I can't...do it anymore. I can't just ignore this game's existance. Everywhere I go, I see people desperately trying to defend this abomination. I have time and time again had insults flinged at me for hating this game, for acknowledging the truth.
Metroid: Other M fucking SUCKS!
I can't take anymore! I must unleash the rage within me! I must take a stand and finally call this game out, like so many others have. This is my weaponization of my hatred towards the defense of this game, and the blatant attacks I have suffered for daring to have an opinion about it.
Anyone who knows me knows I adore the Metroid franchise. I jumped onto the boat with Metroid Prime and have since collected and beaten the entire franchise. Yes, even the pinball game. And when this game, the most hyped up entry in the Metroid franchise was announced, I, like many others, was hopeful. The combat system looked amazing. The study of Samus' character sounded promising, and we would even get to see the relationship between Samus and the mysterious Adam Malkovich unfold and see why she idolizes this man. It all sounded too good to be true.
And oh, was it. The game released as a title with clunky controls, the infamously horrendous representation of Samus' character, and an Adam who was the complete opposite of everything thus far established about him. This game is a mockery of Metroid. I didn't want to write a rant about this game, since it's not recent, but my hand's been forced. I have taken too much crap from this game's defenders and I need to scream. Let my rage towards this game be known once and for all!
I GODDAMN HATE THIS PIECE OF SHIT GAME WITH EVERY FIBER OR MY BEING!
First off, let's get into a big argument when defending this game's development decisions:
It's Sakamoto's series, he can do what he wants!:
Metroid is NOT Yoshio Sakamoto's franchise. He did not create it. That was all the work of Gunpei Yokoi, the father of many franchises in Nintendo's library. Never heard of him? Yokoi was a major game producer within Nintendo. He oversaw the development of many classics such as Donkey Kong, Metroid, Kid Icarus, and even the Game & Watch titles. He even invented the gameboy. That D-Pad you see on every controller these days? That was his idea too. The man invented the modern concept of gaming.
Hell, you know Shigeru Miyamoto? He worked under Yokoi and learned game design from him. His games only got the attention of the higher powers of the company because Yokoi vouched for him. Yokoi made the face of Nintendo the man he is today.
This man was Nintendo's God in the flesh. Nay, he was video gaming's god in the flesh.
Anyway, Gunpei Yokoi was the original producer of the Metroid series. He personally oversaw the development of the three original entries, Metroid, Metroid 2, and Super Metroid. The series was, for all intents and purposes, his. Now, where does Sakamoto come in on this?
It would be a lie to say Sakamoto had no part to play in the series. In fact, he did. He was a major part of the original game...As a level designer. That's it. He also wasn't even involved in Metroid 2, and while it is true that he was the lead writer for Super Metroid, this means quite little considering he was one of many writers and Super Metroid doesn't really have a narrative outside of visuals, which were mostly executed by the graphic designers. And even if he was the original writer, there were still editors and people to look over the plot and call out anything stupid.
Now, what happened to Yokoi to singlehandedly pass on this mantle of Metroid to the man who owns it today? Was it his respect for Sakamoto, his trust that the man can lead the series to greatness? No.
Sadly, in October 4, 1997, Gunpei Yokoi was fatally injured in a car accident and died two hours later. Video gaming lost a great man that day. With the franchises' lead producer gone, the series had to go to someone. At that point, Nintendo decided to split it. Yoshio Sakamoto got the rights to direct a sequel to Super Metroid, with Takehiro Izushi as the producer. At the same time, the GameCube was just announced. Cautious about how to port Metroid to this new console and enter it into the 3D market, Nintendo hired another company to make a light experiment with the idea. Enter Retro Studios. They made Metroid Prime, it was fucking awesome. When asked, most fans admit that the Prime series is probably what kept Metroid from dying off as a franchise after Yokoi's death.
Metroid: Fusion was Sakamoto's creation, and how well received was it? While it's true the game's kind of developed a cult following over the years, there is no denying this game probably should have been the red flag that Sakamoto wasn't cut out for this franchise. The first sin was the fact the game was linear. Now, that wouldn't be so much of a problem is the series wasn't built on exploration. Hell, it invented the idea of exploration and non-linearity in a video game, opening up the concept of experimenting with equipment and finding your way through what isn't always an obvious path.
So it was a bad sign when Fusion came out and completely axed the concept this series invented. Instead, you're lead through a linear environment with a computer that told you where to go, and incidents that constantly blocked you off or opened a new path for you. The exploration the series was famous for was entirely removed in this game.
This, coupled with a massive redesign of Samus' suit, seen here , led to an aggressive fan response when the game was first released. A lot of people didn't like this reinvention of the franchise, and the fact they decided to reveal Samus' personality within the game by having a formerly (mostly) silent protagonist speak throughout the game, which many fans argued should have been left to interpretation. Shigeru Miyamoto himself even agreed this was a mistake and that he supported the argument fans were making.
Now if all this sounds similar to the complaints about Other M, it just goes to show you that apparently Sakamoto is a very slow learner, because he fucking pulls this shit again in Other M.
Sakamoto had no other projects on Metroid for a few years, and Retro went on to create Metroid Prime: Echoes, which was also badass, and MEtroid Prime 3: Corruption, which while struggling against the wii's sometime uncooperative controls, also managed to be a damn fine game. Yes, it looked like Retro studios was steamrolling this game forward, bringing Samus Aran through amazing adventures with each attempt, while still holding true to the game's formula. There is a reason that these games are the most critically acclaimed in the franchise.
And then, Sakamoto finally came out and announced his vision for the series. A game that will reveal Samus' character, a game that will revolutionize Metroid much like how the Prime series did, a game that will answer all questions about the series!
Well...I've stalled enough, let's talk about Sakamoto's "masterpiece".
Inconsistancies and retcons:
Metroid: Other M has such a blatant disregard for the canon, that it seems this is probably going to be the largest part of the blog, or at least one of the largest. But it must be said that the fact Sakamoto clearly didn't think to familiarize himself with the franchise's plot, (Either that or he just didn't care) is where the game took its greatest hit.
Samus serving under Adam Malkovich:
Now people like to mention that Adam is used in the official Metroid Manga, and he does interact with Samus, but there is a major difference in this case that I would like to point out. When defending this game, people like to argue that the manga is canon, and that it explains Other M's plot perfectly. But this cannot possibly be the case, because in the manga, Adam and Samus only know eachother for one mission before she left the Federation, However, Metroid: Other M would like you to believe that Samus had served under Adam her entire military career.
So which is it, defenders? If the Manga is indeed canon, than the Other M explanation about Adam being Samus' longtime superior officer is complete bullshit, but if the Other M explanation is canon, than that means the manga cannot possibly be right. You cannot accept one's understanding of the relationship without depriving the other of its consistancy.
See, Other M makes it out that Samus idolizes Adam, sees him as a father figure, and trusts his judgement above all else. However, the manga, used as the first source of this relationship, implies no such thing between them. They're more like two coworkers that get along around the office than familial bond. I'll go into more detail on this when it's time to gripe about Adam in full, but for now, long story short, the manga does not say what Other M does about these two, despite people constantly citing it as evidence their father/daughter relationship existed prior.
Samus' suit is powered by will:
Metroid: Other M establishes that Samus' suit can only be active while she is conscious and if she falls asleep or is knocked out, then it dematerializes. First off, who the hell designs a suit that doesn't work when you're in a vulnerable state like unconsciousness? The chozo that invented this thing are said to be geniuses of technology and combat, I'm pretty fucking sure they wouldn't make such a stupid mistake.
Anyway, I suppose this is supposed to explain why the suit vanishes off Samus' body in her death animations in the 2D games, but there's a difference between being unconscious and being dead.
The problem this causes is that, while it is ungodly stupid, this causes Other M to contradict Metroid Fusion. Hell, it causes Other M to contradict itself, but I'll get to that in a second.
See, in Fusion's opening, Samus gets infected with a parasite called the X, which infects people's bodies, consumes them, and copies their body and personalities, much like the monster in John Carpenter's The Thing. Federation scientists desperately bring Samus' unconscious body to their ship and try to remove the Parasite from her. They say in the game, that they had to remove Samus' suit because the X had infected it, and in order to save her life, it'd have to be completely removed from her body. Even the internal cybernetics in her or whatever the fuck operates the goddamn thing.
