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"Jowy then becomes the second person to ask Barry if they'll ever return to their hometown. Barry reassures his companion, in the hopes that he'll just shut up and bend over. Nothin' doin', unfortunately."
     -Sam, Suikoden II Part 4




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Metroid: Other M : Part 1
By Ryan
Posted 07.02.11
Pg. 1 : 2 : 3 : 4 : 5 : 6 : 7
We cut to Samus walking down a corridor, wanking along: "Never again would I encounter the baby. Never... The finality of it struck me once again." The inanity of this writing is striking ME once again. Also, wouldn't it be ironic if Samus DID encounter a baby Metroid again sometime soon? That probably won't happen, though. Samus steps into a full-body scanner in front of a locked door at the end of the corridor, but then we only see a picture of her retina being scanned, for some reason. The door opens, and Samus steps through.

Inside the conference room, we see Samus giving the cliffsnotes version of her mission report to a captivated audience: "Mission completed. The planet Zebes was annihilated, and all Metroids were exterminated." She manages to say this like it's a good thing, except, if she's reporting on her Metroid extermination mission from Metroid II, it seems a little strange to report (1) that she blew up a planet in the process, and (2) that it wasn't even the planet she was originally sent to. I mean, if the Galactic Federation's goal was to blow up a planet, they probably have more effective ways to do it than to send one person on a surface mission. And also, Zebes, the planet from Metroid and Super Metroid, was the home base of the Space Pirates, but SR388 was the Metroid home world in Metroid II (and Metroid Fusion). So if her mission was to kill all the Metroids, she wouldn't go about it by blowing up... you know what, I don't even care. Everybody is super pleased with Samus and her collateral damage skills. Over the applause, she mopes to herself: "A simple report, almost dull, even..." -- you can say that again! -- "but it felt momentous to me." Oh my god this is going to be a long game.

Let's face it: "Baby's Cry" is a dumb SOS code name. Which of these could do just as good a job of drawing attention?
Obnoxious Neighbor's Passive-Aggressive Post-It Note
New Cell Phone's Loudest and Longest Ringtone
Local Dive Bar's Last Call
Frustrated Recapper's Agonized Scream

 

Sometime later, we rejoin Samus in her spaceship, flying through space, making a melancholy entry in her Captain's Diary: "I don't know how much time passed since then," she wanks, "Days went by in their quiet way, and people's recollections of Metroids and Space Pirates grew nebulous over time, relegated to a past concern of the galactic communities. Nothing more than a faded memory." Her ship must be as bored by this monologue as I am, because it chooses this moment to pick up a distress signal, interrupting Samus's emo ramblings. Samus identifies the distress signal as "code name 'Baby's Cry'," and points out that it's an SOS signal "with the urgency of a baby crying." You know, unlike all those other SOS signals, which you can just respond to at your leisure. Just to make sure we really get it, Samus repeats herself: "The nickname comes from the fact that the purpose of the signal is to draw attention." Sigh.

Even though the distress signal is coming from a remote part of space, Samus adjusts her flight plan to intercept it, and then she narrates the same information for us in her stilted, monotone voice. I'll spare you a transcription of it just this one time. "Baby's Cry..." she muses vapidly as she engages her engines, "it was as though it was crying specifically for me." Her ship zooms off into the distance, and the MOM logo flares on-screen.

Oh my goodness I can't believe we're only just finished with the introductory sequence! I mean, ahem, As we finished the introductory sequence, I thought about how annoying it was that we had only just finished the introductory sequence, and it made me feel sad and annoyed. Then I thought about the baby Metroid. It would have been sad, too. But now it's gone. The finality of it struck me once again. I started to feel light-headed, and then, sleepy...

Samus's ship comes out of warp drive near a giant cloud of purple space dust. Her on-board scanners indicate that the dust is leaking from a craft called the "Bottle Ship". You know, because it's shaped like a baby's bottle. ...Oh my gosh what a coincidence; Samus was just thinking about a baby recently! Samus somehow manages to keep from repeating this same information to herself in wankese, and silently pilots her (comparatively tiny!) ship towards the Bottle Ship. Flying low over the surface of the damaged spacecraft, she finds an open hangar and lands her ship inside.

 
There's probably like a million penis-shaped hidden in the darkness, too.

In gameplay mode, we see Samus's ship's engines cooling off, and an elevator on the bottom of her ship deposits her on the floor of the hangar. We never saw the hangar door close, but she doesn't get sucked into the vacuum of space or anything, which is good, I guess. Samus cautiously leaves her ship and proceeds toward the hatch leading to the interior of the Bottle Ship. The only real light in this scene is coming from the Day-Glo portions of Samus's Power Suit, so I can't really tell what it is, exactly, that catches her eye, but after a few steps she stops and the camera zips into the back of her head. This is the game's way of telling me that there's something on the screen that it would like me to scan, a game mechanic that will be used only a handful of times, and is so pointless that I'm even going to bother coming up with a snappy name for it. I hope the person who had to program these sequences is reading this recap so they can feel bad about that colossal diss I just delivered regarding their work.

Anyway, the camera merges with Samus's POV, which is completely filled by a space ship (one much larger than her own) parked across the hangar. The screen is tinted green until I point the infrared end of the Wiimote at the screen, causing a green aiming reticule to appear. Oh, good. I love me some Wiimote-waggling. Because this game was apparently designed for handicapped four year olds, a tutorial window pops on-screen to suggest that I press and hold the B-trigger to look around, even though we already reviewed this mechanic in the tutorial. I guide Samus in locking the reticule onto the insignia on the side of the ship. The camera zooms in to reveal that the insignia is the Galactic Federation logo.

