TBC 005: Metroid: Samus Returns

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Samus is making a comeback! After a decade of misfires, the bounty hunter has returned to the starring role. This 3DS exclusive came out of the blue at E3, and a few short months later, was delivered to us along with amiibo figurines and special editions. After all the surprises and fanfare, how does the game hold up? The Two Button Crew hosts are here to discuss the controls, music, challenge, gameplay, and progression.

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“Escape the Premises” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
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Future of 2D Metroid, Wii Shop, Mega Man?!


In the first-ever installment of Live Show News, we’ve got our crystal balls out to talk about the ~future~ of video games! Wii Shop Channel? Mega Man? 2D Metroid? It’s all here, and discussed by Simeon and Scott!

“Escape the Premises” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
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The Metroid Conspiracy

Warning: The following blog contains spoilers for both Metroid Fusion and Metroid: Other M.

A while back, I made a cryptic remark along the lines of, “it’s almost as if Other M was an attempt to rewrite Fusion in hopes of removing the latter from the series continuity.” While the announcement of two new Metroid games at E3 back in June was exciting—and certainly bodes well for the franchise—I can’t help but think something’s off about the whole thing. This is just a hypothesis, but I think Nintendo really did try to retcon Metroid Fusion!

Motive

But why would the Big N try to remove Fusion from the series continuity? Well, first let me just point out that the Metroid series is rather unique among Nintendo’s repertoire in that it actually observes continuity. Unlike other series that either only present plots that span a few games before moving on to another setting (such as Fire Emblem) or are designed “gameplay-first” with timelines being a mere afterthought (e.g. Zelda), the events of each Metroid game are closely tied to those of the games previous to it. So unlike other series, plot developments have consequences moving forward.

The events of each Metroid game are closely tied to those of the games previous to it.

This makes Fusion problematic for a company that’s rather fond of maintaining status quo. Metroid Fusion shakes up the series in a couple ways. Firstly, it ditches the heroine’s iconic appearance, potentially disrupting the franchise’s branding. Samus now sports a rubbery, blue suit instead of her iconic orange, metal suit and pilots a spindly, purple spacecraft instead of her more rounded, orange ship. Moreover, Fusion ends with her still using this equipment. Even when she regains her powers from SA-X, Samus is still wearing the fusion suit, now just with an orange color palette.

I can't tell you how happy I was to find two pictures of Samus in striking the same pose in different suits.
Years of branding makes one of these more marketable than the other.

Of course, this isn’t that big of a deal, as redesigns are reversible or even welcome at times (I’m looking at you Breath of the Wild). No, the biggest problem is what the game does to the continuing Metroid storyline. Metroid Fusion ends with Samus directly defying the Galactic Federation. She not only destroys their metroid breeding program, but foils their attempts to weaponize the X-parasites. By the end of the game, she’s most likely angered some very powerful people. I think it’s safe to say that after Fusion, Samus is a wanted criminal.

Metroid Fusion has far reaching consequences for the series, fundamentally changing the relationships between the Metroid universe’s various factions and thus the types of stories that can be told. This presents an intimidating challenge, as these new stories would require the writers to accept that they can’t rely on the plot conventions of previous games. Furthermore, shifting the focus to combating a corrupt industrial-military complex instead of the unilaterally evil space pirates may radically alter the tone of the series, potentially alienating fans.

Method

I’ve already gone on at length about how Other M is essentially a retelling of Fusion, but let’s look at one of the ways the two are different: the ending. As mentioned, Fusion ends with Sammy triumphantly thwarting the federation’s misguided efforts to weaponize the lifeforms of SR-388. Other M ends on a much more somber note; after Ms. Aran and co. manage to defeat the malevolent (and possibly “just misunderstood”) A.I. controlling the bottle ship, the federation arrives and starts sweeping up. Samus is allowed to go freely, but knows that the federation will take whatever data it can find and continue to research bio-weapons. It has a very different “you can’t beat the system” kind of feel to it.

Other M‘s ending has a very different “you can’t beat the system” kind of feel to it.

Other M‘s ending is much more open ended: Samus isn’t implied to be an enemy of the state, thus allowing her to take more jobs from the federation. This means that if Other M replaced Fusion, Nintendo could easily continue with the typical Metroid plot structure of taking assignments from the federation, which in turn means future games need not revolve around governmental conspiracies.

Supporting Evidence

This brings us to the present day. Nintendo has just released a remake of Metroid II: Return of Samus and Metroid Prime 4 is on the horizon…somewhere. Notice anything strange about that? One’s a remake and the other is a continuation of the Prime series. For those of you who don’t know, the Metroid Prime games take place between the events of Metroid and Metroid II. That means they’re technically prequels and don’t continue the story. Fusion is the last entry on the Metroid timeline; there hasn’t been an actual continuation of the overarching narrative in fifteen years! I think it’s safe to say Nintendo either isn’t interested in continuing the story, or just doesn’t know how.