Samus was unconscious and her armor was still active in this game! If Metroid: Other M's ridiculous "Powered by will!" explanation is correct, then that shouldn't be the case. Samus' armor would have dematerialized during her unconscious state, rendering the operation impossible and thus making sure the parasite would fully infect her. Further contradiction is the fucking suit is still on her body the entire goddamn time she's unconscious in that scene! It doesn't dematerialize, it doesn't go anywhere, it stays active and on her body the whole time! This fucking explanation about the suit being powered by will didn't exist in the franchise until Other M! Sakamoto pulled that explanation out of his fucking ass so he'd have an excuse to show off Samus'!
Now what exactly was up with that comment I made about how Metroid: Other M completely contradicts itself in this aspect? Well, it's later found out in the plot that the reason enemies from Super Metroid are on the Bottle Ship is because scientists removed DNA from Samus' armor while she was asleep and cloned them. Read that again. WHILE SHE WAS ASLEEP. Remember, it's established Samus has to actively will the armor into existance, which means that if she was sleeping, it would have been inactive, and thus they would not have been able to get the samples off it, thus meaning that this game's plot is actually impossible by it's own logic.
Furthmore, are you seriously expecting me to believe that even when Samus wills her armor out of existance, all the dirt, grime, alien blood and whatnot just rematerialize with it when she puts it back on? How the fuck is that even possible?
Samus wuvved her pwecious widdah metwoid-Oh wait, no she didn't.
I refuse to call this thing anything other than one it is. An infant metroid. In Other M, they try to explain that Samus is emotionally wrecked over the death of the infant metroid from Super Metroid and this is thus why she's so fragile. According to Other M, Samus loved the little floating jello mold like a child after it hatched and then imprinted onto her as it's mother.
Right, because nothing makes me think "Adorable child I love and adore" like one of a race of floating alien parasites that feed off the life energy of others. Okay, I can understand that yes, if Samus didn't feel anything for the infant metroid, she'd have just shot the little booger and walked off, but that act of mercy is not an absolute sign she immediately fell in love with the thing. More like she didn't want to shoot the equivalent of a newborn defenseless kitten. That's not "Love", that's just not being a fucked up heartless bitch.
What further contradicts this idea is the fact that Samus in Super Metroid reveals she gave the Infant Metroid to the Federation for (possibly painful) experiments and then goes on to narrate how pleased she is with that idea. So yeah...that's a sign you love someone, abandon them as a baby to a fate of god knows what at the hands of scientists.
Some people try to argue that Samus may have developed maternal feelings for it overtime, but she doesn't ever mention this in her monologue of mentally high fiving herself and literally the next time she sees it, the Metroid's being taken away by Ridley, and the time after that, it tries to fucking murder her as a predator acting on instinct would attempt to do.
The final "example" that Samus loves the metroid is the fact that she seems emotionally crushed after the infant's attempt to protect her from Mother Brain leads to it being killed by MB. This is probably one of the more speculative examples, and it's literally grasping at nothing, because we don't see, nor are we informed of Samus' thoughts on the infant's death at any point during or after this scene.
Others try to point out that she is enraged over it's death due to the fact she fires violently at Mother Brain with the hyper beam after it dies. Uh...Yeah. The only reason she's attacking Mother Brain so fiercely in that scene is because you're spazzing out on the fire button. This would be a better argument if it was a cutscene, not you doing the shooting yourself.
After Mother Brain's death, Zebes starts to explode. Samus flees, gets to her ship, the game zooms out to show Zebes go boom, and Samus' ship flies towards the screen to show you she survived. And the game ends there. No dialogue about mourning the metroid's death, no scene of Samus shedding a tear...NOTHING ELSE HAPPENS.
Not even Metroid Fusion, a game with more dialogue and cutscenes, set after Super Metroid, ever mentions Samus' feelings towards the infant metroid.
So all in all, there was NOTHING in the past games to ever imply Samus loved the infant Metroid. Other M yet again bullshitted this explanation.
I know WHY this exists, it's because of fantheorists and fanfiction/art creators who thought the idea of Samus loving a baby metroid would be adorable, or good drama for her character, and Sakamoto tried to pander to that. Whether it made a lick of sense or not.
Oh sure, Nintendo used the idea in a manga once or twice, but never considered those canon and in one of the comics, they were doing it for humor.
We're just suddenly supposed to believe Samus has always had these feelings for the little parasite just because Sakamoto said so? No. Show, don't tell. A law of visual medium you're going to realize Sakamoto has apparently never heard of.
Speaking of metroids....
Metroids are suddenly unkillable if they can't be frozen.
What a load of fucking crap. In Other M, Metroids are treated like they're invincible if they cannot be frozen, and there supposedly exists a variant of Metroids that can't be frozen. Okay, so aside from the fact that it's probably impossible to be genetically incapable of being frozen in ice unless you're made out of fire and vodka, why exactly is this suddenly the case?
...No seriously, why? The game didn't bother to explain. I know that in the original game and Super Metroid, this was the only way gameplay wise to kill a Metroid, but Super Metroid, the Prime games, and hell, even Other M itself, seem to suggest this whole "Freeze metroids to kill them" claim is false. See, in the Prime games, while the Ice Beam is capable of freezing a metroid, all it does is provide an easy kill. You can still destroy a metroid through every other means.
And yet Other M just expects you to forget that and just accept this ludicruous logic when it states that the reason Samus wasn't allowed to go into the sector with the unfreezable metroids is because she has no way to combat them, so Adam is forced to sacrifice himself to detonate Sector Zero and kill the Metroids. By the way, if Metroids are now unkillable if they can't be frozen, how the fuck did Adam blowing up the section of the ship they were in do the trick? Did you even have this shit proofread before you sent it out, Sakamoto?
Oh, and I almost forgot, remember in the opening of Other M, and the ending of Super Metroid where Mother Brain annihilates the Baby Metroid without freezing it? I can understand Sakamoto not being aware of metroids being able to be killed in the Prime Series, but for God's sake, he WROTE Super Metroid, he should have been aware killing Metroids without freezing them is possible because he provided the first example of it.
Even worse is the game constantly implies there are unfreezable metroids, but guess how many times you actually see one? Once? Twice? For a brief moment? For an extended period of time? How about NEVER. They try to convince you these metroids are unfreezable, but you never see them. You're not allowed to go to the area they're infesting, and the one time you see one of this new type of species, Adam kills it by FREEZING IT. I know why this was done, though, so that there would be a reason for Adam to have to die so that his sacrifice to save Samus that was mentioned in Fusion can be revealed, but in a series where literally anything you could possibly think of seems to be a creature that exists in its world, Sakamoto's best idea on that was seriously "Unfreezable metroids"?
EDIT: Got someone who tried to correct me here and say the unfreezable metroids in Sector Zero was confirmed by Adam. To that, I say no. He says there's a chance the metroids in Sector Zero are unfreezable. As in, he's not sure. So no, it's not confirmed. Trust me, I went back and watched the scene again after someone brought this up. He only speculates there's unfreezable metroids in Sector Zero. His unsureness in this, and the fact the only Sector Zero Metroid you ever see dies from being frozen, larval stage or not...there's no outright proof in the game ever.
Given the game never confirms the process in making MEtroids unfreezable was a success, the closest thing to proof we're delivered is that metroids MIGHT be unfreezable. It could have easily been avoided by, I don't know...showing one boasting immunity to freezing technology in a flashback or something? You could show the scientists using something like the ice beam on a metroid and it doesn't freeze. This wouldn't have been that hard to add to the scene. But then again, this is Other M, it feels that you're too dumb to take visual evidence at its word and feels the need to fucking tell you that there MAYBE are unfreezable metroids and then be like "Yeah, just take my word for it. You don't need further proof then that."
Also...WHY would the Federation be trying to make metroids unfreezable? (Yes, this is another Federation experiment. I should write a section on how stupid the Federation is portrayed in this game.) After game after game after game of seeing the Space Pirates try and FAIL to tame these things, resulting usually in massive casualties on their part each time, the Federation not only wants to try to do what is a surefire bad idea, but take away the one weakness the metroids have in the process? What if they broke out and started going apeshit on their own masters, like they always do? What's your strategy then? Die? That's going to be your only option when the shit hits the fan in this scenario.
Starting to see why Otacon in Metal Gear always intentionally makes his inventions flawed in some way...
