(GBA, 3DS Ambassador’s Program, Wii U)
In the US, Metroid Prime and Metroid Fusion released on the same day (in Australia there was a ludicrous fivemonth gap between the two). One represented a bold new future for the franchise (one we’re currently waiting on a return to), while the other, which delved into the series’ past, was a perfect kick-o point for those of us who had missed Samus’ earlier adventures. Fusion is, chronologically, still the ‘last’ Metroid, featuring Samus in a new suit and filled with numerous references to the older games, but if you’ve seen Alien and Aliens you don’t need to worry too much about missing plot details. More importantly, it digs deep into who Samus is and what makes her tick, giving the character dimensions and depth that the original games didn’t. It’s also a staggeringly great game, one that isn’t as reliant on (occasionally tedious) backtracking as the still-wonderful Super Metroid – it’s a perfect introduction not only to Metroid, but to the whole ‘Metroidvania’ subgenre.
Series best: Super Metroid or Metroid Prime, depending on taste