Visually, Super Metroid is a masterpiece of the 16-bit, "2D," sprite-based graphics that were soon to be supplanted by other styles and technologies. The game's designers present a wide variety of science-fiction-inspired landscapes, architectures, and creatures with a combination of ominous shadow and brilliant color. Though the gameplay takes place on a two-dimensional plane, the environment is given depth by the relative movements of overlapping fore-and-background planes (as well as other perspectival techniques). The action is always presented from the same distance and angle, although the image does "scroll" to follow the movements of the player and reveal more of the environment. In certain places, the game veers toward the abstract, with landscapes dissolving into color and pattern.

Tunnel leading through detailed brick structure
Bricks and columns style architecture


Character standing on platform within laboratory-like scene.
Ruined laboratory with downward facing door


Walls in the form of bubbles


Cave opening that looks like a creature's mouth, complete with sharp teeth
Biologically inspired architecture


Samus walking between two portals in a yellow tube
Enclosed Passageway Before Open Sky


Large stone statue at center of large room.
Ancient statuary with fireballs and spikes


A small doorway that looks like a creature's open mouth.
Biologically themed architecture