This is it, the true sequel to EGM's number one game of all time (see "100 Best Games Ever," issue 150), Super Metroid. Metroid Fusion's story picks up directly after the end of that Super Nintendo classic. The gameplay is just as compelling, and the developers have made many subtle improvements.
During a mission to planet SR388--the scene of Metroid II on Game Boy--our heroine is infected by a mysterious X parasite, which nearly kills her. She's saved, however, by a vaccine made from the DNA of metroids, the now-extinct, natural predator of said parasite. So when a space station researching the X sends out a distress signal, the newly immune Samus is sent to investigate.
Fusion may be based on an 8-year-old game, but it feels anything but stale. The control is smooth and varied--Samus has plenty of moves, including old favorites like dashing, ducking and rolling into a ball, plus new capabilities like grabbing ledges and climbing ladders. Her arsenal is impressive, with many different energy beams, missiles and bombs to choose from--once you find them in the game's maze-like levels, that is.
Much like the GBA Castlevanias, the world of Fusion is an interlocking labyrinth of rooms to explore (see sidebar). The game doesn't so much push you in the right direction as suggests the way to go. As you explore, Samus uncovers bits of the game's plot, adding a new dimension to the series.
You can also link your GBA cartridge to the GameCube Metroid Prime, although Nintendo hasn't divulged just what this connectivity adds, merely saying it's "awesome." We shall see.