Monday, October 27, 2014

"Ada! Wait!"

The year is 1998. Fans are eagerly awaiting for the sequel to Resident Evil. Capcom held fans at bay with Resident Evil: Director's Cut, which offered new modes, new costumes, music, and a mostly uncensored intro sequence while Resident Evil 2 was nearing completion. Hopes were incredibly high, especially after screenshots were released, showing a more modern, urban setting. Zombies were now in the streets of Raccoon City, and more dangerous than ever.

Yeah... until it got scrapped.

Resident Evil 2 was almost ready to hit shelves, when Capcom said, "Fuck this game. This is garbage, and this isn't what we wanted. Let's fucking re-do the whole thing." And they did. In less than a year, Capcom completely overhauled Resident Evil 2 into something spectacular.

Resident Evil 2 - PlayStation/Nintendo 64 - 1998 - Not Just Another Zombie Game!

Resident Evil 2 is so fucking good, that fans have been hounding Capcom to remake it in HD, like the Gamecube release of Resident Evil. It's no wonder why either! Resident Evil 2 not only boasted higher production values in every single department, it absolutely eclipsed the original is every single fucking category.
Well, mostly. The voice acting is still sub-par, but it's much better than the original. The story this time around is much better as well, introducing us to some memorable characters like Leon S. Kennedy and Claire Redfield, sister to Chris Redfield from the first game. Umbrella is shown in a much more sinister way this time around, and have much more involvement in the events that unfold. They're still up to no good, but now they've infected the entire city with the new G-Virus. Talk about going from bad to fucking bat shit crazy. It wouldn't be as bad if they, you know, didn't own everything. Think of Umbrella as the Wal-Mart of the gaming world. You go to them for literally everything; medicines, clothing, even the fucking bullets you'll be blasting zombies with.

What sets this apart from its predecessor is the Hollywood production. Resident Evil 2 feels more like a big budget movie. There's a lot of action, a lot of drama, and a lot of fuckery going on. The set pieces are great, and the game moves at a rapid pace. A lot of things happen in Resident Evil 2, and they're all pretty important and make Raccoon City feel like a real place, and THAT is scary. Could you imagine an outbreak like that happening in the U.S.? A real one I mean... not this Ebola shit.

Did you know there's a cure now? That's a whole other argument though...
Right then... let's get to the cast:

Leon S. Kennedy - "ADA! FUCKING WAIT!!!"

Leon is rather unlucky. He had to show up for an outbreak on his first day on the job. Poor guy probably didn't even get to eat his first donut yet. He's quite the badass though... taking bullets for bitches and shit...

Claire Redfield - The best step mom ever.

Oh Claire... I wonder if Chris played a prank on you since, you know, he's not in a city infested with zombies. Claire takes care of business. I bet she's great in bed too. She seems to connect with Sherry.

Sherry Birkin - Her parents fucking suck.

Poor Sherry. Her father created the G-Virus and turned everyone into monsters, and her mother is too preoccupied with shooting people, looking for William, and dying. Someone call Child Protective Services. Despite all the chaos, Sherry is quite brave. She also has the G-Virus sample everyone is after, and doesn't even know it. Ba-zinga!

William Birkin - THE MAN WHO SEES ALL.

That's a terrible joke. The creator of the G-Virus, and overall dipshit. After being shot to near death, he injects himself with the G-Virus, and tries to kill everyone. If only he didn't knock that container over...

Annette Birkin - Not so devoted mother.

For real. She cares more about William than she does Sherry. William is a fucking monster now. Get your shit together, you have a daughter to protect. She makes things really hard for everyone along the way. She's just a huge bitch in general.

Ada Wong - The best fake death you've ever seen.

If you go with the canon, she dies a horrific death. If you don't, she still dies a horrific death. How the fuck she lived to see Resident Evil 4 is beyond me. She falls in love with Leon, or maybe that's just another trick. Women are good at that one.
Brian Irons - Crooked cop extraordinaire.

The chief of the Raccoon Police Department, who's in cahoots with Umbrella. Pretty sinister guy he is, until William plants an embryo inside him and it escapes in the goriest way possible. Guess you get what you deserve, dick.

Ben - The pen is extremely inferior to the sword.

