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"No wonder the HSC's are starving all over the place, they waste perfectly good food in favor of plotting their diabolical plots. Man, if this were my cult, I'd have the whole damn thing streamlined within the week."
     -Ryan, Final Fantasy Tactics Part 2

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Metroid: Other M : Part 1
By Ryan
Posted 07.02.11
Pg. 1 : 2 : 3 : 4 : 5 : 6 : 7
I'm not going to lie to you, part of the appeal for me in recapping Metroid: Other M is that I don't have to make up some cock and balls bull story about why my most recent recap was posted five years ago. Another major draw for me is that a new game is a fresh start; even though it's a little more work for Jeanne to put up a recap for a new game, I don't have to waste any time rereading my own recaps to get up to speed reviewing what's happened in previous installments, and we can hit the ground running.

The remaining appeal, however, is sex appeal. I mean, you've seen Zero Suit Samus in Brawl, right? She's got a skintight, neon blue catsuit. Sure, it's hidden under her clunky orange Power Suit most of the time, but I shouldn't even have to tell you that this game was developed in part by Team Ninja. And these are the guys, nay, heroes who delivered unto us the technology to render boobs that jiggle independently of each other. So we already know, going into this, that they'll spare no effort to strip Samus down to just her bare essentials. So to speak.

But I guess I'm getting ahead of myself. Samus wasn't always a sex symbol! In fact, in the original Metroid, players were kind of supposed to think she was a dude. She's this heavily armored bounty hunter, sent to infiltrate and destroy a Space Pirate base and kill all the monsters within -- all very stereotypically manly things -- and the instruction booklet even refers to her as a "he". It isn't until the very end of the game, when she takes off her armor, that players find out that Samus is a more of an Ellen Ripley than an Indiana Jones. But then it all kind of starts to go downhill from there.

In Metroid II, Samus is sent to the planet SR388 to eradicate all the Metroids, because flying jellyfish leech monsters are really dangerous, apparently, but she chokes in the clutch and spares a single baby Metroid when it hatches in front of her. She was probably on her period that day, too. Of course, the Metroid hatchling then gets kidnapped by Ridley, evil space-dragon extraordinaire, and Samus goes on a mission to save it in Super Metroid. During the course of the game, the Metroid baby matures into an adult, and we learn that it imprinted on Samus, believing her to be its mother, because she's a GIRL, and it comes to her rescue at the end of the game because they have such a magical emotional bond. More on that later.

Just because I'm curious, what's your favorite Metroid game?
Metroid(/Zero Mission) - the original is still the best!
Metroid II - it's like Pokémon but you're killing them all!
Super Metroid - it's the most popular one!
Metroid Fusion - linear gameplay totally rocks!
...I can't believe you didn't put a single Metroid Prime entry on here; that makes me mad.


The point is, Samus has been making a slow but steady transition from a mysterious, silent crusader to a busty, feelingful waif for years now, and the culmination of this slide into fragility is Metroid: Other M. Sure, there was some dialogue in Metroid Fusion and in Metroid Prime: Corruption, and Samus has always taken her Power Suit off at the end of every game, but MOM, in contrast with the rest of the series, is filled with long, plodding cut-scenes about Samus's deep, tortuous ANGST, and her Power Suit falls off if she so much as sneezes. We all have our own ways of dealing with this sad change of events. The fanboys howl, of course; normal people probably assume that Samus is just the new Lara Croft, a pair of giant boobs that somehow manages to juggle a gun; and I prefer to believe that Samus has a yet-undiagnosed brain tumor that is pressing on her cerebellum, one that might in the future be removed, taking all of her airheaded, expository feelings with it.

Seriously, if we can blame Team Ninja for cranking the T&A up to 11, then there's probably a high school creative writing class somewhere that we can blame for this stinker of a story, too. As we'll see, the transition from the minimal narratives of the other games to the very overt plot in MOM was not handled with much grace. Samus, given a voice after years of silence, is used as a lazy plot device, telling us things that should be shown, and awkwardly expositing background information whenever the script requires it. But hey, the gameplay is really fun! And don't forget about the tits!

