In a nutshell: One of the best games from the Super Nintendo era is in the early stages of being ported to PC. Lots of work remains but it appears to be in a playable state on an entirely different platform.
Super Metroid arrived in 1994 as the third official installment in the Metroid series and for many, it represents the pinnacle of the franchise. You play as Samus Aran, a bounty hunter on a mission to planet Zebes to reclaim a Metroid creature stolen by antagonist Ridley.
According to GBAtemp, the project is a “recompilation” of the original – a term meaning it was redone in C / C++ to mimic / resemble the original code when compiled. Most games in the 8-bit and 16-bit era were created using assembly (65c816 for the Super Nintendo’s Ricoh 5A22 chip), making this an impressive feat. It reportedly falls under the MIT license.
Super Metroid nailed several key elements that help make a great game. Graphics weren’t the very best we have ever seen on the SNES, but the storyline, gameplay and controls more than made up for any visual shortcomings. Exploration was the name of the game and Super Metroid hit a grand slam here. The non-linear fashion in which you could tackle boss fights and progress through the game has made it a mainstay in the modern speedrunning community.
Equally as impressive is the game’s soundtrack, a true masterclass in music composition that exponentially heightens immersion. The soundtrack is a thing of beauty, right up there with the quality of work delivered in Donkey Kong Country.
Those interested in tinkering with the early build are invited to head over to GitHub and grab the necessary files. Keep in mind that it is a very early version that no doubt has plenty of bugs and untidy code. Not that you’ll also need your own Super Metroid ROM as the repository doesn’t include any of the original game assets.
Image credit: Damien McFerran, Time Extension