Metroid II: Return of Samus

1991 • Game Boy
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Following Samus Aran’s successful mission to foil the Space Pirates’ plans to weaponize Metroids for their own gain, the Galactic Federation decided these parasitic Metroids were too dangerous in the wrong hands. A recon vessel sent to ensure there were no more Metroids on their home planet of SR388 went missing. Contact with the special combat forces sent to recover the missing crew was also lost. The Galactic Federation saw only one viable choice: Send Samus Aran to SR388. Arriving on the desolate surface of SR388, Samus makes her way into the planet’s maze-like caverns. Just a few steps in, she comes across a broken Metroid shell. Moments later, she is attacked by a form of Metroid she has never seen before. They evolve!

METROID II: RETURN OF SAMUS marked the first handheld release for the series when it launched on the Game Boy between 1991 and 1992. The small, monochrome screen meant the game had to be designed around these limitations, so Samus’ suit upgrades had to be differentiated with different shapes rather than colors. This is the origin of the Varia Suit’s iconic shoulders. The big character model made for a very claustrophobic atmosphere in the dark caverns of SR388. Starting out with the Morph Ball already enabled, Samus had to find new power-ups, seemingly left behind by another race that created the temple ruins she encounters on her mission.

As she kills more and more Metroids, Samus is able to progress through the depths of the planet after environmental events, like earthquakes, drain lava from previously impassable hallways or clear away rubble to open new paths. Hunting down every single Metroid left on the planet takes time, and that means the deeper Samus goes, the further the Metroids will have evolved. Can Samus exterminate all of the dangerous parasites and escape unscathed?

METROID II: RETURN OF SAMUS was developed by Nintendo R&D1 with Hiroji Kiyotake and Hiroyuki Kimura taking over directorial duties. The very experimental soundtrack was composed by Ryoji Yoshitomi this time.