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METROID DREAD - October 8th!


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I've been slowly making my way through Dread Mode since beating Hard Mode earlier last month...I think it's ridiculous that Dread Rush is unlocked from it, which for a new player would be three completions of the game to access that form of content. Dread Mode in concept is all right, and do still think it is more interesting than the standard hard mode this series has generally had. I do wish though work was done to checkpoints for the mode to make them more common. My run so far has been a mix of being more rewarding to make it through a segment of areas, but also more frustrating and tiring with others. It would've felt better to me if each room was is its own puzzle to traverse through. The Kraid checkpoint for instance should be right outside of the falling blocks and not in a separate room that has lava as an obstacle before making the short trek back to his lair. I imagine the checkpoint is there as that was where the "boss door" creature was located. I just think it's an unnecessary time waste to not have the checkpoint directly by the falling blocks. In general, I would say that has been my frustration with Dread Mode, wasting unnecessary time due to the checkpoints not being adjusted for the one hit kill change (or ONE CONTACT KILL!). 

 

I hate that Samus Returns and Dread allow an enemy to be melee countered, but have those same enemies do contact damage. If an enemy can be knocked back with the counter, they cannot do contact damage. I really want that change in the future, and until then I might just go ahead and rate these games below Other M, which got interactions right. It takes me out of these games, and I'm noticing it more now in Dread Mode with some questionable, off-screen enemy placement in a few areas. 

 

Currently in the Dread run, I'm at the Kraid boss, but may decide to try to go for Bombs first for the quick kill as I don't want to deal with the gut ball's RNG when I do manage to get through the first phase of the boss. I have a couple of issues with the first phase that have stood out in the circumstance of a one hit kill and both involve his rock/fire breath. 

 

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My first issue is that it feels off to have the attack phase through Kraid's lower jaw to have the attack cover the whole spread of the platform. Before this wasn't something I had noticed or rather had to notice, but it seems sloppy for an otherwise great boss encounter. 

 

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My second issue is that the hit boxes during this attack seem like that they can be a bit wonky. Most of the deaths I've experienced I've felt like they've been my fault; however, I took a clip of one death that I questioned and realized that when I died Samus was not being touched by the shattering rock that the game had registered as a kill. This too has made me reconsider how I want to approach the boss as I'm considering getting Bombs beforehand for the first time while playing Dread, as it seems more luck may be involved than I thought just getting to the second phase. Again, not something I picked up on playing Dread before, but under the penalty and time being spent in consequence in Dread Mode the veil is being lifted. 

 

The overall update hasn't made as much of an impact as I thought it would earlier in the year. The Boss Rush does offer a different feel, but not really a different experience, certainly not in the same way as Blast Ball for Federation Force and bot-player for Hunters. It's still single player content, rather than feeling like its own experience. If they had allowed upgrade customization for the boss rush, allowing situations unique to the boss rush to be possible, it would have made more of a difference. If it weren't for my continued dislike for the Counter-Contact nonsense, this mode was enough for me to consider Dread over Super, but not quite in the conversation with Federation Force and Hunters like I had thought initially. 

 

As of today, these are my Boss Rush times below and my current record for Survival Rush is 5. That mode is pretty difficult, and I think it's a shame that Dread Rush's unlock wasn't tied to that mode. How the unlocks are handled in Dread in general is an issue. 

 

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To be honest, Corpius was as far as I made it in Dread Mode. I'm sure I could have eventually got past it if I kept trying, but my limited attention span with how invested I still was in other games and TV shows kept me from going back to it. Having to be more patient and cautious with every regular enemy just wasn't fun as it already was; nevermind fighting any boss that can kill you in one hit. While I guess Dread Mode one-ups Other M's Hard Mode in a sense, the latter was more reasonable even though you couldn't get any energy tanks. 99 health gave plenty room for error compared to having what's essentially just 1 unit of health.

 

If the other games ever had their own Dread Mode equivalent, I'm not sure if I would've enjoyed the experience much more either. At least with the other games though you don't have to worry about every trivial enemy charging right at you for you to counter; not to knock MercurySteam who otherwise gave some solid games, but any low % run or something that's the equivalent of Other M Hard Mode is as far as I would go with some inflated difficulty setting, not any one hit = death bullshit.

 

I already gave similar opinions on the Boss Rush mode in that it didn't really enhance the experience the way I thought it would, but to add to that, will say the boss attack RNG really makes getting getting a new record against any boss or even just getting fast times in general with them inconsistent. I felt that frustration when I was trying hours one night to beat my posted boss run time from the previous page, but every time I changed up my strategy some to try and accommodate for a faster time, the boss would end up doing a different attack in a different order the next time I fought them, making me have to restart again and again, until I just decided I had enough and put down the game.

