Samus Aran has been out of our control for a long time, as game freaks the world over cried out "We want another Metroid." Finally, Nintendo answered that call in a BIG way, by giving us Metroid Prime for the Gamecube, and the equally impressive (well, ok...maybe not EQUALLY impressive, but still really, really impressive) Metroid Fusion for the GBA. Metroid Fusion takes place right after Super Metroid for the SNES.
The sound is classic Metroid all the way - albeit enhanced enormously. From the first beep of the soundtrack to the violent explosion of the end boss, Metroid Fusion's sound is butter...it's jiggy baby and all that (Watch Bowfinger on DVD to get that joke). I played the game several nights with headphones on and I was surprised at just how crisp the sound really is. It even has nice separation of the treble and bass, for a portable system.
The graphics are just like Super Metroid for the SNES, only tweaked up to look much nicer. Colors are crisp, vibrant, and there is a lot of diversity in design. From smoggy jungle areas, to smoldering fire pits and claustrophobic water areas, Metroid Fusion has no lack of exciting areas to explore.
Gameplay is basically the same as all other Metroid adventures, with several notable additions. For one, Samus now has the ability to grab hold and hang on to ledges, just in case she wasn't able to jump quite far enough. This is a really nice feature and made part of the game not as tedious as they would have been otherwise. Samus also has the ability to hang on to some walls and ceilings where ladders are found.
Otherwise, the game follows Samus as she tries to stop yet another type of evil monster who wants to take over. This time, it's the X Virus, a virus that has the ability to mimic any type of life form it comes in contact with. Unfortunately, it contacted Samus early on in the game (before the game starts actually) and now there is another version of Samus running around ready to destroy all living things! Of course, the real Samus isn't having that and she dons a newer, more powerful suit to stop the X Virus that has infected her old suit. (I'll let you play the game to find out how this transpires.)
Something else I should probably mention here is Metroid Fusion’s link capability. Unfortunately there is no multiplayer available (wouldn't that have kicked ass?) but you can link your Gameboy Advance to your Gamecube (provided you have Metroid Prime as well) and use it to unlock the original Metroid game on your Cube. All you have to do is beat Metroid Fusion, hook your Gameboy to the Cube and unlock the original Metroid to play it any time. If only they had included an option to transfer it to your Metroid Fusion cartridge. That would have been heaven!
For a touch of nostalgia that still seems to be fresh, you really need to pick up Metroid Fusion. It may not be the longest Metroid game ever, but it is definitely worth the cost of admission.