Metroid II: Return of Samus Review

Review by: TJ Rappel

Original Publish Date: Pending

Final rating: “My least favorite”

By 1991, Metroid fans were getting restless. It had been five years since we last saw Samus Aran in action. During that time, all the biggest titles in videogames had been getting sequels — Mario, Zelda, Mega Man, and Castlevania all had new adventures to take players on. But where was our favorite bounty huntress? MIA after the Zebes incident, that’s where. But her fans were about to find out.


Nintendo released Metroid II: Return of Samus that year, pulling an unexpected move and bringing the sequel out on the GameBoy. This was a disappointment to NES owners, although the game would prove to be quite a leap forward in the world of Metroid. Samus’ new adventure took place soon after the first one ended, and showed us the fabled planet SR388 — home of the Metroids. Her mission was to exterminate the remainder of the species so that the Metroid menace would be over once and for all. Little did she (or we) know that the Metroids on SR388 were not the ones she had battled on Zebes, but an entirely new breed…


Although I found the game to be one of the best GameBoy titles ever made, it didn’t quite stack up to the original Metroid. Now, many people will disagree with me, citing the vastly improved graphic detail in the backgrounds, the diabolical level designs, and the all-new, buff-looking Samus Aran herself. True, those are Metroid II‘s strongest points, along with the great storyline, cool new weapons like the Spring Ball, Spider Ball and Spazer, the addition of Save Points and battery backup to do away with the old Password system, and the wicked Metroid mutations. However, I found that the enemies in the game were a little boring compared to the creatures found on Zebes. Perhaps I just don’t care for SR388’s anthropological offerings — after all, it is a different planet. Unfortunately, my disappointment also came from the play control, which I found to be clunkier than the super-smooth workings of the first game, as well as the music, which didn’t convey the spookiness that Hip Tanaka’s work did (although the last few levels do come close to recreating that atmosphere).


The second installment in the Metroid saga is, sorry to say, my least favorite. Don’t get me wrong, though — Metroid II is a very worthy successor to the first quest. Once the player gets a bit further into the game, it’s very involving and will provide a challenge to even the most hardened Metroid veteran. Return of Samus was a fabulous way of expanding the universe of Samus Aran, and in the canon of the Metroid story, did a perfect job of settting the stage for the next chapter, Super Metroid