 

That happened often with Kraid and even Corpius. 2 minutes for like Corpius seems to be an average time unless you get really lucky, and Kraid, you have to watch out whether he does the punch you have to avoid by jumping or the one you can parry, and in Boss Rush he doesn't always do the same punch in the same order. Practice and player adaptation can get you past things like that though, but it's the consistency that's the problem, more so with other bosses. At least I have a faster time with Escue though despite it being my most disliked boss. Nice time you got on the Robot Chozo Soldier, definitely had me beat there. I wanted to beat my previous time on it by sliding under its charge shots and countering, but the other bosses gave me too much frustration with time that I didn't end up doing another full fun as mentioned.

 

Guess I'm more thankful now that Boss Rush didn't have a leaderboard, because a lot more people would be trying to beat other players' times, only to frustrate themselves with the inconsistency of the ability to beat their previous times.

Edited by Ridley Prime
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Oh, my jimmies being rustled with the update content aside, I guess I should congratulate Dread on becoming the highest selling Metroid game, but we all knew it was gonna reach that point sooner or later. At the end of the day, Dread selling better than the other games happened because Nintendo pulled their heads out of their asses and actually made an effort with promoting and advertising a Metroid game. Of course it also helps that it was a new game and not a remake, a sequel that people wanted since 2002, on the best selling Nintendo console, and was hyped up more than the entire Metroid series combined. It had no such hurdles like any previous game in the series.

 

While Dread itself isn't a kind of favorite that tops Super Metroid for me or something, that level of effort still brings great tidings for the series going forward with Prime 4 and whatever else we get, and I'm nonetheless happy for those who rate Dread higher than me, seeing it become the highest grossing Metroid. The Metroid Prime ceiling had to be broken eventually.

 

Metroid may never be an A-lister like Mario or Zelda, and Dread still didn't do all that well in Japan (mostly sold in the West like every other Metroid), but this breakthrough is still one of the best things to happen to a B-tier selling series such as it, and hopefully it can only continue growing from here. Any of the previous games being on the Switch in some form aside from Metroid 1 and Super Metroid on NSO would still help with that said, but I stopped getting my hopes up for that despite any rumors.

Edited by Ridley Prime
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I got through Dread Mode. Once I had the Bombs, Kraid didn't cause me much more issue...I think I might have had a few more deaths before breaking through to the second phase to do the Bomb quick kill. First time I've done the early Grapple Beam and Bombs sequence to use for Kraid. I don't know how I'm going to get through the boss on Dread Rush, as I believe that encounter is Bomb-less. It'll be the same randomness that caused me to pursue the Bombs...It'll be interesting, but I can see a Dread Rush run ending there. Let alone Escue without Screw Attack....I imagine that'll be draining to overcome. Escue is my least favorite boss as well just due to its storm missile attack. Otherwise, I like the lead in, the room itself and the design. Storm Missiles really made a difference against the Twin Robot Chozo Soldiers, which I thought would've been the most problematic encounter following Kraid. Actually, I have more difficulty against single Chozo Robot Soldier encounters than I do the Twins. 

 

The most difficult bosses in the game may have been the last two Central Units honestly between Kraid and Raven Beak. It threw me off a little that the Rinkas can be destroyed with the Dash Melee Counter, but projectiles from the Central Unit cannons cannot. Had a few deaths in each just forgetting about that or not timing a dash melee well to just interact with a Rinka. I really had to maneuver Samus's jumps between the projectiles at times, especially once the unit became exposed and added another cannon to worry about. With the Ferenia Central Unit, I ended up going right into the exposed phase of that encounter once I realized I could perform a Shinespark attack. Plenty of death before that realization, that unit seemed like a damage sponge and had plenty of projectiles causing me problems. 

 

There were some deaths I had in traversing through the rest of the game that I felt were a bit cheap. The X-Parasites reforming into enemies again in another location sometimes happened too close to Samus, and those worm enemies that form into spiked barriers upon doors....Definitely don't try to re-enter a room from a door that they appeared to be trying to block off as you're leaving, because I got killed in transition in Ferenia. Some of the buzz saw mechanisms in that region's icy areas were a little hard for me to see initially as well. 

