Metroid Series Catch-All

Excellent video—highlights one of my biggest complaints but also one of my biggest praises of Dread.


I think it was only an hour or so in when I realized that if there was fast travel, I was meant to take it. The first couple, I avoided it to explore instead and found myself locked in, so it was pointless. That was frustrating at first when I wanted to collect all I could, but was being shuttled along all the time.

But at some point in my run, it shifted for me to being enjoyable to not get lost, to feeling “smart” when I was actually being guided by the game toward solutions. I now think the level design is amazing and is one of the strengths of Dread—like how Portal uses a number of tricks and design choices to guide you to solutions.

Of course I haven’t 100% or speed run yet. But just on my first run, I found myself moving from frustration to enjoyment with the frequency of the design elements moving me forward.

First attempt to speed run Dread, and I got 3:26:29! Considering my first play through was 10h, I’m gunna say that’s not bad considering I pretty much did it blind, not knowing of any advanced strats. Also it’s fast enough to


get all the ending artwork

which makes me a happy camper. Now I just gotta do it all again on hard and I’ll have accomplished everything this game has for me.

Just a quick tip, out of habit I’ve been using different save files for all my different playthroughs. But now I’m realizing that now all my accomplishments are spread out between all my save files instead of being all in one place. So you may consider starting a new game from an existing save file if you want to do a multiple playthroughs.

As an aside, I love speedrunning games. It makes everything so action packed and meaningful. I’m having a blast. Even if you aren’t Godlike at the game, I’d still recommend giving it a shot if you are having fun and want to have a reason to keep playing! It’s less about getting a good time and more about challenging yourself and seeing what you can do. And this game is pretty much built for speedrunning so again I highly recommend it.

Congrats. Maybe I should have done normal first instead of hard. But I really did just get way too many items I think.

Then again there are probably 100% runs well under 4 hours. So I'm just slow.

I was under the impression getting any accomplishments on Hard also applied to Normal when it came to those ending graphics. When I got 100% on Hard, I got images I'm certain were tied to Normal.

Also, carrying those unlocks over is precisely why I copied my completed save and started Hard on a duplicate file. Keep original as back-up, new game on duplicate.

jamos5 wrote:

First attempt to speed run Dread, and I got 3:26:29!

I haven't even finished my first playthrough yet, so that sounds especially impressive since it's much less than my played time so far!

I still can't get past corpious, I have heard there is a strategy to it/an aha moment, but guess I am not going to be beating this game as I may not have the hand eye coordination/reflexes to complete it.

If it helps at all, I thought that was the hardest fight so far, partly because of how few abilities you have at the time and partly because it's a tough fight early on that represents a very steep jump in difficulty with very little wiggle room. It took me many attempts to get past it and was rather frustrating.

The only encounter I've had that has come close to the same level of difficulty and frustrating is a "mini-boss" from later in the game so far, but I know there are nastier surprises coming. Plus I've had the game on standby for a bit over a week so I'm going to be rusty when I pick it back up...

I don't know if you're looking for a strategy, but here's what helped me:

  • In the first phase, set your stance, use the shoulder buttons to aim at its head, and then just unload missiles into its head as fast as you can. That'll help send it to phase 2 faster, giving you less time on the defense.
  • If you have enough missiles, do something similar for phase 2. That's harder because the target moves.
  • There are times when it rears up and you can slide under its legs.

Ok so are the fights against the


X-infected Chozo with the spear and shield

really laggy for everyone or have I actually broken the game with my rubber band trick?

Rainsmercy wrote:

I still can't get past corpious, I have heard there is a strategy to it/an aha moment, but guess I am not going to be beating this game as I may not have the hand eye coordination/reflexes to complete it.

I definitely dealt with this issue. I struggled real hard on the second boss. Real hard. At the time, it felt like banging my head against a wall. In hindsight, there are a lot more technical aspects to each fight (at least available, not necessarily required), and now that I see what those are, the lay of the land isn’t as bad.

So, my recommendation: consider your available abilities and if you are maximizing them for the fight (man that sounds pretentious), or maybe watch how others have done it. I’ve found the latter helps, but definitely has a tendency to take away the, “I got gooder” feeling.

