TheZec's Ratings and Reviews
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Super Metroid: Redesign by Drewseph [SM Exploration], rated by TheZec on Nov 23, 2016 (Star Star Star Star Star )
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I first attempted this hack some years ago now I must've been 16, or 15. I remember jumping in the Ceres station for the first time and thinking how odd it is that jumping functions this way, but that isn't a negative in it of itself. Just different. I remember when I saw the 30 second timer to escape Ceres and my eyes widening. I remember first descending into Crateria and being delighted at how much had changed already. I remember being delighted at the map data for Crateria, Brinstar, saying to myself "this is going to be a lotta fun to explore." Unfortunately I never finished Redesign those years ago.

Years later, all these feelings returned in waves of nostalgia as well as seeing them with older and more seasoned eyes having played more video games since. However I noted the difficulty. Everything was doing so much damage in Crateria, in Brinstar. Especially those damn hoppers. I started asking myself how I could've possibly had the patience for this kind of difficulty back then. But on I pressed. Having a nice time getting lost with Samus Aran again.

Cutting this review short, as I'll save the rest for an essay someday. The hack never truly felt as open as it could've been for such large areas. Given the increased damage of most enemies, I can see why this decision was made. The game felt at its most open when entering Maridia proper. That was the highest point of the hack for me. Have all the gadgets I need, and I have this huge underwater area to explore with the lovely Western Maridia theme. Unfortunately I was railroaded to acquire the space jump, but more than being railroaded was the monotony of combat and enemies. Now, this is actually a problem with Metroid as a whole so it's not the fault of the hack; most enemies in the Metroid series are cannon fodder. Maridia's most common enemies were the fish and the crabs. They are not exciting to kill for the nth time in a row. Maridia is enormous and constantly reuses these enemies to the point of tedium. This isn't as much of an issue in the original Super Metroid because Maridia is smaller in that game. Again, this is more a problem with Metroid as a whole than with the hack. It was with these realizations that Redesign became an absolute chore to play through.

Lower Norfair was intriguing, and could probably be used in a class about game design. You acquire the Screw Attack before Golden Torizo. This was a huge empowering moment. Everything was going down left and right as I looked for the entrance to Lower Norfair. Once I got in there proper, again things going down left and right. Those giant hoppers, the gold pirates. Down, down. The problem is for much of early Lower Norfair nothing is a challenge. I said to myself, "if you can't have challenging enemies then you have to change the level design to compensate." Lo and behold, spiked ceilings and acidic floors. These were some of the more clever moments in the hack, some of my favorites. Another peak for me was having to avoid puffers as well as avoid the spiked ceilings. That was actually a lot of fun.

-If you're going to have save stations so far apart from each other, then don't put them at all as it pushes the player to rely on save states
-Some of the Guardian locations were ridiculous. Particularly the one in red Brinstar
-The sand that drags Samus down in Maridia got really fucking ridiculous at times
-Golden Torizo destroying the environment was awesome. His coming after Ridley was interesting.
-Adding the two parts of the wall that jut out in Ridley's arena made the battle far too easy.
-Tourian was hilariously difficult
-The final escape sequence was strange. It was a combination of creative and not so creative quirks of level design. I enjoyed it for the most part, but rules were being made and broken on the fly. You can shoot certain gates and they explode, but not others? All of a sudden those pieces of metals in the tunnel you can morph ball on top of?
-Being forced to move underwater for long periods of time without the Gravity Suit was a great decision