The Anatomy of Metroid Fusion | 4 | Return of Return of Samus

Once you get a handle on some of Metroid Fusion‘s mechanics beyond “run/jump/shoot,” you also get a little lesson in reading its map to find secrets. In a game from the cartridge era, where no pixel of space existed without good cause, this empty room should pique your curiosity. It seems to be a dead […]

The Anatomy of Metroid Fusion | 3 | Missile command

Beyond the save point, Samus reaches the lab proper. Technically, I suppose the whole space station is a lab, but it’s divided into quarantined simulation zones and work zones for the scientific support. This area is the latter. And here you find another Super Metroid parallel: Samus arrives too late to this lab to prevent its […]

Sort of like a dry run

Yesterday, I hosted a one-hour live stream of the original Metroid for USgamer. It went pretty OK. I mention this here because, for all intents and purposes, this is a rough draft of a video version for The Anatomy of Metroid. Until I can actually put that together, this has a lot of the same information arranged […]

The Anatomy of Metroid Fusion | 2 | First contact

No sooner does Samus land in the space station which comprises the entirety of Fusion‘s world than she comes across the first of many Navigation rooms. And that’s the beginning of the end for many people. By far the most unpopular element of Fusion, the station’s Navigation rooms are compulsory stops where Samus has to […]

The Anatomy of Final Fantasy VI | 6 | The meretrix of Figaro

Once you leave Narshe, the overworld is basically walled off to give you a small amount of territory to explore, but not so much that you’ll get lost. Between Narshe, the Chocobo Stables, the blocked cave, and a castle standing in the desert to the south, you can only travel to four destinations. Everything but […]

The Anatomy of Final Fantasy VI | 5 | The didact

Everything until this point of Final Fantasy VI — approximately 45 minutes of play time — has been a sort of prologue that doubles as a subtle tutorial. But now that you’ve made your way into Narshe and back out again, you have the opportunity to experience a genuine, overt, no-bones-about-it tutorial section. These training houses appeared first […]

The Anatomy of Bionic Commando | 14 | Heil THIS

This is the end, beautiful friend. All that swinging around like a loon and collecting bullets from the corpses of defeated foes in order to incorporate the strength of the dead into your own essence leads to this: Area 12, the Empire’s headquarters. A below-ground concrete bunker surrounded by concertina wire and fascist emblems. Area 12 […]

The Anatomy of Bionic Commando | 13 | Top secret

Area 11 is as colorful and bright as Area 10 was dim; rather than the Empire’s sewers, this appears to be its furnace. You’ll meet a few human enemies here, but the real challenge comes from the need to perform non-stop advanced grappling in order to proceed. For instance, the level begins with a moving platform, which you […]

The Anatomy of Bionic Commando | 12 | Loose ends

Once you’ve rescued Super Joe, he mentions a guy called Destroyer-3 in Area 18. This answers one of the weirder questions of the game, which is, “What’s with all those ‘Destroyer’ dudes in Area 18?” If you happen to enter Area 18 before completing Area 7 and rescuing Joe, you’ll find these three guys — Destroyer-1, […]

The Anatomy of Bionic Commando | 11 | No more another castle

Bionic Commando doesn’t want you to rescue a princess or a damsel in distress; instead, the plot revolves around saving some old guy from captivity. This was clearly a game designed when ’80s action movie stars were still in their prime. The glass ceiling of viable heroism hadn’t begun to shift upward to accommodate the entire […]

The Anatomy of Bionic Commando | 10 | The waste land

Quick housekeeping note: I’ve changed the structure of the Patreon for this and my other side project sites to work on a monthly basis rather than per-item. Please consider supporting my work here and elsewhere! Your contributions are a huge help to sustain this work, and for me personally as well. Thank you.   The newly […]