 

I think what might have frustrated me the most during this run beyond the time being wasted on where checkpoints were positioned, was also the fact that when I died I would get the loading screen with a set of tips for the game. To play Dread Mode, a player has to beat Normal and Hard Mode...The tips aren't needed and would've preferred a more interesting loading screen for Dread Mode, perhaps slides of concept art for the specific area/region. It just felt like pouring salt on a wound. I die from a Chozo Robot Solider and get a tip on Flash Shift while I wait to be loaded to a checkpoint before a cutscene that triggers the encounter. Many times, it felt tiring, but I will say once I got out of Ferenia the first time following the first Chozo Robot Soldier encounter, beating Dread Mode felt very possible. To me, that's the midway for the game as afterwards Metroid Dread's pacing becomes near perfect. The game doesn't seem to lose momentum after that moment whether it involves bosses, upgrades or story beats. Monday night I might have gone completely stubborn, wanting to keep pushing further and further into the run despite adding deaths knowing that I could see the run through. 

 

Yesterday afternoon, I spent two hours going through Hanubia to the finale. Raven Beak pretty much went the same way as the boss went in my very first run. I would get my ass kicked, then gradually progress to gold armor, then to phase 2 and then to phase 3. Like I mentioned, waiting around to retry the boss after the many deaths and seeing tips aggravated me more than my mistakes and off timing during the encounter. I did feel like I lucked out with my eventual win...Raven Beak barely used the Hyper Beam and didn't use his Shinespark attack during that phase 3. Getting the Metroid Suit afterwards though was amazing. In Dread Mode, it's incredibly satisfying to flip the script. In an adventure where every enemy could kill the player in one attack, now the player can kill every enemy from contact or obliteration with the Hyper Beam. That final run back to the ship was already a memorable moment, this difficulty took that up a few more notches. 

 

I'm torn on this game. There are times I think it's better than Super Metroid, but there are instances where I feel it can be worse than Other M. I would still say Dread is my 4th favorite; however, it's more a 3B if Super Metroid is a 3A. Super Metroid has a lot right, even the little things, and has arguably the best OST in the series, so while I think Dread has its moments of being more rewarding it's hard for me to rate the game above Super even with the updates. 

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Regarding Super Metroid's soundtrack, one thing I would've liked is if Ridley's theme played only during the two times you encounter him. Not during sub-boss fights, Draygon, or the escape sequences, where it just became overplayed. It didn't help that Ridley's theme was originally a generic boss theme due to that, but at the same time it was cool how he ended up making a generic "action" theme his own.

 

There was his theme from the NES game too though which was different, but was never used again. Same with Kraid who had a fine theme in the NES game as well... They had nice Metroid Metal remixes and such at least. As for why those original themes were never used again in an official capacity, artistic choice I guess? I personally would've had a remix of Kraid's NES theme be used for his Dread boss fight though. Would've been yet another callback for him.

 

Giving new music for parts like Dragyon would be something nice for a hypothetical Super Metroid remake, along with the expected little things they would change like make shinesparking not drain your health, but is not enough to effectively argue that a remake needs to happen.

 

 

I forgot about some of those sequence breaks on account of not using them much, but will keep in mind should I go back to where I left off on my Dread Mode file. In fact, I think going back to it sometime would leave me less frustrated than trying to beat my times on Boss Rush again. Bombing Kraid alone would make the Dread Mode runthrough more doable than I previously thought.


Was going to post this earlier, but didn't want to make a triple post in the thread. Former Retro devs sharing their opinion on Dread; mostly good things

 

 

The first guy gave some understandable criticisms on the controls, but that's more due to the joycons than Dread's game design. Maybe if I was part of the Pro controller gang, I would find the controls for Dread even better, but since I don't own a Pro controller, I can't relate. The difficulty spikes he mentioned I would probably agree on too, but Fusion likely had more of them. He also had the same criticism I did about the lack of explanation for Kraid being back. I try not to be as hung up on it now, but interesting that a former Retro person shared that complaint.

 

That aside, I'm glad these people were able to enjoy Dread as fans of the series themselves. Mercury Steam had been Metroid fans to begin with too, and it's good to know how much all these folks from both studios understand the series; not just as developers but as fans.

Edited by Ridley Prime
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With how much the theme is used, if I wanted to make an interpretation of that theme in Super Metroid, it would be a theme for Samus in those situations rather than the bosses themselves. Now it's definitely associated to Ridley, so a remake would need to change up in that regard. I'm conflicted if I want original tracks or remixes on Ridley's theme. Draygon having a remix with hints of Maridia could be great as a reference even though I personally generally prefer hearing original tracks than remixes...I could understand a remix for a remake of the game that featured the track originally. I don't want to hear any remixes out of the Prime Series for a Super remake for instance like they did having a Lower Norfair remix for lava rooms for SR388 in Samus Returns, unless there happen to be references to make the link beyond environmental themes. 

