okay, i'll take the obvious bait i guess
90% sure he's not being serious, but i'm just bored enough to respond to it anyway
>what is the point of the intro?
So, this is a pretty big question, and I'm prepared to give a big answer.
Just off the top of my head, I can think of three clear and distinct purposes that Super Metroid's intro segment fulfills, but if someone like this guy needs to be told what they are, then they probably need to be told what the appeal of Metroid is in the first place (apart from it being just generally fun to play).
Metroid is nothing if not atmospheric, and may well have been one of the earliest video games to give players the feeling of true immersion—not just being "in the zone," like you're playing a good game of Asteroids or Tetris or something—but the sensation of stepping directly into the game's world and feeling as though you, personally, are part of the adventure. It's a concept that's been perfected in film and literature for centuries, but when applied to video games, Metroid pretty much wrote the book on it.
It's a game where the player gets dropped into the bowels of a dark and hostile alien planet with no sense of direction or where to go. There are no tutorials or friendly characters to speak to. You're all alone, completely isolated. For most players, this tends to create the sense of anxiety, confusion, or even fear—emotions that we typically associate with the horror genre, but in a non-horror game that combines elements of Super Mario Bros. with The Legend of Zelda, which not only helped set the game apart, but remain accessible to just about everybody.
Super Metroid ups the ante in several ways, but with respect to the intro segment, it largely expands on what the original NES game was capable of by taking full advantage of their new 16-bit technology. The result is an extraordinarily chilling introduction that might just be the best video game intro of all time. I mentioned three things that the intro does right, so I'll start counting them off here.
1. It sets the tone for the rest of the game, and does so remarkably well.
I don't need to explain why tone-setting is an important thing to nail down, right? There's a number of things that Super Metroid does early on, both big and small, to put players in a certain kind of mood in order to give them an idea of what to expect from the rest of the game.
Right off the bat, there's the title screen. We're first treated to a series of closeup shots of machinery panning within a dark room. A deep blue color palette is used to emphasize the dearth of light in the room, as well as to make it appear colder. Small piles of unintelligible pixel matter (which we figure out later) can be spotted strewn about the floor. These shots are cut back and forth between a series of interstitial title cards, which curiously refer to the game as "Metroid 3," utilizing small red text over a plain black background to heighten the sense of apprehension. On top of this, there's a quiet musical overture that synthesizes a monotonous piano tone, played slowly at first, and higher up on the scale to simulate the sound of careful, frightened footsteps. Interspersed is the creepy (and iconic) little cry of a captive baby Metroid, the same one that Samus spared the life of in Metroid II: Return of Samus. A centerfold shot of this Metroid completes the scene. The piano tones that played slowly before now increase in tempo as we zoom out, and just as the disturbing scene becomes all too clear, we're hit with a massive
pump of synth-based catharsis as the title screen finally appears, as a Terminator-esque rendition of the original Metroid theme plays:
Here, we can see that the piles of pixels I mentioned before are actually dead bodies, specifically of the scientists to which Samus had donated the Metroid, and all we can tell is that they were massacred by someone or something. Regardless, this is some pretty intense and dark imagery to put in a Nintendo game, don't you think? Especially for the time. I'm not even sure how they got away with it, but I'm glad that they did. All the elements at play here stand to let the player know that this isn't your father's Nintendo game (unless your father was cool), and that you're in for some serious shit. It's just the coolest title screen ever. I don't know how else to say it.
Before the game begins, we're treated to a brief monologue by Samus herself. Because it's mainly an exposition dump, there's not a lot to analyze here, but I will say that I've always loved how this scene was presented. The green text slowly printing over her partially-obscured face is just really cool to me, aesthetically, and the Super Metroid theme is so fucking awesome
This brings us to the actual "intro segment" in question where we finally have control of Samus. As she herself explained, the reason she's back in Ceres Station is because she picked up a distress call shortly after donating the baby Metroid to the scientists.
As SephirothSword57 points out, there are no tutorials, obstacles, or enemies to be found in this segment. There isn't even any music, if you don't count the ambient mechanical droning in the background, and we're presented once again with a hazy and unnerving deep blue color scheme. The reason for this goes back to the original "point" of Metroid—it's not about what the game makes you do
, but what it makes you feel: Apprehension. It's meant to send shivers down your spine. It's meant to be acutely discomforting.
There comes a point where you reach the title screen room with the dead scientists, but now you notice that the baby Metroid is missing, with the glass tube it was being kept in shattered, and it's supposed to be this "oh shit" kind of moment, because you've already seen this before. This buildup of tension reaches a fever pitch once the Metroid is found in the next room, being guarded by scary-ass Ridley, who only reveals himself after a few seconds in the background with the glint of his eye becoming visible before he himself emerges.
The scripted battle that ensues is meant to make you feel helpless, as most scripted battles tend to, and as soon as Ridley gets tired of playing with his food, he flies out and activates the self-destruct sequence that no Metroid game is complete without.
Everything about this intro is designed to put the player on edge, and that's just one of the main purposes that it serves.
2. It's a heuristic tutorial of basic controls
Heuristics is the art of being able to figure shit out for yourself without needing any tutors. Earlier, SephirothSword57 remarked on the lack of tutorials in this intro, and though I agreed with the underlying implications of his statement ("the game doesn't hold my hand"), I can't say that the level doesn't have a manner of teaching you anything. It provides the player with a simple environment that makes it easy and natural to experiment with the controls.