Samus repeats the words "Galactic Federation" to herself, but before she can say anything else, she's interrupted by an explosion off-screen. She proceeds -- sprints, really -- to the hatch connecting the hangar to the Bottle Ship proper, and the door whooshes open automatically as she approaches. I guess shooting doors open, a Metroid staple, didn't really translate to this new, speedier, style of gameplay.

Once inside the ship, Samus sprints through a cylindrical corridor, and more explosions go off in the distance. As she approaches the door at the opposite end of the corridor, the camera merges with Samus's POV once again, and we get a first-person view of her running between some large shipping containers. (Hey, this part is just like Metroid Prime!) When she reaches the end of the containers, Samus leaps out into the open, training her arm cannon on the source of all the racket.

It would be funny if she had wandered into like, a marauding pack of Space!Dodongos, or something, but no, it's just a bunch of Space Marines huddled around a locked door. I guess that was their ship parked outside, then. Everybody points their guns at each other, and then one of the Space Marines steps forward and congenially calls out, "Fancy meeting you here, Princess!" He lifts up his visor to reveal his face, and asks, "Remember me?" Of course, the answer is no, because he's a new character made up specifically for this game, but Samus identifies him as "Anthony" and wankeses for us that "there's only one person who calls [her] 'Princess', and that person is Anthony Higgs of the Galactic Federation Army." While Samus exposits, Anthony gets his compatriots to lower their weapons.

"I haven't seen you since that last mission!" Anthony says to Samus. You know, the one at the place, with the people, where they did that thing? "And your buddy's here too!" He gestures to one of the other soldiers behind him. Samus spots the indicated soldier, and reminds herself that he's "Adam Malkovich. A general in the Galactic Federation Army." The camera zooms in so that Adam's (scowling) face is visible through his visor, and Samus continues, artlessly expositing that Adam is "not only a trusted confidant but also [her] former superior officer." Not only that, but he's also a key character in Metroid Fusion! Oh, the intertextuality.

College lesbian phase. We've all been there.
 

We shift to a flashback of Adam commanding his troops in battle, and Samus reiterates: "Yes, there was a time when I was enrolled in the Galactic Federation Army." We see a younger, shoulder-pad-less, Power Suit Samus running across the battlefield, somersaulting over and firing on enemies. The scene then shifts to a different flashback, where a young, butch Samus in olive drab fatigues walks away from an Adam dressed in a fabulous blue hat and coat. "And then I... well, I was young and inexperienced... as the result of a certain incident, I left Adam's command and set out on my path as a solitary bounty hunter." A certain incident, eh? That sounds like something that we'll probably be revisiting in the climax of the game. Also, who exactly is it that Samus is keeping this "certain incident" a secret from? Unlike the original wankese from FFX, we're not using these narratives to work toward any specific point in time, so I guess I have to stick with my original hypothesis that Samus is just talking to herself. And now she's keeping secrets from herself. That's normal.

Back in the present, scowly Adam scowls, "What are you doing here?" Instead of responding, Samus wankeses that "the first words out of his mouth were typical, coming from Adam," and then, as it's happening on the screen, she continues, "to answer his question, I recounted the details of what had brought me to this place, and then I asked what circumstances led the Federation here." Anthony looks like he's ready to fill Samus in, but then Adam grunts, "that information is not for an outsider."

Samus is so hurt by this response that she can't help slipping into yet more wankese: "The word he so obviously chose, 'outsider,' pierced my heart." Which is SUCH. A DRAMATIC. THING TO SAY. Samus is at least good at acting stoical, though, and doesn't say anything out loud in response. After an awkward pause, one of the other Space Marines steps back from the locked door to announce that his preparations are finished. An intermittent beeping begins as the Space Marines and Samus withdraw to a safe distance. Oh. I guess we've figured out where all the explosions were coming from, then. After a few more beeps, an explosion rocks the room, but when the smoke clears, the door is still barred shut. "No dice!" a Space Marine says. He lifts his visor (GIGANTIC NOSE ALERT!) and says "I think our only option is to use the laser to slowly burn our way through."

The Schnozz grouses that burning through the door with "the laser" is going to take forever, and Anthony comments to Samus that the electricity on the Bottle Ship is down, and the team can't get the "barrier wall" on the door to open. "We tried using explosives, but it's tricky to pull off without collateral damage." Samus's ears perk up. Collateral damage, you say? Anthony continues, "What we need is some way to focus the power onto one centralized location..." before he can even finish his sentence, Samus launches a missile at the door, busting the barrier wall off its hinges. Awesome.

The other Space Marines are impressed, but Adam just shoots Samus a sidelong glance. Now that the door is open, the Space Marines file through, with Anthony and Adam bringing up the rear, leaving Samus alone with her thoughts. Such as they are. "Adam hadn't authorized it, but I decided to remain on-site for the sake of the others." And the best way Samus can think of to help, apparently, is by totally enfeebling herself, because a little tutorial window pops up in the corner of the screen to alert me to the fact that "Samus has decided not to use bombs or missiles until Adam authorizes them."

 
Uh-huh. 'Decided.'

And thus begins what I find to be the stupidest aspect of this entire game. As we already know, Metroid: Other M is supposed to take place more or less immediately after Super Metroid. What we haven't really discussed yet is that, at the end of Super Metroid, Samus was at the top of her game. She had a bunch of energy tanks, she could carry a ton of missiles, and she had a variety of beam weapons and Power Suit upgrades. Seriously, that's not even an exhaustive list. But now, because ADAM LOOKED AT HER FUNNY when she used her missiles to OPEN A DOOR FOR HIM, she's decided to disable all of those upgrades and wait for his say-so to use them.

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