"It was my first joint operation since becoming a Freelance Bounty Hunter."
Samus says this in regards to how Other M's mission is supposedly the first time she ever worked alongside the Federation on a mission instead of being a solo agent under their payroll...Because yeah, apparently Prime 3, where she spearheaded a Federation assault on the Space Pirate homeworld never happened. Yet another incident of Sakamoto ignoring shit.
And don't give me that "Well, Corruption happens AFTER Other M" excuse defenders stupidly pull whenever this is brought up, because Nintendo has already confirmed that Metroid Other M is the second to last game in the timeline, with Fusion as the game coming after, meaning that claim is impossible.
The Ridley Scene
The one scene where Metroid: Other M manages to shit all over itself is the infamous "Ridley Scene" where Samus comes upon the enemy she's faced numerous times, Ridley, and proceeds to have anxiety attacks and basically have the mental equivalent of a computer crash. This confused newcomers to the series, and hardcore fans alike, because not only does this make no sense whatsoever, it also doesn't explain the reason why Samus would be afraid of Ridley.
And before anyone jumps on me about the scene in the manga, I know it exists. That's not the point. The point is that for a game that rams exposition down your throat with constant narrations, the game suddenly decides to give no input whatsoever for this reaction on Samus' part. The slightest hint is that for a brief moment where Samus turns into a small child, cowering in fear of Ridley. Now I know this is supposed to reference something I'm going to reveal in a moment, the problem is the horrendous execution of the scene. Having Samus turn into a small child does not reveal anything about her past with him, it just makes the scene look fucking weird.
Now, with that out of the way, let me reveal what this scene is trying, but failing to explain to you. The manga reveals that Samus' mother was murdered by Ridley when Samus was 3 years old, and that Ridley also tried to kill Samus, but failed to. Due to this traumatic event, Samus grew up with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and when she finally saw Ridley again, she suffered anxiety attacks and fainted in front of him.
Now this would explain why Samus proceeds to freak out around Ridley in Other M, but the manga then proceeds to completely buttfuck this scene's sense as well by showing later on in the second book that Samus triumphed over her fear of Ridley and faced him without being even the slightest bit intimidated by him. I'll show the fight from the manga as evidence below.
And even then, since this scene, throughout the series, she's:
- Encountered Ridley twice in Metroid Prime, once as a brief encounter and again as a fight.
- Fought him two more times in Metroid Prime 3
- And fought him yet two more times on Super Metroid, never once showing sign of fear or intimidation by him.
So really, we're supposed to just believe that her traumatic fear of Ridley came back for no reason because Sakamoto didn't know how to apply drama in this game in a way that made sense?
Now, there is the argument that Samus is emotionally wrecked over the death of the infant metroid and thus isn't able to focus on her mission, but I have to call absolute horseshit on this theory. We've seen Samus have to deal with loss over and over again. She witnessed the death of one of the Chozo who raised her, Grey Voice, she had to helplessly witness Dark Samus kill and absorb her friends and companions in Metroid Prime 3, and later we see the death of Adam, who Other M claims is the most important person in her life, and none of these things have ever affected her ability to do her mission.
Samus has always been seen as someone who, while she can express emotions and can feel loss, knows there is a time and a place for these emotions, and has always set them aside during a job only to let them out later, like when she grieved the loss of her companions in Prime 3 after the job was done. She didn't cry for them during her mission because she still had work to do. But after the job was finished and there was time to herself, then she let out her feelings.
Other M even does this with Samus only grieving the loss of Adam after the game is done. Oh sure, she desperately tries to convince him not to sacrifice himself to destroy the unfreezable metroids, but when the act is done, she knows to suck it up and have her feels when she's not on a ship with things trying to kill her.
And yet defenders suddenly say that she can't keep her shit together when she sees the death of a parasitic abomination she herself has killed hundreds of? Even if we were to believe she loved the thing, the death of a fucking metroid she only knew for about, oh, I don't know, an hour or so, is suddenly more emotionally impacting to her than the death of her friends, the death of her commanding officer and mentor, and the loss of the one who raised her from a child?
Yeah...bullshit. And Other M doesn't even provide any reason to believe Samus' freakout over Ridley was caused by her sadness over the metroid's death. It doesn't explain her freakout PERIOD. So no, I don't believe this is the reason. I believe Sakamoto wanted to add drama to this game and was yet again willing to ignore the canon to do so.
The final argument is that Samus thought Ridley was dead for good, and that him suddenly coming back from the grave, which the game explains is because this Ridley is actually a clone (Yes...they seriously pulled that shit), that her sudden surprise at seeing him alive is what caused her to panic.
Now I know that Sakamoto bullshitted the excuse that Ridley has only ever died in Super Metroid, but considering the many violent ways that he's been defeated, there is no reason for Samus to ever believe that Ridley is that easy to kill, nor does Sakamoto's claim make any sense. Let's look at the many ways Ridley's been beaten in the franchise:
- Zero Mission Manga: burned to a skeleton.
- Metroid Prime: Blown off a high cliff and explodes upon hitting the ground.
- Metroid Prime 3: Has his mouth violently ripped open and Samus' gun jammed down his throat, repeatedly shooting into his stomach before leaving him to fall to his death and explode again.
- Metroid Prime 3 rematch: Ridley melts into a pool of phazon.
- Super Metroid: Explodes.
So tell me, what in the hell convinced Samus to assume Ridley wasn't dead any of these other times? Even better question, how the fuck did none of these losses kill him, aside from the Super Metroid one? You don't just walk off exploding, being incinerated, melting, having your throat shot to hell, and exploding again. And if we're to believe that Ridley is seriously capable of surviving things like this, Samus should know at this point that Ridley is a very hard person to keep dead.
Now the scene could have redeemed itself if we actually see Samus regain her sense and kill Ridley once again, but this doesn't happen. Samus continues to freak out and piss her suit for a good TWO MINUTES before something happens. MEanwhile, Ridley for some reason isn't taking advantage of this opening to kill her.
No. The only reason that Samus is apparently brought back to her senses is that Ridley ends up getting shot by a Federation Soldier named Anthony, who I guess is Samus' longtime friend despite the fact he's never appeared in the series berfore. Anthony decides to hold off Ridley while Samus composes herself, before Ridley's tail bat him into a pit of magma.
This leads to one of the more infamous incidents of Samus getting 1-upped by an NPC. Samus, the greatest bounty hunter in the galaxy, cannot pull herself together to fight a foe she canonically no longer is supposed to be afraid of, and has fought countless times, and yet Anthony, a random Federation grunt, is taking Ridley head on. Also, Anthony's gun isn't loaded. Anthony's willing to fight Ridley, (Who by the way, looks like this , if you're not a Metroid familiar. Would YOU fight that thing?) without a weapon to combat him with. Meanwhile, Samus is crying in the corner. Sure, it cost Anthony his life, but he at least showed that in this game, random 1-off characters are ballsier than the protagonist.
Samus only THEN, after showing she's too afraid of Ridley to even stop her friend from getting murdered by the fucking thing, finally gets off her stupid ass and tries to fight Ridley, only to do the stupidest thing a professional bounty hunter could do. She doesn't make sure he is dead. Again. Look at all the shit Ridley's apparently survived, according to Sakamoto. Did Samus really think just shooting him alot was evidence enough he was going to stay down? Cut his head off, step on his throat, do something. Woman, you should know Ridley doesn't stay dead this easily.
Samus walks off, exposing herself to a sneak attack by Ridley, who then retreats from the fight. Does Samus at least chase him down to finish the job? Not immediately. Adam has to tell her to go and kill him. And when we see Ridley again? Something else has already killed him.
Samus never gets to show the audience she can handle the task of killing Ridley, she never shows determination in defeating him...Ridley is only in this game so that Samus can look weak in front of him, and something else axes him off after his purpose is served. The story had no intention of showing Samus in a moment of bravery against Ridley.
And you defenders SERIOUSLY defend this scene? Also, final note? Ridley's new beak design looks fucking ridiculous in this game. They made him look like a duck.
Character Assassination, HOOOOOO!
Alright, I've stalled long enough. Let's get on the big one:
Now before we begin, let me explain. I love Samus Aran. I mentioned she's one of my favorite video game characters of all time. She's easily my favorite video game female of all time, and I've even confessed to having a bit of a crush on her as a teenager at one point.
