Samus It Ever Was: Ex Vitro Beta

By Adam Smith on November 5th, 2012 at 2:00 pm.

The beta for indie Metroid-a-like Ex Vitro has been available since the summer failed to sizzle and right now the nibbling gnashers of old Jack Frost tell me that winter has come, so why post about the game now? Because I’ve just played it for the first time, that’s why, and I only found out it exists because there’s a new trailer that warbles about sci-fi disasters in a way that intrigued me. The beta is free and with it you’ll be able to shoot monstrosities, collect new abilities and read datalogs that tell a history of grim failings. The art reminds me of Waking Mars but the game is as much action as exploration.

No release date for the full version yet.

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48 Comments »

  1. Unaco says:

    “so why post about the game now? Because I’ve just played it for the first time, that’s why”

    Would you say that it was a… Once in a Lifetime experience Adam?

  2. db1331 says:

    The big boss robot at around 1:10 looks exactly like a Mega Man (4?) boss. Pretty cool.

  3. DickSocrates says:

    There’s being inspired and then there’s this. However, Nintendo don’t seem interested in making a proper sequel to Super Metroid so I guess someone else should. The GBA games were stylistically different in a negative way and Metroid Prime was just weird.

    • zeroskill says:

      Super Metroid, one of my all time favorites, to this day. I’m gonna give this a shot for sure.

    • AttackOfTheThumbs says:

      Metroid Prime is in my opinion the best game ever made. It just nailed atmosphere better than Super Metroid did. The music is great, the entire soundstage is, controls are simple, story is good and easy to follow. Just fun.

      • deadly.by.design says:

        You are the only person I’ve seen to defend Prime as the ultimate Metroid, rather than Super.

        FWIW, I’m content to say that SM is the ultimate 2D version and Prime’s the 3D. Both can exist. However, as someone born in the early 80s, there’s no way that I could declare Prime superior to SM.

        • Bloodoflamb says:

          I also think that Metroid Prime is better than Super Metroid. Except for maybe The Legend of Zelda (NES), Prime is my favorite game of all time.

        • zebramatt says:

          Super’s the best Metroid game in the Metroidvania genre.

          Prime’s one of the best games of all time.

          Rating them off against one another is extremely difficult, therefore!

          (Although Super Metroid wins by a hair’s breadth, definitely! :p)

        • Nevard says:

          You’re both wrong though, Fusion was the best one

      • ScubaMonster says:

        Metroid Prime is good, but it’s hardly better than Super Metroid. The game was about sidescrolling action, not FPS. Sadly, I don’t think we’ll ever see a classic Metroid game again. Which is odd because they don’t mind churning out New Super Mario Bros. games.

        • Brun says:

          Metroid: Other M came out a year or two ago and felt like a 3D take on the 2D Metroids.

          • Totally heterosexual says:

            It was also a piece of shit.

          • Phantoon says:

            Yes. It was a terrible game.

            “Any challenge to deal with whatsoever? Just charge dodge! Forever!” And that was the entire game. And pointless “find the pixel” parts, and an incredibly bad story. Just nauseatingly so. And boss fights for no reason other than ‘throwback’ moments.

            It was like the Star Wars prequels, especially down to the direction- the people actually making it kept getting stuff that made sense or made it good ruined by the idiot that originally came up with it. I think the pixel hunt was the attempt to do what Retro did with the Scan visor, but ended up being failure-tastic.

        • Bloodoflamb says:

          Given that you’re posting on RPS, I have to assume you play a lot of PC games, which would lead me to believe that you have played a fair about of FPS’s in your day. Given that, I should hope you would have realized while playing Metroid Prime that it doesn’t play at all like an FPS.

          • darkChozo says:

            Go go gadget FPA debate! I remember that, that was a while ago…

      • Geen says:

        Metroid Prime had FANTASTIC atmosphere, the world felt breathing, and as you found the logs you realized that the place was a hellhole, not just a planet with hostile wildlife.

      • Slinkyboy says:

        SM all the way, then Prime. I love Prime but SM always scared me to hell when I was little. Finished it again 2 years ago and it still scared me shitless!! Best game ever, nothing else when you replay a childhood game and actually love it. I wasn’t a dumb kid after all har har har.

