What happens when you create a sequel to one of the greatest games ever?  You get more and more memories for the video game generation… Generation Pong!  And so I have one for Metroid 2: Return of Samus

A few weeks ago I was talking about some memorable moments from when I first got a hold of Nintendo’s Metroid, on the NES.  How I won the game and what I did the very first day has been stuck with me forever (and you can read it right here if you want).  I’ve mentioned it before, Metroid is my favorite series, and its no surprise that every single game has some specific memory attached to it.

Sequels always walk on thin ice, and when you change platforms like Metroid did (jumping from the NES to the Game Boy), it gets even trickier.  Somehow though, Nintendo mastered the transition.  Not only did they capture all the magic that made Metroid good, they were able to provide a change to the story.  And for a game that doesn’t have much story elements to it (other than the booklets that came with the game… at least here in the States), it had built itself an atmosphere unlike any other.

Metroid 2

But I’m not here to talk about the excellent game.  As far as that goes, you continue playing Samus Aran, who has gone to exterminate the “metroids” on their home planet (after seeing how dangerous they were, while the Space Pirates where using them in the first game).  What I’m here for, is for the specific memory I have with this game, and the memory of my first all nighter; or at least the first one I remember.

I do not remember commercials for the game, buying it or anything about first getting it.  I just remember having it.  It was summer of 1992, I’m around 13, and I was still living in Greece, so we were in the southern most part of the mainland, spending a month or so at my uncles villa right on the beach (Koroni).  My days were spent playing on the beach, my afternoons spent eating great food, and when I finally went to bed, I would play my Game Boy for a few before falling asleep.

I remember I had that night-light and screen magnifier (2 in one) for my game boy, which was awesome.  So there I was one night and decided to play this game.  BAM!  The opening music hit me in the face the way the first one did.  Well, in the ears… my mom and I were in the same living area, so I was wearing my headphones.  Suddenly, years after playing the first one, I was flooded with the original story and everything that happened.  And so, the way the game starts, I knew I was about to start exploring.

Metroid 2 Menu

I remember being super impressed with the atmosphere… despite being on the colorless Gameboy, that actual fact, and that the story takes place in on a different planet, made everything seem… “alien”.  It transferred well to my young self’s imagination.  I was on the hunt, roaming the caverns of this alien planet.  The structure of the boards/world was more jagged and disturbing than the original game, the caverns and hallways more twisty and complicated.  This wasn’t the ruins of an ancient civilization… it was primal… and it felt dangerous.  It engulfed me.  And nothing else mattered…

I vaguely remember a lamp turning off on the other side of the room (my mom went to bed)… the glow of my lighted magnifying screen made the game feel more intense.  Down one cavern, out another cave, ruins of the Chozo, weapon and armor upgrades, and Metroids… lots and lots of Metroids.  The game/story kicked it up a notch by showing an evolving species here, in their homeland.  One that becomes more and more dangerous the more they evolved (which obviously coincided with the farther you got int the game).

Metroid 2 Metroid

I remember specifically reaching the last leader, the Metroid queen, and being awed.  She was huge, and menacing.  Thinking back on it, it kind of feels like Aliens when Ridley finally reaches the Alien Queen at the end of the film.  I remember playing her a few times before I could defeat her (and it wasn’t till after a few tries I realized I could transform into a Morphball, let her swallow me, and drop a bunch of bombs inside of her.

Metroid 2 Queen

The ending was even more memorable, as you find the baby metroid hatch and it confuses you for it’s mother.  I would’t know it then, but years later, when playing Super Metroid, this ending will be a huge story connection.

So the credits start rolling and I can’t believe what an adventure it was… it literally felt like a journey.  I guess it was time for bed, only to see that it’s in the wee hours of the morning, and the sun would be coming up soon.  I didn’t even realize time fly by.

The next day my mom yelled at me cause I was too tired to help with things throughout the day, then (trying to focus on the Gameboy, which was the cause of the tiredness), was telling me how I would go deaf with my headphones being so loud (that even she could hear it)… Well… it was well worth it; cause this memory is still with me; and years later knowing how much I still love the Metroid games to this very day, I find it an important memory too.  My first all-nighter… one to be repeated, repeatedly, during my life as I grew up… especially during college… and many a times again for video games.

Till the next memory…


Metroid 2 Ending (not my time)