Ben is a reporter, who finds out about Umbrella's secrets and is on his way to expose them. You know, until the whole city decides to be turned into zombies. He hides in a jail cell because that's always fucking safe right? Suffers the same fate as Irons.

Kendo Gun Shop Owner - "I ain't got no clue darlin!"

Is it ironic that the owner of a gun shop doesn't kill a single fucking zombie? He doesn't know why the city is infested with zombies, and apparently can't see them breaking through the front window. He leaves a shotgun behind for Leon, or the pathetic bow gun for Claire.

Marvin gives us our first keycard of the game, and then turns into a zombie right in front of your face. Blow his head off. He seemed like a cool guy too...
Hunk - The 4th Survivor

Somehow survives William's fury in the sewers. He's there to take the G-Virus back to Umbrella. He's playable through a bonus scenario, and it's fucking hard.

Truck Driver - "GUY'S A MANIAC! WHY'D HE BITE ME?!"

Apparently doesn't recognize a crazed zombie in front of his face. Gets bitten, turns into a zombie, crashes his truck, and separates Claire and Leon. That bastard.

As you can see, Resident Evil 2 has quite the colorful cast. My favorite is Leon, because like Barry Burton in the first game, he has a certain stupid charm. He's overly serious, and for the right reasons. I mean, there's only a viral outbreak going on after all. He tells Ada to wait so many times that it borders on hilarity. She probably faked her death to get away from him.

Just like the first game, we also have our selection of targets to shoot up:

Zombies - A household name!

Still deadly, but more common place. At this point it would be weird to not have zombies in the world. They still love flesh, and they're still dead.
Zombie Dogs - All bark and no bite.

There's like 6 dogs in the game. Still a pain in the ass, but easily out ran. Someone fill the dog dish up and spare the humans for Christ's sake.
Lickers - One hell of an ice cream eater.

Boasting quite a large tongue, these fuckers are deadly. Thought the Hunters from the first game were hard? These things mutate later on in the game, and get much stronger. They can lob your head off with one strike as well. Could probably eat a lollipop like a champ.

B.O.W.s - Not your average crop killer.

Seen later in the game, these guys like to spit poison and slap you around with their tentacles. Like any plant though, they don't stand a chance against flames. Light em up with flame rounds, or pop em with the magnum. Or go for the can of Raid.
William Offspring Monster - Because what else can you call it?

Started as an embryo, and ended up as a hulking monster. Likes to puke up baby offspring monsters that crawl on you.
Giant Alligator - Nuff said.

How this thing lives in the raccoon city sewers is beyond me... Can eat the player whole if you're not careful. He loves to eat canisters, so shoot it when he gobbles it down and his head will turn to mush.
Mr. X - Tyrant in a fucking trench coat.

Remember the Tyrant you killed in the first game? Yeah, Umbrella made a few more and sent them after you. These guys are strong. Thank God you only have to face one of them. Sports TWO giant mutated claws at the end, and is MUCH faster than the first Tyrant. He still hates rocket launchers though.

Resident Evil 2 is vastly different from the first game in numerous ways. The best change is the scenario system. For example, if you beat the game with Leon, you can load it up after and play Claire's B scenario. The events of the game unfold in a totally different way. This led fans to figure out which pair of scenarios are canon, and as it turns out, Leon B and Claire A are the canon scenarios. Either way you go though, the game is quite entertaining. You're still solving absurd puzzles and killing monsters. There's a lot of dramatic scenes, and a lot of intense action sequences.

One of the other awesome additions are the weapons. Like the first game, Claire and Leon both get their own weapons to use, with slightly better results. Leon can collect custom parts to upgrade his shotgun and magnum, while Claire has the grenade launcher with 3 different ammo types to use, each being more effective depending on the type of enemy. B.O.W.s are weak against flame, while zombies and lickers are weak against acid type rounds. Leon's weapons get insanely powerful, and this time around, ammo is much more plentiful. You can live off the magnum near the end of the game, and you can use the shotty as soon as you get it. The pistol becomes useless after getting it. Claire isn't so lucky however. Sure she gets the grenade launcher, and you'll be using it the whole game pretty much, but her alternative is the shitty bow gun. It shoots in a spread pattern, does pitiful damage, and the ammo is fucking scarce. Claire can get the submachine gun, and the spark gun, but both are very limited in use, and subtract points from your overall rank.

