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Yeah, you can’t add funds directly to the Wii U or 3DS anymore in Europe anymore (you can in other regions, but not Europe; due to security/GDPR restrictions).

There are three ways you can currently add funds to your Wii U or 3DS here in Europe…

1: Add them via Switch - Your NNID (3DS/Wii U account) needs to be linked to your My Nintendo account (Switch) in order for this to work.  But once you link them? Your wallet is shared across all three systems.

2: Buy eShop cards - Very simple.  Any eShop card will work, including ones that are Switch branded; they’re all the same.

3: Add funds via Nintendo’s dedicated EU webpage - Go here https://www.nintendo.co.uk/Support/Nintendo-3DS-2DS/Usage-/Nintendo-eShop/How-to-Add-Funds-in-Nintendo-eShop-Using-Credit-Cards-1626660.html and follow the instructions.

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I'll figure out a better place to put my thoughts on it another time, but for now I really need to get my early thoughts on Metroid: Zero Mission off my chest. 

Holy heck is this game freaking awesome! 

I'm a couple of hours in and having an absolute blast. So far I've made it to Kraid, where I just finished up exploring the place as much as I could after defeating the boss, after making it through as much of Brinstar as I could, as well as Crateria, some amount of Norfair (I say that because I have a nagging feeling I'll be back), and these Chozo Ruins. I've picked up three Energy Tanks, got my missile capacity up to 80, and have picked up the Morph Ball, Long Beam, Charge Beam, Power Grip, Ice Beam, Speed Booster, and Bomb, and haven't had too much trouble so far outside of the bosses, though the first of which (the giant purple worm in the room with acid?) took me a few minutes to figure out. 

I think at this early stage the bosses have probably been the weak link for me. Yeah, the purple worm took a few minutes (it was also nice to have the opportunity to just get my health and ammo restored!), but the giant lizard and most of the enemies in this game so far have come down to just unloading every missile and their mother at them. It's cool and kind of fun, I just don't think - again, so far - that it's matched the depth I've seen from the rest of the game. 

Because that's where it has really sunk it's hooks into me: the exploration. Before this I'd only played the first few hours of Super Metroid a few times, but other than that, my understanding of Metroidvania concepts comes from it's clear influence on other games. Here, though, it's like every other room I walk into has something to do other than get to the other side, whether I need to come back with a new item at a later point to reach an item, figure out another way around, or solve a puzzle. And boy have I loved some of these puzzles!

My favourite so far I think was on Kraid with the floating purple turtle dudes and the zip line up above. 

Spoiler

So I went through the room, noticed the missile first as it's above you when you enter the room, and then tried to see if I could get up there with my Power Grip and into the narrow space with the Morph Ball, but these of course are the crumbling tiles.

I continue along the room, see the turtles...do I have to freeze them and then climb up? Nah, that can't be it, it's too tight a space to jump into anyways. There's a zip line overhead, let's get to the end of that. 

Run across to the right of the room, call the zip line, jump on, and get knocked off by the walls. Huh. But why would you put multiple walls here that my missiles can't break? Do I need to come back? 

And then it just hits me: let's see if there's anything underneath the walls with my Bombs. Sure enough, hidden cannons which shoot me into the walls hard enough to smash through them! 

But that would leave the turtles in the way, so that can't be– can I crush the turtles?! 

Sure enough I can, so I do so, then jump back up onto the zip line using Bombs to propel me up there in Morph Ball form and it carries me all the way over to the missile. 

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Been plenty of other times too. The first time I walked behind what appeared to be a wall to gain access to a hidden room, or any and every time where I get to use a Bomb on a worn or damaged block which takes me in a completely new direction (especially the ones underfoot and giving you access to tubes!), I absolutely love it. Also got pretty handy with the Bombs, the first time I scaled a massive room with them felt awesome. 

And then you have the map! I didn't know how I'd approach this game, and though I'm sure I won't 100% it going in blind, I'm having so much fun just trying to figure out every room's secret. Heck, on Kraid, before reaching the Map Room, I genuinely forgot some doors that I walked past trying to just look around the place, I was that absorbed in it! 

Anyways, need to close saying the Power Grip is awesome. The sprite work on Samus depending on if she's looking to the left or right of the screen while gripping to the edge, and when she can manoeuvre her arm cannon from these ledges, just looks fantastic.