 

Dairon needed a Kraid easter egg in one of its labs more so than it needed to stir speculation on Draygon which turned out to be nothing in the actual game. I think it's more believable that the Mawkin Tribe had access to the DNA of Kraid's species, than they had access to get the corpse of Kraid from Zebes while Samus's hunt and Mother Brain's operations were active. Ghavoran could have been another great area to flesh out Kraid as well with references. For instance, in a couple rooms, have a creature that resembles Kraid's original Metroid concept art be active in the background...serving as an infant stage. Little things to suggest that ZDR could have been the homeworld of Kraid's species. I find it odd that they didn't do more with Kraid's return in lore considering what they did for Ridley in Other M following his demise on Zebes. 

 

Dread could have used a Sound Test as an unlock....I feel the audio director might have been right on initial response. Dread's OST, in some ways like Other M's, is hard to really enjoy and appreciate in-game because it is generally so quiet. Beyond that, in terms of sound effects, Dread is fantastic and could be the best in the series in that regard. Don't know if it's still possible or if it has been patched from the game, but speedrunners were going through a stretch of Artaria for early Screw Attack purely on audio. The game has to be given credit there just based on what the community had been doing. 

 

By the way, I know this is a nitpick, I hate that Dread has an Omega Cannon configuration. It would've been better if it was kept at Omega Blaster and Omega Stream. I still love using the mechanic and find it satisfying to annihilate the E.M.M.I.s, but it's the Fraud Cannon to me. 

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I did find it odd how the "Omega Cannon" when used outside an EMMI zone (say you leave the zone without depleting it on an EMMI), just did regular damage to ZDR natives and wasn't overpowered or anything. Either they figured no one would leave an EMMI zone without destroying an EMMI once they had the Omega Cannon, or the technology of that weapon was designed to be lethal to pretty much only the EMMI's kind of armor specifically.

 

Since you changed your profile icon to Federation Force Sylux @Ithrak Utopia, I will its model struck me as surprisingly cute when I first saw it, especially with some of the fan art that was quickly made in response to it. :P Saw that some purple Samus jokes were made too (with Dark Samus being "blue Samus" and purple Samus being Dark Samus's successor for Prime 4), but that aside, we were never meant to see this model to begin with since the FF ending only intended to show Sylux's arm when it was approaching that Metroid egg. It was one of those less is more kind of scenes where you had enough an idea of who it was just off the arm that was shown, and didn't really need to have a detailed model for the rest of him like in Hunters. I suppose too he may have not had his hunter suit there so he could easily go undercover within the Federation when it came to getting that area. I don't know, but leaves some interesting implications as to what to expect of him in Prime 4.

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I just hope that Sylux doesn't turn into another Adam.

 

Shows up in one game, establishes themself as having a personal history with Samus and/or the Federation, but with very little else shown of their character, prompting decades of fan-speculation and wanting them to come back, but when they finally do, their characterization is so different from fanon that it tarnishes the reputation of the entire game.

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Seeing another Dread analysis video, a thought occurred. At one point in the game, everything freezes over due to the lava heating system being blocked off. Which begs the question, are most if not all of the lifeforms on ZDR not native? Because apparently it seems that ZDR is more of an ice planet in its natural state, and it was only due to bringing up magma from the planet's core that the subterranean environments became warm enough, and is doubtful such a system had been in place nearly long enough for the myriad of ecosystems to evolve naturally after such a change.

 

If the Chozo went to Zebes before it blew up for like Kraid though as well as other creatures from other places, why didn't they find traces of Metroid DNA to work with like in Tourian to deal with the X problem on ZDR? Not like SR388 was the only place that had Metroids.

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We talk about Metroid DNA as if it's some type of macguffin that's necessary for Metroids to keep coming back from extinction, but when you really think about it, Metroids are an artificial life-form. They don't occur naturally. The only reason they exist is because the Thoha needed an apex predator to prevent the X from completely overrunning the ecosystem of SR388. But the Thoha would've had to have created the first Metroid from something that wasn't a Metroid. And that "something" must still be out there somewhere.

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Spoiler

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After four Normal, two Hard and a Dread Mode run, I now have gotten all the unlocks for the game. Practicing in the Boss Rush got me warmed up to go for the elusive Zero Suit Samus ending that I've been wanting for a while. Hard Mode was first as I figured if I got under the best time condition there it should be no problem to repeat for Normal Mode. My best times are above for both difficulties. Metroid Dread isn't in the sweet spot that both Hunters and Super are in, usually ending runs in around or less than 90 minutes, but it's also still relatively new. My eighth run is going to be in Rookie Mode, which really is the only aspect of the game I haven't gone through yet. Started the run last night to get to the Quiet Robe cutscene which I feel clarifies the Kraid timeline. 

