North American box art
|Release date(s)||Game Boy Advance
(3DS Ambassador Program)
Metroid Fusion (メトロイドフュージョン?) is an action-adventure video game published by Nintendo for the Game Boy Advance. It was released in North America, Europe, and Australia in November 2002, and in Japan in February 2003. The game is considered to be the fourth main installment in the Metroid series; the intro alternatively refers to the game as Metroid 4. Metroid Fusion was developed by Nintendo Research & Development 1, the same development team that created the previous Super Metroid, to which Metroid Fusion bears heavy resemblance.
Chronologically, Metroid Fusion is the latest in the Metroid series. The story centers on bounty hunter Samus Aran, who is sent by the Galactic Federation to the Biologic Space Laboratories space station to investigate an explosion. There, she learns that the station is swarming with organisms infected with X Parasites, virions that can replicate their hosts' physical appearances and memories, killing them afterward. Learning that the Galactic Federation plans to capture the X Parasites for further study, Samus must destroy the space station to protect the Federation from the underestimated destructive power of the X Parasites.
The game was given near-universal acclaim, receiving an aggregated score of 92 out of 100 from Metacritic. Praise focused on the action-oriented gameplay, while criticism targeted what was perceived as a lack of inspiration in the game. Metroid Fusion received several awards, including Handheld Game of the Year at the 2002 Interactive Achievement Awards, Best Game Boy Advance Adventure Game from IGN, and Best Action Game on Game Boy Advance from GameSpot. In the United States, the game sold 199,723 copies in its first month with revenues of $5,590,768, making it the month's tenth bestselling game. By August 2006, 940,000 copies of the game were sold in North America, while by November 2004, 155,000 units were sold in Japan.
During the Nintendo Direct on February 13, 2014, Nintendo announced Metroid Fusion would be among the first three Game Boy Advance games to be released on the Wii U's Virtual Console; the game was released for the service on April 3, 2014.
Metroid Fusion is an action-adventure platform shooter in which the player controls Samus Aran. Like previous games in the series, Metroid Fusion is set in a large open-ended world with elevators that connect regions, which each in turn contains rooms separated by doors. Samus opens most doors by shooting at them, while some only open after she reaches a certain point. Metroid Fusion unfolds in a more linear manner than previous Metroid games due to its focus on storyline; for example, Navigation Rooms are introduced in Metroid Fusion, which tell the player where to go. The gameplay revolves around solving puzzles to uncover secrets, platform jumping, and shooting enemies while searching for power-ups that allow Samus to reach new areas. Injected with a Metroid vaccine in Metroid Fusion, Samus can absorb X Parasites that restore health, missiles, and bombs. Power-ups can be obtained either by downloading them in Data Rooms, or absorbing a Core-X, which appears after defeating each boss. Metroid Fusion includes gameplay mechanics new to the series such as the ability to grab ledges and climb ladders.
Owners of both Metroid Prime and Metroid Fusion can unlock new features in Metroid Prime using the Nintendo GameCube – Game Boy Advance link cable. After completing Metroid Prime, the player can unlock Samus's Fusion Suit for use in Metroid Prime, and if they complete Metroid Fusion, they can unlock an emulated version of the first Metroid game. Players can also link Metroid Fusion to Metroid: Zero Mission to unlock a Metroid Fusion picture gallery, which includes additional concept art and extra images from the Japanese version of Metroid Fusion which chronicle Samus's early years.
Bounty hunter Samus Aran, the protagonist, explores the surface of the planet SR388 with a survey crew from Biologic Space Laboratories (BSL). She encounters an X Parasite, virions that can replicate their hosts' physical appearances and memories, killing them afterward. Samus is unknowingly infected by the virus, and proceeds to return to the BSL station, when she suddenly loses consciousness and is ejected from her ship before it crashes into a nearby asteroid belt. The Galactic Federation recovers her body and discovers that the X Parasite infected Samus's central nervous system. They counteract the parasite's damage by creating a vaccine made from a remaining cell culture of the infant Metroid that Samus had previously contacted. The vaccine cures Samus and not only gives her the ability to absorb and use the nuclei of X Parasites for nourishment (the Metroids were the main predators of the X prior to their extermination by Samus on SR388), but also the Metroid's vulnerability to extremely cold temperatures. Her infected Power Suit is sent to the BSL station for examination, although parts of the suit were too integrated with her body to safely remove during surgery, forming a partially armored suit known as the Fusion Suit.
The Federation sends Samus to investigate an explosion aboard the BSL station. While there, she learns that the space station is swarming with organisms that are infected with X Parasites. A group of X Parasites manage to recover and use components of Samus's infected Power Suit to transform into the SA-X, a form of the parasite that partially mimics Samus at full power and possesses the Ice Beam that can exploit Samus's weakness to cold temperatures. Samus escapes from the SA-X before it attacks her on several occasions, and continues exploring the space station. She discovers a restricted lab, which the Galactic Federation is secretly using to breed Metroids. Suddenly, the SA-X appears once again, and attempts to destroy the lab, with itself in it. Samus narrowly escapes the lab before it is destroyed, and later learns that the SA-X managed to asexually reproduce before perishing, subsequently cloning itself. In addition, Samus learns that the Galactic Federation plans to capture the X and the SA-X for further study. She is certain that the Federation underestimates the destructive power of the X Parasites, and takes it upon herself to destroy the BSL station. Samus then encounters one of the many SA-X now aboard the ship, defeating it and setting the BSL station on a collision course with SR388. As she prepares to exit the station, she encounters an Omega Metroid, which injures Samus towards an inch of her life, only to be saved by the recently defeated SA-X. Samus absorbs the nucleus of the SA-X and uses her newly restored Ice Beam to destroy the Omega Metroid, before escaping to her ship that is piloted back to the station by sentient organisms she had saved earlier, which extracts her from the space station before it collides with SR388.