But a final shout-out to Brinstar, because this theme is just phenomenal:

Can't believe how excited I am to get back to this :bouncy:

Edited by Julius
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Yup.  MZM is phenomenal; my favourite 2D Metroid.

Metroid Fusion is pretty much just as good as well.  You're in for a treat :D 

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Got back to Metroid: Zero Mission yesterday to wrap up my first game on the Wii U! Finished the game with 7 Energy Tanks, 150 Missiles, 18 Super Missiles and 4 Power Bombs, and (I think?) every unlockable suit upgrade.

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This being the first Metroid game that I've played through to the end, I've got to say...this has set the bar impossibly high for what I now expect from the other games.

I gave myself the night to sleep on it so that I wouldn't say something over-the-top while running on fumes, and I'm glad I did, because now I can earnestly say that this is an instant favourite. If it wasn't for the glut of other games I want to experience for the first time, and now having a serious desire to get to other Metroid games, I would have instantly started playing this again immediately...and heck, in a way, I kind of did, spending about an hour playing the copy of the original Metroid for NES that you unlock after the credits roll. It definitely felt slower and much more laboured in ways compared to Zero Mission, but it was still a good bit of fun to try it out. I do have some criticisms of the game, but I think they just become glaring in the face of everything else I enjoyed about the game.

I think my main criticism of the game remains the same, being that the bosses don't really come close to matching the depth of the rest of the game, and I say this realising that with this being a remake of an NES game, perhaps my criticisms are also in part aimed at the original. I think I feel this way because there were far fewer puzzles than I expected when facing them, with only one (the giant larva / centipede looking thing hanging from the ceiling) really matching what I wanted to see more of from the bosses, as you needed to freeze a turtle flying around before jumping on top of it, landing two missiles on the boss, before trying to freeze the turtle again, all the while doing your best to evade a spray of shots from above. It's challenging enough to feel rewarding, designed well enough to be engaging, but not anywhere near as silly as the bullet hell fights you see from most of the other bosses, especially the final two, which seriously boil down to brute forcing your way through and hoping your dodging is up to snuff. 

Spoiler

Okay, I don't know if I was missing a trick with Mother Brain's room, but I unloaded everything in my arsenal at the artillery in this room and nothing seemed to do any damage, which resulted in precariously platforming through the room while being shot at from every angle, landing in lava and being unable to scramble back up due to the other waves of shots coming my way, and it only gets more chaotic when facing Mother Brain and trying to jump over its wave attack, unleash a volley of your own, and pray you don't end up in the lava below. 

I don't think Mecha Ridley was as bad, but honestly, given the entire Space Pirates Ship sequence before this, not only was it also pretty chaotic, it was just really, really short, and a bit of a letdown as a final boss for me considering how much I loved the rest of the game. 

On the topic of criticisms, I do have some other minor ones, the first one being that while I really enjoyed the upgrades you got throughout, as far as I could tell there was no way to turn individual upgrades off? This resulted in me going from extremely confident with my platforming in the game, to a bit less confident when learning how long to hold and not hold A down to use Hi-Jump, and flat out "okay now there's only a 70% chance I jump the way I want to" once getting access to Screw Attack. Space Jump also just felt way too unreliable - though this probably down to getting access to it late on and not having time to get used to the timing for it - to the point that I genuinely resorted back to my Bomb-bouncing ways a couple of times. Less a criticism and more of an observation: I might be wrong, but it looked like there was some slowdown towards the end in that final area when things got a bit hectic? 

I do want to talk about exploration (mainly some of the my favourite moments of discovery!) and the rest of the game some more, but given how much I enjoyed it, I'm sticking those points in a spoiler tag.

Spoiler

Okay, so first off, the little bugs climbing on you I figured might have a purpose when I last played, but I had no idea what. Discovering that they eat away at the roots/veins/whatever those messes are that block you off in certain areas, and how you sometimes need to figure out a path to carry them over there, was just such a great thing to find out. 

Along similar lines, I came to a room where there were these bugs and some other little critters crawling through some pipes above me, which I found really odd, so I Bomb-bounced on up there to see if the tiles were destructible, and sure enough, they were! Clambering on up there after figuring that out, again, just felt like such a great moment of discovery. 

I do think I got really lucky in my playthrough, though I guess it also comes down to good game design clearly developed from intuition.