Personally, what would have made me enjoy this game more would have been watching runs early on, then deciding I like the combat style and flow of the game, and then diving in. It’s how I fell in love with Dark Souls 3, and in hindsight, is what makes me really enjoy this game. Still not in the running for my GOTY, but definitely one of the coolest games I’ve played in some time.

I do think that, much like the Samus Returns remake, the normal difficulty in Dread is a bit overtuned compared to the older 2D Metroid games. Compare it to how much more damage Samus can sustain before dying in Super Metroid and it's easy to see how someone could be unhappy with that aspect coming into Dread.

I tolerate it (and the EMMI insta-deaths) because the game's design is otherwise absolutely phenomenal, but I do wish the difficulty were more in line with Super's.

Yeah I've been thinking it over as well, and I wish Dread's difficulty levels were more like Kingdom Hearts or something, where normal you can basically trudge through without having to do anything more than level up your character, but proud mode (e.g. hard) is where you have to start knowing the systems and enemy patterns inside and out.

Currently both difficulty levels in Dread require the same amount of precise timing, that hard might as well not exist. Which seems like a waste of potential to me. Maybe they'll get it right for the next game.

Depends on what "get it right" means and for who. As I mentioned, I replayed Metroid Fusion right after two playthroughs of Dread, and while it's not as punishing, enemies certainly do more damage than they do in Super Metroid. I think the 2D Metroid games were already becoming Nintendo's "action franchise", so to speak, due to never being one of the more mainstream entries.

If Nintendo's aim is to appeal to a group of core gamers that like a challenge, then Dread's honestly pretty decently balanced (I mean, compare to some of the challenges of Hollow Knight, for example). I think it's pretty clear that very few on GWJ are of the "high-speed action combat" gamer variety, and therefore Dread feels poorly balanced for you.

I reiterate that I do feel the game could go for an easier difficulty, but if they recognize Metroid Dread as a more niche property whose primary audience is going to revel in the challenge – and I think that does make up the majority of Dread's audience – then the default difficulty is suitably balanced.

At the same time, there's an argument to be made that Dread's going for a specific audience in much the same way DOOM Eternal did, and I was not fond of DOOM Eternal's direction. On the whole, though, I think the philosophy of Dread was still a better one, but that's just my personal preference.

In Dread I found the normal enemies chump change while some of the bosses were quite hard. Perhaps it could have just balanced those out a bit better for normal mode. The EMMIs were more or less like a puzzle.

Edit: I forgot to mention (again) the QuickTime required boss events are dumb as hell and can make some encounters unnecessary tedious.

I finally beat Dread yesterday, and... I am conflicted. Just limiting myself to the main 5 2D entries in the series here.

I replayed Super Metroid earlier this year to refresh my memory, though honestly with as much as I played and replayed and speedran and sequence broke that game through the better part of the 90's, it's mostly still seared into my long-term memory.

So it is without nostalgia goggles that I can say that Super Metroid remains my favorite of the series. I thought it would be a pretty close call at first, as in spite of the EMMI insta-death BS of Dread, the early hours felt like the devs really nailed much of the feel and level design sensibilities of Super, but the further I got into the game the more the differences became apparent.

Before getting into specifics, I will say that I think Dread will settle pretty firmly into being my second favorite of the 2D entries if we don't count remakes. If remakes are counted, Zero Mission will remain my second favorite.

The general feel of traversal in Dread is absolutely fantastic. With only two exceptions (activating speed boost and managing mid-air grappling), the traversal controls just feel completely natural after the initial learning curve and are my favorite iteration in the series. This is, in fact, the first time I've played a 2D platformer where using the analog stick for movement felt as good or better as using the D-Pad. That is pretty significant!

Even in hectic combat, I rarely felt like ths controls were an issue. Mostly, I actually found that the controls were the most comfortable and precise for combat of the series. The primary exception to this is the infamous melee counter.

