HomeOld SchoolAll about the Super Metroid Map and how it marked the franchise

All about the Super Metroid Map and how it marked the franchise

Super Metroid more commonly referred to as Metroid 3 is a game developed and published and developed by Nintendo. The game was released on the SNES, Sumer Nintendo Entertainment System, their newest system at the time. Super Metroid is a 2D platform video game that revolutionized the genre. The Super Metroid map is one of the many praised aspects of the game.

This is because the game perfectly melds action and adventure with excellent world exploration. The world in this case is the Super Metroid map, a area that requires many different skills to navigate. The non-linear design makes for a great experience for players as they uncover the secrets and story of the world. Super Metroid is considered one of the greatest video games of all time and even sparked a new sub-genre.

What are Metroidvanias?

Metroidvania is a sub-genre of platformers and action-adventure games with a focus on non-linearity. The name of the genre comes from the two titles series that inspired it Castlevania and Metroid. The main elements from these games including the Castlevania and Super Metroid map and their progression are the main inspiration. 

Metroidvanias focus on a large interconnected world that players can explore. The caveat is that parts of the world are inaccessible to the player until they acquire special items, tools, weapons, abilities, or knowledge within the game. Each title has its specifics but they all revolve around the usual trend of the genre. By acquiring these improvements players not only get access to these new areas but an easier time defeating foes they encounter. One of the best Metroidvanias in recent years has been Hollow Knight. The game focuses on difficult combat set in a beautiful interconnected world. With each ability a new stage is unlocked and combat is expanded to deal with the more difficult enemies.

The Impact of Metroidvanias on Gaming

While Metroid set the principles of the genre back in 1986, they were further fully refined by the Castlevania series. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, released in 1997, is considered the defining Metroidvania game. This is because it perfectly managed to incorporate RPG game elements into the refined Metroid mode. From then, the sub-genre was created and reshaped the future of gaming.

Metroidvanias have also indirectly influenced many games to a stunning degree. Nowadays in almost every game, you can see traces of the genre’s influence. Most commonly in games that lock areas behind items or abilities guarded by boss characters. The game that falls first to mind could be Dark Souls, due to the series somewhat open world. In Dark Souls to progress players must collect Lord Souls to head towards the last boss. Players can kill any of the 4 bosses in whatever order they like. By doing so they receive one of the souls and gain access to new areas and gear. There are also ‘’soft locks’’ in the form of elevators or birds that carry the player to otherwise inaccessible areas. Both are usually locked behind a boss, swarm of enemies, or even by a secret for the player to uncover.

This does not make the game explicitly a Metroidvania but you can clearly see the influence of the genre on it. Even through the many differences in the gameplay and style the DNA of Metroidvanias still remains relevant. Even the aspect of each replay being easier since you now know where to go remains. But the game diverges away far enough from the conceits of classics in the genre so it is not considered one.

Quick Super Metroid walkthrough: gameplay and navigation

The game’s story is quite simple and intriguing and serves as a follow-up to the previous games. After exterminating Metroids during the SR-388 incident, Samus brings an infant Metroid to the Ceres Space Colony. Samus stays at the colony while scientists study the young Metroid and try to harness its power for the benefit of mankind. Upon departure, Samus picks up a distress call from Ceres and quickly returns to investigate. Only to find the bodies of sed scientists lying about the room with the Metroid nowhere to be seen. Upon continuing the investigation Samus soon encounters her arch nemesis Ridley, a space pirate. In his hands, the Metroid can be seen, and a fight ensues with Samus losing.

As the fight is brought to an end a self-destruct countdown begins for the station. Samus narrowly escapes the blast and follows Ridley to a nearby planet. This planet is where the plot of the game is held and where the Metroid Prime series took place. By navigating the space pirate base Samus aims to recover the infant Metroid and prevent the space pirates plans. The game takes Samus on a long adventure as she navigates the base. Throughout the game, Samus destroyed four mosses to get to Tourian.

Upon defeating all bosses Sammus discovered the Mochtroids, unsuccessful clones of Metroids. Only to be met with a Giant Metroid that drains her suit of all of its energy. Luckily, the entity seems to recognize Samus, as it is the infant Metroid from the intro. Soon after the Metroids’ departure, Samus goes on to face the final boss the Mother Brain. After a long and grueling battle and the heartbreaking sacrifice of the infant Metroid the Mother Brain is defeated. Faced with the loss of her ‘’child’’ Sammus takes the bittersweet victory and end of the space pirates and leaves Zebes before it crashes and explodes. This sets Samus in a state of depression over her loss setting up the events of Metroid: Other M.

Is there a Map in Super Metroid?