One example of this that I haven't mentioned is that hallway at the end of Brinstar that just felt way too long to not be a Speed Boost opportunity, so I ran from right to left, through the door, and sure enough, there was a breakable Speed Boost block...close to the floor, one tile tall. Took me a good 15 to 20 minutes of trial and error to figure out that I needed to Speed Boost out of the room, immediately "capture" it by pressing down (I tried going the other way a few times, but it just dissipated), go back to the room down a super small slope, shoot the door open again, jump up and Speed Boost to the left in Morph Ball form, end up in a hidden room, stop and continue to store the Speed Boost in Morph Ball form, jump up to a ledge on the left, Speed Boost in Morph Ball form to the right and through the wall to get more missiles...but then I realised that there were more Speed Boost blocks in the room at the bottom, pointing to the left. So, I go back, go through the cycle again, end up in the hidden room, stop and store the Speed Boost, drop down a bit to the right, jump up, Speed Boost to the left in Morph Ball form and crash through some rooms to find my first Super Missile. Damn, that felt good! 

On the other hand, whoever decided to put Speed Boost blocks to the left of the final room before the final boss can go to hell. Speed Boost from the right of the room to the left, jump slightly up - but not low enough you land and walk, but not high enough that you get caught on the ceiling - to break through the floor, to the find some lasers plastered over the bottom of a massive hallway leading to an Energy Tank, and touching them calls for the Space Pirates and the security barrier around the Energy Tank doesn't seem to go down until you exit the room, kill the Space Pirates, and reset the room. Sigh. This one probably took me upwards of half an hour, but once I found it, I couldn't not do it, so I had to persevere. First attempt was in Morph Ball with a Speed Boost to the right, aaaaaaand you hit one of the blocks producing a laser before falling down and triggering the alarm. You have to slightly drop to the right, down about a tile and a bit, before pressing A and Speed Boosting to the right outside of Morph Ball form. The number of times I hit that damn block...I can feel my blood boiling just thinking about it. 

Did I enjoy doing it? No. Will I never forget this? Probably. Did it feel good to get that Energy Tank? Absolutely! 

Finally, the last thing I really need to talk about: the final area of the game, crash landing and infiltrating the Space Pirate Ship. I'm often not a fan of games building you up with upgrades and gear before you're robbed of it and need to find your way without, and I think here it made the pacing here a bit off initially.

The Space Pirates kill you with a few shots when you can stun one of them with your pistol, the state of alarm is panic-inducing the first few times and figuring out you'll be here a while after seeing the map was not fun; Save Rooms are just as scarce as they've been the rest of the game meaning there will probably be some extended sequences of trial and error for first time players like myself (even after consulting the map and trying to figure out how to tackle a room and where to exit); and you're bombarded with blocks which you can't destroy without your suit. The journey through the Pirate Ship sans Power Suit was long and tough, and at times genuinely a bit frustrating, though it was fun to figure out certain things, like how you need to run along a path in the ruins before turning back and shooting it so the pursuing Space Pirates fell out of sight. You feel pretty powerless. 

And then in the ruins, you see this Space Pirate running around with an item but can never reach him, and you end up so far from the Space Pirate Ship, to the point I genuinely questioned if I'd somehow messed up. But I carried on, and made it to this room adorned with wall paintings, getting a very small hint of Samus's past (made abundantly transparent at the end of the credits), leading to a boss fight which I enjoyed a lot and was more along the lines of what I wanted, before one of the most badass moments and sequences I've seen in a game...

...that triumphant and heroic take on the Brinstar theme, being fully powered with the Gravity Suit and having Unknown Items unlocked before you can kick the hind quarters of these Space Pirates who have been an absolute pain in your backside since crash landing here? Absolutely cathartic. Loved it. Worth every second of the slog through this place that it took to make it to this point. 

And the final thing to touch on, I guess, without bringing Mecha Ridley back up, is the countdown which goes off after defeating him. There was another countdown earlier on in the game, and both of them are just long enough to be ample time to make it out safely, but short enough that it does make you panic a bit and make it feel like a close call. Compare this to other games where countdowns often feel far too generous, and other times are stupidly short, this felt like a really great middle ground. 

Masterclass in level design and discovery; great music which helped perfectly set the tone and atmosphere throughout, along with some amazing sound design; and some really great puzzles and platforming sections. I have my criticisms of certain aspects, absolutely, but they don't get in the way of this game being a tremendously lean but expansive experience. 

