person perspectives and, for the first time, a talkative Samus voiced by Jessica Erin Martin. Other M tries to appeal to both the classic, 2D fans and the new 3D first-person fans from the Metroid Prime series.

On paper, the game sounds promising. In execution, however, is a different story.

When I recently played through Other M, I really liked how the game looked. I thought, for a Wii game, it looked pretty good. It made a strong first impression as it showed off the ending of Super Metroid again but in a more modern 3D aesthetic. And really, the opening for the game, up until you arrive on the Bottle Ship shows a good bit of promise.

As the game continued on, I began to see cracks in the game’s armor. The controls, while simple, felt clunky as it required you to switch to first-person now and again to either locate a random scan point to progress the story or fire a rocket during a boss fight. The decision to design the controls around the Wii remote and ignore the nunchuck were a misstep in my opinion. Controlling Samus on a 3D plane with a 2D D-Pad just never felt right. The lack of a lock-on added another sense of disorientation. The action certainly looked cool and Samus’s flourishes that finished off enemies was a precursor to what we’d see in Metroid Dread.

As the game continued on, I began to see cracks in the game’s armor.

But it’s also Metroid Dread that we got to see Samus unleashed. And this is where I think that Samus is best left as a silent protagonist who, despite whatever big alien was in her way, she’d face the challenge head on and destroy it. In Other M, we see a more humanized Samus. Or, at least, that’s what the attempt was anyway. In my opinion, this is a terrible rendition of Samus. There’s flashbacks of Samus being a defiant recruit in the Galactic Federation juxtaposed with her taking orders from her former CO, Adam Malkovich. I can’t quite pin it down as to what it is I don’t like about this Samus: is it her willingness to blindly obey her former CO, only using her abilities after he authorizes the use of them? Or is it how she’s voiced with such a dead pan emotionless tone? There’s even a section of the game where Samus learns of a traitor, named the Deleter *sigh*, and she knows she is in danger. She can’t trust anyone, including her former CO. And yet she still obeys his nonsensical authorizations of her weapons. If an experienced bounty hunter was in this situation, wouldn’t they use their weapons as they saw fit to protect themselves?

Maybe that’s where the issue lies: Samus doesn’t feel like a bounty hunter in this game. She doesn’t have any attitude. She’s just… feeble. So feeble that she freezes when she encounters Ridley. She’s just not like able at all in this game, in my opinion.

And at the end of the day, this game showed me what Metroid could be. And it could be a game that simply isn’t Metroid. Other M’s nonsensical story simply gets in the way far too often, especially with long cutscenes that border on Kojima levels of length. The cumbersome blend of a 3D Metroidvania with forced first-person sections simply don’t work in it’s favor. The lack of meaningful rewards via a new weapon for Samus is gone. 

But there was one thing that really intrigued me that I think could work.

I’m all for games trying something different and breaking the mold of their established series’. Metal Gear Rising Revengeance is one such example. It’s gameplay is nothing like any of the MGS games. But somehow, it works as it feels like it fits within that universe and the gameplay fits the character. And there’s one way I think Other M could have been awesome. And it’s if they leaned more into Metroid’s subtle horror themes.

But there was one thing that really intrigued me that I think could work.

In Other M, there’s scenes where the camera moves behind Samus’ shoulder, forcing you into an enclosed space. As you slowly walk through areas and investigate, there’s moments of true tension as you investigate a ruined lab or jump at the hiss of steam. What if Other M still told the story of the AI MB but from the angle of a horror game? Admittedly, I thought a lot about RE4 when I played these scenes and felt myself pining for this to be more like that. The Metroid games, notably Metroid Fusion, have all had some elements of horror in them. Why not explore that?

Unfortunately, what we got was a game that aimed for the stars but only landed on Uranus. 

Overall, I’ve gone back and forth on whether I liked this game or not. There’s things I liked but there’s more things that I didn’t like. Other M could have been something incredible but it just misses the mark on so many levels. It tried to do too much and didn’t excel at anything. Except for maybe making a meme. *the baby scenes*

This game could have been what Resident Evil 4 was for the RE series. But it’s more akin to RE6: a game so flawed that it forced Capcom to go back to the drawing board. Nintendo did the same here and we thankfully got Metroid Dread. But hey, it’s at least better than Federation Force.

I just realized you never find out who the Deleter/traitor is 😂 this game… oh man…

Have you played Metroid Other M? Sound off in the comments below with your thoughts on the game!

2 thoughts on “Metroid Other M Showed Me What Metroid Could Be

  1. Yeah, it’s a mixed bag. I think its more action-focused pace was a good change considering we just had come out of the Prime trilogy, Samus’ movement is quite smooth, and the idea of a story-focused Metroid game isn’t bad. But Other M fumbles some gameplay and plot elements pretty badly.

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