Super Metroid[a] is an action-adventure game developed and published by Nintendo for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in 1994. It is the third installment in the Metroid series, following the events of the Game Boy game Metroid II: Return of Samus (1991). Players control bounty hunter Samus Aran, who travels to planet Zebes to retrieve an infant Metroid creature stolen by the Space Pirate leader Ridley. It was released through Nintendo’s Virtual Console in 2007 and as part of the Super NES Classic Edition microconsole in 2017.
The gameplay focuses on exploration, with the player searching for power-ups that are used to reach previously inaccessible areas. It features new concepts to the series, such as the inventory screen, an automap, and the ability to fire in all directions. The development staff from previous Metroid games—including Yoshio Sakamoto, Makoto Kano and Gunpei Yokoi—returned to develop Super Metroid over the course of two years, with half a year earlier to gain approval for the initial idea. The developers wanted to make a true action game, and to set the stage for Samus’s reappearance.
The game received critical acclaim, praising its atmosphere, gameplay, music and graphics. It is often described as one of the best video games of all time. Although the game did not sell well in Japan, it fared better in North America, and had shipped 1.42 million copies worldwide by late 2003. Super Metroid, alongside Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (1997), is credited for establishing the “Metroidvania” subgenre, and has inspired other games within the genre. It also became popular among players for speedrunning. The game was followed by the 2002 release of Metroid Fusion and Metroid Prime, ending the series’ eight-year hiatus