Have You Played… AM2R?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

AKA ‘Another Metroid 2 Remake‘ [official site], rather a self-effacing title for what might just be the best Metroid game in years. Trouble being, Nintendo weren’t involved – quite the opposite, in fact, as the blighters shut down this fan project soon after release. Fortunately, it’s not hard to find, for now at least.

I didn’t grow up with Metroid, and other than peripheral awareness (‘OMG THE SPACE MARINE IS A LADY!!!?!!!!111’) didn’t have anything to do with the series until the peerless Metroid Fusion on Gameboy Advance. I replayed that recently, and still adored its blend of action and exploration and menacing sci-fi strangeness, with the exception of its appallingly long and slow introductory cutscene.

I was left with a thirst for more, but the first couple of games (on NES and SNES respectively) were that little bit cruder and tedious by contemporary standards, and I don’t have the hardware to play the Gamecube/Wii/Wii-U Metroid Prime first-person spin-offs.

AM2R was the answer. An affectionate but nonetheless sweeping remake of the original Gameboy’s Metroid II, given the style and mechanics of Metroid Fusion. It looks the part, and though its levels don’t quite have the intricacy and, frankly, perfection of Fusion’s, they’re a lot closer to it than the mostly side-to-side Metroid 1/Metroid Zero Mission GBA remake and the endless jumping of Super Metroid. Like I say, the best Metroid game in forever. If you can find it.

26 Comments

  1. Drib says:

    Always makes me a bit sad when someone puts effort into some fan game and the corporation just makes them remove it.

    • welverin says:

      Hey, they waited until after it was released to put the boot down, whether intentional or not, and we all know that once something makes it onto the internet there’s no getting rid of it.

      • Kaeoschassis says:

        One does have to wonder if that was deliberate, huh? Although I’m acutely aware that I’m probably just giving nintendo far, far too much credit.

        At any rate, I have, yes, and it’s fantastic. Agreed that it’s probably the best Metroid in forever.
        I did personally prefer Zero Mission over Fusion as far as the GBA titles went, incidentally. Zero Mission felt like the more solid overall game for me, although I have to admit that the sense of creeping tension in Fusion as you were hunted by a faceless yet eerily familiar enemy with all of your abilities was pretty great. For its time. On a handheld. I have NO idea if it stands up today.

        EDIT: The next best recent Metroid is Hero Core, fwiw.

    • Syrion says:

      Well, I don’t know if it was just lack of knowledge or some degree of charitableness, but I guess they could have shut the project down before release, too. Like it is now the game is freely obtainable and even received some updates before being let go.

      [edit]
      Ha, beat me to it.

      • welverin says:

        Yeah, this is why I always question teams that announce what they’re doing. Just keep it to yourself until you release it.

        Mind you I do realize that teams often need to promote their project in order to get the help they need to make it, I still can’t help and think every time a fan project goes public that they’re just begging to get shut down.

    • PancakeWizard says:

      It’s worth digging up, though.

      Great game.

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      Phasma Felis says:

      Nintendo does of course have a legal right to shut down fan work, just like I have a legal right to stand outside a children’s hospital pointing and laughing at cripples. Corps like this usually claim that they have no choice but to shut down fan works or lose their copyright, and if that was true then Star Wars would be in the public domain by now.

      (Not addressing you specifically, I just know that someone will be along sooner or later to defend Nintendo with the standard propaganda.)

  2. welverin says:

    Alec, I do believe the Dolphin emulator would allow you to get over that lack of hardware issue for playing the Prime games if you were so inclined.

    • RuySan says:

      Are the trilogy games playable on dolphin with mouse and d keyboard?

      I remember them being a huge improvement over the GameCube versions when it comes to controls.

      • Chuckaluphagus says:

        I … don’t know. You can absolutely map mouse and keyboard to the Gamecube/Wii controls in Dolphin, but I’ve never tried it, myself.

  3. BTAxis says:

    No mention of Zero Mission in the article, which in my opinion is the superior title on GBA.

  4. fuggles says:

    Have you played megaman 2.5d, just released, looks amazing.

  5. GunnerMcCaffrey says:

    This might be the first time I’ve ever seen any serious shade thrown at Super Metroid. I feel as though there’s a dust-covered alarm somewhere I should pull, or something.

    • castle says:

      Yeah, seriously. Super Metroid is “crude and tedious”? Well you know what, I think Outcast is crude and tedious. How do you like that, Alec?