That damnable counter move. I hated it in the Samus Returns remake, and I still mostly hate it in Dread. At least in this entry, it didn't feel quite as mandatory as in Returns, and it also felt a little more fluid and precise. However, the vast, vast majority of times where I took damage from coming into contact with enemies was from failing to nail the timing of a counter (or just not countering at all when I thought I should be able to just shooty shooty and jump/move to dodge like in prior Metroid games).

And that's not even mentioning the integration of the damn counter into boss fights.

You know what caused me the most trouble in beating bosses and mini-bosses? f*cking "counter this move or the fight resumes until you get to try to counter this again" bullsh*t. Look, if using the counter simply netted the player some extra damage on the boss/mini-boss as a risk/reward mechanic, I would be all for it. But QTE crap in boss fights? Never thought I'd see the day that was put into a Metroid game.

And that leads directly into what's actually my biggest overall issue with the game: the difficulty. I know we've discussed it previously, so the short version: I genuinely wonder how many people who have played through any or all of the orior Metroid titles will actually ever get past the mid-game of Dread, much less the absolutely absurd final boss fight. Now granted, I only ever played through to the finish of Fusion once so I may be remembering wrong here, but... what the hell was up with that last fight? I know some parts of prior games were frustratingly random bordering on bullet hell, but holy sh*t, come on. This is Metroid, not some mashup of Ikaruga and Ninja Gaiden (NES Ninja Gaiden, not XBox).

The exploration and powerup aspects of older Metroid titles were not only additional elements of gameplay and an optional completionist challenge. If particular boss fights were giving a player trouble, they could often backtrack to scour out some missed powerups that would help give a bit more of a fighting chance. Each energy tank would give a noticeable extra bit of durability that could make the difference on encounters that were particularly troublesome (I'm looking at you, Phantoon, ya jerk).

Meanwhile in Dread, until you're on your second playthrough using prior knowledge and advanced techniques to sequence break, there aren't very many powerups to be found to make a noticeable difference. Especially given how much damage Samus takes. I know we need at least a bit of a challenge, but taking 5-6 good hits in a boss fight killing the player off? Yeesh.

And then that brings us back to the exploration and collection elements. Dread is certainly not nearly as guilty of railroading the player via events and obstacles that block backtracking as Fusion was, but it's still a bit too blatant for my tastes. Even when I was able to do some significant backtracking, I only infrequently ran across puzzles and secrets that were doable with the powers I had at the time. It wasn't until near the end of the game when I started finding more goodies in my re-explorations as travel across the gameworld opened up and powers from later in the game yielded new "sub-areas" that weren't previously accessible. So the whole explore-and-collect element of the game, while it seemed strong initially, ended up being a little underwhelming.

And don't get me started on the bullsh*t 'Shinespark' challenges. Good grief. Sorry, I am probably being a bit uncharitable, but how did we get from a few (fairly straightforward once you discovered them) rocket booster secrets in Super Metroid to this... whatever all of this is?!

The world of ZDR is fortunately mostly genuinely fun to explore and roam around in. I do look forward to replaying this down the road and trying to discover opportunities to sequence break or get goodies early.

I know I sound super down on the game -- and honestly in some ways I am, because it was generally firing on all cylinders for me in the first few hours. But in the end the frustrations continued to mount, and I while I am still generally positive on the game (again, barring remakes, it's my second favorite of the 5 main 2D entries in the series), I can't help but be disappointed somewhat, especially knowing that the overly punishing difficulty of the game will end up gatekeeping out an unknown but certainly not insignificant portion of traditional Metroid fans.

Farscry wrote:

You know what caused me the most trouble in beating bosses and mini-bosses? f*cking "counter this move or the fight resumes until you get to try to counter this again" bullsh*t. Look, if using the counter simply netted the player some extra damage on the boss/mini-boss as a risk/reward mechanic, I would be all for it. But QTE crap in boss fights? Never thought I'd see the day that was put into a Metroid game.

I know I beat two of the major bosses without ever landing a successful counter on them. Kraid and the mostly underwater one.

Though now that I think about it, maybe the dudes with the spears do require require a counter. I know I haven't beaten them without countering, but by then I had gotten decent at it and didn't really notice.