One heck of an introduction to Metroid, and I can certainly understand and agree with the excitement for Zero Mission...they need to hurry up and bring GBA games like this to the Switch! For now, though, I think I'll take my time before I get to the next one, partly as my expectations really are astronomically high for the next Metroid that I play now, and also because it will involve tracking down a copy of Samus Returns -- I don't want to miss whatever happens next! :peace:

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Woah, woah, woah, hold up, @Julius

You actually got early Super Missiles on your first playthrough!? Impressive!

Zero Mission is an interesting case, because it was the first time the developers made a Metroid game with the intent of allowing people to get a very tiny amount of items. It's entirely possible to finish with just the Morph Ball, Bombs, a Missile Tank, the Power Grip, the Ice Beam, the Varia Suit and the 3 unknown items, giving you a measly 9%.

It's bloody difficult! And the developers expected people to try this, as there's two ending screens that you only see if you finish the game with 15% or less. (One for Normal, one for Hard)

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BTW, @Julius, that Super Missile you managed to find? You actually got that earlier than intended and sequence broke the game! Kudos ;) (MZM is intentionally designed to be sequence broken, you can even kill Ridley before killing Kraid if you want to!)

Yeah, MZM is just amazingly good :D 

Might I recommend you play through Metroid 2 GB before playing Samus Returns though? I think you’ll appreciate SR more having already played Metroid 2 first (SR is also a VERY different game from the original Metroid 2 as well).

Edited by Dcubed
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1 minute ago, Dcubed said:

BTW, @Julius, that Super Missile you managed to find? You can actually get that as your first Super Missile and use it to sequence break the game ;) (You can even kill Ridley before killing Kraid if you want to!)

Yeah, MZM is just amazingly good :D 

I think he actually did get that as his first Super Missile!

21 minutes ago, Julius said:

and crash through some rooms to find my first Super Missile. Damn, that felt good! 

Sequence breaking on his first playthrough? That's a Metroid fan in the making!

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4 minutes ago, Glen-i said:

I think he actually did get that as his first Super Missile!

Sequence breaking on his first playthrough? That's a Metroid fan in the making!

Yeah, I misread it first time round.  I can’t believe he pulled that off on his first playthrough! That’s bonkers!

Seriously @Julius, bravo! :bowdown:

Now you need to get 100% of items and then attempt a hard mode run (then a minimal 9% run; MZM actually does have a specific ending screen reward for a low % run BTW ;) )

BTW @Julius, if you are planning on playing through NES Metroid; I strongly recommend using a map/guide while playing along.  It honestly will make the game much more enjoyable (the copy/paste rooms will frustrate you to no end otherwise).

Edited by Dcubed
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I really should replay Zero Mission one of these days. It's been a long time, and the most I remember about it is feeling a lot like a smoother Super Metroid.

Anyway, it's cool that Julius started with this one. Not only is the plot unburdened by other entries, I think Super Metroid hits that much closer when you have the context from the first game.

(P.S.: If you can't find Samus Returns for whatever reason, do not be afraid to try out the original Metroid II, which should be on the 3DS VC)

Edited by Jonnas
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On 31/10/2021 at 11:24 AM, Glen-i said:

Zero Mission is an interesting case, because it was the first time the developers made a Metroid game with the intent of allowing people to get a very tiny amount of items. It's entirely possible to finish with just the Morph Ball, Bombs, a Missile Tank, the Power Grip, the Ice Beam, the Varia Suit and the 3 unknown items, giving you a measly 9%.

It's bloody difficult! And the developers expected people to try this, as there's two ending screens that you only see if you finish the game with 15% or less. (One for Normal, one for Hard)

On 31/10/2021 at 11:31 AM, Dcubed said:

Now you need to get 100% of items and then attempt a hard mode run (then a minimal 9% run; MZM actually does have a specific ending screen reward for a low % run BTW ;) )

Yeah, I definitely got the sense going through that there were areas you could make it through earlier with different items, not to the extent that both of you mention though!

Also had no idea I wasn't supposed to get that Super Missile first, especially as I'm pretty sure I didn't come across any until coming to the green doors on Norfair, but I think that just goes to highlight my point about the sense of discovery in the game being really intuitive. I do wonder if going in knowing that this was a remake of an NES game is what made me pay attention at points like that, as I know that some of those games can be very archaic to return to in their original forms. 

