The “M” in Metroid: Other M could stand for “more cutscenes.” Metroid: Other M opens with a video of Samus Aran fighting Mother Brain moments before a Metroid larva flies in and picks Samus up. Mother Brain charges a laser blast and fires it from its eye. The Metroid larva absorbs the hit and Samus holds her hand out catching a shred of the larva in her hand. She aims at Mother Brain and retaliates with a fatal shot.
Another cutscene follows with Zero Suit Samus waking up from a dream and stepping into a practice chamber. Pieces of yellow armor materialize around Samus forming the Varia suit before the tutorial starts. Metroid: Other M is just played with the Wii remote held NES style. The d-pad moves Samus, the 2 button makes her jump, and the 1 button fires energy blasts. Hold it down to fire more powerful charge shots.
The idea of moving in 3D maps with just the d-pad may sound disorientating, but the d-pad only controls are quite intuitive. Moving Samus is similar to walking in a 3/4 adventure game. You press up to move towards the top of the TV, down to go to walk towards the bottom. The tutorial area was a wide map, but a later area had the 2D side-scroller feel of classic Metroid. Pointing the remote towards the TV switches Samus into scan mode. You can move the remote to search for hidden power-ups or invisible enemies (more on those later). Samus can also lock on and fire missiles, similar to playing a light gun game.
Team Ninja also gave Samus a brand new move, a bullet time-like dodge. Press any direction on the d-pad right before a rushing enemy or a laser is about to hit Samus to dodge. The game slows down and Samus leaps away from danger if your button press is right on time. After evading lasers and ninja jumping from wall to wall… there was another cutscene.
Samus, sitting in her ship, hears a distress call from a faraway planet. A baby’s cry, Samus called the event before redirecting her spacecraft towards the source.
After I saw how Metroid: Other M starts, I skipped ahead to a fight. Two purple creatures flung their tentacles at Samus. The room was locked and the only way out was through the monsters. I dodged the tentacles with quick D-button presses and retaliated by firing a few shots. Suddenly, both monsters turned invisible. I scanned the area – which was actually the “wrong” thing to do. Sure, I found one monster, but while I was charging a power shot the other creature grabbed Samus. The “right” strategy was to wait. Even though both creatures are invisible they still shoot visible projectiles. Those gave away each creatures location, which meant less scanning and more shooting.
These monsters didn’t flicker out like other creatures. In typical Team Ninja style, Samus finished off each purple alien with a pointblank energy blast to the face. Dramatic, well compared to older Metroid titles.
While the “M” doesn’t really stand for “more cutscenes”, it has a meaning which you’ll discover by playing Metroid: Other M.