There’s NO SUCH THING as Metroidvania!
Never have I heard this name/term used so much ever since the announcement of the new XBLA game Shadow Complex. Now I see stories and articles are led with this made up and fake genre. Just seems like one big mistake made by a not-in-the-know developer and the rest of the press just followed suit. Hooray for bloggers!!!
What’s my beef with this term being thrown around? Well for the most part, it isn’t accurate and I want to beat my head over a red-ringed 360 everytime I hear it. The origin of this “genre” apparently comes from a 1UP Editor, which obviously explains a lot right there. The editor used the term Metroidvania to describe all the new Castlevania’s on the Game Boy Advance like Aria of Sorrow, Harmony of Dissonance and the other one. It was a quick and easy way to describe those Castlevania games. And then it spins out of control with fanboys calling Castlevania games that play in this style “Castleroids.” /facepalm.
I am sorry but call it like it is. You don’t call Army of Two a Gears of Two game or some other mash-up I can’t think of right now. Those GBA titles were based off the Metroid formula and not Castlevania. If a game is a 2D side-scroller based on exploration in one big giant level, they fall into this category, a Metroid game. “But Castlevania 2 was a free roaming game.” Yeah, it was and I could get picky and say its not the same since that was just left to right exploring with an occasion building/cave route but that would be a weak defense. I will just go with the fact that Metroid was released a full two years before Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest. And back in the day, games probably didn’t take as long to make since the first Castlevania even hit shelves a month after Metroid. I’d bet a triple patty burger from Wendy’s (mmmmmm) on the fact that they didn’t reference Castlevania 2 since that game was regarded as being a failure or at least not very good.
By calling a 2D explorative side-scroller game Metroidvania, that just takes away from the game series that started it all. I take it as an insult to the Metroid series. It is like saying Super Mario Bros. wasn’t good enough on its own to describe 2D platformers or Michael Bay isn’t good enough on his own to describe bad, dumb action movies. Some things just don’t need help describing things and Metroid falls into this category. Will Nintendo’s black sheep ever catch a break? Not if 1UP has anything to say about it!