‘Metroid’ is a classic Nintendo franchise that was first established in August of 1986 when the original game was released for the Famicom in Japan, and later released for the Nintendo Entertainment System in North America. The game was known for its eerie sci-fi feel and was a huge hit with gamers, leading to several sequels and a thriving fan base. The series’ main character, Samus, is a spacesuit-wearing bounty hunter who is one of Nintendo’s most well-known exclusive characters.
The Metroid series is well-loved for many reasons, but one of those reasons is the wonderfully creepy setting of the first two games – ‘Metroid’ and ‘Super Metroid’. The Planet Zebes is the adopted home of Samus Aran, who was raised by the Chozo there after her Earth colony home was destroyed by Space Pirates, and the planet on which she takes her stand against the metroid creatures that overran it.
A cavernous area of the planet known as Brinstar was the home to the majority of Zebes’ wildlife, and was also the location of a dense forest, which is strange since the vegetation there did not have access to anything to photosynthesize. The area of the planet known as Maridia is known for its huge water deposits just below the surface of the planet. This water spiraled off in many directions, eating away at the land and creating vast mazes of water, as well as deadly quicksand traps. The crust of the planet, known as Crateria, was a bleak, rocky area constantly drenched by acid rain, which would affect bioforms that could not adapt. A final note of interest was a wrecked ship that landed on Crateria in the past, arriving at about the same time as the first Chozo civilization cropped up.
My closest relationship with the planet Zebes is through the Super Nintendo installment of the series, Super Metroid. This was one of the games of my childhood that got played so often and for such lengths of time that it’s really quite amazing my cousins and I ever did anything else. I didn’t own the game myself, but one of my cousins did and he and I would play often, wandering around the labyrinthine planet for hours, getting lost, never seeming to make any progress, but having fun none-the-less. The planet setting was of the type that a player had to have one hell of a memory to put up with, but that didn’t really matter back then. In the days of graphics that left a little something to the imagination, the planet Zebes was an ominous world filled with unnatural colors, spooky sounds, and, of course, disgusting creatures out to murder and/or eat you.
What I’m really trying to get at is that the Metroid games paid close attention to a very important part of storytelling – the setting – and did an excellent job making it one that was fun and memorable. In that, the game developers created a world that will forever be one of the most important ones to an entire generation of gamers.
Have you ever played any of the Metroid games? Which one was your favorite? What is your opinion of the planet Zebes? Please share!
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