Metroid: Dread diary 21

Artaria is still as easy as ever, no real threats of any kind as I traverse the map at will, barely pausing to kill enemies who happen to get in my way. I find a number of Missile Containers, and perhaps another Energy Tank. It’s getting hard to remember all the details, as I’ve mostly been revisiting old areas and it’s gotten hard to remember what I got before, and what I just unlocked. I scour the map, looking for places I haven’t been able to go to before, and I find a Power Up Ball that is in a corner of the map that I haven’t been able to get to before. I head that way, and it takes a while, it’s clear on the other side of the map. Along the way, I find as many secrets and previously inaccessible power ups that I couldn’t retrieve earlier. By the time I’m done, I’m about 89% complete. I make it to the area where the Item Ball is, and figure out how to get to it. It’s tricky, but I know most of the tricks by now.

The item is the Screw Attack, which enables me to break Screw Attack Blocks, and enables me to damage enemies with spin jumps, including electrified enemies. So that should come in handy sometimes.

There’s a transport pad nearby, which goes to Burenia. I figure there’s not much more that I could hope to find in Ataria, and make the trip.

Upon arrival, I find a Communications room, and get a new message from ADAM. He tells me that since I’ve restored heat to ZDR and obtained the Screw Attack, I can now get to many places I couldn’t reach before, but that I’m still not powerful enough to face Raven Beak yet. There’s not much more power that I can get, according to the status screen in the pause menu which tells me most of my item slots are filled. Still, ADAM does tell me that I stand a slim chance of victory, which I think is more than he had given me previously.

I explore Burenia, and find a tall chimney behind a ceiling made of Screw Attack blocks, and at the top of this, I encounter another twin Chozo Soldier room. I defeat them on the first attempt. The same tactics I devised for the first twin Chozos work against these two: constantly run in a circle around the arena, use Flash Shift to jump over them when surrounded, turn and fire volleys of Storm Missiles at every opportunity. When one goes down, the next one is soon to go as well. I’m proud of myself for successfully handling a boss fight on the first try. I think it’s the first time I’ve done so.

ADAM didn’t really say what my next goal should be, so I guess for now I will continue to explore and try to pick up as many additional Missile Containers as I can find, and try to find all the Energy Tanks I can. And I still haven’t found the Super Bombs, which is the last thing I think there is for me to find to round out my arsenal. I note there are a number of orange blocks that I’m sure must be Super Bomb blocks in this zone, so I hope I can find the Bombs here, and soon.

The next thing of note that I encounter as I explore Burenia looking for things is a Green Transport Pad to take me to Ghavoran, so I mark it on the map, figuring that’s likely where I’m meant to go next, but before I do I want to take a tour around Burenia and see what more items I can find.

I find a Missile Container, and then two or three more, but no Super Bomb power-up ball. I also find another secret, a transport pad that will take me to Ferenia, hidden behind a Storm Missile block.

I take the transport pad to Ghavoran, hoping that this will be the right path to take me to the next piece of the puzzle that will lead me closer to the end of the game.

Immediately upon arrival in Ghavoran, I’m puzzled by two Missile Containers that I can’t seem to get to. One is behind a row of pitfall blocks that I can’t traverse, and the other is behind a Storm Missile block that doesn’t appear to have any target points. I try a few things, but nothing helps me, so I give up and move on, exploring as I go. There’s a lot of Screw Attack blocks that I can bust through, opening new areas of the map to me. I find a number of Missile Containers, and a partial Energy Tank. I now have something like 183 missiles and 1099 maximum health. I explore and quickly come to a “monster door” that, as I’ve come to recognize, heralds an upcoming boss fight.

I go through the door and see a ball-height tunnel, so I slide through it, and end up getting dropped into a boss fight. It’s the most deceptive fight yet. At first, it’s just an ordinary-looking monster, a giant armored crab. I take it down easily with a couple of missiles, and it releases an X-Parasite. But instead of being able to pick it up for health, it turns into another, larger crab monster. This one looks serious and I can tell that this must be the boss fight that the “monster door” warned me about. I take this second crab creature down pretty quickly as well. It’s tougher, and immune to frontal attacks, but when it rears up I can hit it with Storm Missiles, and then I can Space Jump over it and attack it from behind. It doesn’t take too many attacks like this before it’s defeated. Then, the X-Parasite that releases from its body morphs into yet another giant crab monster. This one is huge and nearly as tall as the room. I can’t seem to get over it with the Space Jump, and it pounds me into pulp in short order.

I try several times to defeat it, but it’s too tough. I notice it seems to release a flashing ball that homes on me and does a ton of damage. It feels unfair. I can’t stop it, can’t avoid it, can’t destroy it. It’s like a free attack that does automatic damage to me every second until I die. The best I can seem to do is try to run from it, but there’s not enough room, and while I’m running I can’t get attacks in on the crab. The glowing ball thing still hits me, just maybe half as much as it did when I stood still.