Super Metroid Map

The Super Metroid map is one of the integral pieces of gameplay for all players. The map serves as the ultimate tool for players to know where to go. Since the game faces players with many locations that are seemingly dead ends where the player will have to return to. It is useful to have the ability to remember where they are and come back later with the proper tools. The Super Metroid map is easy to navigate in the early stages of the game while most areas are inaccessible.

But as players unlock a few abilities the whole world opens up to them, including many hidden rooms and secrets. The best use of the Super Metroid map is to backtrack efficiently to areas players deemed inaccessible before. This grants players a great gameplay experience as they go back and further explore the space pirate base. The many ways of accessing these areas will be through weapons, power-ups, and other suit upgrades. Players acquire these upgrades by defeating bosses as they play through the game.

As the game progresses players quickly see how large the complete map of Zebes really is. By exploring each area players will encounter much loot as well as obstacles in the forms of mini-bosses and bosses alike. A useful concept to get familiar with is the many different types of doors. Each of these will require one of the aforementioned upgrades or weapons to get through. Through the first playthrough, we recommend players experience all of this as intended and try to uncover all secrets alone. On the following playthroughs or if you grow tired you can always look up a map to save up on time. 

Navigating Metroid and Metroid II: Return of Samus

As Super Metroid is the third installment in the series it has taken a lot of inspiration from its predecessors. This stays true for the map, a system that has evolved from the first to the second installment. But now with Super Metroid, the developers have mastered the design and functionality of the Super Metroid map. This version is considered to be one of the best classic map designs in the Metroidvania genre. So much so that it has set an example for all the games in it to follow. 

While the game didn’t implement RPG as well as its future installments would it set a high bar for the level design in the series. By taking a look at Metroid and Metroid II we can clearly see the evolution of the map and systems in place. The map from the first Metroid is noticeably much simpler than its future installments. But even through the simplicity a clear idea and foundation of the genre can be seen. While it is fun to play through it what holds it back is the block feeling and at times extensive verticality. These components were worked upon and improved in Metroid II.

The Metroid II map looks much more like a Metroidvania map compared to the original. This instance set many of the factors that work well in all games in the genre. Most importantly the game experienced wider worlds that gave the game a better exploration experience. Furthermore, doing this made it feel less like a climb or descent up an endless tower. Metro II incorporated more upgrades and ways to access all the areas within it. Additionally, the game had many more secrets for players to find on their journey. The game’s map was also easier to navigate and took significantly less time to travel from one point to another through some well-placed skips. 

While both maps are not ideal by today’s standards, they had to exist as the building blocks. Without them who knows if the Metroidvania genre would exist and influence gaming as much as it has. Lastly, as the map from Metroid II takes place in the same world as the Super Metroid map it is quite interesting. Mostly because you seemingly navigate the same space pirate base you destroyed in the second installment. This is what makes Super Metroid’s map even better, as it is a clear upgrade.

Super Metroid map – ultimate guide and walkthrough

Super Metroid map

The Super Metroid map is essential not only to the game but to the Metroidvania genre as a whole. The map is set on the planet Zebes, possibly in the same but rebuilt area as Metroid II. The player explores nearly the whole map through the course of a playthrough. With the only exception of some missable hidden areas that grant loot. The Super Metroid map is designed perfectly keeping in mind every detail. Each area has a distinct look and unique atmosphere aiding the gameplay.

 To further emphasize this the game has enemies that only appear in some areas, making each unique. Furthermore, each boss has direct ties to the land where they are found. The unique settings and enemies offer a need for multiple combat strategies. Players are immersed in each area and their unique looks. With a large focus on exploration, the game offers many red herrings and actual secrets themed to the location. Many would think that the drastically different areas would break the immersion of the game. But quite the contrary these stunning areas make the games world more alive than anything. All while keeping the overall theme of the game and expanding the world rather than stealing the show.

The Playable Areas

Players will explore each area starting off at the unnamed surface area that serves as the starting area in the game. From here players head to Criteria, the surface area of the acid rain-ridden planet Zebes. Here players will not encounter many creatures since they coven below surface level to hide from the rain. The next area is the jungle area of Zebes, called Brinstar. The area of Brinstar that is explored in this game is very different from the previous game. Here players will find Kraid’s Lair and fight him. While beneath them lies Nofair, an underground surface that requires sufficient heat protection. This can be acquired through a suit upgrade in the aforementioned areas. In the Nofair players will encounter many ancient Chozo ruins and Ridley’s Lair.

Another explorable area is a Wrecked Ship, that long ago belonged to ancient beings that crashed on Zebes. The ship is at first inaccessible because of the ghost Phantoon shut it down. To gain access players must defeat the ghost and only after victory they can explore it. Many fans initially theorized that this was intended to be the first Wrecked Ship depicted in Metroid: Zero Mission. While this would be a great easter egg if true Yoshio Sakamoto has dismissed the possibility. To gain access to the Wrecked Ship players must obtain the Power Bomb.

