Nintendo has certainly brought out the big guns for the opening salvo of SNES games on the New Nintendo 3DS, with classic game after classic game arriving on the portable. It won't last and there may even be mediocre spin-offs or complete dross in the future, but for now New 3DS owners should enjoy the brilliance that is Super Metroid. Making this eShop release extra appealing to gamers in Europe and Oceania is that unlike the Wii and Wii U downloads it is the 60Hz version of the game; everything runs at the correct speed and there are no forced subtitles (although there are optional Japanese ones).
Metroids 1 and 2 provided some good fun, but this third instalment takes things up a few notches. There's more of a cinematic feel to proceedings, not in terms of lengthy cutscenes with voiceovers about "the baby", but in its look and sound. There are some good visual effects such as fog and different lighting conditions along with a range of creatures and locations; in addition there's a sensible use of colour, ensuring the action remains easy to follow even when exploring caverns on the small screen. Switch to the original resolution mode and details really pop out such as lights in the background, cracks in the scenery or the features of an enemy.
The audio in the game is very impressive (and well worth a pair of headphones), with a variety of haunted and mysterious tracks playing throughout the adventure. Some music tracks are minimalist, others full blown intense pieces, and sometimes the game opts to go without the music altogether, happy to let strange creature noises or background sounds set the atmosphere.
The impressive visuals and sound are apparent from the get-go, where after a brief intro recapping the previous games (and setting up this one) you find yourself wandering through a space station. It's eerily quiet apart from an electrical hum, the occasional door sliding open or the noise as Samus spins through the air and thumps to the ground. It's not long before a self-destruct sequence has been initiated and you are racing against the clock back to your ship; excited music plays and the chilly blue station has a fiery glow as debris falls from the ceiling and steam spurts upwards. Despite the simplicity of the escape (it is the opening after all) the chaotic action and audio come together well, engendering a feeling of relief as you fly away from the explosion to touchdown on rainy Zebes; it's a moment of calm in a storm before the adventure really begins.
As with all Virtual Console releases on the portable there is no option to remap the buttons, although If you do desire to change things, the game has an option menu of its own to adjust which button does what. This is unlikely to be an issue however as the default controls worked well on the SNES and (with a similar button layout) that's still the case on New 3DS. Finally, the standard suspension/restore point functions are present, allowing you to enjoy this game on the go without the worry of finding a save room.
Showing a blatant disregard to gamer's bank balances, Nintendo has gone and put another corker on the eShop. The screen may be smaller, but it's just as enjoyable as it ever was. Oozing atmosphere, Super Metroid is a highly reccomended purchase for New Nintendo 3DS owners.