Yes, the ranking system is back, and it's even more strict. If you want an A rank, you better avoid the submachine gun AND the spark gun. This makes Claire's scenarios kind of shallow, since Leon can upgrade both of his better weapons without penalty, but that just means Claire's scenarios are much harder to complete. Not that the game is very hard, seeing as how it throws ludicrous amounts of healing herbs at you, but you still get penalized for healing too much.

The graphics this time around are a touch better. The presentation is slick, and the FMVs are awesome, especially this one. The voice acting is much better, but is still laughable at times, namely Leon's interactions with Ada. He's such a ham. The soundtrack is also famous in its own right. It's excellent, and filled with hauntingly catchy tunes. The save room music is enough to get you into it. Then there's Ada's Theme. It's absolutely beautiful. It fits so perfectly with Ada and Leon's relationship in the game.

Along with the scenario system, you also get two bonus scenarios you can unlock. There's The 4th Survivor, which shows Hunk's side after retrieving the G-Virus. It's fucking hard as shit to complete, due to having no items to pick up. What he has in his inventory is what you get. It's fun, but goddamn is it hard. However, it has nothing on the Tofu scenario.

Silly? Yes. Hard? You bet your fucking ass it is.
Tofu is a concept character Capcom created to test hitboxes in Resident Evil 2. But did they leave him out of the game? Nooooooooooooooo.... He's playable after you beat each scenario 3 times. Why is Tofu's scenario so hard? He doesn't get anything. He doesn't get a single healing item. He doesn't even start off with a fucking gun. He gets the knife, and that's it. It's the ultimate challenge for players, and it doesn't get any harder than this. If you can beat this you deserve a fucking medal.

On top of those two modes, if you're playing the Dual Shock version, you can also unlock Extreme Battle mode. Jesus how many fucking extras did they cram into this game? It's a cool mode though. Various locales from the game act as levels, and you just have to survive. Ada, and even Chris Redfield is playable in this mode. Chris is cool because he sports his outfit from the first game, and even the same weapons. However, he's the hardest person to use due to his low damage tolerance. It's still a really cool extra though.

All in all, Resident Evil 2 is the ultimate package. Not only is the story excellent AND with great pacing, but all the features it added, the soundtrack, the better graphics... it's just gaming at its finest. The replay value this game offers is incredible, so you won't be bored anytime soon with it. It's so shocking too. I wonder how the scrapped project would have been if it had actually been finished and released. Apparently, copies of it exist on the internet, and can be played with an emulator, but I haven't tried it myself. Maybe one day I'll try it. For now, anyone who is a fan of the RE series and hasn't played this... FUCKING PLAY IT. It's great. It's fantastic. It's so good that fans are remaking it ON THEIR OWN.

And now, without further adieu, I leave you with this:

Next post, I look at Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, and we discuss one of the most menacing enemies ever made! Stay tuned!

Friday, October 24, 2014

"I hope this is not Chris' blood!"

Welcome! I've been wanting to open up with that quote for sooooo long. It's perfect for this post. Halloween is right around the corner, and gaming has been good to us over the years, blessing us with some great horror games that we've all come to love.

If you haven't figured it out yet, we're going to be talking about one of my favorite gaming series ever. EVER. still don't know what I'm talking about?

"Just a moment! Just take, a look, at this!"

That's Barry there... he's going to be helping me through this. We're going to talk about one of the best series in the survival horror genre. It paved the way for Silent Hill and other survival horror games, and it did it in an incredibly cheesy way.

Resident Evil is one of the most famous franchises ever made. Not only are there tons of games on multiple platforms, there's movies, action figures.... you name it. I actually used to have a S.T.A.R.S airsoft pistol, which looked exactly like the Beretta from RE3. Resident Evil is huge today, and not just here in the states. I really wanted to talk about the first three games for a while, because they are my favorite, and were made when Capcom wasn't entirely set on milking it for money. Without further adieu, let's tackle the first game in the series.

Resident Evil (Director's Cut) - A.K.A., the game with hilarious voice acting!

"What?! What is this?"

Indeed Barry, what is this? It's only the first installment of the entire series! Released in 1996 on the ancient Play-Station, it was one of the first games of its kind. While Alone In The Dark came first, Resident Evil came along and did it much better, and offered gamers one of the best horror experiences.

