I borrowed Other M from a friend recently. I’m not a huge fan of the Metroid series, but I really like the games I have played. I have always been a HUGE fan of Super Metroid. I’ve also played through Metroid Fusion and Metroid Zero mission, which were both good. I played through most of Metroid Prime, but I was never able to beat the final boss. I played the original Metroid countless times, but I never got very far in it, until very recently when I beat it. They’re all very good games, but Metroid has just never grabbed me like other video game series have. I’m honestly not sure why, because the premise for the series is really cool.
Anyway, I’ve always really liked Samus’ character. She seemed like a badass bounty hunter with a bit of a softer side, as seen with the baby metroid. I likened her to Ellen Ripley from the Alien movie franchise. Ripley was a bit green and scared early on, but was never a whimpering mewling of a woman. She got things done, and became more battle hardened as the movies went on. This was how I saw Samus. Maybe a bit green at first, but by Super Metroid, she was a battle hardened warrior.
To say I was disappointed by her characterization in Other M is an understatement. The softness toward the baby metroid didn’t put me off, but the fact that she totally obeyed a commander of a military organization she was no longer a part of pissed me off. Sure, she had history with General Adam Malkovich, but to completely disregard her own safety to follow his orders? Lunacy. Samus waits for Adam’s authorization to use her powers because teamwork? It doesn’t make sense. When I was running through the lava filled areas of Sector 3, without my Varia suit, I couldn’t help but ask why this battle hardened bounty hunter was waiting for some dude she hasn’t seen in years to authorize the use of something that will not only give her an edge in battle, but keep her from dying. Seriously, what the hell?
Additionally, I understand that Samus thought she had destroyed Ridley once and for all, but when sees “him” again, she breaks down and literally acts like a scared child, I lost it. She lets one of her best friends from her past die because, she’s a weak willed woman or something? I honestly don’t get it. This is a woman we’ve seen blast her way through countless planets, destroy those planets, face Ridley, mecha Ridley, Mother Brain, the Metroid Queen, and countless other horrors, and she is scared of a Ridley “clone”, or whatever the hell he is? Samus seems meek and unconfident throughout this game, and anyone who has actually been to combat can tell you, being unconfident in your abilities can get you killed. As experienced as Samus is, this new characterization really conflicts with who she is supposed to be.
Other than Samus’ poor characterization, the story was alright, if a bit cliched. Big government military organization wants to weaponize Space Pirates and Metroids. We’ve seen it a million times before in other forms of media, but it was okay. I did like most of the story content near the ending. I won’t spoil anything, though. There may have been too many cutscenes throughout the game, however. Samus does a lot of narrating that could have been cut down, honestly.
As far as the graphics go, they look really good. I played the game on my Wii U, and while you can tell it’s a last gen game, it actually looks pretty darn crisp playing on an HD TV. The environments are all full of life and interesting. The enemies all look really good, if a little goofy at times (see the big volcano crater boss from Sector 3). Samus’ power suit looks really cool, though I would have been happier seeing the more angular power suit shoulders for when she isn’t using the Varia suit add-on. All-in-all, Nintendo knows their hardware better than anyone else, and it shows. The only other Wii games I’ve played in the past that look this good are other games Nintendo themselves created.
I was VERY disappointed by the music. Sure, there are some throwback tunes sprinkled in here and there, but for the most part, everything is just atmospheric and kind of boring. Why not use some traditional background music for different sectors? Metroid Prime did it and it worked very well. I’m not sure why they had to go the route of every other game on the block and be incredibly boring doing so. I was inclined to turn on some Brinstar OC Remixes during my visits to Sector 1, and Norfair remixes for Sector 3 because what was going on was so uninspired.
Other M uses an interesting concept of holding the Wiimote like a normal controller for most of the gameplay, then pointing the Wiimote at the screen to automatically enter a first person view to lock onto enemies and fire missiles. Shooting at enemies while in the normal mode is fluid and works pretty well. Samus auto targets enemies as long as your somewhat facing them. The gameplay was a bit weird for me at first, mainly because I hadn’t played a Wii title in so long and pointing my Wiimote at the screen to aim was a bit tough. I got used to it after some time and I had no problems moving forward. Like I said, I had problems with this at first, but after a bit of practice, I got it down very well, and I really enjoyed it. It was a different experience and a welcome one, at that. The platforming actually felt really good. Jumping onto platforms, wall jumping, using the shine spark off your speed boost, and rolling around in morph ball mode all feels very natural and didn’t take me any time to get used to.
The level design wasn’t as incredible as past Metroid games I’ve played, but it was still good. I wasn’t a fan of the game locking doors to funnel me to areas it wanted me to go early on. This opened up later in the game, but it didn’t feel “Metroid” enough for me. Metroid games are about exploration, even early on, and in a lot of the older games, you could easily find ways to get cool items earlier than designed. Other M really prevents that by holding your hand the whole way. I don’t mind the hints on the maps that Metroid Prime gave me, at least it let me steer away from the main goal to find items and such if I wanted.
When it came down to it, I still enjoyed Other M. Its a game that I’ll probably seek out my own copy so I can play it again sometime in the future. It was fun, despite some of it’s shortcomings. It’s a relatively cheap find these days, too, at only about $10 used at GameStop or your used game store of choice. You can still find new copies at big retailers like Walmart, but you’ll pay $50 for it, which isn’t really worth it to me. My suggestion is that you should definitely check out this game and give it a chance if you’ve been holding off. Later.