So what's better, Metroid 1 on the NES or Metroid 2 on the Gameboy?
Just do yourself a favor and play the remakes :P
The remakes are far better, that's true lol.
However, I feel like both of these old, archaic, cryptic and slow games have a lot of mojo in them, and while both have strengths and weaknesses, I really do like both. They have a place in my heart and I will keep playing them every now and then. The first one is still cool to this day, even though half of Norfair and Brinstar look the same, but the kick-ass music alone makes me want to hop in once again. The first few times I played it I got lost so bad, obviously, and this is heavily annoying and frustrating, but once I managed to make my way through Zebes, it was awesome. Especially when you have a couple of energy tanks and missiles it gets a lot easier. The second game is nice as well, I remember playing it during long car rides. Hunting down one metroid after another is amazing and quite scary with this creepy atmosphere and music. I got lost here, too. Of course. But after several attempts I reached the metroid queen and the battle was immensely intense. Plus, it introduced the coolest upgrade ever, which of course is the Spider Ball.
Metroid: Zero Mission was a huge step upwards and is indeed superior in every way to the original, there's no doubt about that. Not much else to say other than it's a fantastic game even to this day. Metroid: Samus Returns is a pretty good, too. But what bothered me a bit is that it relied too much on that counter attack move during battles. Almost every single enemy must be defeated in the same pattern: let it approch and attack you, then counter and shoot. This gets old after a while.
Also, the inclusion of Ridley as the final boss felt out of place to me. He doesn't need to be in every single game. It felt like too much obvious fan service shoved down the throat. I would have preferred if the queen was the final boss and that's it.