As a species, we humans tend to remember fear pretty well. Unlike pleasure and pain, the memory of which fades with time, terror tends to stick around. Which is why it's always seemed unlikely that, in Aliens, Ripley would agree to go back to face the creatures that nearly killed her under Ridley Scott's direction.
Like Ripley, Samus Aran doesn't appear to mind horror too much. A galactic bounty hunter by trade, she spends her life risking it all by returning to the space quadrant which houses SR388, home world of the Metroid species. The quadrant hosts some of the toughest extraterrestrials in gaming, some labyrinthine locations riddled with secret passages, and a phenomenal arsenal of weapons and equipment. In short, the perfect ingredients for an excellent video game experience.
And Metroid Fusion delivers just that. Things start off slow, restricted by Samus' limited weaponry and set of abilities (run, jump, somersault, shoot) but soon the game's central premise of gradual character upgrading kicks in and you're hooked. New powers make the disposing of alien scum easier, of course, but they also offer the opportunity to venture into previously inaccessible areas of the intricate play area.
Exploration is at the centre of Fusion's unwavering appeal. Gaining a new skill results in genuine excitement as your brain works overtime to remember which parts of the sizeable map can now be investigated. Even weapon upgrades play a role in opening up new sections. New sections mean new enemies, new items and even more new sections. It's a cyclical formula that is employed throughout the entire game without ever losing its vast appeal. When bolstered by some first rate alien shooting and edgy set pieces, the result is tremendous. And like Samus, you'll want to return to it.