In other words, the game was designed in such a way that doesn't insult your intelligence. It allows you to press buttons and figure out what they all do on your own rather than spoon-feeding to you what each and every button does like any modern game would do.
3. Story—provides the inciting incident and an antagonist to hate, giving you reason to keep playing
Pretty straightforward, not much to elaborate on. The "inciting incident" is a film term for what novelists might call a "hook," or an event that keeps the audience interested. If you're not interested after your first encounter with Ridley in Super Metroid, there might actually be something wrong with you.
>why do you have to hold a button down to run when there's no reason not to run?
Having the option to manually vary your movement speed comes quite in handy, because there's actually plenty of times when you don't necessarily want to be running at full speed. If you're exploring new territory, for example, you're bound to bump into some dangerous shit if you're just constantly sprinting everywhere, because it makes it considerably more difficult to see what's in front of you. Every game in the classic Sonic trilogy has this issue, which is why a lot of people consider them to be utterly unplayable.
Not to mention, the regular running speed isn't even that slow to begin with, so I can't even accept this as a personal subjective nitpick. It's just wrong.
>why don't they teach me how to use items when they teach you how to use missiles?
This goes back to the heuristics thing. They don't teach you because they assume you're not stupid. That's literally the entire reason.
One of Super Metroid's few flaws, from my point of view, is that it does
give you a tutorial on how to use the missiles—not once, but every single time
you pick up a missile expansion. It's a beauty mark on the face of an otherwise perfect game.
>why isn't there a dedicated missile button?
I guess it wouldn't be a bad idea if there was, but it doesn't bother me at all that there isn't. Once you've collected the Super Missiles, Power Bombs, and the Grapple Beam, it can become a bit of a hassle having to cycle through all that stuff just to go back to your regular beam, but I don't think it's that
bad. It really does come down to the SNES controller being short on buttons to accommodate all year gear without having everything be tied to the pause menu.
It also adds a layer of skill if you're trying to use missiles in combat, because you have to be able to maintain your composure as you hit select the right number of times to get the right missile in the heat of the moment, and I personally find that dynamic fun and interesting. I can still totally understand this complaint, though.
>why do you need five missiles to open red doors? one should be enough!
This is such a dumb nitpick, but the reason is because it adds a tiny layer of resource management. As you explore, it's wise to have at least five missiles at all times, which is not difficult. Maybe it's a way to discourage you from relying on them too heavily in combat, or something. I don't know. It makes no real difference because missiles are so easy to find anyway.
>enticing players with hard-to-reach items is bad game design
I can barely even respond to this point, because he doesn't really substantiate it at all. He just says that it's bad game design. Like, all right. There's nothing I can really do with that one.
The only thing he says is that it's like "teasing" the player, and that apparently, it makes more sense for items like this to be hidden in inaccessible rooms
, rather than having the items be out in the open. He doesn't say why, or explain how this isn't an arbitrary distinction. I just don't really know how to respond.
I personally find it fun when games have me taking mental notes of items that I can't reach yet, because it's a way of giving me hints as to what I'll be able to do later with certain power-ups. It creates anticipation and excitement, and when I finally have that power-up, it's rewarding to be able to come back to that place I took note of and finally get that item that's been hiding up there for half the game. It's gratifying.
>why is there a map when the game is about exploration?
I'm hard-pressed to think of a reason why there wouldn't be. I guess he's trying to say that the map "spoils" the layout of the world for you, thereby making it less exciting to explore? I think? But that's stupid, because the map only shows you where you haven't been yet. If anything, that should be encouraging, because it's like, "Look at all this shit you haven't seen yet!" I don't know how you could construe that as a bad thing, even if you were trolling.
>the music is just a bunch of sound with no melody
I would've just posted a link to the Wikipedia article on ambient music here, but the Simple English version hasn't been written yet.
>the Torizo fight is unexpected
Yeah, and it's awesome because that's the point.
>the way energy tanks are presented is bad game design
Another one I don't really know how to respond to, because he doesn't really explain why it's bad, and it's probably his nitpickiest point yet. Even if I had a proper response, I don't feel strongly enough about it to entertain this one.
>wall-jumping should be easier, and the game should tell you how to do it
I don't disagree with the first half of this point, but I also don't think it's that complicated. The only thing that's a little weird is that you're required to do a spinning jump specifically, and I suppose you could argue that the jump window could be a little bit more lenient. But still, I don't really consider this to be a huge deal.
Either way, everyone knows that the game does indeed teach you how to do this, just non-verbally. Figuring out how to do it yourself without being told exactly what to do should feel satisfying.
Also, in the spot where he got stuck, I'm pretty
sure that wall-jumping is not the ONLY way out. There's probably some breakable blocks that he can fall through somewhere, and he was just too dumb to find them. Probably. I just don't recall ever getting stuck in that area.
>finding kraid's lair is too hard
Shut up. At this point in the game, you should be more than accustomed to shooting every wall that you see in case there's something hidden behind it. It takes virtually no effort on your part to do this, so there's virtually no reason why you shouldn't be doing it.
>boss fights are boring and easy
I'll give you easy, but games needing to be difficult in the first place is a meme.
And those were all of his points.
Overall thoughts: That was kinda funny.