Save for the voice acting, which was heavily criticized at the time of its release. It's funny though, because these days the voice acting is held in high regard, specifically for how terrible it is, and the dialogue is quoted left and right in various jokes and on various forums. Hell, I've already quoted Barry twice, making him the obvious winner of the Shittiest Dialogue award. It's so unbelievably bad that it's funny. I blame it on the budget this game had at the time. I'm going by the FMV sequences to base this. The costumes the actors wear are something out of a high school play or shitty B movie. The whole GAME feels like a B movie. However, at the time of its release, I doubt anybody cared after actually playing the game.

For one, the game makes use of some classic horror settings, and does it really well. You'll be exploring an empty mansion (or is it?!!) for most of the game, and it's fucking creepy. The graphics are crude today, but at the time they were amazing. Using static camera angles, the game does its best to instill fear in you. The mansion is believable, and really gives off a certain atmosphere. It's the classic haunted house type after all! Hearing zombies creeping closer, or seeing them at the end of corridors is unnerving as all hell. The sound design is great. You'll hear zombies groaning faintly in the distance. Hunters screech loud, and every chomp a zombie takes is heard. The weapons sound like they should, and ambient sounds like a clock ticking in the background, or the music itself, create a very satisfying atmosphere.

Unfortunately, you'll be dodging a lot of zombies. Ammo is scarce, hence the term survival horror. It's just you and your pistol (or knife) for a long time. The game does have other weapons you can acquire, but the ammo is even more scarce. This requires players to run away sometimes, instead of blasting everything you see. It adds to the tension this game creates. When you have 5 bullets left and you know there's a monster around the corner, you're going to start panicking. Who wouldn't?

Let's introduce the characters:

Chris Redfield - Resident dipshit.

Chris is one of the playable characters, and he's right up there with Barry with stupid quotes. Don't let that mug fool you... he's pretty damn dense. He can't read music, and he can't do basic chemistry. His IQ is probably lower than 100.
Jill Valentine - The fucking master of unlocking.

Jill is awesome. She starts with the Beretta for one thing, and she gets the lockpick immediately after. Her side of the story is much more interesting with crazy Barry, and she can read music and mix chemicals. Ignore this derp face... she got pretty good looking later on, especially in the Apocalypse movie. God damn!

Barry Motherfucking Burton - "I have this!"

Barry is the man. Full of fucking terrible quotes, but all hilarious. Even in his simplest dialogue, he will warrant a chuckle or two. He also gets an award for stating the fucking obvious: "It's a weapon! It's really powerful! Especially against living things!"
Yeah... thanks for the clarification you old bastard you...

Rebecca Chambers - Resident pain in the ass.

Rebecca is utterly useless. She only appears in Chris' scenario to help play music for him, and start the self-destruct sequence. She gets in the way and has to be saved to get the best ending, because medics can't protect themselves apparently. Her voice is fucking annoying too.
Albert Wesker - Resident BADASS TRAITOR.

Wesker is the captain of the S.T.A.R.S. team. He's an all around character. His voice actor is horrible, he has humorous quotes, and he's secretly working for Umbrella, which is painfully obvious from the get go. He has cool sunglasses, and slicked hair. He's too cool for S.T.A.R.S.


You literally see him for a minute until dogs eat him alive. He obviously skipped training.
Kenneth - The dude with no head.

Quite literally. He's the first corpse you happen upon. His only purpose is to introduce the first zombie, and to give you two clips for your trusty Beretta.

Forest - A.K.A. crow food.

Forest is having a bad day. He's been pecked to death by crows, which is extremely convenient since he leaves behind a bazooka.

Richard is great. He gives you a radio, he leaves ammo, and he warns you about a giant snake. His voice actor is incredibly bad, so it's a great thing he dies so quick.
Enrico - "Traitor!!!"

Yeah, that's all Enrico is. He tells you there's a traitor among the S.T.A.R.S. members, which by this point in the game, you know already. Thanks anyway.

Resident Evil also has quite the variety of baddies to kill, or be killed by:

Mr. Zombie - Generic, but still dangerous.

Zombies are everywhere in Resident Evil. They're the main focal point of the entire series. You've seen these guys before. Interests include human flesh, dimly lit hallways, and scaring the shit out of people. They hate anything that can't be eaten, except for bullets of course.
Zombie Dogs - This ain't Old Yeller.