No doubt I'll return to the game at some point for those other ending screens, I had a hunch there might be something like that after seeing the ending screen I got in the Gallery after beating the game, but didn't expect there'd be a few! 

On 31/10/2021 at 11:31 AM, Dcubed said:

BTW @Julius, if you are planning on playing through NES Metroid; I strongly recommend using a map/guide while playing along.  It honestly will make the game much more enjoyable (the copy/paste rooms will frustrate you to no end otherwise).

No plans to yet, think it was more I wasn't quite ready to move on from the game so quickly wanted to check it out, but will definitely keep that in mind if I ever play it in the future. 

On 31/10/2021 at 11:24 AM, Dcubed said:

Might I recommend you play through Metroid 2 GB before playing Samus Returns though? I think you’ll appreciate SR more having already played Metroid 2 first (SR is also a VERY different game from the original Metroid 2 as well).

On 31/10/2021 at 12:57 PM, Jonnas said:

(P.S.: If you can't find Samus Returns for whatever reason, do not be afraid to try out the original Metroid II, which should be on the 3DS VC)

I'm not totally against the idea of playing the original before Samus Returns, as not only is the latter a bit expensive to get your hands on these days (~£60 secondhand), I can appreciate what you mean Dcubed about it being different to the remake just considering things like the parry and modern QOL improvements. 

I think my biggest concern over playing the original would be that I imagine the map is either very basic (or it lacks one completely), which wouldn't be too bad. If that's the case, though, is it a bit more linear, or would I be best off looking for a map to accompany me through the game? 

Oh, and completely unrelated...

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...my Wii U Pro Controller has arrived! First impressions are that it feels very nice in the hands, I'm looking forward to giving it a whirl. Probably needs a bit of a clean, but is in by far the nicest condition of any of the secondhand controllers I've bought over the last 18 months. 

I should have a few Wii and Wii U games arriving over the next few days, so will probably give an update on my first wave of pickups and Virtual Console raiding once they're here :peace: 

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I don't think that Metroid 2 really suffers all that much from not having a map; certainly not like Metroid 1 (which was absolutely begging to have an in-game map).  Metroid 2 is a much more linear game than Metroid 1, and it also has much more recognisable and distinctive areas than Metroid 1.  It also doesn't suffer from the copy/paste room problem that Metroid 1 has; it's very enjoyable to play even without a map IMO.

Samus Returns is a completely different game from Return of Samus; it's much more open and non-linear, more in the vein of Super Metroid.  I'd argue that it doesn't even really retain the feeling of Metroid 2 at all to be honest.  It's a fine game in its own right, but it isn't really much like Metroid 2 outside of retaining the same basic game structure of Metroid Genocide.

Edited by Dcubed
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4 hours ago, Julius said:

I can appreciate what you mean Dcubed about it being different to the remake just considering things like the parry and modern QOL improvements. 

I think my biggest concern over playing the original would be that I imagine the map is either very basic (or it lacks one completely), which wouldn't be too bad. If that's the case, though, is it a bit more linear, or would I be best off looking for a map to accompany me through the game?

Metroid II lacks a map, but the game is segmented in a way that it's actually fairly easy to orient and pace yourself. It's the only Metroid that's designed with that notion, that players can't check the map. Hilariously, fans have actually tried to build a map with that gameworld and found out it was unfeasible, as it overlapped at various points.

IMO, the lack of a map also adds to the atmosphere, and the sensation of feeling stranded in the middle of a hostile environment (and that's a big "IMO", as I know this isn't the majority's opinion).

The remake takes the same concept and does a lot more than just give it a coat of paint and QOL features. Its design philosophy is much different, in both gameplay and atmosphere (heck, even storytelling). All it has in common with the original is the basic premise and the general outline of the plot.

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Zero Mission is an interesting case, because it was the first time the developers made a Metroid game with the intent of allowing people to get a very tiny amount of items. It's entirely possible to finish with just the Morph Ball, Bombs, a Missile Tank, the Power Grip, the Ice Beam, the Varia Suit and the 3 unknown items, giving you a measly 9%.
It's bloody difficult!

I know that's probably impressive but to an outsider that sounds like an amusingly long list of items to 'just' complete the game with.
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