There hasn’t been a continuation of the overarching narrative in fifteen years!

See You Next Mission?

In a weird way, I’m actually glad Other M received so much criticism. If it had been a resounding success, Fusion may have been quietly removed from the series’s continuity. While I’m positive that Nintendo feels like they’ve painted themselves into a corner, I think Fusion sets up a fascinating and fresh new direction for the franchise’s story. Yeah, it’d have a different tone from the games before, but I think the acclaim Fusion got for incorporating horror elements proves that the series is capable of tonal evolution. Unfortunately, with things as they are, I’m losing hope we’ll ever see a proper Metroid 5

Underrated Games You Have to Play

You won’t be sorry.


We don’t want you to miss these golden titles! We’ve played all these underrated games, and they deserve a lot more attention than they get. You can find all these on the cheap, so take our word and thank us later!

“Escape the Premises” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
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Metroid: Samus Returns Gameplay + Impressions (PAX 2017)

We got a lengthy hands-on with Samus, but you only have to wait a few days to take a copy home yourself!


#594 – Metroid: Samus Returns is almost upon us! Before you take the game home on Friday, take a look at our footage. Don’t worry – we adjust the camera a few times so you can get a closer look. It actually plays really well, and looks so much better in person. The 3D is great, each area is like a little window into the alien planet. And the animation is top-notch. See for yourself!

“Escape the Premises” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
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TBC 003: Remakes & Remasters

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Our August 2017 podcast lands closeby the release of some key remakes – Metroid: Samus Returns, and Mario & Luigi for 3DS. This is the perfect opportunity to take some time and examine the practice of remastering and rereleasing old games. What do we think of the process? What’s important in a remake? And what are the best ones? We wrap up with some requests specifically for Nintendo to bring back some of our favorites with a fresh coat of paint.
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“Escape the Premises” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
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Thumper Review (Switch)

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… Thump for Prez.


#566 – Thumper is a rhythm game unlike anything you’ve played before. Take control of a speeding scarab as you try desperately to stay alive. Crash through barriers, take the tightest turns, and fight back against giant boss battles… all in time with the music! This is an indie title that you DON’T want to miss.

Footage credit: Polygon

“Escape the Premises” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
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History and Future of Retro Studios

Maverick Hunter reboot from Retro, anyone?


#560 – Retro Studios is home to some of Nintendo’s most talented developers, but it always seems like such a mystery what they’re working on! Each year as E3 approaches, speculation is always bound to circle one topic: What is Retro cooking up in Austin Texas? Some hope for a new Metroid Prime, while others are content with Donkey Kong Country, Returns entries, but what about new IP? We discuss all the possibilities in today’s episode of the Two Button Crew show.

Footage credit: Metroid Prime Sunken Frigate – AuraChannelerChris | Donkey Kong Country Returns Minecart – AlphaAxl | Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze – NintenDaan | Mario Kart 8 Deluxe: 3DS DK Jungle – GamerJGB

“Escape the Premises” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
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What Nintendo Character Am I?

If you ever need your eyebrows slimed, call us first.


It’s popular with the kids and it’s popular with the squids – SLIME! Simeon and Scott are here to play with slime (in a Nintendo-like fashion) for YOUR enjoyment. So play along and see if you can guess the characters that their slimy faces portray.

“Escape the Premises” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
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Nintendo Slime Co-Op Challenge

You could call us “YouTube Trendsetters,” but… you’d be completely wrong.


#553 – Never seen a video like this before on YouTube, have you? We’re playing with Slime, and you can just chalk this up as a Splatoon video, alright? The object of the game is for us to get each other to guess Nintendo related characters, objects, icons and more, simply by manipulating stubborn slime with our bare hands. Should be fun, right?

“Escape the Premises” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
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Metroid Prime 4 Must-Haves!

Why not Retro? WHY NOT THE BEST DEV?!


#552 – They can’t afford to mess this one up. If Metroid Prime 4 bombs badly, then that could mark the end of the Metroid franchise. This is the sequel that fans have been begging Nintendo to make for a decade. With Retro not at the helm of this new entry, the game’s future is questionable!

Footage credit: Boss Fight Database | MrNintendoSense | thepixelpress

“Escape the Premises” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
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What Makes Metroid So Special?

Sorry, we can’t stop talking about bae-I mean-Samus.


