Let me preface this by saying the following. I don't usually play fan-made games, usually because of the ones that I've played the quality differs greatly from professionally made titles, but sometimes something glimmers through the muck and outshines even some biggest stars out there. I'm of course talking about the recently released fan game: Another Metroid 2 Remake, otherwise known as AM2R: Return of Samus for PC. This game was started and spearheaded by a very dedicated fan, Milton "DocterM64" Guasti, with the occasional help of a small group of other fans over the course of a decade and released on August 6th of this year. But a couple days after the game's release, Nintendo issued a cease and desist takedown notice to the game's creator and the game was taken down shortly after that. Luckily, I had the foresight to download a copy of the completed project before the takedown notice occurred and got to play through it. This time however, this review is going to be short, sweet, and to the point because I have other issues that need to be made apparent in this article.
First of all, for a fan-made remake of a classic of disputable merit, this game is on point when it comes to quality. The world closely follows the same map layout and physics as the original Metroid 2 and fixes OH SO MANY problems that the original game had. Some examples include: a much larger viewing area as Samus's sprite in the original game took up around 2% of the screen (which is quite a bit when you consider the Game Boy's pixel ratio); a map and area landmarks to make it less likely to become lost; and better aiming and enemy AI. And if that wasn't enough, the game was pretty much given the complete "Zero Mission" treatment as additional abilities and skills from other games, new bosses, added puzzles, and new optional areas were added to flesh out the game even more. I particularly enjoyed how the developer managed to fit an escape sequence, a staple in the franchise, into the game; it made it feel more like a true Metroid game as a result. Further in the game, I noticed some of the music from the original was replaced with newer songs, but there is no real loss there as the original hardly had any music in it outside the main SR388 theme, the metroid fights, and the last 4 songs you hear in the game. This was a very welcome addition as the original music was so boring and uninspired; it didn't really fit the "Metroid" vibe. This labor of love is the Metroid game that we dedicated fans have been waiting for since the lackluster performance of Other M. Since it is free it is well worth the play, that is if you can find it now.
All of these good points make me wonder though...Why did Nintendo issue the cease and desist? I get that they have every right to protect their IP by any legal means necessary, but was shutting down a fantastically made fan project after it had been finished really the way to go? Nintendo could have done so many things to protect their IP without stating some legalese to Milton. I have seen quite a few examples where fan projects have garnered attention from the companies that own the IP in question, but they managed to handle it much better than what Nintendo has done. I'll list a few examples:
- A while back there was a fan-made Mega Man game that was being developed by a very dedicated fan and they ran into a similar problem that Milton had where the company that owned the IP had taken notice and contacted the developer about the matter. BUT instead, what CAPCOM did was much better by comparison. They gave this fan their full support AND even helped them by loaning them some software tools to make the project go more smoothly. The finished project, Mega Man X Street Fighter, was eventually finished and released on CAPCOM's fan-site without a hitch.
- Christian Whitehead, the developer of some fan games of his own, was also contacted by a big name dev; Sega in this case. Because of the quality of his work, he and and another dev called Headcannon teamed up and worked with Sega to produce these very well made enhanced ports of the original Sonic the Hedgehog games. And now they're working on Sonic Mania, which is basically the ultimate Sonic fan-game.
- And last but not least, Black Mesa, a fan-made HD remake of the first Half Life game. Similar to the Mega Man and Sonic scenarios where the game was being made and the owners of the original IP caught wind of it and contacted the devs. But instead of going all "I'ma sue you" on them, they allowed them to finish the game AND legally sell it on Steam. Sounds like a pretty good deal if you ask me.
Now with these successful scenarios present, why hasn't Nintendo caught on yet? The fans obviously aren't getting what they want from the owners of the IP in question, so they take matters into their own hands. And what does Nintendo do? They get WAY too protective of their property and inadvertently squash the hopes and dreams of their fans. What they should do is contact the dev and pay him to port the game to one of their consoles like the Wii U or 3DS, but the chances of that happening are slim to none. Now I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt on this matter. They're a big company in another country; they likely don't realize how much PR damage they're causing. But even if they did, they probably would still issue the takedown notice anyway because they are quite stubborn in that regard. Now don't get me wrong, this whole ordeal doesn't make me love Nintendo any less; it just makes me frustrated with them, like I would get with a family member. They still have a lot to learn, but until then, I'll be seeing you.
Edited by Gilgamesh on Monday 15th of August 2016 02:39:15 AM :
Fixed release date.