Damn straight. Fast and powerful. Out run them or stand over them and shoot them dead. I doubt milk bones work against them.
Crows - Threat undetected.

For real. Don't worry about these guys. They do minimal damage, can be out run, and don't deserve a taste of your knife, let alone your precious bullets.
Giant Spiders - Initiate arachnophobia.

Quite large, but still not quite deadly. Ignore them to live. Shoot them, and suffer the wrath of baby spiders that will drain your health down. Oh, and they can poison you.
Hunters - Fuck these guys.

Hunters are the deadliest enemy you will encounter in this game. Your Beretta is insanely weak against them, they have weird invincibility frames, and they can lob your head off any fucking time they want. There are a lot of them too. Run away from these fuckers.
Chimera - Fuck these guys too.

Not as bad as hunters, but they are still just as deadly. They crawl on the ceiling and try to cut your head off. Just dodge em and run.
Yawn Snake - Abssstthhholute trouble.

The first boss you encounter, and a hard motherfucker at that. He guards a crest you need, so fill him full of shotgun shells. Oh, and don't get bit. He's full of poison. 

 Plant 42 - Break out the weed wacker.

 Shotguns work just as well.
Even Bigger Spider - Protector of doors.

Guards a door to Umbrella's laboratory. Burn him to death with the flamethrower or blow him up with the bazooka. He's a chump.

The Tyrant - The ultimate failure.

The last boss, and the hardest hitting. Tyrant sports a rather unpleasant mutated claw that he likes to swing at you. He takes a lot of damage and he's really fast. He doesn't care for rocket launchers much.

Okay, glad we established everybody.

Resident Evil doesn't have the greatest plot... it's one big conspiracy! Basically, the S.T.A.R.S. team is dispatched to the Arklay Mountains, just outside of Raccoon City, to investigate bizarre murders and occurrences in the Spencer Mansion. There's traitors, double agents, and major fuckery going down around these parts, and it's all thanks to Umbrella, the biggest corporation in America. Biological experiments that went wrong are now being unleashed, thanks to the T-Virus being spread. It's your job as Jill or that lunkhead Chris to figure it out and put a stop to it all!

The main focus is the gameplay. Resident Evil uses static camera angles, so your only option for movement is tank controls. That means holding up moves the character up no matter what, and left and right turn them in their respective directions. It feels like you're controlling a tank. Holding square runs, and you will use it the entire game. Walking is just too slow.

 "Look out! He's insane!"

You might be. The mansion is intimidating with all its monsters, but thankfully you have an adequate arsenal to contend with. Holding R1 will ready your weapon, and pressing X after will shoot. It's slow, and you can only aim totally up, totally down, or totally straight. Resident Evil offers a nice balanced arsenal. You have the Beretta, which acts as your zombie and dog repellent. The Shotgun is your main weapon later in the game, and is quite effective against bosses, hunters, and spiders. Aiming up at zombies will let you blow their heads off, so that's a nice feature. The ammo is plentiful for it as well. Chris will get the Colt Python later on. It's a powerful magnum that Barry up there similarly uses. The ammo is extremely scarce for it, so its only recommended use is on Tyrant, a few hunters, and chimera if they give you a hard time. It kills everything in one shot, save for the bosses. Jill will get the Bazooka fairly early, and its the best weapon in the game. Not only does it pack a fucking wallop, it has three different ammo types: the flame rounds, acid rounds, and the regular old fashioned grenade rounds. Even if you have to fight Forest to get it, it's still better than backtracking and solving a puzzle to get Chris' Colt Python. Just the fact that you get it so early makes it better.

On top of the weaponry, you also have a health meter and inventory to account for. The game can be saved by finding Ink Ribbons for typewriters. An EKG tracks your health in three states: Fine, Caution, and Danger! You can restore it by using first aid sprays or by using herbs. The herbs are neat because they can be combined to restore more health, and even cure poison effects. Besides watching your health, you have to keep track of your inventory, as it is severely limited! Playing as Chris grants only 6 inventory slots, while Jill gets 8. That means you need to manage what you collect. Thankfully, the game places save rooms all over that hold storage chests. These things are some how universally linked, so you can leave anything in one chest and it will appear in another. These are crucial to surviving.