But maybe this is something you just have to see for yourself. So, without further wanking from me, let's just get started.

... in Space! We open up in an asteroid field, with rocks flying past us. Operatic music wells up as a second, glowing wave of asteroids -- or maybe it's gunship fire? -- shoots through the field. We zoom in on a derelict spacecraft as it starts getting pounded by the glowing asteroids. It explodes in a huge ball of flame, engulfing the camera, and transitioning to like, maybe a nebula or something? This opening cutscene is kind of Kingdom Heartsy, if you ask me. There's a glowing object at the center of the nebula, drawing in energy. As we zoom in, you can tell that the glowing object is actually a baby. So maybe we're inside a uterus instead of a nebula? I don't know. The baby emits a flash of light and starts maturing into a young, blonde kid. We zoom in to the kid's face -- and there's a weird, monstrous screeching noise in the background -- as the kid opens its eyes.

Oh, and then all of a sudden, it's Samus, as an adult, in her Power Suit. Her suit is freaking out on her, flashing its alarms and beeping in distress, and she wonders to herself, "Why am I still alive?" We get a quick shot of Samus's POV, and her HUD indicates that her energy tanks are near empty, but are being refilled. "The baby" she mumbles, and the camera zooms out to reveal that she's being held in the claws (fangs? talons?) of a giant Metroid. So, I don't know about that spaceship-cum-uterus part, but it's pretty clear that this part, with the Metroid shielding Samus, is a recreation of the climax of Super Metroid that I alluded to earlier. The baby Metroid has come to save Samus from Mother Brain, the leader of the Space Pirates. We don't get to see this part, but the baby Metroid attacked Mother Brain, siphoning off her energy, and is now transferring the energy to Samus. Because apparently that's something Metroids can do.

'No, Ms. Aran, I expect you to die!'

The camera keeps panning out from Samus and the Metroid, spinning around them as Samus dangles in midair, and a laser from offscreen hits the Metroid. The laser's source, of course, is a revitalized Mother Brain. She's a nasty-looking creature, a giant exposed brain with sharp teeth and a single eye, attached to a giant monster body. She fires another laser out of her mouth at Samus and the Metroid. The mouth lasers don't appear to have any effect, because the Metroid just keeps hovering in midair, so Mother Brain charges up an eye laser, which takes longer, so it is probably a bigger deal. While she's charging, the Metroid drops Samus and swoops toward Mother Brain.

In slow motion, we see Samus fall from the Metroid as Mother Brain unleashes her eye laser. It pierces the Metroid, who lets out a horrible screech. Samus's heartbeat pounds as she falls, reaching up toward the Metroid. The Metroid quivers in midair for a second before exploding in a shower of glittery jelly. Samus hits the ground and looks up in time to see the remaining bits of glittery Metroid jelly fall slowly to the floor. One tiny blob falls onto her outstretched hand. Mother Brain charges forward. Samus gasps, "Mother... time to go!" and charges up her arm cannon. The camera flies inside the cannon so we can see a huge fireball growing as she charges up. Samus fires, turning the screen completely white.

After a beat, the white screen turns into a glowing white hospital room. Samus, out of her Power Suit, is reclined on a bio-bed. As she stirs, a scanner and an oxygen mask disengage, giving us a good shot of her giant rack and her new beauty mark. You might want to get that thing checked, Samus. You can't really tell on the video I have, because the high contrast values are kind of off, but a computer screen swings in front of Samus's face and a bespectacled technician tells her that everything's normal.