 

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With the way the bosses went in Dread Mode, I was worried that I was going to struggle more than I did in Dread Rush. In Dread Mode, had Bombs and Screw Attack for Kraid and Escue respectively, but they are not in Samus's arsenal for Dread Rush. In spite of being the biggest obstacle, I really liked the Escue encounter without the Screw Attack under Dread difficulty conditions. That, Golzuna and Twin Robot Chozo Soldier got a lot more appealing as I completed Dread Rush and went for new personal records in Boss Rush. 

 

Regarding how natural the environments are on ZDR, not every region freezes up from the system block in Cataris. Dairon, Ghavoran, Elun, Ferenia and Hanubia don't show the impacts that occur to Artaria, Burenia and Cataris during that event when viewing them via the global map. It seems that Ghavoran, Ferenia and Hanubia do have naturally developed ecosystems or are located within such areas of the planet, and they trickle down to Dairon which is where it seems most of the experiments on ZDR occur. Experiments from Dairon and whatever may be not native (not sure what is and isn't) then go down to the artificial environments of Artaria, Burenia and Cataris. 

 

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The Mawkin have Kraid bound on ZDR before the Mawkin-X crisis begins, which occurs after their return from SR388. They have Kraid before the events of Metroid II/Samus Returns, so if the Mawkin did go to Zebes for Kraid or a sample of it wasn't during the events of Super Metroid. I still believe that Kraid's origin is ZDR, specifically from the Ghavoran region and was moved down to Cataris as an experiment. The alternative is that the Mawkin had an arrangement with Mother Brain and the Space Pirates on Zebes. That requires more mental gymnastics, because I don't see the two groups working together...but it could explain somethings from Super Metroid that we encounter. The Torizo for instance and the dead body outside of Kraid's room could be a Mawkin soldier. If they did work with Mother Brain though, it would need to be before Raven Beak decided to...basically have the same idea of having Metroids as a bioweapon and during a period when the Metroid operations weren't active on Zebes (it's implied that Raven Beak saw SR388 as his only option for Metroids until Samus's successful vaccination). I don't think the two groups would work with each other, and think it's easier to imagine Kraid being native to ZDR while Mother Brain also has data on the species as to create the ideal ruler for Brinstar. 

 

Federation Force's take on Sylux is very interesting to me and sets up a very deadly antagonist for Prime 4 even without the newly hatched Metroid, which itself should be larger than usual. I'm glad that Federation Force only showed a part of the overall model in-game, enough to draw the conclusion that it is Sylux. If they had gone with the full model, it would be the mystery ship from Corruption all over again...and I think the mystery ship has a stronger association with Sylux than the Federation Force model. Initially when I saw the model, I didn't believe what I was seeing due to the helmet. I'm so use to Sylux's helmet design in Metroid Prime Hunters, but after thinking about the model design I love it because of the potential being set up. I do hope Prime 4 uses that for the character to an extent, both that Federation Force model and the potential that it further sets up. 

 

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The front of the helmet is pretty much spot on with the design of crew members abroad the G.F.S. Aegis, except in color scheme. It does play into the Gold vs. Indigo teams within Blast Ball...Even without knowing about Sylux's character, with the Aegis crew being in gold, seeing a character in indigo would indicate that character is opposition. It needed the familiar shoulder design as otherwise it would've been too good of a disguise even for the player. It's the iconic feature. What's scary about this disguise based on the front is that Sylux could have been handling vital communications and no one would've really known. The crew member I took a picture of for the comparison is actually communicating with General Alex Miles about the DOOMSEYE powering up. 

 

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The back of the helmet for Sylux's disguise carries plenty of potential for Prime 4. It matches the design of the crew members that service the Mechs and their customizations. Sylux being down in that area of the Aegis, with access to the Mechs and MODS...That's not good for the Galactic Federation and Samus when Sylux decides to reveal himself. I don't know if he would be suspected of anything either even without his suit matching exactly. The disguise could have made him come across as more decorated among the crew of the Aegis, similar to how General Alex Miles has a distinct appearance compared to the crew. Blast Ball too, with some of the bots, has a hint of Sylux with those Mech designs. I would also suggest that Sylux might have made a MOD while carrying out his disguise. There's a MOD called Energy Siphon that's associated with the Slow Beam that really sticks out even more to me now after seeing the full Sylux model. It's no Shock Coil, as the Federation Force Mechs don't regain energy as an enemy is drained, but it does a decent job of replicating the impact of a Metroid...hinders movement while taking energy. 

 

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