Resident Evil is also notable for its puzzle based gameplay. Throughout the game, you'll be collecting keys to open doors, and items that either unlock areas, or allow you to get past a certain part. For example, to get out of the mansion, the player will need to find four crests by searching around and solving puzzles. A lot of items will be collected and used, sometimes more than once. Figuring these puzzles out is half the battle.

The game keeps track of your efforts with a rank system. Depending on how fast you beat it, how many times you save and heal, and what conditions you meet, you can unlock secret costumes and weapons! And even if you get bored with the main scenario, there's the Arrange option in the Director's Cut edition. It puts every item in the game in totally different areas. With multiple endings, and two characters to play as, Resident Evil offers a lot of replay value.

 "That was too close! You were almost a Jill Sandwich!"

All in all, Resident Evil is a great game. It's cheesy as all hell, but it has a certain charm to it. The characters are great in unintentional ways, and the monsters are scary. Playing this back in 1997 when my uncle sold it to me still sticks with me to this day. It truly terrified me, and was the first game to do so. It's a blast to play through. It's great for speed running as well, and to this day I still play through it every so often, just to laugh at the horrible dialogue. It really is funny.

Here's a small taste of it, if you don't believe me:

"Whoops! Now I've done it!" Stay tuned for part 2 where I'll tackle the superior Resident Evil 2!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Super Metroid Redesign - Taking It One Step Further

Anyone who knows me or has read my posts knows that I love the Metroid series. To me, the Metroid series is something that deserves more attention from Nintendo, because if you remember correctly, I did play through the awful Metroid: Other M release on the Wii. While it had its moments that I liked, it just didn't do the series justice at all. Sure the beams looked cool as all hell, and fighting some of the bosses such as Ridley and Phantoon as a bonus fight were awesome, but a lot of the core mechanics utterly ruined the game for me.

For one, the Metroid series is all about exploration. Other M does its best to go against that. For example, why in the holy mother of fuck are the upgrades shown on the map? When you reach an area that contains an upgrade, your map will show it. While it does take a little searching to find your way to them, it totally ruins the wonder of finding them on your own. The older Metroid games make you find these upgrades, and while to the hardcore player they aren't necessarily essential for survival, they do make it easier, especially to first time players. Getting your ass handed to you by Ridley because you keep running out of missiles? Go find more missile expansions, or go search for the other energy tanks you haven't found yet.

Other M throws that out the window. There aren't many segments that require backtracking to go get certain items. Some of my favorite parts in Super Metroid involved finding the speed booster upgrade, and then using the shinespark technique to get some expansions you could have missed. It's a cool upgrade that takes some relative skill to use, and feels so worth it when you finally get that last expansion or energy tank.

So worth it
Even Metroid: Zero Mission and Metroid Fusion on the GameBoy Advance were far superior to Other M; with the latter being entirely linear in design. In my playthrough of Zero Mission, I do a lot of tricks to get items you normally can't obtain until much later on such as the Screw Attack, which I get roughly ten minutes into that video using bomb jumps. It's actually a really cool thing, because a lot of items are possible to get based on skill instead of glitches, or you know, playing the game normally.

One of the best things Zero Mission and Fusion did was add the ability to chain together shinesparks. In Super Metroid, if you shinesparked into a surface with a slope, you would just blast past it until you hit a wall. Zero and Fusion however, you would continue running with your charge, and if you hit down, you would keep that charge. That meant long segments of charging, sparking, hitting a slope and continuing the charge, ultimately leading to some awesomely clever secrets and items. It was also fun to pull off, and required quite a bit of skill.


Enter Super Metroid Redesign, a ROM hack of Super Metroid for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Made by a user named Drewseph, this hack takes some of the mechanics of Zero Mission and Fusion, as well as Metroid Prime, and incorporates it into arguably the best Metroid game ever made. It's almost an entirely new experience.

For starters, the map is entirely re-done. If you knew Brinstar and Norfair like the back of your hand, this time you won't. The areas are also much larger, and require use of the game map as well as your own due to the many secret passageways you will encounter. It's absolutely amazing, and brings back the sense of exploration that Super Metroid did so well, as well as the atmosphere that honestly has yet to be matched by any game, save for the Metroid Prime series.

