Episode 124 takes metroidvania beyond the bounds of the NES

Mostly to Master System... with a 16-bit sidetrack.

Many moons ago, I launched a site called Metroidvania.com with the intent to fully chronicle the evolution of a subgenre through the years. I even managed to produce four or five videos on the subject before hitting a wall and losing steam (namely, a chunk of games I don't have the means to capture footage for). That site project will almost certainly never come to fruition, but that's OK, because we have Retronauts East to cover the same ground in podcast form.

The Retronauts East crew may not actually agree on what "metroidvania" means, but we all can at least come a consensus on the fact that this style of game does, in fact, rock hard. And so we continue our journey through the evolution of nonlinear, action-RPG-inflected platforming with this third episode on the topic; it follows on the heels of our look at the genre's roots and the way it blossomed on the Nintendo Entertainment System. Now, here we are, back on our B.S. again with a look at the genre's evolution beyond the NES.

Well, kind of.

I had a pretty extensive set of notes prepared for this episode, but we only covered a fairly small chunk of the games we set out to discuss. As it turns out, Chris Sims has just embarked on his virgin voyage through Super Metroid, so that game ended up dominating the second half of the episode. We covered Super Metroid a few years back, so this could have been a little redundant… but it's nice to hear a fresh perspective on a venerated classic. As a result, this episode largely focuses on Master System games and one Super NES title.

Anyway, this digression just means we'll have to put together another metroidvania episode soon to cover all the things we didn't get to, like Demon's Crest and Shantae. You can take that as a threat or as a promise, depending on your inclinations. Stay tuned…

MP3, 50.6 MB | 1:42:28
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Episode description: Chris Sims and Benj Edwards join Jeremy once again to survey the history of exploratory platformers. This time, it's Master System and Super NES games. (Or would be, if the discussion hadn't been sidetracked by Chris' freshman journey into Super Metroid.)

For reference, the games we specifically touch on this time around are: 

  • Zillion (Master System)
  • Knightmare II: Maze of Galious (MSX/Famicom)
  • Golvellius: Valley of Doom
  • Ys III: Wanderers from Ys
  • Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap
  • Super Metroid