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See I don't think that's true. Gameplay wasn't bad. Bad controls would have meant that they were not functional, which they were. They worked fine. We could argue that more traditional controls would have been preferable to some gamers, but the controls as they were presented worked.
The level design was fine, even though it was more of a space station metroid like Fusion was. That means more limited map less intricate also. In many ways this game is tied to Fusion anyway and designed to be played more like a less expansive game, more of a replayable military mission with a more straightforward, fast-paced feel than say, super metroid which was more of an exploration game in an opened area.
The story, well there is so much to say about it. Let's just say I liked it, I found it refreshing when compared to most of what the industry had to offer at that time. I also found that the story was interesting in its way of showing the protagonist as a three-dimensional human character and as a female character.
But anyway that's beside the point I was making, which simply was that a lot of gamers want Sakamoto out simply because they didn't like Other M and they forget to consider all the other games he's worked on for the franchise. He wrote the story for two the three games that are generally considered the best in the main franchise. He's got a great track record.