So you can imagine I didn't take too kindly to the stripped down sexist piece of crap this game tried to pass off as a character I idolized.
Now somebody has already explained in great detail in an article called "Other M: The Elephant in the Room" what's especially fucked up about Samus' relationship with Adam and how it borders uncomfortably on an abusive relationship through the eyes of a mistreated female thinking about her male superior with a delusional gaze, so I'm not going to get too much into that, but I will recommend that you read this article, as it raises quite a disturbing point about Sakamoto's vision for the franchise's protagonist.
Now the thing about Samus Aran is that she is meant to be a contrast to female game characters in media. While most females wear clothing that draws attention to their slender anatomy, Nintendo decided to draw attention AWAY from Samus' gender by slapping her inside of a massive metal suit. The armor is bulky and large, leaving no trace of a feminine physique, Samus doesn't have dynamic voice acting in most games so there's no female voice coming out of this character, and her visor is tinted so you cannot see her face. What you do see is a powerful being capable of slaying dangerous monsters as a day job while having a proud walk and an intimidating appearence.
It's a pretty decent system that shows why Samus stands at higher praise than most females, as you don't see an attractive busty babe with hips as smooth as a pearl, instead getting a glimpse of a giant armored badass that at first glance can actually be mistaken for a man. While it is true that the Prime games do have Samus grunt and wince when she takes damage, leaving you with a clearly female tone of voice, they still honored this.
The games are so fickle about you not identifying this character by her gender that the only time you can actually see what this awe-inspiring figure actually looks like in detail is through still images you unlock through speed running.
How many times do you see Samus outside of her suit in the original game? Once, at the end.
How many times do you see Samus outside of her suit in Super Metroid? Once, at the end.
How many times do you see Samus outside of her suit in Metroid Prime? Once, and even then, at the end and only her helmet's removed.
How many times do you see Samus outside of her suit in Echoes? Once, at the end.
Corruption: Okay, twice, once at the beginning and again at the end, but in the former case, only for about 3 seconds and you don't get much of a view of her.
Now let's look at the games Sakamoto's worked on:
Zero Mission: There's an entire section of Samus not having her suit on, and even a boss fight with this.
Fusion: There's quite a few pictures of Samus suitless and the suit's been changed look more feminine.
Other M: All the fucking time.
Which is yet another example of Sakamoto either not knowing what makes this series good, or intentionally trying to change something about Metroid to fit his own personal desires. He keeps doing the one thing the games specifically are designed to NOT DO. Forcefeed you that Samus is a woman. Literally the first fucking thing you see with Other M is Samus NOT in her armor. Her visor is transparent at almost all times so that you can see it is indeed a woman inside the helmet, and do I even need to discuss how often she is not in her suit, but rather in that tight tight TIGHT Zero Suit that just shoves it in your face what a sexy babe she is?
And on tops of that, the suit's been downsized, becoming smaller, more slender, and having more evident curves around the waist area. Almost to the point it begs the question how Samus is able to breathe with that small of a waist on her suit pressing into her.
This right here is an immediate sign that Other M, and of course, Sakamoto, betrays everything about Metroid. But this isn't even the worst part. The worst part is her fucking personality. In that...Despite what Other M defenders and even haters alike think...She really doesn't have much of one in this game. Talking is not the same as having a personality. Emoting is not the same as having a personality. Personality is defined by one's behavior, one's reactions, the tone of one's voice, the things they say, the things they do, the way they interact with other people, the way they think of themselves. There is not a lot of this in Other M, despite what people think. Samus has a stiff walk in the game, she barely shows any emotion outside of...two scenes. The Ridley scene, which I already went into how that was halfassed to hell, and the scene where Adam sacrifices himself to kill those...Nope, I bitched about the unfreezable metroids enough, he dies to kill them. That's two scenes where she shows some kind of behavior, and the rest of it...by god, she acts so stiff and monotone that you'd think she was a fucking android, if they didn't already show that she was a human female.
Yeah, there's some argument that in the flashbacks, she shows more of a personality, but she was still just the normal teenager trope, the rebel, the one who hates her orders, and likes to stick it to the man, the one who wants to be tough and wants to be one of the guys, but is always treated like she's some little girl who has no place with the big boys. It's so fucking generic that it almost doesn't count as a dynamic personality. Fucking hate when people do shit like this, and it's a fucking epidemic in gaming these days. You want to make a character interesting? Stop using fucking cliches and TRY. Put some godforsaken effort into it.
In the modern scenes, there's no life in the way she acts, and when there is, it's usually a detriment to her character, which is where all the cries of sexism come from. Yes, I am dipping my fingers into that honeypot. There is honest to god, a big dramatic thing about Samus in this game. In which the relationship between her and Adam has become tense, and you eventually learn why. Turns out, Samus did not like being restrained by orders, she left the Federation, and Adam to use her power, her suit, her abilities for a greater cause without being held back by the chain of command. And how does she envision this? How does she look upon her desire to do the right thing without having to be bound to Adam's leash.
This, what I am about to tell you, is one of the most disgusting things I've ever seen come out of a female portrayal in a video game.
Samus sees her independance as childish stupidity. She looks down on it, she depreciates herself, says she was just a naive child, and it was so stupid of her to desire such a thing. The one defining thing that made Samus so great in the franchise, strength, independance, and a will to do the right thing at any cost...is the one thing Sakamoto makes her hate about herself in Other M's plot.
What. The fuck, Sakamoto? Like...seriously? This is your idea of Samus Aran? The poster girl of feminism in gaming, the character who is supposed to be defined not by gender, but by her strength, her confidence, and her will...And you have her call these amazing traits of hers childish stupidity?
Oh my god, man.
I...have no words for this. I just...don't. I cannot, as I sit here, come up with something to say about this. It's stunning, really, what a low move Sakamoto pulled her. The very things that people love about Samus, you just made her hate about herself?
I have to move on...this is just...Oh my god.
Also, before anyone tells me "Oh, well, Samus needing Adam's authorization didn't affect anything too much", let me ask you this? Do you think Samus could have maybe saved the Federation soldiers from the Deleter if Adam restricting all of her navigation tools, preventing her from getting to certain areas quickly wasn't an issue? Because that sure as hell sounds likely.
Also, feel free to try and defend the fact Samus would have just sat on her ass and let Anthony, one of her best friends, get thrown into a pit of lava by a monster if Daddy Adam didn't tell her she could use the grapple beam. Seriously people, she literally just sits there and watches Anthony about to get thrown to his death by a monster holding him, kicking and screaming, over it's head, about to drop him into lava. And she only attempts to save him once Adam tells her she has his permission to do so.
Samus' stupidity in waiting for Adam's approval on everything almost cost Anthony his life, because she was perfectly happy to let him die merely because Adam didn't speak up sooner. Think about that when you try to tell me Samus in this game isn't a fucking dunce.
The Galactic Federation:
Sakamoto...just because the franchise was obviously based off the Alien franchise (Badass female fighting race of nigh unstoppable parasitic aliens inhabiting a distant planet.) doesn't mean you HAVE to turn the Federation into the fucking Weyland-Yutani corporation.
I get that the series has established with Prime 3 and Super Metroid that the Space Pirates have been beaten down so hard by Samus Aran that they will probably never be able to be a serious threat to Federation space again, but Sakamoto keeps trying to turn the Galactic Federation into the villains now.
There's several problems with this. For one thing, the whole idea of the government being evil is nothing creative. I get that government corruption exists, and even in fiction, it's treated as a reality. But to make your central villain some corrupt military or seat of power or whatever...it's been done to death so fucking hard, and even if it wasn't, it doesn't work for Metroid.
Metroid is a series about fighting horrifying creatures, aliens, metroids, the Mother Brain...It's not another fucking generic "Freedom fighter against the government" thing. Sorry if I seem a little unfocused here, but this just...shows how poorly Sakamoto seems to understand why he was given.
Okay, before I break down on this topic, let me explain. In Metroid: Other M, it's revealed the Federation, who are established as...a Federation, they're the government of the galaxy, have been cloning creatures to use as bioweapons. Not unlike the Umbrella Corporation in a sense. Here's the problem. It's so fucking cliche. It was cliche 20 years ago, and it's cliche now.
