I am Samus and I'm not lonely
August 29, 2007
I bought a t-shirt for my wife last year (I know, big spender) with a small outline of Samus on the front. Underneath the image are the words: "I am Samus." She loves the shirt, even though she has never played any of the Metroid games. Watching me play them, evidently, has been enough to form at least some kind of association. Now that she's six months pregnant (my wife, not Samus), the image on that shirt has become a bit stretched and distorted, but you can still easily recognize our dear Samus.
I report this bit of personal trivia because I caught a glimpse of another slightly distorted image of Samus today...while playing Metroid Prime 3: Corruption. Don't get me wrong, I'm thoroughly enjoying the experience, and the new control scheme suits me just fine. But one of the signature aspects of every Metroid game since the original is the pervasive sense of solitude you feel as you navigate the barren worlds presented. Sure, you're bound to meet any number of creatures bent on eliminating you, but your status as a human bounty hunter exploring Zebes, the Phendrana Drifts, or virtually every other desolate locale in the previous games meant coping with a powerful sense that you are alone in the universe.
Samus is alone no more. Apparently, in between Metroids Echoes and Corruption, she has corralled a gallery of chatty admirers. Making your way around the Federation fleet's capital ship, you run into one soldier after another who recognizes you and expresses his admiration. All very professional. No come-ons or catcalls. This is Nintendo, after all, and besides, Samus is packing heat, which tends to quell chauvinist behavior.
The distorted moment arrives in the first extended cut-scene (another Metroid series first) when we discover Samus lined up with a small collection of three other hunters, one of which has temporarily morphed into a duplicate of Samus herself, apparently as a joke. In this group of exotic characters, our dear Samus looks positively ordinary. Fortunately, she's not there for long and the action gets furious pretty fast. I left off the game at the point where Samus is about to land on another planet for her first mission...which she will apparently execute alone, old-school Metroid style.
The game looks to be a real gem, but that opening is a real departure. Retro Studios' decision to keep Samus silent was a wise one indeed. A talking Samus would be too much distortion for me.