Metroid Fusion was developed by Nintendo Research & Development 1, the same development team that created the 1994 video game Super Metroid for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, which visually bears a resemblance to Metroid Fusion. Its gameplay, screen layout, and controls mimic those of Super Metroid, with minor enhancements. Metroid Fusion is the first 2D Metroid game with animated cut scenes; the game's story is revealed through text and visual close-ups. Nintendo announced on August 22, 2002, that the game can connect to Metroid Prime for the Nintendo GameCube, a Metroid game that was released on the same day as Metroid Fusion. While brainstorming for ideas to Metroid Fusion's plot, the game's lead designer, Yoshio Sakamoto, decided to create an original story instead of remaking a Metroid game because he "always [tries] to do something really unprecedented, something people have never played before". He continued, saying, "Many of our designers and creators want to challenge something new rather than simply porting over an old title. That's something I hope we'll always do. If you can challenge something new, you can look forward to the public response, be it good or bad." The game introduces gameplay mechanics that are new to the Metroid series. Metroid Fusion offers a more direct, almost mission-based structure that supports the player to explore areas. Objectives are also flexible in how they can be completed, acting "more as a guide for what the player should do instead of giving a completely blank map and saying 'Here you go, figure out what to do and how to do it'".
Nintendo first confirmed an unnamed Metroid title would be released for the Game Boy Advance handheld game console on March 23, 2001. Despite speculation that the game would be based on Super Metroid, Ken Lobb, Nintendo of America's Director of Game Development, quelled rumors by stating, "One of the things I wanted to get across in today's meeting is that Metroid is not Super Metroid. It's something new. [...] And that's something that will hopefully be seen at E3 for our sweet little Game Boy Advance." The first video footage from the game, a 10-second clip, was shown to the public on May 18, 2001, at the 2001 E3 convention; by then, the game was titled Metroid IV. At the E3 convention the following year, IGN awarded the game, titled Metroid Fusion, their Best of Show and Best Action Game awards. In August 2002, the game was schedule for a release date of November 18, 2002.
Versions and sales
Metroid Fusion was released by Nintendo for the Game Boy Advance in North America on November 17, 2002, in Europe on November 22, 2002, in Australia on November 29, 2002, in Japan on February 14, 2003, and in China on March 2, 2006. The Japanese release of Fusion contains additional features that were not included in the Western releases, such as a "Gallery" option for viewing the game's endings and adjustable difficulty levels, with each of three levels varying in the amount of damage caused by the enemies. Said version also offers a choice between hiragana and kanji syllabaries. Metroid Fusion was released worldwide for the Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console on December 16, 2011, as part of the "3DS Ambassadors" program, which was announced by Nintendo on July 28, 2011. The game was one of ten Game Boy Advance games that can only be downloaded with 3DSs bought before a price-cut on August 11, 2011.
In its debut month of November 2002 in the United States, 199,723 copies of Metroid Fusion were sold, with total revenues of $5,590,768, making it the third bestselling Game Boy Advance game in that month, and the tenth bestselling game across all platforms. The game went on to sell over 1.08 million copies in North America by August 2006, with revenues more than $27 million. As of November 2004, the game has sold 180,000 units in Japan.
The critical reception for Metroid Fusion was very positive; it received an aggregated score of 92 out of 100 from Metacritic, which is considered "universal acclaim". The game was considered fun and satisfying by several reviewers. X-Play claimed that it was a "pleasure to play", and praised its "beautiful" graphics and audio. The game satisfied IGN, which appreciated the lengthy minimum of 10 to 12 hours of playtime required to complete the game, further hailing it as an "outstanding achievement on the Game Boy Advance". GamesRadar and GamePro, however, felt that the game was "a little short", but still "love[d] every minute of it", finding the hidden secrets and new power-ups "sublimely ingenious". The sentiment was shared with GameSpot, which was disappointed that the game ended so soon, but still stated, "Metroid fans should absolutely get it, as should anyone willing to trade off some quantity for some serious quality in their gaming time." Metroid Fusion received several accolades. It was named Handheld Game of the Year at the 2002 Interactive Achievement Awards. The game was also chosen as Best Game Boy Advance Adventure Game by IGN and Best Action Game on Game Boy Advance by GameSpot.
Nintendo World Report and Eurogamer were excited about the game, both calling it the best 2D Metroid game and the best Game Boy Advance game so far. Video game magazine Game Informer agreed, describing the game as "everything you could want from a Game Boy Advance game" from beginning to end, giving it a perfect review score. Play also enjoyed the game, describing it as a "magnified, modified, and improved" version of everything great from Metroid and Super Metroid.
Comparing the game to Super Metroid, GameSpot thought that Metroid Fusion offered that game's best qualities packaged in a new adventure. Nintendo Power heralded it as a return to the classic Metroid action gameplay style. The "perfect" controls were praised by Electronic Gaming Monthly, concluding its review by claiming "all games should feel this good." The game did not feel new to GameSpy, which complained that even the final enemy encounter draws heavy inspiration from Super Metroid. GameZone found that the small screen was a poor environment in which to play Metroid Fusion, but they ultimately still found it an exciting game.
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