But what particularly is wrong with this? It's not so much the cloning itself. It's what they're cloning. The federation is recreating its own enemies. Cloning the metroids would be bad enough, but they cloned the SPACE PIRATES. The people they've been trying to wipe out for YEARS. They finally get rid of these guys...and they rebuild the Space Pirate army through cloning.
Why? Because they need soldiers, and making brainwashed Space Pirates works for that? They're the GALACTIC Federation. They own the entire galaxy. And who do they intend on fighting? Their only enemy was the Space Pirates, and Space Pirates are GONE. Samus handled that. They are no more. They've been reduced to nothing.
And what the fuck was their plan for when they released these things into battle? Wouldn't the soldiers find it a little suspicious they're suddenly told to work alongside creatures that they've been trying to kill?
But even worse than the Space Pirates, guess who else they made a copy of? Brain in a jar herself, Mother Brain. The LEADER of the Space Pirates...WHAT?! Why?! Mother Brain is the one who organized the Space Pirates to be a massive threat against the Federation, and you made a copy of her?! Because they needed an AI for certain processes? They already HAVE AIs! The fucking Aurora Units. What reason did the AI have to BE a Mother Brain copy?
Now, they claim that the Mother Brain copy, so fucking cleverly called Melissa Bergman, AKA, MB, I'm sure Sakamoto was stroking his genius on that one, was tamed, and controlled, I think I remember, through a hairpin...A hairpin...Okay, so the hairpin was actually a restraining device, and oh look, it resembles the nucleai of Metroids, that's actually pretty clever, I'll admit. This I guess kept her from going crazy, and she was used to help with experiments, and to be the mother figure to Metroids, someone who can tame and control them psychically. Not sure how that works, but whatever. But let me stop here.
They rebuilt Mother Brain. They made her able to telepathically control Metroids, successfully, I might add, and then they left her on a ship with the cloned Space Pirates, her loyal minions...
What the fuck could possibly go wrong?
Anyway, MB was supposed to control Metroids so that the Federation could weaponize the parasites, for use against...no one. They have no enemies. Who are they going to fight, themselves?
Predictably, though, MB goes insane after the Federation finally realizes what a stupid fucking idea it was to make a reproduction of their most dangerous enemy and tries to kill her, seems to regain the memories of Mother Brain, and uses the army the Federation so stupidly handed to her on a silver platter to go berserk on the station and then makes her plan to assault a Federation planet with her army of...unfreezable fucking metroids and Space Pirates, who are now Cyborg Space Pirates thanks in kind to how fucking stupid the Federation is.
So...the best thing Sakamoto could come up with is...Have the federation go both greedy and straight up retarded so that he did not have to make a new villain, he could just rebuild the Space Pirate army and have Mother Brain come back. This just reinforces the thoughts of many Metroid fans who assume Sakamoto is not only uncreative, but he doesn't even try to be creative.
Now...I sort of came up with an idea to make this idea work. That, left with no Space Pirates left to fight, and most of the other threats left to Samus, the Federation was starting to lose popularity. Fearing rebellions and secession and such from the many Federation colonies, they had to make the people want to stay under Federation control. The fear of the Space Pirates aided that. People were too afraid to leave Federation control because it would make them defenseless to Pirate attack.
With the pirates gone however, that fear was gone as well. And people were starting to express disinterest in Federation occupation. (Federation Occupation, Federation Occupation, that's fun to say.) So to counter a possible revolution, they needed people to believe the Pirates were still around. So this is why they'd start cloning the Pirates. They would use the clones to convince people the threat was still very much alive, and thus, scare them into staying in the government's power.
This would still require the stupid "Federation is really evil" excuse, but...at least this shit would make sense then.
Let's talk about our main antagonist, the clone of Mother Brain that was Sakamoto's desperate attempt at having to dodge any remote sign of a creative plot.
Okay, I technically have already went into great detail just what MB is as a character, now I want to discuss her flaws. Mainly, the fact her plan would never have fucking worked.
MB wants to use the monsters on the Bottle Ship to raid the Federation home planet and wipe out the people who tried to have her killed. Okay, that's a pretty common villain motive, but here's the thing. MB has one ship, with no weapons, no shields, and no evasive capabilities. The thing is a massive sitting duck.
The Federation is a FEDERATION. Meaning they have an armada of gunships. The moment this ship, which they know is going to attack them, even comes close to their planet, they'll just blow it the fuck up. End of story. That's it. MB, the unfreezable metroids, the Space Pirates? All that shit? Gone. In a world where logic exists, it would have gone like this.
"Commander! A suspicious ship is approaching at a frightening speed. We've tried to establish contact, but they're not answering."
"You know the rules of engagement, open fire."
- Pew pew, Boom! Fanfare! *
"Well, that happened. Back to work."
This makes anything you do to try and stop her feel redundant, because there is no way her backwards ass plan was ever going to work anyway.
Now, this would work if that was the point. That MB didn't realize her plan was never going to work, and didn't notice the futility of the effort. This however, is not the case. The game treats it like the Federation is screwed if this thing gets near their planet. Somehow, the writing forgets that the Federation leave their planets defended with space fleets. And even if you got past the fleet, they have surface to orbit lasers that can blow away the Bottle Ship too. Unless Sakamoto wants you to believe the Federation leave its HQ absolutely unprotected by any means.
...Which given the last section of this article, wouldn't surprise me.
The other thing that pisses me off is the fact that time and time again, we've seen that neither the Federation or the Space Pirates can replicate Chozo technology. They can't even figure out how the simplest of technology in the chozo's eyes even works. What I'm saying is they probably couldn't even replicate a Chozo coffee maker.
Yet they know they can't make things the Chozo have succeeded at work with their own technology, but you know what they sure as fuck thought would work? Let's replicate that batshit insane AI that tried to kill the Chozo, and then attacked us! Surely if the masters of technology in the universe couldn't keep Mother Brain from going berserk, and our technology isn't even in the same league as theirs, we should definitely take a shot at it.
And yet everyone's surprised when MB went completely goddamn insane. Was there truly no one who saw that coming? Is there anyone in this game who isn't a fucking retard?
Also, I am so goddamn sick of games trying to make you feel sorry for the villain. On occasion, it can work. WHEN YOU EXPLAIN WHY WE SHOULD FEEL THAT.
MB is treated like she's the poor victim of circumstance, and all of her actions, including attempted genocide, murder, resurrecting the Space Pirate army, and trying to kill Samus Aran, are all perfectly justified because the Federation tried to kill her.
Do you know why the Federation tried to kill her?
BECAUSE SHE'S FUCKING MOTHER BRAIN!
That's like saying that someone who turns out to be Hitler is justified is a peacekeeping government tried to kill him before he did anything.
She wasn't acting in justified self defense, she was fucking crazy. The Federation realized this, and they tried to destroy her before she killed everyone on the Bottle Ship. What happens? She kills everyone on the Bottle Ship. What happens when Samus and Adam show up on the ship? She tries to kill them. What happens when her creator tries to talk her down? She tries to kill her. When the Federation as a whole show up, MB tries to kill EVERYONE. She never once tries to show any sense of humanity, she spends the whole game trying to get everyone killed, she's just a psychotic bitch who kills everything she feels like with a fucking grin on her face. She CLEARLY enjoys murdering people. She's not upset that attacking the Federation was her only option, she relishes the fact she's crazy. Just. Like. Mother. Brain.
Her own creator even admits that MB was unstable, because she put a hairpin on MB that was supposed to supress how violent she is. A control device for an out of control machine. The scientists who created her knew she was regaining Mother Brain's consciousness, and if they didn't do anything about about, she'd go on a rampage. Especially considering for SOME REASON, they made all the cloned Space Pirates AND the metroids, and everything else on this ship, exclusively only listen to MB, and no one else.
Mind you, this was before the Federation tried to kill her. So she was already showing signs of complete bloodthirsty insanity and the personality of the Federation's greatest enemy beforehand. So no, she's not excused in her actions, she was nuts to begin with, and the Federation did the right thing trying to destroy her before this shit happened.
She's not a victim, she's fucking mental. She has no remorse for killing, and was trying to exterminate an entire government not because they unjustly tried to attack her, but because she's the consciousness of the biggest super terrorist in the galaxy.
But oh, we're supposed to pity her because she was just a poor child and the big bad government wanted this innocent little psychopath dead.
Fuck right off with this bullshit. MB was nothing but a murderer, and I cringed when the game was trying to make you feel sorry for her demise which she brought on herself by being completely insane.
