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AM2R Interview DoctorM64 and sabre230

This is a special interview for me as this is a popular fan game, AM2R and our readers here at Retro Gaming Magazine have made it clear they want more information.  Here you go.  An interview with both DoctorM64 and sabre230, the team behind Another Metroid 2 Remake.  Since the downloads for AM2R are taken down due to a C&D I can only offer the best of hope that you are able to secure a copy and enjoy this game.  DoctorM64 was the man that started the AM2R project while sabre230 came on board later in development and worked on visual assets.

Retro Gaming Magazine) Please introduce yourselves

Milton Guasti) I’m Milton Guasti, sometimes known as DoctorM64. I live in Argentina, and I’m working as a software developer for an insurance company.

I developed AM2R in my free time, as a hobby.

Steve Rothlisberger) Hello! My name is Steve Rothlisberger, but I go by sabre230 when I’m online.

RGM) What was your motivation to make Project AM2R?

MG) Playing Zero Mission, and wanting to experience something similar with Metroid 2. In restrospect, if I were to tackle a project as complex as it turned out to be, I would have abandoned it. When it started, the project had a very concise scope: make a platformer that feels like Metroid, and remake the levels of Metroid 2 with tiles taken from other games. That sounded like a project that I could realistically finish, so I worked on it. When sprite artists volunteered to give me a hand, suddenly, the scope grew. Metroids would be much more detailed, environments could have much more personality. It was still a realistic vision, it would just take some more work.

Month after month, features were implemented, people kept praising the demos, and I kept working towards that goal. I learned a lot on each step of the way, but most importantly, it was fun.

SR) I didn’t hop into the AM2R dev team until it had already been around for about five years. I started watching it shortly after DoctorM64’s first blog post, detailing his foray into the project. By his first blog post, he’d already been working on it for a couple years, the Confrontation tech demo wasn’t even out at the time. Once he released Confrontation 2.0, it had mod support. I had been so invested in watching this game develop that I decided to completely redo Samus’ sprites as a mod for Confrontation, melding the styles of Metroid 2, Super Metroid, and Zero Mission. After a few months, he contacted me asking if he could use them as the official look for Samus in AM2R. Of course, I happily obliged. Shortly after that, I received another email from him, this time asking if I would be willing to work with him in creating some much needed assets for the game. This is where I got my start working with Doc on AM2R. Ever since I was a kid playing Metroid Fusion and Metroid Prime all I ever wanted to do was be involved in making a Metroid game. I didn’t care if it was 3D or 2D, I just wanted to help. Getting to work with DoctorM64 on such a significant project was more than I could’ve ever asked for and a childhood dream and I am forever thankful.

RGM) Approximately how big is Project AM2R in size (worlds/levels)?

MG) The world is divided in several distinct areas, that need to be clear of Metroids in order to progress.  There’s 8 distinct environments, connected by a central cave system. 2 of them are new and original, they weren’t part of the original game.

While the overall progress is linear, each area has multiple paths. These can become quite a challenge, depending on your current equipment. This gives tha casual player the option to explore for items that improve your chance of survival, and speedrunners the options to plan their route for optimal speed.

SR) It’s tough to describe the size of the game in terms of levels because each area has such a different personality. In total there are 7 to 8 areas in the game, with about 3 sub-areas. Some will take longer than others, depending on the way you progress through them. For example, in Area 4, you can defeat all the Metroids before turning on power to the facility, open the Power Bomb door on the tower and collect the Plasma Beam before fighting the Tester, making the fight significantly easier. This however makes the rest of the area more difficult because you’re significantly less armed when fighting the defense systems. Almost all of the primary sections of the game are built around this idea of freedom so the player always has options. Overall, an average player can finish the game in about 4 hours whereas a Metroid veteran can probably clear it faster.

RGM) I see there is a text adventure version, what was the reasoning behind that?  A side note, I love those old Choose Your Adventure Books so that is why I ask

MG) Oh, that. Every April’s fools I do something silly and unexpected. This year I made a small text adventure set in the Metroid universe, with the same unfair and unpredictable death scenarios that the old Sierra games used to have. It was just for fun, but I made sure it stayed consistent with the Metroid lore anyway.

SR) Ah, the Another Metroid 2 Text Adventure. I’ll be honest, I never actually completed this myself, nor had any kind of hand in it. This was an April Fool’s joke to play with our fans. Some other notable jokes were AM2R Demo v0 where you play through the first section of the original Metroid 2 as Mario on a GameBoy Pocket screen and an anaglyph 3D mode that only enables on April Fool’s Day. These jokes are often times quite a bit of fun and get a good laugh out of everyone.

RGM) Have you been contacted by Nintendo about Project AM2R?

MG) No. Upon release, all the download hosts and some of the pages of the AM2R blog were taken down with DMCA notices. I believe those must be automated processes, so I don’t think I can count that as an interaction with Nintendo. If would be great if Nintendo just lets the game be enjoyed by fans. There’s still a lot of people wanting to experience the exploration and isolation that make classic Metroid games unique.

SR) As far as I am aware, we have not. The game is a love letter to the Metroid series and we will always avoiding stepping on Nintendo’s toes. That being said, I’ve heard that some folks from Retro Studios know of the project and commented about it, saying that they had also played with the idea of remaking Metroid 2. I personally hope that they do know of the project, see the praise it receives and decide to take the series back to what made it so great. That being said I will always love Metroid, even if sometimes it takes me for rides I didn’t ask for.”

I would like to thank both Milton and Steve for taking the time to answer our interview questions.  If you have a copy of AM2R than hold onto it, if you don’t well there is this thing called Google…

Carl Williams

It is time gaming journalism takes its rightful place as proper sources and not fanboys giving free advertising. If you wish to support writers like Carl please use the links below.

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