And relax. The news is good. Metroid: Other M is full of sparkling promise. Panic officially over. Since it was revealed at E3 last year, the world has been wondering (and worrying) about what shape Samus' new adventure will actually take.
It's probably best to answer those worries by talking about what it's not: it's not a follow-on from the Prime series, and you can banish from your minds the notion that this is just Ninja Gaiden in a yellow jumpsuit. It's a Metroid title with one foot rooted in the gameplay that made Super Metroid such a roaring success and another inching along its own new story arc.
The first impression is one of pure simplicity, but for a few shaky seconds all those questions come flooding back when Nintendo speak of "cinematic action" while explaining that the game will be ridiculously simple to control. The second we learn that we play the game simply by holding the Remote horizontally we had to fight the urge to throw ourselves over that Other M code to protect it from anymore wrongdoing. As it turns out, our knee-jerk reaction was too rash.
The "cinematic" boasts are totally founded. Seeing as Other M is a direct sequel to Super Metroid, we're treated to some explosive back story that kicks in at that game's finale, the battle between Samus and Mother Brain delivered in sumptuous visual style. Cue Samus cutting lots of dramatic angles as she makes up for being pretty much invisible in her Prime outings, popping chunks out of a towering and frankly revolting Mother Brain before being half swallowed by a baby metroid - an action which saves her life as its gloopy body absorbs the full fury of a Mother Brain attack in a shower of slime, snot and fiery acid.
Next thing we know, Samus is in a medical bay being patched up, before being shuffled along to a training arena, where her Varia Suit forms over her Zero Suit and we get to find out what the fudge our Nintendo man was on about.
The controls work beautifully, just as they did 20 years ago on the SNES. Discarding the Nunchuk, the Remote handles everything: movement with the D-pad, blasting with the 1 button, jumping with 2 and rolling up into the Morph Ball with A. Picking up the Remote in your hand and pointing it at the screen slides you behind Samus's visor and by holding B you can search the screen for points of interest, or aim your arm cannon or missiles. You can't move your feet in this mode, but it's a surprisingly seamless transition that lets you aim with much more precision. Unfortunately it can also leave you rooted to the spot and vulnerable to attack.
The interface is streamlined and with that comes a much speedier experience than we saw in the Prime games. Samus races through corridors and kick-jumps up shafts and across ledges with real velocity, blasting space parasites in her stride.
Because Samus is controlled digitally, rather than with the analogue stick, there is a form of automatic lock-on when firing, although you can't strafe around a target. When things get hectic, a manual lock-on would undoubtedly help. Still, while corridors are presented in 2D, with a fixed camera, you can still move inwards and outwards as though in full 3D.
The opening action takes place aboard the Bottle Ship, teeming with bristling bugs, but also company of a friendlier nature - Samus' former comrades in the Galactic Federation, marking a step away from the loneliness of Prime. In a thinly disguised nod at Aliens, we meet grizzled trooper Anthony Higgs and a certain Adam Malkovich, part of an 'incident' with Samus that caused her to leave the Federation. Presumably we're not talking about letting off fire extinguishers for a laugh.