And you say "Well, she didn't have a choice! The Federation provoked her!" Yes, the Federation did try to kill her first. Guess what her answer to that was? Plead her case, prove she doesn't know she's Mother Brain? How about KILL EVERYONE ON THE GODDAMN SHIP! That's her answer for EVERYTHING. Kill it.
And yet the writing demands you feel remorse for her death. Samus sympathizes with her, her creator weeps for her death, and everyone acts like it was the Federation's fault she turned into some kind of tragic villain.
Except she wasn't written as that. She was written as a rogue AI that took the bullet train to looneyville and murdered a bunch of innocent scientists with an expression of pleasure on her face as she did so.
Fuck, this game is stupid.
You know when I realized that Other M didn't have the balls to take any new steps with the series? When I found out the final boss is Phantoon from Super Metroid, an unimportant creature brought back into the franchise for no reason.
This was how Other M tried to sell itself. By flashing images in front of you to induce nostalgia. Nostalgia is a powerful thing, turning otherwise reasonable gamers into rabid, slobbering beasts, so this game attempts to manipulate that.
Now I'm not saying getting nostalgic is a bad thing, but I find it worrisome when some people consider this game perfection and only bought it and defend it on the lone premise that "It reminds them of Super Metroid". It makes me wonder, is the human mind really that easy to con? Just remind them of the 90's and they'll be instantly sold on something?
Now, this isn't a rant about how weak minded some people can be when it comes to games selling nostalgia, this is a rant about why I hate this game, so allow me to get back on topic.
What I mean about how this game panders to nostalgia is that it went so far as to undo everything the last few games had done in terms of design. The Federation, instead of their sleek, intimidating looking grey and blue armor with the arm cannons , are reduced to their formerly generic, simple designs from the Super Metroid comic, or whatever they got these designs from.
In terms of cinematic, the change back to the original designs looks unnecessary. One could argue it was to make the appearences of the Federation soldiers in Super Metroid and Fusion consistant, given the former appearence is from the Prequel Prime series. But here's the thing. Federation soldiers are not seen in those two games, so this was pointless.
In terms of lore, it makes no sense why the Federation would downgrade to these plastic looking, less armored items with guns that are no longer part of the armor and don't even look nearly as powerful. But, that's only a minor crime.
Then there was the in-lore choice to make all of the enemies clones of alien creatures from Super Metroid so they had an excuse to rehash designs for the Space Pirates and all the other creatures.
But this is nowhere more evident than in the boss fights, which border on blatant nostalgia forcefeeding. Oh sure, like, 2 of the bosses in the game are something new, but the game decides to jam in a bunch of enemies from the previous games for no reason. Take for example, Nightmare from Metroid Fusion. He just shows up. There's no reason for him to be there instead of a new boss, he's just there for the sake of being there, especially considerin Fusion stated he was built on the station from Metroid: Fusion. There is no logical reason behind him being on an entirely different ship! So what, he was built on the BSL Station, then transported to the Bottle Ship for no reason, and then transported back to the BSL station?!
But there's two examples where this gets especially stupid. See, prior to Other M, Sakamoto explained that Ridley was officially killed off for good in Super Metroid, probably a failed attempt at him intercepting complaints about the freakout scene, but then he's in the game anyway, under the hamfisted excuse that "He's a clooooone!"
And again when the Queen Metroid shows up, which creates a bunch of plot holes. Allow me to get nerdy here, but it's confirmed canon that the Metroid evolution cycle is quite unusual in that the Metroids can only grow in their typical manner on their home planet of SR-388. Grown anywhere else, and they'll stay trapped in their base state, or start a new chain of evolution entirely.
So where the fuck did this thing come from? The Bottle Ship is not SR-388, it doesn't even simulate the environment of the planet, and Samus killed the only naturally grown Metroid queen, so it makes no sense why there is a Queen Metroid on the Bottle Ship.
You could argue they brought one of the Cloned Metroids onto the planet to grow into a queen, but the Federation would have just been attacked by the X-Parasite that Fusion states is now running rampant on the planet's surface, and I doubt they'd have survived long enough for a Queen to be produced.
So really, why is this thing here? It makes no sense. There's no way this thing should be on the Bottle Ship, except for more "Hey, remember this thing from Metroid 2? It was a really cool boss, and now it's baaaaaack!"
Also, if they had a queen, why are they CLONING metroids? There's already a natural source of the goddamn things on the ship! And it looks like it's been there a while, because there's an entire room dedicated to it!
And then there's more examples of this, like the fire Spaghettios from Metroid 1's Mother Brain boss fight, and the final battle against Phantoon, and the blatant downgrade of enemies to their former 16-bit era designs, but.
But. I was willing to let all this slide. Cuz we had something going here. A new villain, perhaps? An android with the ability to control Metroids? How intriguing. Sure, she looks a little generic, but there might be something going here. Perhaps I didn't give the game enough Credit. Maybe it CAN do something new-Oh wait, it's revealed she's Mother Brain in a new body. Fuck this game.
Now I'm not saying a little nostalgia is a bad thing, but this is going way too far with it. This isn't so much nostalgia as a fear of adapting. Franchises need to adapt to the rapidly changing ideals of the gaming market. And you need to adapt, to make your series stay memorable. New bosses like Nightmare and Meta Ridley, and the Omega Pirate are more memorable than just adding a Metroid Queen again. And it makes your franchise last. People don't praise the Prime series because its just another Metroid game. It's praised because it expanded the lore, it made new events that people will remember for years to come. I still see people talking about what a fascinating enemy the Metroid Prime was, I see people talk about how awesome the SA-X in Fusion was. How it rendered the invincible Samus Aran, the slayer of beasts of godlike capabilities, into helpless prey that can only flee from such a mighty foe, because it's a being that understands her, knows her strengths, her flaws, has her memories, can exploit these things. It's these things, these new ideas that keep people interested.
I don't see anyone honestly talking about how awesome it was to see a Metroid Queen in the Other M for no reason and how it was just as memorable as the new threats they faced in previous titles, and how it fascinated them with what a large and scary world the universe of Metroid is.
You can't have new memories from recreating the same circumstances that the last games had. You can't return the Space Pirates to their old designs and abilities and expect them to be as terrifying as they were when we first encountered them in Super Metroid. You can't just throw in the same fucking metroids and think we're going to find them as bizarre and freakish as the first time we encountered one.
First time I saw a metroid, I screamed in horror. They were creepy, they were terrifying, they looked like something I could not possibly have imagined ever encountering. And now, it's just...I don't hate metroids, I think it's just time for a new enemy. You can't recreate what people thought in their first time seeing a Metroid by not changing them.
The franchise needs to be allowed to adapt, to evolve, to explore new ideas and surprise us with things we've never seen before. For a video game series, to embrace stagnation is to embrace death. Look at games like Mario, constantly bashed and losing its fanbase because people won't let it change. Look at Dynasty Warriors, Call of Duty, Sonic the Hedgehog, any EA sport games, all mocked because they won't try anything new. They're stuck in what worked in the past, and these once great, innovative franchises are now the butt of many jokes by modern gamers due to this fear of major innovation.
And this is the path I fear Metroid is now on, because of Other M showing Sakamoto's insistance on just pandering to the past. Even Metroid Fusion in some part was guilty of this by trying to resurrect the metroids and effectively undoing the purpose of Metroid 2. It shows this franchise under Sakamoto will not move on. It will be stuck where it is for all eternity because he's shown he cannot embrace new concepts that will push the game further than "Oh look, now Metroids are being cloned. Here's Samus without her armor on again". Is this what the fans want for this series? Is this truly what you think is right? Just locking it in a dead halt because you want more nostalgic memories?
If you want Super Metroid so bad, just play Super Metroid. Let the series move on. You'll always have that game you love and have fond memories of, even as the series tries new things. There's nothing wrong with change. It's not like taking new steps will erase the games you knew, or change your love for them. In fact, maybe letting it expand will give you a new game you will love and explore just as fondly as the first time you played Super Metroid, or Fusion, or the Prime series. There IS always that chance.
Let's move on.
You are not allowed to do jack shit in this game:
You know, it's pretty fucking pathetic when the main protagonist in a game is constantly getting her time in the spotlight stolen by one off NPCs, but the sad reality is this is the case in Other M. The game's writing will literally find ANY way to make sure Samus cannot do anything important to the plot. Let's summarize the conflicts and resolutions in this game.