    • darkChozo says:

      Clearly, you’ve forgotten about Metroid Prime Pinball, the one true successor to Super Metroid.

      More seriously, Zero Mission is probably the truest sequel to Super, though it falls a bit flatter on the atmosphere side. Fusion was pretty good but lacked a lot of the openness, though the story was probably about as well executed as you could have in a Metroid game. Enough to actually be, well, a plot, but not so much to cause Other M problems. And the atmosphere was pretty decent in that game, mission structure aside.

      The Prime games are just awesome, but they definitely have a different feel; they’re more Zelda than Metroid in some ways. Still awesome, though. Probably one of the best old school to new school transitions of a series ever.

      • zebramatt says:

        Zero Mission is a prequel to Super – it’s a reboot of the first Metroid!

        • darkChozo says:

          Well, yeah, I meant sequel more in a chronological sense than a plot sense. Perhaps successor would’ve been a better word.

          And if I remember my Metroid lore correctly, the Prime games are technically prequels too. Pinball probably fits in there somewhere, but god knows how.

          • Baines says:

            Prime is between Metroid 1 (the NES game, which was remade as Zero Mission for the GBA) and Metroid II (the Gameboy game), but its status is a bit hampered by not being a Japan-made game. Nintendo of Japan effectively lets Prime sit in its own bubble.

            Yoshio Sakamoto has his own idea of what Samus and Metroid are, and it doesn’t quite mesh with what Retro Studios envisioned. The divide comes from the early days of Metroid, when different countries saw different things in the same character. (Which is why the portrayal of Samus in Other M angered so many people outside of Japan.)

          • Phantoon says:

            Yes, because it portrays Samus as a weak, pathetic excuse for a human being, who just HAPPENS to be the strongest person in that entire universe. How she got through Super Metroid without committing suicide or breaking down is anyone’s guess, especially when her monologue at the beginning didn’t hint at emotions.

            Because she was a silent (mostly) protagonist, like most others (Gordon Freeman, Doomguy, etc) people drew their own conclusions about motivations. Metroid Fusion didn’t hint at the completely abusive relationship she had with Adam, and in fact she was willing to defy the GFeds to stop the X menace when they were fooling with things they shouldn’t be. The Samus in Other M would never be willing to do that or take that risk, because they’re not the same person.

          • Baines says:

            Yes, the Western view of Samus leans more towards a hard, strong, skilled woman. Retro would use that style for Prime.

            The Japanese, and Sakamoto’s, view of Samus is not that. Japan had a rather bad manga that expanded Samus’ back story, and Other M seems to be based on that version of Samus. That Samus is shorter, more emotional (in ways that negatively impact on her mission), less competent, more reliant on others… Other M arguably takes it to more extremes, with a Samus who at times approaches the bad side of barely competent.

    • ScubaMonster says:

      I agree, Nintendo apparently tossed classic Metroid in the trash which is a shame. Oddly, they keep making New Super Mario Bros. games done in classic Mario style. There’s NSMB for DS and Wii, and now 3DS and soon Wii U. Really Nintendo? Where the hell is my classic Metroid? Metroid Other M was awful.

      • Jae Armstrong says:

        The problem with Metroid was that it was Gunpei Yokoi’s baby. Yokoi left Ninty in 1996, just before the N64 came out, which left the series bereft of its chief proponent just when it needed to make the, extremely difficult, transition to three dimensions. And no, there’s no way in hell that Nintendo would have countenanced keeping one of its principal franchises 2D on their brand new 3D console.

        • fiddlesticks says:

          That and Metroid has never been as popular as Mario and Zelda, even less so in Japan itself. Since performance on the home market is the most important critierion for Japanese game developers, Nintendo has more or less abandoned the franchise. Especially after Other M flopped both in Japan and over here.

          • TCM says:

            Retro Studios did announce that they are working on ‘something everyone wants us to make’ for the Wii U at some point, didn’t they?

