Ranking the Metroid games

  • 0_1624316658205_metroid-nes-front-cover.jpg

    This year is the 35th anniversary of Metroid, which first released in Japan on August 6, 1986.

    With Metroid Dread releasing later this year and Metroid Prime 4 in development. It's also a good time to look back on the series. Which games have remained must-plays, and which should be avoided?

    What are your favorite Metroid games?

    I've only finished Metroid Prime Hunters so it's my #1 by default. Only finishing one Metroid game brings me great shame, but I do want to play Metroid Dread when that releases.

  • I made this list a couple years ago. I think the top 3 are the must plays. (Don't sleep on AM2R! Consider trying "hard mode" for a first time playthrough!) Looking over it, I wonder if Samus Returns (3DS) is too high, maybe it could drop a couple spots. Prime is obviously lower than most would put it, but I think floating around the "second tier" with Fusion is where it sits for me personally.

    Super Metroid
    Metroid: Zero Mission
    AM2R [fan game]
    Metroid: Samus Returns (3DS)
    Metroid Fusion
    Metroid Prime
    Metroid Prime Pinball
    Metroid 2: Return of Samus (GB)
    Metroid Prime 2
    Metroid Prime 3
    Metroid 1

    I wouldn't want to say "avoid this Metroid game", but I have some opinions along those lines:

    • I think Prime 2 and 3 are not "need to play"s unless you really are engrossed by Prime.
    • Metroid 1 requires some fondness for NES-era games, otherwise you won't like it. It can be made more approachable with a romhack that doesn't drain your energy tanks upon death/password reload.
    • Metroid 2 requires patience for its claustrophobic charms and unguided exploration to be appreciated. If playing Metroid 2 makes you feel thirsty for more action and more structured exploration, you won't like it.
    • Metroid Fusion is good. It gets a bad rap for its more straightforward hub-and-spoke gameplay design by a subset of fans who adore Super Metroid and Zero Mission. I think if you know Metroid deeply you don't need someone else to judge Fusion for you, you can tell for yourself.
    • While I think Samus Returns is good, I feel it is harmed by being too big. It is begged to be played expediently (for most), deliberately avoiding the unnecessary power ups. Frankly, for decades all Nintendo games have poorly incentivized collecting such marginal upgrades. It's not a must play.

  • The 3 Metroid games that I place above all the rest are

    Super Metroid
    Metroid Prime 1
    Metroid: Samus Returns for the 3DS

    I've loved every Metroid I've played, but these three are a neck above IMO.

    1. Super Metroid
    2. Metroid
    3. Metroid Prime 2
    4. Metroid Prime
    5. Metroid: Samus Returns
    6. Metroid: Fusion
    7. Metroid: Zero Mission
    8. Metroid II
    9. Metroid: Other M
    10. Metroid Prime 3

    I think all of them stick together really closely except Super Metroid which is just one of the best games ever and except for Prime 3 and Other M which kinda suck.

    I think I like the original Metroid more than most people do, I love how open it is. I must say I have this game really well memorized and can finish it in an hour. Playing this game for the first time however is very stressful. Dying is extremely punishing, the map is overwhelming at first and all the good items are really well hidden.

  • Oof, it's been a while since I played some of those so my ranking might not be entirely fair, but let's give it a shot:

    Super Metroid
    Metroid Prime
    Metroid Prime 3
    Metroid Prime 2
    Metroid Fusion
    Metroid: Samus Returns
    Metroid: Zero Mission
    Metroid: Other M
    Metroid Prime Pinball
    Metroid 2: Return of Samus
    Metroid 1

    Super Metroid is the first one I played and it's simply a perfect game, the soundtrack, the design, the atmosphere, even the story as light as it is. Compared to other games of its generation, it feels so adult and refined.

    I love the Prime Trilogy and would rank them all above the other 2D Metroids for their epicness and scope. The first one is a masterpiece, and the two sequels are very competent but didn't reach the same heights for me.

    After this, it's really hard to rank Samus Returns, Fusion and Zero Mission, I would have to replay them to get a better idea, but I know I loved every second of them all.

    Other M was not a bad game if you ignore the story.

    Pinball is way more fun than it has any right to be.

    Metroid 2 on Game Boy obviously shows its age, but it still does a great job at establishing its world and features an original (if obscure) progression system.

    Sadly, the original Metroid really didn't age well and I would not recommend it when you can play Zero Mission instead. Respawning with 30 health after dying with the only way to refill your health being to grind enemies for at least half an hour is just bad design, and the lack of map makes exploration a chore, especially when the level design is copy-pasted and everything looks the same. I respect it for spawning an entire genre, but it's not enjoyable to play.

  • Metroid Prime 2 Echoes
    Metroid Prime
    Super Metroid
    Metroid Zero Mission
    Metroid Prime 3 Corruption
    Metroid Prime Federation Force
    Metroid Samus Returns
    Metroid Fusion
    Metroid Other M
    Metroid Prime Hunters

    haven't played pinball
    not counting NES Metroid or Metroid 2 Return of Samus since both of them had superior remakes

    Prime Hunters was shit. people only like it because of the multiplayer. they completely fucked up the campaign though. the 1 thing metroid is supposed to be about.