- Conflict: Samus finds out there is a traitor amongst the Federation soldiers who is killing off members of his own team to hide secrets about the Bottle Ship under Federation orders. Samus decides to hunt this traitor and kill him before he can interfere with the others.
- Resolution: He's killed off screen by somebody else after he completed his mission of killing the entire squad, preventing you from saving anyone or even getting revenge.
- Conflict: Ridley is alive and rampaging on the ship. Samus must hunt him down and make sure he stays dead this time.
- Resolution: Ridley is killed by a Queen Metroid.
- Conflict: Samus finds out that unfreezable Metroids are on the Bottle Ship, and if they escape, they pose a grave threat to organic life.
- Resolution: Adam shoots Samus in the back before she can try and destroy them, leaving her unable to enter the sector, and then detonates the section of the ship they're on himself, robbing you of your heroic moment.
- Conflict: Mother Brain has been reborn, and is on the Bottle Ship!
- Resolution: She's killed by generic faceless Federation soldiers who rush into the room at the last second before you can land the killing blow, cockblocking you out of your well deserved killing of the main villain.
- Conflict: The Bottle Ship houses experiments too dangerous to let continue.
- Resolution: The Federation nukes the ship before you can do anything about it yourself.
Do you see something wrong here? Samus, the baddest bitch in the galaxy, is getting outdone by people she far surpasses, because for some reason, Sakamoto thinks having her do ANYTHING significant is a big no no. This isn't some random lady in armor on her first day on the job, this is Samus fucking Aran, the most infamous woman in the galaxy, the one that the Space Pirates, the most powerful military force outside of the Federation, is terrified of, the woman who singlehandedly assaulted a planet the entire Federation couldn't manage the resources to invade, the one who destroyed the element Phazon, a radioactive material that corrodes planets and warps lifeforms, the one who wiped the Metroids out and saved the galaxy from these parasites the Space Pirates tried to use as weapons.
The woman who fells monsters from your darkest nightmares, on a daily basis, and is damn good at it. There's no reason the game should be pulling her away from doing these things other than for the reason that Sakamoto didn't want her to do these things.
This is one of the WORST things you can do in a video game anyway. By eliminating the player's importance to the overall experience, you take away any reason for them to play. By not letting them achieve things, they don't feel like they're having an impact on the world and are just a spectator to the story.
You see, interaction is the thing the seperates games from film. There is a difference between seeing something like RJ McReary kill the alien abomination at the end of The Thing, and a video game player laying the final blow on an alien abomination themselves, by their own hands, gripping the controller and pressing the buttons. It gives you a sense of actual immersion. YOU killed the creature. You did this amazing thing. Not the character, you.
When you make the achievements in the game part of cutscenes, and even worse, remove the main character from the event entirely, it leaves the player with a feeling that they don't really matter to the game, and thus, you eliminate their reason to play the game.
And this would be okay if it happened once or twice. Other M does this every chance it gets. You're left with this idea that everyone doesn't seem to think that Samus is capable of these achievements, and the writer must have some other big strong character do it for her. Which weakens the character in the eyes of the player.
This is probably the worst mistake you can make in any medium. This was supposed to be the game that would reveal what kind of person Samus is, and instead of showing her strength by having her kill Ridley, or defeat Mother Brain or overcome the unfreezable metroids, Sakamoto just decided "Nah...Samus shouldn't do any of this" which makes her involvement in the game entirely pointless. And how does that feel? When you, as the player, and Samus as the protagonist are the unnecessary third wheel in a plot that goes on without you or her having any impact? In a medium that relies on the player's involvement as the main character.
Feels pretty fucking stupid, doesn't it?
The argument that Other M is good because it's like Super Metroid:
How dare anyone compare this shlock to Super Metroid. Metroid: Other M, aside from lazily rehashing bosses and enemies to cheaply sell on nostalgia is the exact opposite of what Super Metroid achieved. You know what Super Metroid is famous for? Exploration. You know what else it's famous for? Subtlety. Metroid: Other M has neither of these things.
When I say Super Metroid had subtlety, I mean that it was a game that managed to achieve its narrative in a visual sense. Aside from the opening monologue that was really only there to get people up to speed on the franchise in case they didn't play Metroid 1 and 2, Super Metroid had no dialogue, nobody spoke, text was never on screen. Things were revealed to you by the characters' actions. We knew the giant metroid was the infant when it finally stopped just short of killing Samus and shamefully scurried off, we knew Mother Brain was more powerful than before because of the fact you were unable to damage her and the scripted scene where she proceeds to complete beat the everholy shit out of Samus, we knew Zebes was about to explode because of the shaking screen and the countdown, there was no need to use exposition dumps, everything was revealed through using character animations and well placed music and graphics without a single word uttered the entire game.
Other M is so worried you can't figure out what the hell is going on that it thinks it needs to have Samus narrating every godforsaken thing that happens, usually AS it is happening. When Samus finds Adam aboard the Bottle Ship, the two ask eachother what they are doing there. Instead of just having Adam say "I was sent here to investigate a disturbance" and Samus say she is also investigating the same disturbance through dialogue, the game instead mutes out the actual conversation and has Samus tell you what they are saying.
Hell, the game even assumes that people need to be told what the hell a distress signal is, and what they're used for, as if the name "Distress signal" isn't self explanatory already.
How does Samus' constant hand holding narrative possibly compare to how Super Metroid could explain things to you without you having to be battered with expository text or dialogue? The answer is "It doesn't".
(To be continued)
Shut up and just ignore the plot:
When trying to defend Other M, some people claim that the game is good outside of its story and that you should just ignore the cutscenes if you don't like the story. The problem with this is YOU CAN'T. The game has absurdly long cutscenes sometimes stretching into 15 minutes long, and they are unskippable. You are absolutely forced to watch these cutscenes to progress in the game. So get ready to sit through hours of bad writing, or at the very least, train yourself to have to take a fifteen minute long bathroom break.
And that aside, even if you completely ignore the cutscenes by going into another room or something, the game will barrage you with a plot summary every time you turn the game back on, forcefeeding you this trainwreck of a story anyway. I don't know any other game that is this persistant in forcing a plot on you. So basically, whether you like it or not, Sakamoto did not want this story to be ignored. You WILL sit through his laughable vision of a storyline.
The reward for beating the game is to earn the right to watch the cutscenes in movie style without having the interruption of gameplay, further emphasizing the arrogance in this story's plot driving. You can't leave the room to avoid the cutscenes because unless you mute your TV, Samus' narrations will still tell you the plot, even if you're not seeing it unfold. It's unavoidable. Sakamoto did everything in his power to make sure you CANNOT ignore this plot, short of kidnapping you and recreating the rehabilitation scene from a Clockwork Orange.
And even then, due to the game's linearity, you can't even tinker around. You get locked into sectors and forced to only move forward, sometimes the game takes entire control away from you aside from walking, and the game will remove even that to force you to see something through the halfassed scanning mechanism. So no, you cannot, under any circumstances, get away from this atrocious plot.
Also, the game's only 2 hours long without the cutscenes. Hardly enjoyable in it's own right. I've played longer sessions of Angry Birds.
This is your average Wii remote. Do you notice it only has three buttons and one trigger, excluding start and select, the D pad and the power and Home buttons, the latter two of which aren't even used for gameplay? It is also only 6 x 1.5 inches. That is hardly big enough for a man with gorilla hands like myself.
How much does your average controller have? I have, at the point of writing this, both a PS3 and Xbox 360 controller in my lap. Both of these consoles have:
A start and select button
And two thumbsticks.
They are also both 6 x 4 inches, which is plenty big enough to fit comfortably in your hand.
So why in the holy goddamn fuck did Sakamoto decide that Metroid: Other M can only be played exclusive on a Wii-mote without even the nunchuck accessory?
Because apparently he's a fucking idiot.
No, seriously. I've heard stories that Team Ninja told him the game would be better off with Classic Controller support, (Which is more closer to a natural controller than the Wii-mote is) and he insulted them for even suggesting that idea.
This is the play style he wanted. An uncomfortable as fuck controller that's barely big enough to fit inside the hands of an adult male. (Which by the way, most Metroid fans are) This thing is the size of a goddamn hotdog, and you're supposed to use it sideways in your hand the entire game.