            They are more than capable of making a sidescrolling Metroid, or a hybrid with Prime, or even a new Prime-type.

          • Phantoon says:

            Fine. Yokoi may have been a good creative director, but someone needed to rein his ass in. Other M is proof of that- there’s leaked design documents of members of Team Ninja complaining that elements were being dumbed down in favor of story.

            Retro need to be the only ones allowed to touch the IP anyways- if Metroid is more popular in America, then make it here for the fans, not in Japan for people that don’t care.

          • Baines says:

            Phantoon, Yokoi left Nintendo in 1996, and was killed in 1997.

            Other M was the product of Metroid co-creator Yoshio Sakamoto, who has been in charge of the franchise from Super Metroid onward. (Excepting the Prime series.) And yes, Sakamoto is the one who wrote the mess of a story that was Other M.

        • belgand says:

          Perhaps, but their insistence on making every game 3D regardless of whether it was called for or not is what kept me from ever buying an N64. It’s taken a long time to get back here, but at least we’ve finally reached a point where designers realize that many games work better in 2D and are willing to release them as such.

          Especially problematic was that consoles were just barely able to make games run in 3D. They all looked pretty ugly at the time and they look significantly worse now while older 2D, sprite-based games tend to hold up a lot better.

  4. hjd_uk says:

    It looks the samus another game ive played…
    [edit: oh carp, didnt read the title - redundant pun]

  5. Exkaiser says:

    Not sure how I feel about the mouse-aim yet. AVWW, which also styled itself a metroid-like (though not nearly as much as this), also used mouse-aim, but it killed a lot of the retro feeling they were trying to go for, at least for me.

    • zebramatt says:

      I thought the same thing.

      Especially since Valley 2′s gone back to a more traditional eight directional aiming mechanic.

  6. deadly.by.design says:

    Army Man goes to space?

  7. Oglop says:

    Game looks cool. Hate the graphics though…

  8. Phantoon says:

    It’s not really worthy. Enemies are too tough but aren’t threatening enough making combat a chore very quickly, spikes everywhere at the beginning for no reason (actually the reason is lazy level design and “I really liked that bit in Norfair), beam charging not worth it, some jumps you have to do perfectly, and one of the boss fights I did, I didn’t see the boss 90% of the fight (never make the place you enter the safest/or even accessible), second beam wasn’t better than the first, and the enemies didn’t make sense.

    If it wants to be Metroid, the enemies have to have logic- the Zoomer doesn’t ever change what it’s doing, no matter what you do, unless it dies. Here, some enemies did different things and ignored my weapon attacks when other times they would directly attack me. This is actually my biggest complaint- part of the reason Super Metroid was so good was that enemies didn’t randomly deviate.

    The mechanics are pretty well done, though. I never missed a jump or felt sluggish, so that’s a point in favor. The shooting is responsive even if it feels done wrong.

    Overall, though, this seems like a homage to Metroid, but Metroid 2 Remake just does it a lot better.

  9. PsychoWedge says:

    Dunno about the game but I feel the urge to play a round of SM… Even if this game is not really good, firing me up to play on of the best games ewaaaa is a right to exist in its own. :D

    • Phantoon says:

      I know my criticism above may have been a bit harsh, but I’m sure it’ll get refined and be a better game soon enough.

  10. belgand says:

    A game inspired by Super Metroid would be welcome, but this just looks to be a complete rip-off. I shouldn’t be able to look at it and remember precisely the screen from Metroid that has been reskinned.

  11. particlese says:

    Interesting…I might have to check this out.

    At first, I was repulsed by the unpixelated graphics and high frame rate and style of motion (since I was viewing it as a Super Metroid clone), but then I realized those same things reminded me of Aquaria, and all was forgiven. Not quite as pretty as Aquaria, I reckon, but that’s a fairly high bar.

    *watches gameplay videos* Yep…looks like Samus nabbed and raised Naija’s kid.

  12. Metonymy says:

    Please continue to post about games that you’ve just discovered, or even if you just feel they didn’t receive enough publicity.

    These are the only ‘junk posts’ that I don’t consider to be junk. Definitely the kind of information I come here for.