My Realization About Super Metroid's Controls/Movement Mechanics (An Unpopular Opinion)

  • So starting up Super Metroid today I realized something I hadn't really thought about much before, the controls/mechanics around the controls. What I'm about to say is going to be very unpopular and I suppose I'm ready for that blow back. Here it is, Super Metroid's controls/movement mechanics are slow, clunky, and unresponsive. Yes, I just said something negative about the one of the series sweethearts.

    Hear me out here though. After playing MZM and Fusion (only for a short period of time in the last few days) and starting up Prime, and today firing up Super in an effort to figure out which one I'm wanting to replay, I realized that the controls are just clunky. When you jump into a spin, how often do you fall out of spin and into just a regular jump? Pretty often right? How often do you feel like maybe you're too "floaty" when you jump? Far too often I assume. The truth is we let this slide most of the time because the game is still amazing regardless. Then we move on with our lives and completely forget about the controls.

    Don't get me wrong, I love Super Metroid, in fact it ties for number one with Prime in my personal opinion. But that doesn't really excuse the way the controls feel. As a huge fan of the game, I'm willing to be objective about the controls.

    Maybe I'm the only one who feels this? Who knows? Please comment and tell me your thoughts and opinions.

  • @mmgp the controls were what turned me off from Super and Metroid 2. I played other M in all its terrible controls, I went to Fusion, and the controls made sense and there was no what am I doing mentality.

    I liked how in Fusion, you want to use a missile? Hold R, want to use a power bomb? Hold R in Morphball mode, it made sense then constantly trying to choose an option and then missing it and slowly scrolling through. While Super Missiles and normal missiles are separate, it just makes sense that the missiles would be upgraded. Maybe it's just me or something, but I don't want to keep track of ammo for two weapons that are the same but one's stronger it makes no sense.

    I think out of the ability to control, Fusion has one of the best user friendly and easy controls to remember. You really don't need timed jumps for space jumping and the like. I also don't want to spend some time scrolling through an options menu only to have to scroll through it again. When I get super missiles, remove my missiles because you know I would rather use them over normal missiles.

    Plus, isn't like 5 missiles equal to 1 super?

  • It's sorta meant to be slow.
    It fits with SM's style.

  • Slow is one thing. I'm fine with slow as long as it's responsive, which SM's controls aren't. The game has a habit of deciding on its own whether your jumps will go the way you want them to, and often ends up frustrating as a result. It's not really something you can blame Super Metroid specifically for though; most SNES platformers had weird physics and control issues of their own. Even Mario controlled like his shoes were buttered and he had helium in his pants. Super Metroid is still a great game, but it's also very much a game of its time.

  • I think the original post recognizes how refined and tight the GBA controls became. Experimentation and iteration.

    That being said, no better example for these issues are present than the noob-pitfall of the Wall Jump Room. It still takes me ages to get the Wall Jump down. Why? Because sometimes the SNES firmware decides not to let it happen. Simple as that. It's not as responsive as Fusion's or MZM's wall jumps. (It also doesn't help that you can't roll back into a somersault if you break out of one midair... Genius on the part of Nintendo to let us do that in Fusion!)

  • I disagree about wall jumping. It's not that the game sometimes decides not too, I can do wall jumps for days no problem. You just have to pay attention to how you push the buttons, right after you change directions you have to hit jump. It's subtle, but if you can master it, it works every time.

  • @sidiouth I've been playing this game for I don't know how many years, and the mastery isn't there. I've gotten lucky with it, in that my most consistently successful walljump in that game has been the early Wave Beam exploit. But the Etecoons section still takes too much time for me.

  • @Sidiouth I can pull off wall jumps no problem and actually became a master at it. However I still find that the game almost forces you out of spin jumps at times as I stated in the original post. Or I can be going for a spin jump and instead it does a normal jump. This happens far too often to just be me screwing up the jump when I do well in every other game in the series. It's a the way the engine works/the coding. It's a bit off at times.

    As I said I love this game and count it as tied with MP1 and if you know me and my opinions from MHQThons over the last 5 years, you know I hold MP1 as being one of the best games ever created. So I guess by extension that means Super is one of the best games ever created to me as well.

    @Miles07 I think you're completely right the I noticed how tight the GBA controls became. They became mechanically refined and took a formula for movement/controls and made them truly shine in that game format.

    I'm hoping that the controls for Metroid 2 3DS really takes a note from the GBA titles and expands further on the already tight/responsive controls.

    All this Metroid talk has me wanting to play another game in the series now.... I think I might jump back on that MP1 file I recently started up.

  • @miles07 I disagree, I can also pull of wall jumps pretty effortlessly and consistently.

  • See now, that makes me wonder if I am playing inadequately, if others can master this skill no problem, and then I struggle with it because I learned the same ability using a different engine and can pull that one off better than this one.
    Something in that sentence seem wrong to you?

    Point is, even though most everyone on this forum and their mother can chime in and say they have no problems with it ever, it doesn't change the point that I try to master it and cannot. So is there something wrong with me?
    And don't say practice, because as I've been saying, if you could read, I have certainly been doing that. Guess what? No improvement. It's literally a cointoss: does a wall jump happen this time? Nope. How bout this time? Sure. Great, can I chain this one with another wall jump? Mmmnope.

    QA procedures from my workplace: if it's not working with one person, it's not working, period. Stop and investigate and refine, as necessary.

  • @miles07 I had a hard time at first and for a LONG time I struggled to figure out why at times I could pull it off and other times I couldn't and it was almost on accident when it did happen. Try this, when you do it again, press and HOLD the direction on the D pad that is closest to the wall you want to land on, then press jump and switch directions on the D pad. I can't remember though if you press jump before or after you switch D pad directions, I think it's before but I can't swear my life on it. It might take a bit to get that timing down but definitely hold the D pad when you're first doing it. My problem was that I wouldn't hold the D pad long enough and I would screw it up. I hope that makes it easier.

    But yeah I do agree that something is fundamentally wrong with the wall jumping, or rather the explanation of it. Unless they say something about it in the instruction manual (which I have it on Wii/Wii U Virtual Consoles so I never bother looking at the instruction manuals on the digital stuff) then I don't think it was explained well.

  • @miles07 wall jumping is a cointoss as you said Miles. It's about timing, which I don't have, and there's no way I can chain a walljump on two walls, and certainly not one. I feel as if it's because Samus just feels too floaty to actually move.

  • @mmgp No, wall jumping was a hidden technique you could only learn if you found the monkeys and figured it out on your own. You don't even need to know how to wall jump to beat the game.

  • @miles07 Fam...

    I promise that this is a you issue. I have the game on emulator and 3DS, wall jumps for days.

    it doesn't change the point that I try to master it and cannot. So is there something wrong with me?

    The answer is yes. Computers do things one way only, if you can't master it, it's literally because you're doing it wrong. Not a problem with the game, it was a hidden technique with no explanation given of how to do it, of course some people wouldn't figure it out. I was only able to master it because I slowed down and re examined how I was doing things. Take your own advice and refine your technique.

    EDIT: That is a very harsh answer, I don't mean to sound like a dick. But I couldn't master it either, then I did, so I know it's more than possible.


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