This control set up is far too much for the kind of 3 dimensional 3rd person/First person shooting gameplay that's demanded of you in this thing.
(To be continued.)
The sad truth:
You could excuse that Sakamoto is maybe just an incompetant writer. You can excuse him for not doing research. For maybe being unfamiliar with how the fans wanted Samus to be written. You can blame it on Japan's typical sloppy handling of female characters. You can excuse these flaws as random goofups not meant to be seen in a larger picture. You can...until you read this:
"Depicting the story of Samus Aran in this game was one of the most important game design concepts from the very beginning because before Other M, I did not think about what kind of person Samus Aran was and how she thinks and her personality....Plus because of the existance of the Metroid Prime series, many people might have different ideas about what kind of person Samus was....So with Other M I really wanted to determine and express what kind of human Samus is so we can really tell what kind of natural step she should be taking in the future."
...This was not an accident. This wasn't simple carelessness or bad writing, or being out of touch with the fans. Sakamoto made the game like this on purpose. Sakamoto knew what people thought of Samus. What they envisioned her as, what the Prime games made her. And he set out to change it.
Samus has always been seen as strong, as bold, confident, independant, the Prime series established all of this about her. Sakamoto didn't like that being the evidence of her character. He made Other M to challenge it. Absolutely NONE of the inspiring traits attributed to Samus, that make her so iconic, are EVER shown in this game.
Sakamoto said it himself. He never thought of Samus' personality with the facts thus far established. The series was out of his hands in all but one game before Other M. And in this game, finally, he could write Samus how he wanted.
What we got, utterly spits on the very image of strong female portrayals.
Samus is not just A iconic female lead. She is THE iconic female lead. Before Lara Croft, before Nariko, before Bayonetta, before Lightning, before Terra Branford, before Chun-Li, before Jill Valentine, before Sonya Blade, before any of them...There was ONLY Samus. She was the one who invented the strong female lead in video games.
And this game was to be the template upon which Sakamoto envisions Samus being portrayed in ALL future titles.
And Sakamoto represents her how? A timid girl who submits herself to orders from a man with no authority over her, and not only follows those orders, but LIKES following those orders, no matter how badly it cripples her or the harm it puts her in. A woman who is obsessed with pleasing said male authority figure. Who sees her independance as a crime because it angered said male authority figure. A woman who cowers before the great franchise villain, Ridley. A woman who obsesses over motherhood, and an infant. A woman who constantly needs bailing out of trouble, by MEN, no less, A woman who is submitted to being the one person who does NOTHING for the game's plot. A woman who is given no responsibility, and has every attempt to look strong yanked away from her so another being can do the job for her. A woman who displays no emotion outside of submissiveness, or self depreciation, of fear, weakness, and shame. A woman who can't get things done on her own.
And meanwhile, while you watch Samus be this...weak, worthless, overemotional frail assassination of a once proud figure, you are constantly, CONSTANTLY reminded that Samus is a woman. Every other scene emphasizes she's a woman, moreso than the rest of the series combined. You are meant to see these aspects of her character, and see that this is a woman that displays all this. It doesn't show you, it beats it into your fucking head. She's shown helmetless in the box art, she's seen in her Zero suit in the opening, ending, she's outside of her suit in more cutscenes than she's in the fucking thing.
Now I see why Samus' achievements are never touched upon. I never realized it until now, but...The Prime series, the extermination of the metroids, the defeat of Dark Samus, the destruction of Phazon, a potent source consuming all life. Her past battles with Ridley...They're ignored for a reason. To acknowledge them would imply that she has strength. That she can do things on her own. That she's powerful, brave, competant. Couldn't show that. That'd conflict with Sakamoto's wishes.
This is Sakamoto's vision for Samus Aran, the matriarch of strong female leads. The icon of feminism, of independence, of bravery. Of power. An inspiring figure to female gamers, and those who wished to see better representation of this gender.
And what was the result of this portrayal? Outrage. Cries of sexism, cries of hatred, anger. Fans were furious with this game, with how Samus' character had been murdered. How Metroid's canon and everything it is and ever was has been destroyed by this game. And on its own, the claims of sexism look silly if you only look at one or two scenes. But take the game as a whole, and the evidence is far more damning.
And how does Sakamoto respond? He defends it. This was his vision, this is what Metroid is going to be. He doesn't think anything's wrong with it. Even as Nintendo worked day and night to apologize to fans everywhere for this, to understand their anger, to know what is wrong...Sakamoto praises his work. He loves it. He refuses to accept it's flawed, even now.
Fuck. You. Sakamoto. If this is what you think Metroid, and Samus Aran, need to be...Then you can go to hell, and you have lost my respect. And the respect of hundreds of thousands like me, who find this "vision" of yours disgusting. And I will NEVER understand why this game is defended so fiercely. Why, because to refuse it is a show you're not really a Metroid fan? To refuse it is to bring about the end of the franchise?
Wrong. Sakamoto has stripped away everything that made Metroid what it is. The exploration is gone. It doesn't exist under either of the games he's made, replacing with railroading linearity. The integrity of Samus' character is gone, replacing the patron saint of good female portrayals with a stripped down, wimpy sexist, lifeless obedient girl who curses the fact she DARED to show independance. The creativity that the series brought, replaced with cliche'd characters and plot, the original and intriguing alien designs switched out for nostalgic pandering. The plot has been eviscerated. The protagonist destroyed.
To accept this game, and to praise it, to want more like it? Is to accept a path of inevitable self destruction in the hands of a man who obviously has no love for the franchise, and has a sickening idea of what makes a good female. That is why I defy this game's existance. And so many like me will not stand for what Sakamoto thinks it the perfect step for the model of female characters.
This isn't even a middle finger to Samus' character, this is a middle finger to gender equality period. This is the character we're supposed to identify with, to see as a role model, as a figure to aspire to be. This is the character who inspired female protagonists and the ideals of feminism in video gaming, as Sakamoto thinks she should be. This isn't progressing forward, it's pulling back.
Nintendo cannot let this slide. Something has to be done about this. About Sakamoto being the lead producer of a franchise this iconic, if this is how little he thinks of it. They've apologized to the fans, the series is on lockdown until the damage is fixed...but it's not enough. Sakamoto has to be held responsible. Now I'm not saying fire the dude, but...Maybe take this as a sign that you made the wrong choice?
As for people who might like this game? Okay, that's okay. There's some gamers who do find enjoyment in flawed games, and I'm one of them. The problem is, I don't find this game as enjoyably flawed, I think it's just...insulting. But if you like it, fine. I don't have a problem with you guys, I don't like the people who sit there and try to convince me with a straight face that this game is without any problems whatsoever, and surpasses Metroid Prime, my favorite Metroid game and one that revolutionized Metroid, as the greatest in the series. The same people who don't debate the good vs. bad about the game, they just insult anyone who actually has the will to see these design choices as a problem. And for the most part, they are quite detrimental to the game.
They also try to pull this lameass excuse that this game must be defended or Nintendo will axe the franchise because they apparently can't handle criticism. If that was the case, why is Miyamoto saying they're planning a new Metroid when even he himself admitted he doesn't like Other M? (Mostly because he doesn't like projects that end up only angering the consumer. If there's anything I respect this man for, it's that he pays attention to his own consumer market and treats them with respect.) This argument is stupid and is only used to try and make the defenders look like heroes, when it's just delusion on their part.
If you like it, despite it's flaws, then by all means, continue liking it, and I will not judge you. Everyone's got a guilty pleasure. I like the Super Mario Bros. movie. I agree it's a piece of shit, but I still find it entertaining. But if you're going to stand there and say I'm overreacting to these issues, and that Metroid is better off with these ideas, despite how poorly managed and recieved they were. That it's the greatest game in the series, and all negative reactions, no matter how well fortified with evidence they are and how easily they can counter the blind support this game gets from defenders, are judge everyone who didn't like the game as just "stupid haters who don't like change or want Samus to be a stone cold bitch, or hate Metroid, are are Prime series sycophants" or whatever can be claimed to poorly try and excuse why any dislike isn't rational or honest...Yeah...go away.
And to any of you who keep trying to tell me this game is perfect, that it's something to be proud of, that it's the high point of the franchise, and inspiring new leap for it, and that I'm just not giving it a chance. Keep deluding yourself. Your master Sakamoto praises you for your blindness.