Unlike most Super Metroid ROM hacks, this one changes the game play mechanics drastically, and in my opinion, for the better. Gone are the floaty physics of Super Metroid. Instead, we get a more realistic physics system. Jumps are a lot shorter, and fall time is decreased dramatically, as well as incorporating the need to crouch before jumping to jump higher. This takes some time to get used to, but is required if you want to make it further. Gone are infinite bombs as well! This hack incorporates the Metroid Prime style bombs, meaning you get three you can use in succession, and take time to regenerate. Surprisingly, this doesn't hinder bomb jumpers; it just requires a lot more timing and skill to pull off. To the guys that mastered the incredibly easy bomb jumps in Zero Mission, you have a lot to learn here.

Fuckin A!
As well as the physics being changed, gone are the days of walljumping off whatever the fuck you feel like. In fact, the walljump technique isn't even available until you find it, which is the second upgrade you come across. Redesign makes it so surfaces with a rough appearance are the only walls you can jump off, adding to a more realistic idea. A smooth wall won't cut it. Another change lies in the Spring Ball upgrade. Instead of being seperate, it is now combined with the Hi-Jump Boots. Sweet!

Another serious change from Super Metroid is the Beam Combo upgrade. In Super Metroid, any beam you found would just add to the ones you already found. For example, having the regular Charge Beam and then getting the Wave Beam would make you have a charged Wave Beam. Redesign changes this entirely. You'll be switching beams back and forth until near the later part of the game, and even then two beams are not accounted for. This is cool because you feel like you have three classes of beams. You have the Spazer that can be combo-ed with the Charge and Wave Beams, but not the Ice Beam. The Plasma Beam can't be combo-ed with the Spazer, and then you have the regular versions of EACH. A lot of these combos have more use in certain situations, and are a lot of fun to use.

Redesign brings back the shinespark upgrade, and boy is it a lot of fun. Zero Mission had a lot of segments where you could find a lot of upgrades using this technique, but it required a lot of skill. Redesign uses this A LOT. When you start the game, you'll find upgrades right away that aren't accessible without shinesparking. A lot of them will make you question just how in the hell you get them in the first place. For example, before reaching the elevator to Brinstar, you'll come across a power bomb upgrade, but it's behind a 3 block barrier of shinespark blocks. There isn't even an area around to charge up to get to it. Once you figure out the mechanics of shinesparking however, it becomes obvious. This is actually one of the hardest upgrades to get, because you have to start off in Brinstar, charging shinesparks and making it to the elevator, and finally getting to the upgrade. It's fucking tough.

You'll need to master this technique, as well as others such as the mock ball technique and in-air shinesparking to find secrets and advance through the game. It's tough to master, but so fucking worth it when you do. Those secrets are some of the funnest moments of the ROM hack. It's also crazy to know that Drewseph added it, seeing as how Super Metroid didn't have that capability.

As if there wasn't enough, this hack adds another fascinating feature: an actual mission objective. Throughout the game, you'll come across well hidden Chozo statues. Usually these hold the useful upgrades and expansions, but these are much different. When rolled onto, they disable a security lock on the entrance of Tourian, the last area of the game.

The entrance to Tourian in Super Metroid
In Super Metroid, you had to kill the main bosses to open this entrance up. In Redesign, you'll need to kill the bosses, as well as finding ALL the Chozo locks. There are a lot of them too. It's a rather neat feature because it adds an objective AND encourages exploration.

One of my favorite segments of the game is the famous "Hell Run" in Norfair. In Super Metroid, you have the Varia Suit by the time you go into Norfair so you can deal with the extreme heat. Redesign said "fuck you" and makes you run through an intense series of brilliant level design. To begin with, you can't even enter Norfair until you have 3 energy tanks, and that's still cutting it! Without the Varia Suit, your energy is constantly being depleted at a rapid fire rate, so you need to fucking hustle. Not only are you dodging enemies, but there are morph ball tunnels that need to be navigated with perfection, and a section where you must kill respawning enemies with missiles to gain more energy to make it the rest of the way. It's one of the most intense sequences in the whole game and it's also one of the hardest. The best part though? You have to get the Ice Beam at the end of it, and make it back to go get the Varia Suit.

There's a save point halfway through the Hell Run, with a missile station and energy station, and thank fucking God for that because you will need it. This segment renders save states useless, because you don't even have a second to waste saving it. It can get frustrating after a few attempts, so patience is needed. However, this doesn't even compare to Maridia, which is a water themed section much later in the game.

