Raven Beak, round two.
On the first encounter with Raven Beak, I got good enough to beat his first form reliably, often with full health and full ammo. But the second form would take me down quickly.
This time, I focus on how to dodge his attacks. Mostly, Raven Beak stays in the air, and sweeps the room with a stream of laser machinegun fire. He sweeps a full 360° arc, and the only way to avoid it seems to be to jump over him using the Space Jump. My problem with this is that ever since I got the Screw Attack, my Space Jump timing seems to be screwed up, and I can’t always reliably chain together jumps in mid-air. So sometimes I end up jumping into Raven Beak when i’m trying to get over him, and this does me damage, disrupts my evasion of the machine gun fire, which does even more damage, and generally messes up my day.
His other attacks aren’t that difficult to avoid. Keep moving, and dash rapidly when he looks like he’s about to rush me, and the only time he really has a chance of hitting me with these attacks is when he’s low to the ground such that my only effective move is to slide or morph ball, which I never do because I’m never thinking of making those moves, and am not prepared.
He also has a super laser charged shot, which I can mostly avoid, just a last second dash after he freezes his aim, and I can avoid it.
While I’m dodging these attacks, it’s important to keep up the offense, and I manage to get good at painting him with the targeting laser in order to hit him with swarms of Storm Missiles every chance I can get. I get good enough at this that every time he’s attacking me, I’m winding up my next volley, and I can ever launch counter attacks at him while he’s got me on the run from that machinegun, or just after he misses with his rush attacks.
I try and try, maybe a dozen fights, and each time I get a little deeper into it. Finally, I manage to blast his wing off, bringing him back to the ground. It takes a lot of damage to bring him down.
Chillingly, Raven Beak looks at his other wing, and then tears it off to continue the fight. Like… that was a part of him, wasn’t it? Holy shit.
This enters a third phase of the boss fight, which I was not expecting. But his attacks in this phase are basically like the first, with the exception of a new attack, which consists of a giant golden-orange orb that shoots fire arcs out in a 360° spread. These are hard to avoid, and while it’s going he continues attacking with his other attack modes. I find that a super bomb will blow up this orb, and more importantly, it drops some missiles and life energy, which I badly need by this point.
I get to the point where I have to do another scripted melee counter, and mistakenly think that this signals that the combat is at an end, and I have won. Wrong! I fail to counter, he hits me, and takes me down. Fuck.
I almost did it, I can do it. I’ve gotten so much better with only a few hours of work.
Another hour and a half, and I manage to defeat the third form. The melee attack comes and I don’t miss the cue this time. The action goes back into cutscene, and Raven Beak monologues that I was a fool for thinking I could ever win. He has me in a strangle hold, and I’m helpless. I try to break free but this is apparently scripted and there’s nothing for me to do but watch. Raven Beak declares that he intends to clone my DNA and doesn’t need me anymore, and prepares to snuff me out, when I rally at the last second and use my Metroid power drain ability to suck the life out of him. Somehow this causes the entire orbital station we’re fighting in to crash.
We both survive impact with the planet, and my suit is again transformed, somehow looking more… Metroid-like? It looks like we’re about to show down for the final time, when an X-parasite suddenly appears, infects Raven Beak, and transforms him into a giant monster. Is this scripted? What am I supposed to do? Charge shot? Too late, I miss my chance and he eats me.
This is too much. I’m annoyed that the game doesn’t tell me when I have control and need to do something and when I should just watch. Because of this, I’ve ruined my finest performance on the final boss fight, cheaply. I’m pissed.
I almost quit playing.
I decide to give it another shot. I’ve beaten the final boss, I can do it as many times as I want to.
I start again.
The game does not force me to re-fight the Raven Beak boss fight. Instead, I’m right back on the planet just after the crash landing.
This time I know what to do.
I shoot it in the face while it slowly creeps up on me, in a callback to the EMMI fights where I hit it with the Omega Beam. This time I’m shooting what looks like Raven Beak’s super laser. I guess I absorbed the power from him when I broke free of his choke hold.
The giant X-beast finally dies after a sustained barrage. I’m ale to absorb the X-parasite that emerges from it.
Suddenly, there’s a countdown timer and it seems that the planet is getting ready to explode. What caused that? I have no idea, and no time to figure it out. I have to find a way out.
I try scanning, I try shine spark jumping. But the way out of the area is to Space Jump out. Somehow or other we ended up in a deep hole with a ceiling, did we punch through the surface with our impact and fall into a cave or something?
I don’t know. I just start running. It’s hard to find the path, there are walls everywhere, and no obvious direction to take. I just start firing, and wow, that hyper beam shot really destroys everything in its path. It destroys life forms, it destroys walls, it destroys any kind of block you can destroy. It shines a path, it shows me the way.
I run and run, I barely make it to the ship with seconds to spare.
I’m about to take off when the voice of ADAM warns me against touching the control panel in my current state, as I’ll just drain the ship of its energy.
I turn around and see a Chozo standing behind me. It’s Quiet Robe?! He turns into an X-parasite, which merges with me, and my suit transforms again. I look… more normal, now. Does this mean that Quiet Robe somehow fixed my DNA, turning me back into a normal human again?
Clear time 15:05:48. 68% complete. I finish the game with 1099 max health, 195 max missiles, and 5 power bombs.
As the credits roll, I note that apart from a few Japanese names, almost all the names in the production team are Hispanic. I don’t know anything about the studio that Nintendo worked with on the project, so I look them up: MercurySteam, out of Spain. They did an outstanding job producing this game. The design of the levels especially is fantastic, and the boss fights are top notch. They really understood what makes a 2D Metroid adventure great, and executed brilliantly.
Hard Mode unlocked.