The Anatomy of Mega Man 2 - IV - Bubble symphony

If we assume that most newcomers to Mega Man 2 will attempt to play through the eight stages in the order in which they’re displayed (not realizing you can pick and choose your sequence at will), that means the game kicks off with Bubble Man. We also have to assume Capcom’s dev team had observed player behavior from the […]

The Anatomy of Mega Man 2 - I - Remodeling

First sequels on NES have a reputation for going wildly off the rails and taking a budding series in strange directions — into a new genre, sometimes. In truth, this reputation comes from a few high-profile titles, mostly from Nintendo; two of them (Simon’s Quest and Zelda II) have spent time under the Anatomy of Games microscope. The majority of […]

The Anatomy of Games: The Game: The Sequel

When the original NES Remix came out, back in December or so, I referred to it as Anatomy of a Game: The Game. It almost felt like Nintendo took all those game design ideas I’d been writing about and turned analysis itself into a game. By breaking down old NES titles into their constituent components and […]

Late realizations about Super Metroid

I haven’t posted here in a while because my usual Anatomy time has been spent assembling Super Metroid into a book. Unlike Metroid Vol. I, Metroid Vol. II will contain a fair amount of supplemental material. Nothing amazing, just a dozen entries or so of descriptive or summary text about bosses and regions. Still, as […]

The Anatomy of Super Metroid | 14 | En flambé

Firstly: Welcome to the new site. Secondly: I apologize for any weirdness in the formatting of this entry. New site, you see. Finally: Are the images too big? I like chunky pixels but maaaaaybe this is going overboard. I dunno. Edit: Yes, too big. Back to 512×448. By stepping into the vast stone maw of […]

The Anatomy of Super Metroid | 12 | Enter the Draygon

Metroids already!? Nope, not metroids. Just moctroids, those foul fakers of the sea. It was a moctroid that you may have spotted as a momentary blur during Samus’ descent from Maridia’s sandy regions to the watery caverns below. Moctroids are — as the name suggests — mock metroids. They look similar and exhibit similar behavior, […]

The Anatomy of Super Metroid | 11 | Water-logged

The journey into Maridia marks a turning point for Super Metroid. Until now, the game has been half-adventure, half-tutorial. The caverns of Brinstar and Norfair (and to a lesser degree, Crateria) comprise an intricate interlocking puzzle, designed to send you retracing your steps in search of new tools and pushing a little further against the […]

The Anatomy of Super Metroid | 10 | The Phantoon Menace

Super Metroid‘s mapping system is really pretty brilliant. The auto-mapping feature is a godsend for keeping track of where you’ve been, but the map rooms deserve equal credit. They reveal most — but not all! — of the map for a given area. Certain rooms remain unshown, but the map programmers were really conscientious about […]

The Anatomy of Super Metroid | 9 | Hidden depths

First, let’s begin with a correction: I stated a few entries back that the Ice Beam diminishes Samus’ attack power, but that was only true in the first couple of Metroid games. I wasn’t really paying attention and forgot that Super Metroid updates the Ice Beam’s mechanics so that you don’t freeze an enemy immediately […]

The Anatomy of Super Metroid | 8 | Free at last

Because Super Metroid hails from the mid-’90s rather than the mid’-80s like most of the games that have gone under the Anatomy of a Game microscope, it follows slightly different rules. Games like Super Mario Bros. and Castlevania and even the original Metroid were, on some level, compensating for the fact that many people who […]

What Tomb Raider gets wrong

Now rendered entirely in orange and blue for that authentic Hollywood look. Actually, Tomb Raider — by which I mean the new one, which I co-reviewed yesterday 1 — gets several things wrong, most of which I’ve already touched on both in that review and in the lookback I published last month. But here were are […]