At long last, the sequel to SUPER METROID has arrived. It's only taken eight years, and a revival of the Super Nintendo in the form of the Game Boy Advance. Fans of METROID will be pleased to play this new game, and newborn fans through METROID PRIME will fall in love with playing a similar game in its original side-scrolling form.
The biggest difference between FUSION and the previous games in the series is the narrative that the game follows. You are presented initially with a story about how Samus got to this point and why she has lost her abilities (again). The biggest change is that due to an infection of a new virus, she was injected with the last remaining bioform of the last Metroid (the natural enemy of the virus), which cures her and allows her to absorb the virus to get health and ammunition back.
The narrative continues throughout the game, as your commanding officer continually directs you to the next checkpoint of the game. This isn't a problem but it definitely shortens the game up, and makes it a lot easier that it normally would have been. However, there is still plenty of gameplay and exploration to do.
The nature of the new virus allows it to imitate certain creatures, this means you'll fight a wide range of characters that have been imitated by the virus. After defeating the enemy, the virus will revert to a state that you can absorb, however, if you don't do this quickly, it will transform back into an enemy. The most interesting of these enemy forms is the SA-X, a fully powered Samus Aran that many times plays a deadly game of 'hide and go seek' with you.
The rest of the game plays like usual. You'll explore a space station, finding hidden passageways and slowly upgrading yourself back to normal. This all happens at a bit of a more advanced pace than usual, but nevertheless, it's the same basic deal. You'll also fight the typical giant bosses that have patterns you'll have to figure out. Some of these bosses can be quite difficult and might take you a while to figure out exactly how to beat them.
The replay value lies in finding all of the missile containers and energy tanks. It might take a while and a lot of exploration, but it is definitely an accomplishable task and one that most fans of Metroid will likely want to take on.
Even though you're confined to a space station, the game is anything but dull. There is plenty of color and some really nice backgrounds. The enemies are nicely detailed and animated and METROID FUSION is one of the nicest looking GBA games to date. It's definitely as pretty as SUPER METROID.
The sound is phenomenal. The game offers a setting to switch to stereo sound if you have a pair of headphones (a must for Game Boy Advance games). There is some awesome music in the game that's moody and creepy as well as the typical sound effects that adorn the series. The theme when you start the game is enough for me to give it high marks.
Owners of the GBA need to pick this one up. It goes hand-in-hand with the release of METROID PRIME, and you can even play the original METROID by linking this game up to the GameCube version. It's a game worthy of your time, and a purchase.