Since the original Metroid graced the Famicom in 1986, Samus has explored a load of memorable locales.
I’ve always been drawn to this franchise, ever since I first played Super Metroid as a child. Samus’ adventures are full of wonder, exploration, and discovery. From the pixelated beauty of the SNES to the eye-catching worlds of the Prime series on Gamecube, Metroid has always given the players a feast for the eyes regardless of the generation.
So, I decided to sit down and look back over this storied franchise (while also anticipating its revival with Prime 4!) by putting together a list of what I feel are the 10 best locations in the Metroid franchise.
10. Sector 6 (NOC) - Metroid Fusion
Not only is Metroid Fusion a standout among the franchise, it’s home to some wonderful locations to explore. Sector 6 is such a unique world. Basked in darkness and inhabited by fearsome enemies, it’s a memorable excursion in this game. Beautiful colours, great level design, and stunning cavernous backgrounds all aid in creating an environment worth remembering.
Not to mention, Sector 6 is also home to the legendary Varia Suit and Wave Beam, so it holds weight in the game itself, as well. The faint circle of light that surrounds Samus throughout the location adds to the sense of isolation and dread that Sector 6 exudes. One of the best locations in one of the best Metroid titles.
9. Sector 1/Biosphere - Metroid: Other M
Metroid: Other M might be the black sheep of the franchise for most, but it isn’t devoid of its charm. Aside from its unique approach to gameplay, it played host to robust environments to explore. Sector 1/Biosphere is a lush, richly detailed jungle-like area housing everything from plant/animal life to big waterfalls and even rain. For being so early in the game, it’s a great introduction to the world in Metroid: Other M and also does well to introduce the player to how aggressive most of the things you encounter in the game will be.
Metroid, as a franchise, doesn’t shy away from vegetation or jungles, but the Biosphere is definitely a standout that not a lot people got to enjoy simply because of how Metroid: Other M was critically received.
8. Chozodia - Metroid: Zero Mission
Metroid: Zero Mission is, technically and canonically, the first game of the franchise. By retelling the story of the original Metroid game, you’ll see many locales you’ve seen before, but you also visit a new one: Chozodia. It is one of the most visually unique areas in all of the 2D Metroid games. Ancient symbols and designs are scattered everywhere, flanked by Chozo hieroglyphs and stone carvings. It’s a massive area, that even offers a look at the Wrecked Ship from Super Metroid. Chozodia is stunning.
Featuring remarkable artwork at the forefront and background of the area, it truly stands out if you simply stop and look. As one of the only truly unique environments in Metroid: Zero Mission, it earns its merits beyond that notion.
7. Dark Torvus Bog - Metroid Prime 2: Echoes
Metroid Prime 2: Echoes is comprised of Light and Dark variations of the planet Aether. In my opinion, no environment showcases the brooding, unwelcoming nature of Dark Aether more so than the Dark Torvus Bog. The purples and blues of Dark Aether move and pop in the walls and damaging water. Containing the Polluted and Dark Torvus Temple, there’s plenty to love here. Branching trees and vegetation, ominous skies, and foreboding temples all pepper this truly striking landscape. Dark Aether becomes a much more tactile, individualised location after trudging through here. The balance and separation between Light and Dark Aether is drilled into the player after visiting the beautiful, yet dim and eerie, Dark Torvus Bog.
6. Area 5 - Metroid: Samus Returns
We were so lucky to be graced with the announcement of two new Metroid titles last year, and Metroid: Samus Returns was a surprisingly good hit.
The remake of Metroid II: Return of Samus, this game was a breath of fresh air. Not only did it feature robust gameplay changes and a nod to a forgotten Metroid title, it was aesthetically stunning. That notion is showcased in Area 5 better than anywhere else. In a game where most of the locations are dreary and destroyed, Area 5 is a bustling world full of colour and life.
With a mixture of marsh and caves, it’s a gorgeous showcase of what the 3DS can do. Techno trees and aquatic looking flowers are thrown around the area and offer a sharp contrast to most locations up to that point. Area 5 is a lovely, charming environment worth exploring every nook and cranny of.