In Super Metroid, you have to go through the Abandoned Ship and fight Phantoon to get the Gravity Suit before going to Maridia so you can move freely in the water. Redesign makes you go through Maridia without it, and not for a small period of time either. On my first playthrough, I spent almost two hours navigating this section. Not only are you seriously limited in movement, but you'll be facing a lot of tough enemies, including two golden space pirate minibosses. It's fucking hard as shit. There are a lot of ways you can go, but eventually you end up finding the Gravity Suit, and it just feels so rewarding as you go back through annihilating everything and finding more expansions. This hack always makes it worth the frustration.

After trekking through Maridia, which is more or less one of the hardest parts of the game, you'll come to the Lost Caverns, which is a total change in atmosphere from Maridia. It's a little creepy at first, seeing as how your map will show a blank spot for this area, because it's the only area that requires a specific way to get through. If you keep running right, you won't get anywhere. Instead, there's a pattern, and it isn't easily noticed at first. To get past, you need to follow stalagmites. Yes, you need to follow fucking stalagmites. I won't spoil it, but it is a pretty neat section and doesn't feel out of place. Think of Death Mountain in the original Legend of Zelda, but much more complicated. Ultimately though, it leads to Phantoon, and is so much more fitting than the Abandoned Ship in Super Metroid. It's fucking creepy.

To anyone that has beaten Super Metroid, and I hope you have because you're seriously missing out if you haven't, you'll know that the fight with Mother Brain is epic and the escape sequence is intense and equally as awesome. Redesign said screw the 3 minute escape sequence, and opted for a fucking 25 minute escape sequence.

Think I'm joking? Here's the whole sequence done by a first time player. Yeah. 25 FUCKING MINUTES to escape. That means you're going through a shit load of the game just to make it to the end, and every minute counts. You won't make it back to the ship with 15 or 10 minutes to spare no... more like 2 or 3 if you're really fast. That's absolutely insane. For the first time player that's quite a daunting task, and failure means fighting Mother Brain again, which is kind of shitty. I honestly prefer the original versus Redesign's fucking 25 minute escape sequence. It's short and sweet, and feels a lot more intense as the clock gets lower and lower. After 15 minutes, you just want to get the fuck out. However, for the first time player, it can be exciting because you're not sure at first what to expect. A great bonus would have been an extra boss, like in Metroid Fusioin where you fight the Omega Metroid before boarding your ship.


In the end, is Super Metroid Redesign worth it? Abso-fucking-lutely. It adds and changes so much of the game, but in positive ways, and ultimately ends up being something entirely different while still offering the fun and wonder of what made Super Metroid great in the first place.While it's much harder than Super Metroid ever was, it's still a blast to play. Out of all the numerous ROM hacks for Super Metroid, this one is my favorite. The features it adds and changes it makes just blows me away. It brought back the enjoyment of when I first played Super Metroid, and that's something I haven't felt in a very long time.

Want to try it for yourself? Get the ROM hack here.



Oh come on, you think I'd stop talking about Metroid now that I'm on a roll? I've got one more ROM hack for you! Let's take a quick look at Metroid on the Nintendo Entertainment System.

Enter Metroid LUA on the NES. Using FCEUX to emulate, this ROM hack makes use of the implemented LUA scripting to vastly improve the original Metroid.

For starters, you now have the mini-map that came standard in later Metroid games. To anyone who played the original Metroid, navigating the world was a bitch. A lot of areas look the same, and the map is pretty big for a NES game. This LUA script assists you with that. Another nifty feature is having a map screen as well, with labels for Brinstar, Norfair, and others. It's a really nice feature.

It also adds an equip screen in place of the pause screen. Yes, for the first time in the original Metroid, you are free to equip or unequip your upgrades. This makes exploring a lot of areas much easier. On top of that, you also get text boxes to let you know what upgrades you've found. Instead of the famous tune that plays when you find an upgrade, you get a small text box that shows what it is, just like Super Metroid!

And if that wasn't enough, there's a secret boss. You can now fight Crocomire from Super Metroid in 8-bit glory. You can thank me later.

So, that's a look at two awesome ROM hacks for two of my favorite games. I suggest checking them both out. It's absolutely worth the time.

Samus is always worth your time