Hello and welcome to The Starlight Megaphone’s playthrough of Metroid Dread, an exploration platforming (‘Metroidvania’) game released worldwide and exclusively for the Nintendo Switch on 8 October 2021.
Metroid Dread (also known as Metroid 5) is the fifth, two-dimensional (original style) game in the Metroid series, which tells the story of the intergalactic bounty hunter, Samus Aran, and her quest to serve the Federation by hunting down and exterminating the Space Pirates of Zebes and their leader, Mother Brain. Along the way, she encounters the titular Metroids–from planet SR388–which the Space Pirates initially use as a weapon. And, she learns about her history and the way in which it has been entangled with the ancient Chozo civilisation.
Following on the developments of the last 2-D game in the series, Metroid Fusion, the threat posed to galactic civilisation by the Metroids now seems to be negligible. Instead, new dangers lie in wait: the Space Pirates’ experiments ensured that many kinds of foes now fill the cosmos, from traditional Zoomers and Sidehoppers to newer and more devious technological foes, rogue AIs, and terrifying robotic monstrosities. The X parasites that Samus seemed to have destroyed, along with planet SR388, at the end of Fusion turn on not to have been so easily eradicated. X transmissions are detected from Planet ZDR, and when the EMMI units sent to investigate stop responding, Samus is sent in to find out what has gone wrong.
The producer of Metroid Dread, Yoshio Sakamoto, has said that the game will conclude the story arc begun with the release of the original Metroid in 1986, finally resolving the conflict between Samus and the Metroids. However, earlier games have also offered the tantalising prospect of the elimination of the Metroid species, only to withhold finality in the ending sequences–again, an approach to cliffhanger-style story-telling that can trace its roots to the first game in the series.
Complicating this claim is the fact that fans may have trouble of conceiving of a Metroid game that contains no Metroids, raising the possibility of a potential Parasite Eve-style franchise reimagining for a future Metroid game as was done with The Third Birthday. Nintendo may want to attend to what became of the Parasite Eve series after such a drastic reinvention of its premises, especially given their own brief flirtation with that approach in the badly-received Metroid: Other M.
As is typical of “Metroidvania”-style exploration platformers, the game involves the exploration of a large, two-dimensional world. At first, the small subset of abilities available means that only a small area of the world map can be accessed. However, as players explore the world, they will discover new powers, weapons, and skills which will give them the ability to enter areas which were previously unreachable, where they will find still more power-ups, along with requisite monsters and bosses.
Please use the comment thread below to discuss your approach to the game, challenges you have faced, strategies and content you have uncovered, and any aids you are using in your playthrough. Do you feel that the Metroid storyline should finally come to an end? Do you prefer the 2D or 3D games in the series? Do you approve of the switch from 2D pixel art to 3D-rendered images presented on a 2D map? What sorts of changes would you make to the game? What features would you add or remove? Tell us all about it and join in our discussion below! We will select some of the best comments, each week, for our podcast discussion.
The aim in this playthrough is to complete the entirety of the game by 19 November. Instead of milestones, we encourage you to play at your own pace–but please keep us updated about your thoughts and progress as you play the game. This will help to sustain our discussion and encourage other players to complete the game. Please also make use of our official Discord channel, where we have an #events channel dedicated to playthrough chat.
Please join in with us and comment about your experience! The playthrough time frame is intended to allow anyone and everyone to participate, regardless of speed of play or familiarity with the series. Comment and tell your friends!
Without further adieu, we invite you to join The Starlight Megaphone’s staff members and readers in Metroid Returns: a Metroid Dread playthrough!