I do think shinespark works better in Fusion and Zero Mission when you just auto run. The lack of extra buttons on GBA actually made things better. And now going back to clicking/holding a run button just feels dumb. Especially with analog control finally. If I run, let me just run dammit.

I honestly prefer having control of dash, so it might be a personal preferences thing.

But honestly, I'm wondering how Metroid transformed the way it did and who encouraged it. Fusion was a harder game than Super Metroid. Not by much, but it had more bosses and did more damage and limited E-Tanks in a manner not unlike, but still more generous than, Dread. Zero Mission added some crazy shinespark challenges. Streaming happened, and Awesome Games Done Quick happened, and basically, I think what some of us fell in love with regarding the series in Super Metroid began to change and transform.

There's also the nature of the developer's own preferences. I think they're both big fans of tough action games and also heavily interested in the speedrun community. So they amp up aspects of the game that have grown in popularity with a certain population while anyone just hoping for a game to be "superior" to Super Metroid is going to have a moderately different experience.

I dunno if I could pick a preference between Super and Dread. Each does different things better than the other. However, I can see myself choosing to replay Dread more these days because, as you say, the controls are super tight. The tighter controls of Fusion and Zero were never enough to surpass the superior and elegant map design (of most) of Super, and therefore I'd deal with what felt like more sluggish controls (in comparison) for what I felt was the better Metroid. However, moving around and stuff just feels so much better in Dread, and it just so happens the combat and action appeals to me greatly.

It makes me curious how Prime 4 will evolve, and if there's a decision to make the Prime franchise the contemplative and exploration focused one with the 2D games being a different skill-based focus.

I do know, however, that I've watched some streamers, young and old, that never touched a Metroid before play through this and have a good time. I think Dread will certainly find an audience. I think it's older fans that will ultimately have a more difficult time with it. I'm still surprised there's no easy mode, but I'm also surprised I haven't seen a lot of newbies to the franchise demand it. Then again, probably depends on what corner of the Internet you're looking. Here, on GWJ, the difficulty is a common point of contention. Elsewhere, it's not so much.

If Dread really does end up being the best selling, though, I'd count on 2D Metroid games from here on continuing to have a focus on challenge, though perhaps that would change if a team other than MercurySteam takes over.

I dunno what to think of the counter, though. I never really went back to Samus Returns because of it. I don't mind it in Dread as much, and welcome it in the boss fights. I don't consider it a QTE since it's something you execute in gameplay and then just unload ammo like you normally would, but in a fancy cut-scene. That some bosses and foes won't die without it, however, is an odd decision.

I have a feeling I probably enjoyed this game as-is more than a lot in this thread, though.

Vargen wrote:

Though now that I think about it, maybe the dudes with the spears do require require a counter. I know I haven't beaten them without countering, but by then I had gotten decent at it and didn't really notice.

Yep all of those soldier bosses and mini bosses, you can't win without doing the 3 counters. It will stick you in a loop and you damage them until you have to counter again and again.

One took me 3 tries and another I died after the 2nd miss. So yeah, QTE boss fights. Plus the final boss is that way too, have to counter to proceed to next phase.

I could have sworn that big experiment creature boss and the underwater boss required counters too. And Kraid seemed like it was necessary but I am happier if it was not.

And again, there are elements of the game I am pretty unhappy and/or frustrated with, but it's still a damn fine game and very much in keeping with most of the series' DNA to boot. I enjoyed my playthrough, will replay in the future, and am eager to see what the devs come up with next as they clearly have a deep love for the series even if they have some different tastes from me.

I didn't get the counter my first time against Kraid but still beat him. My impression is that the counter chance for the bosses just reduces the length of the boss fight a decent amount.

Yes except for the Chozo bosses. Those all have a mandatory counter.

I did Kraid and the underwater and the experiment bosses all without finding the counter move on my first run. But then did counter them all 2nd run when I was trying to go for under 4 hours

Gotcha; thanks, nice to have confirmation from you folks on those

Spoilers, but Boundary Break has a look at Metroid: Dread, which is always neat to see some of how they put a game together.

Whelp, under 4 hour speedrun attempted on Normal, and I managed 3 hours 40 minutes exactly. Save file says 31% item collection.