  6. Koozer says:

    My god man, get yourself a Gamecube/Wii/Wii U and play Metroid Prime (the first). It and Fusion are the only Metroid games I’ve finished more than once. Many, many times more.

    • Uninteresting Curse File Implement says:

      Or emulate it, because if anything is worth fiddling with emulation options, it’s goddamn Metroid Prime. And hell, maybe Alec will even prefer the sequel? A true PC gamer may take the bleakness and harshness over the Disneyland prettiness of the original.

  7. UnknownDev says:

    I like Metroid II better than Fusion. No real need to go into it, maybe its because I played it when I was young. Maybe its “better” /:) who knows!

    I don’t really like anything Nintendo has ever made better than I like their 2D Metroid games. It is sad that the only new Metroid games we get are fan made. It is glorious that they are better than the ones Nintendo makes. I think I will make one someday. We should all make them. Let us make so many of them that Nindento never has a chance to catch up. Let us create a glistening world of 2D Metroid games. If legality is an issue, just put temp textures in the game, release it on steam, then immediately add a “community made” texture pack to the workshop. Woops, it replaces everything with metroid.

    • Alevice says:

      I agree, and I played Metroid 2 like a couple of years ago for the first time. The atmosphere, specially near the end, is unmatched, even against the other games in the series. Fusion has some nice surprises, like playing around the enemy attack expectations, but it lost some of its atmosphre outside being the SA-X prey.

      Metroid 3 is overall the better game, admittedly.

  8. amateurviking says:

    LEAVE SUPER METROID ALONE!

    Having said that I can imagine that coming to it ‘backwards’ could have that effect. And fusion really is a bit of alright. Still. Highly recommended. And Prime is sublime, and easy enough to emulate if you don’t mind that kind of thing.

    Metroid II was my first experience and my abiding memories were of being terribly lost all the time and it being rock rock rock hard. In my defence I was 10(?)ish and there was a definite lack of tilesets and as a result a great deal of very very similar-looking areas.

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      Waltorious says:

      Yeah, Super Metroid is awesome. It’s worth persevering with it, Alec. It’s got that sci-fi strangeness you mentioned in spades, and an incredible atmosphere once you progress a bit. Probably my favorite game for the SNES (not that I played that many…)

      Having said that, I’ve not played Fusion. Seems a little excessive to buy a handheld system just for that, though. This is likely the same reason so many were exited about AM2R, as it lets us play a part of the series we missed.

  9. Ben Damage says:

    I did the digging and, indeed, the unearthing has proven great. This is a really neat little package that I’m glad I’ve found, and I’m already hunting Metroids. Controller support? Most games you pay for don’t have that.

    • Chaoslord AJ says:

      Something I can’t stand at all. Platformers can’t be played adequately with the keyboard except if they are trashy wonky-control platformers to start with.
      No, I don’t take key to joy-3rd party software for excuses and won’t buy any such “game”.

  10. anon459 says:

    I downloaded it the day it was announced finished(also the first time I’d heard of it) since it was obviously gonna be shut down. Never played it but it’s still chillin’ out on my drive.

    Prime was my first Metroid and honestly it wasn’t for me. Played Super Metroid a couple years ago for the first time and despite being crazy late to the party I contend that it’s one of the best games ever designed. The atmosphere immediately struck me in that one though, unlike the GBA titles with their bright glossiness.

  11. xrror says:

    [I]ts levels don’t quite have the intricacy and, frankly, perfection of Fusion’s, they’re a lot closer to it than the mostly side-to-side Metroid 1/Metroid Zero Mission GBA remake and the endless jumping of Super Metroid.

    Bahaha, if they find enough of Alex’s body after the flash mob is done with him, at least they’ll have that quote ready for the headstone.

    On topic, AM2R really is an amazing project, “DoctorM64” (Milton Guasti) deserves some serious props for all of the passion and work he’s put into it over the years. It’s sad to see it end this way, but again at least it’s out there.

  12. Chaoslord AJ says:

    It’s a great remake but no wonder Nintendo took it down. They could do a remake themselves. Too bad there won’t be another 2d-Metroid again. Which brings me to…
    Super Metroid 3 is still one of the best games ever, has aged gracefully and I could play it on and on. And yeah sorry it’s about jumping, too. And the controls are tight, you got all those features like wall jump, space jump, it’s an essential part of the exploration. Close to perfect and #1 in metroidvania genre surely.