Samus opens her eyes. In perfect wankese, she tells us what's happening, even though everything is visible on-screen, "I awoke to the familiar voice of a quarantine officer." At the behest of the Nerdy Technician, she sits up slowly, continuing, "I had been reliving the tragic moments of my recent past. Thanks to the Hyper Beam, which was given to me somehow by the baby, I laid Mother Brain to waste." And if you think that's some award-winning writing, wait until you hear the voice acting. I'm pretty sure Samus's VA has been lobotomized, because every. word. is. delivered. with. halted. and. monotonous. intonation. So every time you read Samus's wankese, make. sure. you. read. it. to. yourself. accordingly. because. it's. too. hard. to. type. like. this. all. the. time.

Samus explains to herself that the explosion following Mother Brain's death destroyed the entire planet of Zebes, and as she exposits, we see a flashback of her ship escaping the exploding planet. She points out that the explosion also most likely killed everything else on the planet, including the Metroid hatchling, Space Pirates, and her "long-standing nemesis", Ridley. Still in flashback mode, we see Power Suit Samus sit down on a bio-bed, tended to by technicians. I guess she really wasn't kidding when she called that memory her "recent past"; it seems like this game is picking up right where Super Metroid ended.

The camera pulls back to give us a profile view of the quarantine room, with Zero Suit Samus standing in the middle. The Nerdy Technician tells Samus to point her shapely ass in the direction of the next room. She obliges.

'Was your daddy a baker? I forget the rest, but nice ass.'

The next room is a large, open area with tiled floors and a raised observation room. Samus faces the observation room and Nerdy Technician tells her to suit up. Samus spreads her arms and legs, and the purple designs on her Zero Suit start to glow. Then, like she's fucking Sailor Moon or something, the camera swings around Samus's boobs, arms, and legs and we see her Power Suit materialize over portions of her Zero Suit. Her transformation finished, Samus poses menacingly. In gameplay mode, Nerdy Technician lets Samus know that he's going to give her "a little warmup," meaning that it's time for a tutorial of how to play this crazy game. Samus's energy meter, showing a paltry 99 hit points, and a mini-map of the square room I'm in appear onscreen.

I'm not going to go through the nitty gritty of every move the tutorial makes me practice, but it suffices to say, Samus is fast. She dashes around quickly, she fires her arm cannon quickly, she converts her suit into a morph-ball quickly, and she kick-climbs up walls quickly. Skill-wise, in addition to old Metroid standbys -- her charge beam, missiles, morph ball bombs, and the power bomb -- she also has some new abilities. There's the Overblast, where Samus leaps on top of an enemy to deliver a close-range charge shot; the Sensemove, where Samus nimbly dodges incoming attacks; and the Lethal Strike, where Samus grapple-tackles a downed enemy and finishes them off with a charged shot. Basically, aside from missiles and bombs, they're all variations on the idea that Samus has a charge beam, and that she's really quick on her feet. Once Samus has demonstrated all of her moves to Nerdy Technician's satisfaction, he declares the warm-up over. "Looks like you took quite a bit of damage... It's unbelievable how well you've held up!" he says randomly. Is this the game designers' way of explaining why Samus doesn't have a bunch of spare energy tanks anymore? If so, I'm not buying it.

'I also filmed myself doing it.'

Instead of getting offended that some punk just told her she looks like crap, Samus takes the opportunity to wankese about the baby Metroid: "I wondered if this, too, was a result of the power the baby gave me." We don't get a chance to find out exactly what she means by this, because Nerdy Technician interrupts Samus's inner monologue to remind her that she's awaited in a meeting. He creepily adds, "I gave your suit a polish so you'd be at least somewhat presentable," and adjusts his glasses like a sex offender. Samus doesn't seem that creeped out, though, because she just goes back to wanksting about the baby Metroid again: "Not even a fragment... None of the baby remained on me," she drones as she looks at her hand. Then, in case we missed the fact that she looked at her hand because that's where the blob of glittery baby Metroid jelly fell a few minutes ago, she points out, "I knew it to be true but still couldn't help looking at my palm for a sign." DURRRRRRR.

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