It's interesting how many E-Tanks you can get following the critical path. They're definitely enough on Normal mode, should you be doing repeat playthroughs. In fact, I'm pretty sure most of the E-Tanks not on the critical path are 1/4 Tanks. What I think about that, I'm not sure, as it ensures even on a speedrun a Normal mode player can have a decent amount of health (though some of the later bosses really do pack a nasty punch).

I probably could have gotten better time if it weren't for two moments, mostly focused on EMMI zones, where I kind of got lost in regards to where I ought to go. I also am wondering now if your clock doesn't reset when you hit "continue" after you die, meaning memory of boss rooms might be ideal to know when to spend the seconds taken up saving and therefore to reset back to your save to get the best time (especially on Hard).

It's also interesting which bosses are no problem at this point and which ones still give me some trouble.

I will admit, playing that much Metroid in a short span of time does have my right-trigger finger feeling a bit sore, but it's also somewhat nostalgic and reminiscent of playing Metroid Prime on the GameCube and getting a sore finger from the lock-on.

Unlike Farscry, it's quite possible this is now my favorite 2D Metroid. I cannot say best, but that's partially because I'm not sure which one I could call the objective best since they all have pros and cons to their design and experience. But I was curious if I'd be somewhat exhausted of the game playing it again so soon, and instead I was almost as addicted as when I first picked it up. It may not have all the attributes of "the perfect 2D Metroid" I have in my mind, but between recent Metroidvanias like Bloodstained, Tohou Luna Nights, Record of Lodoss War: Deedlit in Wonderlabyrinth, and Hollow Knight's Soulsborne-Metroidvania-Mega Man fusion of gameplay inspirations, Dread just manages to deliver the Metroid experience in a way the others do not.

Yeah, I've been trying to be careful about not saying which one is "best" rather than which ones I prefer, as quite frankly they're all great games that merely emphasize different qualities.

Funny enough, with wrapping up Dread just recently, rather than immediately diving into a replay it left me hungry to replay Super Metroid again, which I just started doing last night. So far, I'm finding my thoughts between the two are still holding up. Will be interesting to replay Dread again after I finish this new replay of Super.

I can certainly say that both games are brilliant and I expect Dread to be another evergreen classic like Super and Prime. It's wonderful to have a solid new 2D Metroid finally!

I think I'm with you Farscry. I really liked Dread but tend to get more enjoyment out of the exploration in Metroidvanias than anything else. I'd be curious how this particular aspect compares to Samus Returns as I still need to play that.

What platform are you playing Super Metroid on? That might be something I wouldn't mind dabbling in.

I played Super on Switch a couple months ago, SNES online. The time before that a couple years ago I played it on 3DS

Noticed there was a patch for Dread yesterday. Looked like a speed run bug because the patch notes mentioned some players may accidentally get in that state hehe.

But I also realized I missed the 1.02 patch notes. And looking at those there was a fix for boss retry timer, but it didn't say which boss.

-Fixed an issue where retrying after a game over would cause the play time to be added only when retrying a specific boss fight.

I'm wondering now if that's what screwed up my sub-4 attempt. Guess I'll give it another go soon.

I actually decided to dip some time into Super on SNES Online as well, and y'know what? I never would have thought it before, but the Switch Pro Controller might have a garbage D-Pad after all. I've played the game on SNES, WiiU, SNES Classic, and I think 3DS even (was that released for download on 3DS? I forget), and I'd never had as much trouble aiming, staying crouched, leaving ball form, or handling wall jumps. It was nuts, and also surprising as I'd played plenty of Hollow Knight and Iconoclasts with the Pro Controller using the D-Pad.


It definitely had me missing things like ledge grabbing, though. I've never really wanted a remake of Super Metroid, but if they could do so in the Dread engine (without adding unnecessary things like Zero Suit or an unnecessary extra Ridley boss fight!) then it'd be perfect... well, except they'd probably keep the counter mechanic in and I don't think that'd be a real improvement on Super Metroid.

Yeah ledge grab I really miss in Super.

Super was on "New" 3DS only, as all SNES games were.