Jumping over the creature just isn’t working, so I try a different tactic, and try to slide under it. I haven’t used slide moves on a boss since Corpius back in Artaria, the very first non-EMMI boss fight I had. The slide move works, and I find that as I’m sliding under, I can still get off a volley of Storm Missiles, at point blank range, and it seems like this is an effective tactic. Once on the back side of the crab beast, I can Flash Shift to get more distance, then whip around and launch a series of missile attacks, hitting it in the vulnerable spot on the rear. Two or three repetitions of this, and it is done. The fourth form of this boss is a giant X-Parasite blob, which I hit with more missiles and quickly take it down.

It drops a power-up for me, which is a new ability called the “Cross Bomb”. I don’t know if this ability is in any other Metroid games, as I haven’t played them all, but it’s new to me. Cross Bombs are like regular morph ball bombs, only they explode in a wide, linear horizontal row of explosions, which can take out a row of Bomb Blocks, or I guess hit enemies from a bit of a ranged distance.

I try to get out of there, and find that I am stuck because the only way out requires traversal of pitfall blocks, and there’s no way to do that. But that can’t be, there’s no way the level designers would do that to me! Turns out, I’m right — they trapped me here with pitfall blocks in order to force me to learn that the Cross Bomb can blow you over a short series of pitfall blocks. Now I know how to handle those spots! I can now collect a few more power-ups that I couldn’t before and probably access a few other areas that were previously unreachable, although I can’t think of any offhand.

Right near by is a new shuttle platform, that takes me to a new world I haven’t been to before: Hanubia. I decide to explore Ghavoran more before I do that, though. I retrieve one of the Missile Containers near the transport pad I entered from, and then discover that the Ghavoran map is bisected by one-ways and walled off areas that I can’t get to from this place, but could only get to if I looped around and came back in through a different entrance. So I guess Hanubia is my next stop, then.

Hanubia turns out to be the surface of ZDR. I’m only here briefly. There’s a communications room, where I get a briefing from ADAM. ADAM tells me that we’ll need to destroy the planet in order to contain and eliminate the X-Parasites, but that Raven Beak won’t just let me do that, and needs to be dealt with. I still don’t have much of a chance against him, according to ADAM, but it must be done.

I try to find my way around Hanubia, but the only way I am able to find takes me directly to a transport platform to take me to Ferenia. So I take it.

There’s still an active EMMI in Ferenia that I haven’t dealt with yet, and I’m immediately put into an EMMI zone where I need to get through while avoiding detection or being caught. It’s the unexplored area that I was trying to get through before, where the ice cold temperatures and the water made it impossible for me to get through. This time, I can do it. I see a save room to the right of this area, and run that way, and once I get to safety, I save my game. Only then do I consult the map to see the route that I should have taken: up and to the right, in the uncharted direction, toward the Control Room where I’ll be able to obtain the Omega cannon again. It takes me a few tries, but with the stealth cloak, gravity suit, and space jump, I’m able to get through the area quickly, even with the EMMI chasing me.

I get into the Control Room and have no problem whatsoever in destroying the Robot Eye. I get the Omega Cannon, and now I just have to find a good spot to ambush the EMMI.

This EMMI is purple, and it launches a circular ring of purple energy which ignores walls and stuns me if it hits. I’m going to need to dodge this attack if I’m going to have any hope of dealing enough damage with the Omega stream to blast the face plate off. This will be tricky, but if I can find the ideal spot in the room to hit the EMMI, I’ll have a chance.

This time the game throws me a curveball, though, and I’m forced to improvise. Rather than going back the way I came into familiar territory, this time I emerge from the Control Room to find that my way is blocked by another door. It seems I have to blast this door with the Omega charge shot, but when I do this, instead of opening the door, it activates an elevator platform, which takes me down. There’s a tunnel to my right, which I have to use, and then it shoots me into a room I’ve never been in before, with the EMMI right behind me. This room is an obstacle course, with blocks that I have to destroy with the Charge Beam, and bombs, and then I have to use Flash Shift to get through two consecutive sensor gates, only to reach a dead end where there’s a Spider Magnet panel on the ceiling that I can use to ride over the EMMI to get around it, but if I screw that up, I’m caught.

This obstacle course puts me into a panic, since I don’t know where I’m going or what to do, and I’m just a few steps behind the EMMI, creeping up on me slowly. My first run through, I barely keep ahead of the EMMI, and end up looping around and try to set up a shot, but I end up getting caught instead. I fail the next two attempts, as well, but on the fourth try I manage to do what is needed. It’s just a matter of knowing what to expect, and being able to deal with each obstacle quickly. I manage to stay well ahead of the EMMI, and get to the end of the long corridor at the end, with plenty of time to turn around and have my shot lined up perfectly. I blast its face off from far enough away that I’m able to charge up the finishing cannon blast without having to use the ceiling rail, which is probably good because after you blow the EMMI’s face shield off, it tends to stand upright rather than crawl low to the ground toward you. I nail it, and it goes down.

The power I gain from defeating this one is the Wave Beam, which has the power to ignore walls. I should have known, based on this EMMI’s attack, that I would gain such a power. I know there’s a few more destructible walls that I’m going to be able to finally open now with this new ability.

I’m eager to complete the game, but I’ve been playing for hours at this point, and I am tired, and the battery is down on the Switch, so I decide to take a break here, just as soon as I get to the nearest save point.

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