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Insert Credit: “Metroid: Other M”

Insert Credit: “Metroid: Other M” (photo)

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Insert Credit endeavors to suss out where you should be allotting your video game allowance, sifting out a single title from many and crowning it as The One Game You Need to Get This Week. Don’t consider these reviews, gentle reader. Rather, think of Insert Credit as a mix of hands-on time, informed opinion and intuition.

For the week of August 30, 2010, you should insert credit into: “Metroid: Other M”

Nostalgia’s a double-edged sword in all long-running entertainment franchises. On one hand, creators of new James Bond, “Star Trek” or Lara Croft fiction can throw in all sorts of winks and nods at the high points that have come before. But, on the other hand, those high points cast a long shadow over whatever follows them. Nintendo’s “Metroid” games often face the same problem. The first game won over fans with a recursive, labyrinthine gameworld and the last-second revelation that Samus Aran–the armor-wearing bounty hunter character they were controlling–was, in fact, a woman.

The “Metroid” games have been a shining example of how to balance new plots, new gameplay ideas and the right measurements of fan service into a just-right recipe time and again. The games in the series have referred back to each other since practically the first sequel but Metroid games have also been able to change presentation format. The “Metroid Prime” series on GameCube shifted the perspective to first-person while keeping other series hallmarks like having to collect your weapons as you play and backtracking over previously played levels.

Now, in the first new “Metroid” game in more than five years, even more backwards-looking forward movement abounds. One of the series’ best-regarded stewards-Yoshio Sakamoto, the director of the first Metroid-returns and is working in partnership with Team Ninja, a non-Nintendo developer. Team Ninja’s known for the bloody, hyper-violent “Ninja Gaiden” action series but they’ve toned town the gore for the partnership with Nintendo. The result of the fusion is an action-platformer hybrid that approximates the 2D controls and feel of earlier games with stylized fast-paced action that’s instantly recognizable as the work of Team Ninja. Certain sections of the game have you switching into a first-person view, too, for precision targeting and exploration.

As far as the story, you can see the imprint of Sakamoto-san’s history with the character. The plot references events from “Metroid” and “Super Metroid,” specifically the quasi-maternal bond Samus had with a baby extraterrestrial. The story weaves in events from Samus’ formative military years, too. The biggest change of all is in giving Samus spoken dialogue, a drastic turnaround from Nintendo’s typically mute franchise characters.

To be honest, the reaches at emotional depth sometimes stumble but “Other M” tells its audience more about Samus as a person than ever before revealed, while simultaneously making them feel connected to almost every game in the series. That’s no mean feat.

“Metroid: Other M” ($49.99) comes out this week for the Nintendo Wii.

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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