Other M is a product of the creative team’s intentions becoming lost in translation; between the characterisation of a character meant to reignite popularity in Japan while also clarifying details left out of the original games, to communicating a 2.5D game design through a designer who has confessed to lacking an understanding for 3D to a development team who despite their experience had little sway in its design. The intentions may have been there but all parties lacked the full understanding of what they were doing to make the ideal designs when it came around to Other M’s story and gameplay. The peculiar thing is, my alterations to the game were actually inspired by Federation Force. Now bear with me here when I suggest:
- Make it a prequel to the original Metroid where Samus is still in the Federation: Suddenly, the shock and mental breakdowns Samus has when facing Ridley makes a lot more sense. Suddenly, Adam’s authority over Samus also makes more sense since now it’s clear that between the two, Adam is undeniably more experienced and has a clear authority as Samus’ commanding officer. You could choose to have Samus equipped with a prototype suit that would inspire her iconic look with tools that are not yet fully tested. Why the point of “not fully tested”? To give Adam a reason to hold off on just permitting Samus to use everything at once. Now you imagine, “shoot, do I really want to use the bombs? What if they go dud or explode inside Samus’ Morph Ball?” and thus you are in sync with Samus and, to a degree, Adam.
- Keep Samus’ identity covered throughout the main game: This is more of a nostalgic call-back with a twist than anything. Throughout the game, the player character is kept in the prototype suit, investigating the bottle ship as ordered by Adam. This character, while not verbal in the slightest, does have some physical reactions to certain stimuli that would make sense for an amateur Samus. Ridley pops up and our hero steps back and tries to shrink their profile at the sight of him? Yeah, that would make sense and make the reveal all the more interesting. When is Samus revealed? Depending on how fast you beat the game, in the ending. If you are decently quick, the helmet is removed and reveals Samus’ face as she contemplates leaving the Federation, faster still and that scene continues to her adding the final touches to her power suit (what she is currently wearing in said scene could be the zero suit or eye candy. I dunno, doesn’t really matter to me) before then reaching to don the iconic orange suit and flies out, leaving the Federation behind her for her legendary thrills and ventures. “But wait, I thought there was no timer in Other M.” I hear you say, you are correct and that’s my next change.
- Bring back the non-linear navigation of Super Metroid: Sure, keep Adam on call as the prompter for where to go or even as a hint system for less experienced players but at the end of the day, navigating the bottle ship should have blockages demanding new tools rather than just a linear hand hold with self-locking doors behind you. It’s Metroid after all, how can you go without some speedy exploration?