Well, now that I’ve finally played, finished and reviewed the entire Metroid saga from start to finish, I’m pretty exhausted. I mean after spending six months playing these games and capturing a grand total of 2 days, 1 hour, 27 minutes and 53 seconds of footage for this series; I’m pretty sure you would be as well.
But, you know me – I don’t half-ass anything. So, while I’ve been playing these games, I’ve been ranking them as I go along. The following leaderboard leaves rose-tinted specs at the door and is based on my experiences of playing these games in 2021 and how much I enjoyed them. I shouldn’t have to point this out, but this ranking is my own opinion and does not invalidate how you feel about these games. Now I know you guys don’t agree with my list, so let me know yours in the comments!
Are you ready? Let’s do this!
At number 16, is Metroid Prime Hunters: First Hunt. This is propping up the rest of the leaderboard, mainly because it’s a rather limited demo. It’s an interesting look at what would come later on, but ultimately this is three incredibly brief minigames that bring little more than 30 minutes of enjoyment at most – And that’s all I can say about that.
It’s only natural that the full version of Metroid Prime Hunters should follow on at number 15. Contrary to how some people feel about my prior video review, I do not hate this game – Or any game on this list. It’s just a very repetitive shooter that could have been a lot better if more time was spent on the single-player and less on the multiplayer. The basics are more or less there, it’s just all in a rather dull game.
We’re still on the Nintendo DS at number 14, with Metroid Prime Pinball. This unusual spinoff is a pretty good pinball game with some well-designed tables and bonus games that do a good job of conveying the themes and locations of Metroid Prime. However, this is another game that suffers from a lack of substance, unless you really love spending hours trying to beat your high scores.
Metroid Prime: Federation Force is up at number 13, a game that I feel delivers a much better handheld experience than Hunters did. In my review, I was able to look past the lack of Samus and the more shooter-based gameplay. However, the co-op flavoured gameplay makes this one a hard game to go back to unless you have a few friends to play with.
A possibly controversial choice here, but I’ve placed Nintendo Land’s Metroid Blast attraction at number 12. Yes, this is the least Metroid-like game on this entire list; but it’s exponentially more fun than the previous 3 games, whether in single-player or multiplayer. It’s a wonderful love letter to the series that is accessible to everyone – So it earns this place on the ranking board with pride.
A possibly even more controversial choice is putting the original Metroid in at number 11. I can sense some salty comments coming my way, but I’m ranking these games based on how fun they are to play in 2021, and Samus’ debut unfortunately has aged poorly and is quite a chore to play. Another reminder; I do not hate this game, it is just a victim of being three and a half decades old, and is more or less redundant after Zero Mission’s release.
And if that pissed you off, you’re going to love me placing Metroid: Other M in at number 10. While the game held up better in my memory of playing it at the time of release, my 2021 playthrough uncovered a whole heap of issues I had completely forgotten about. But, even with those issues, I did find myself enjoying Other M more than I did with the original NES game. The standard gameplay mechanics are highly enjoyable, and the whole game is unfortunately marred by some puzzling gameplay and narrative decisions.
Metroid II: Return of Samus, on the humble Game Boy – Here at number 9. Despite its limited hardware, this unique entry in the series is still highly playable, while its importance to the series’ narrative is still undisputed. Its 3DS remake might make this game more or less redundant, but there’s absolutely more than enough merit to play this game at least once.
My number 8 goes to Metroid Prime 2: Echoes. While a really good sequel that adds enough additions and changes to the original, I found there was a little too much padding for my liking, and the environments too bland and unmemorable. However, I do love the new abilities added to this sequel, even if some of them aren’t utilised nearly enough.
Metroid Zero Mission, the GBA remake of the original Metroid game, comes up at number 7. It’s a truly great remake, with gorgeous 2D visuals and a heap of quality of life improvements that really make this remaster a more palatable game overall. Admittedly, it’s almost too friendly in its approach to showing you where to go next, but the newly-added additional content more than makes up for it.
Corruption, the finale of the Metroid Prime Trilogy is our number 6 entry. Many consider it to be the weaker of the three games, but I enjoyed its planet-hopping adventure, engaging Wii-remote controls and the attempts to expand Metroid’s world and show more of the Galactic Federation. I found it to be a fitting end to this saga.
At number 5 is Metroid: Samus Returns for the Nintendo 3DS; Mercurysteam’s first crack at the series. A superb remake of the Game Boy’s Return of Samus, this entry made some bold changes to Metroid’s mechanics, adding the controversial Melee counter and changes to the original game’s world design overall. I enjoyed every second of this title, and it deserves its high spot here.
I always thought I didn’t like the Metroid Prime series as much as the 2D games until I finally sat down to replay everything this year. Metroid Prime ends up at a lofty number 4, thanks to the amazing world of Tallon IV, some excellent world-building and the bold move to a first-person view. Those lock-on mechanics still hold up incredibly well, and the whole game is enjoyable from start to finish.
The final three were incredibly hard to choose from, but getting the bronze medal is Metroid Fusion. The first 2D adventure after Super Metroid was always going to have a hard time, especially one designed for a handheld system. However, Fusion tries to add new elements to the series, and while the heavy-handed linearity does detract from the standard Metroid style of play; the gameplay here is good enough to balance that out.
If the top three was hard enough to work out, the top two was even harder. However, I have decided to give Metroid Dread second place. This is a truly exquisite entry in the series, that takes the 2D Metroid mechanics to greater heights, closing the book on the series as it stands. But as I mentioned in my review, it is too soon to tell if Dread will have the staying power of certain other entries in the series. However, there’s a part of me that thinks that this Switch game has the potential to have that legendary status that my number 1 pick has.
Yes, that number 1 game is, of course, Super Metroid. This game is at number 1, not because of nostalgia, but because even in 2021, after Ridley knows how many times I’ve played through this game from start to finish, I am still learning new things about this Super Nintendo classic. There’s a reason why this game arguably made Speedrunning a thing; because there is so much depth to this title, intentional or otherwise. The way this game explains everything with a sense of subtlety, through visual aids and immaculate level design, makes Super Metroid as much of a classic as it ever did. It’s these qualities that pipped it to the post over Metroid Dread, but the margin was so close, you wouldn’t believe it.
So, there you go. 16 Metroid games, ranked in order of my enjoyment. Doing this series has been a whole lot of fun, and I’m glad that you were all with me as part of this incredible journey through some superb games. Thanks for watching, I hope you enjoyed this massive look at a series very close to my heart. I’ll be back in 2022 with new videos about something not related to this series, so stay tuned!