There are two areas of the world left, and those are Maridia and Tourian. Maridia is the oceanic world of Zebes. This area holds the aquatic pirate laboratory where most of the unsuccessful Metroid clones are bred. Draygon is a creature that serves as a guardian to the area, players must defeat it to enter. Lastly, we have Tourian, the control center of the Zebesian Space Pirates. This is also the location of the Mother Brain and the last are Samus visits in the game.

Third-Party Maps

Many first-time players refer to maps outside of the game to see where all the secrets and explorable areas are. The internet has many fan-made maps of Zebes that can serve as the ultimate cheat sheet. The best of these maps feature everything from the type of room to the type of door at all points. 

Furthermore, players will see where exactly each of their abilities can be used to pass through. This includes the morphing ball, bomb, charge beam, and every other trick. Players can also use these maps to quickly locate bosses and recharge stations. For anyone looking for an easier playthrough without much random exploration utilizing a map like this is a great experience. Mostly because you will get nearly no spoilers for the boss and the overall story of the game. All while getting all the required information to progress through any stage of the game. Some may even prefer this gameplay loop since deciphering the map can serve as a fun minigame.

The map in the Prime Series

The Metroid Prime series is set in the same universe but takes a different route since it is played in first-person. The game functions practically in the same way just depicting everything in 3D. This change affects the map as well, rendering it in 3D compared to 2D with the Super Metroid map. Metroid Prime gives players an amazing sense of immersion in the series as it tells its story. The controls are not your standard 3D game which throws some people off at first. But once you get used to it, the game quickly becomes a thrill of a ride.

The map is as useful as it is in other titles in the series and thanks to its mechanics offers unique features. The developers fully utilize the move to 3D in fun and interesting ways through the hexagonal map. Metroid Prime was very successful, so much so that it snagged itself a remake on the Nintendo Switch. The recently released remaster is the definitive way to play Metroid Prime thanks to its looks. The gameplay story is the same but the remaster sports amazing graphics. Ultimately the remaster is the best way to experience the game because of its better handling and visuals. 

Metroid Prime aside from the map utilizes a radar to give information to the player about their surroundings. With these two players can precisely see any threats Narby and any recoverable upgrades and collectibles. For those looking for the most mainstream gameplay of the Metro series, Metroid Prime Remastered will be the best choice. If you like the game we highly recommend visiting the classics, especially Super Metroid.

The leak of the Super-Secret Super Metroid Developers’ Map

Back in the early 90s, there weren’t as many conveniences as average gamers nowadays have. Most prominently there weren’t that many tools online such as complete game maps. This meant that players couldn’t simply search for a map or guide and know exactly where to go in a stump. Nintendo had an excellent solution to this that nowadays sounds quite silly, a help hotline. This hotline was manned by Nintendo Game Play Counselors and was active for a whole 18 years.

From this hotline and its manners comes the leak of the super-secret super metroid developers’ map. The counselors would often receive questions to navigate players to bosses and specific areas needed a map. But since Nintendo did not provide them with these assets some members painstakingly drew these maps. By using these maps counselors helped countless players to reach their desired bosses and areas. As this map was not actually an ‘’official’’ resource it was never meant to reach the public eye. But a tweet from the account Art of Nintendo Power leaked it for the public to see.

This tradition ended as with games in the future Nintendo released maps for it in many different magazines. This became common practice and the counselors now had official maps to use. But the interesting story of the secret maps still remains a staple to the dedication of customer service.

What makes the Super Secret Super Metroid Developer Map special?

Once the super secret super metroid developer map was made public players immediately began examining it. They immediately notice the painstaking work it took to get in every useful detail into them. The many lootable objects are immediately noticeable along with boss locations and much more. But what some keep players spotted was a big difference from the actual map in the game. This was a room that didn’t exist within the game but did on the Super Metroid developers’ map.

This seems to be an unused room leftover from one of the versions of the game. Unfortunately, the room had no immediate impact or long-term significance as it never existed. No secret passage, important enemy, or item was located here. Many Super Metroid players tried to reach this ‘’hidden room’’ but it all allotted to nothing. What would have been an interesting easter egg was simply a drawing mistake from one of the counselors.

The secret Super Metroid map still remains one of the coolest memorabilia from the early stages of the gaming industry. The map stands as a testament to the love and passion gamers will put in for each other. It is truly a shame that there is little chance of something like this happening nowadays. Simply because players and counselors have a near-endless arsenal of tools at their disposal.

Amar Alimajstorovic
Amar Alimajstorovic
A second-year computer science student with a lifelong gaming passion, Amar has spent most of his free time playing many titles through the years. Some of the genres that stand out have been MMORPGs, MOBAs, FPS, and of course Indie games. Through writing, he has strengthened his love for gaming and become a fan of previously unexplored genres.