Metroid has a special spot in our hearts, and if you’re watching this, there’s a good chance that you know how we feel. Fans of Samus are feeling good after this year’s E3: Nintendo proved that they still care as much as we do. But why IS it that Nintendo fans have been asking for a new entry in this series for years? What makes us especially passionate about this particular bounty hunter? Simeon and Scott are here to break down the reasons that Metroid stands out from the crowd.

Footage Credit: CGRundertow

“Escape the Premises” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
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Why Doesn’t Nintendo Sell Soundtracks?

Nintendo turning down money? Hmmm…


#540 – Sometimes Nintendo will create a bundle or incentive for us fans to acquire the rare soundtrack CD, but why don’t they shift their business model and actually sell the music? Or offer it for streaming, because… who uses CDs these days, anyway? It seems like the Big N is behind the times in this regard, and it’s also odd that they aren’t utilizing their tracks as another stream of revenue. They pay a lot to orchestrate this stuff, why not offer them as products?
“Escape the Premises” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
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Metroid Prime 4 & Samus Returns (E3 2017)

Scott’s first girlfriend (Samus) says hello!


#531 – Metroid fans are happy this year. Why? Because after years of neglect (and the abuse known as “Federation Force”), Samus is back in a big way! Sure, we may be a ways out from Prime 4’s actual release, but we have a real hope that can sustain us for a while. Not to mention, a brand new (old) 2D game hitting 3DS this September! Dreams came true this E3.

“Escape the Premises” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
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E3 2017 Reaction Blow-Out!

This is an E3 to remember!


#530 – Nintendo just had one of their best E3s ever, and it’s not even over yet. In the span of 25 minutes, they managed to blow the socks off most of their hardcore fans. They really pulled out some big guns this year! Simeon and Scott are here with their fresh impressions of Nintendo’s newest announcements, discussing their failed predictions, and talking over what excited and surprised them the most. Join in the E3 hype in the comments!

“Escape the Premises” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
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E3 2017 Bingo Predictions!

How long do we have to keep being right in order for us to become paid industry analysts that make snarky remakrs for a living?


#528 – Each year, before the Electronic Entertainment Expo, Simeon and Scott take a stab at a swath of predictions! Nintendo will be streaming some bombshell announcements during their press conference / Nintendo Direct, and we’ve created a bingo board to keep track of our correct predictions! Can we score 5 in a row? Middle space is free!

“Escape the Premises” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
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If I Could Change One Thing…

We are not responsible for any first kisses that happen as a result of this episode.


#524 – If you were given the power to change one thing about a Nintendo console, which one would you pick and what would you change? Simeon and Scott are faced with many similar tough choices today – watch to see what they would decide! Comment below what you would change. Footage Credit: Super Smash Bros. Wii U Tripping – Master0fHyrule | Metroid Prime 3 Corruption SD vs HD – thepixelpress

“Escape the Premises” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
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What Game Compilations Should Be Made?

It’s time that the entire gaming industry started paying attention to what we want!


#501 – Compilations, or “sets” of games on a single disc or cartridge, are things that we don’t often think about. They’re great when they come out, but gamers will often pine for sequels or remakes before asking for a solid compilation. Today’s Two Button Crew episode is all about dream-compilations that Nintendo should make! Footage credit: Mario Kart 64 – EightBitHD | Metroid Zero Mission – BrainScratch Commentaries | ExciteBots Trick Racing – Rodriguezjr Gaming | Super Mario Galaxy Bouldergeist Boss Fight – Boss Fight Database | Wii Sports Resort Frisbee Golf – WiiLikeToPlay | Kid Icarus – ShiryuGL

“Escape the Premises” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
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E3 2017: What Nintendo Needs to Do

Anyone at Nintendo looking to hire a couple of professional E3 consultants?


E3 (AKA Gamer Christmas) is coming around the corner once again, and this year will mark the first time Switch content has been shown at the convention. Will Nintendo take this opportunity to get everyone on board the hype train, or will they play it too conservative? Scott and Simeon are presenting their wishlist, and if Nintendo were to follow it, their fans would be pretty happy.

E3 Footage Credits: Biased Gamer, NintendoCade Gaming, GameXplain

“Escape the Premises” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
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What’s Going On with the Metroid Series?

Now excuse us as we cry ourselves to sleep.


We are Metroid fans through and through. What that means is this: if you are also a Samus enthusiast, we feel your pain. Metroid fans typically get the short end of the stick, and we feel overlooked when Nintendo services many of their other IPs but leaves the Metroid fanbases with leftovers. We want more Metroid, and we want work from Nintendo’s A Team! We at Two Button Crew don’t feel like that’s too much to ask, so today we’re looking at where in the world (or galaxy?) the Metroid series has disappeared to.

“Escape the Premises” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
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