Review by SingingStar

"Cool a new Metroid. 3D? ...(Sound of Cube starting up)... HUMMINA HUMMINA THIS IS HOT!"

Intro:

This game was my introduction to the Metroid world. Since then I have been playing all the games and am enjoying myself immensely. The Metroid games are primarily about exploring and finding new items and upgrades for current ones. Obviously there are some bad guys to kill and new weapons to acquire but there are also some really sweet environments to explore. Metroid was the first game in the series and was recently redone for the GBA with an extended ending. (Metroid Zero Mission). Then were some games for the Game Boy but the masterpiece was Super Metroid for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES). Since then all the Metroid games were for hand-held systems. (Metroid II: Return of Samus; Metroid Fusion; etc.) But then Retro Studios and Nintendo had a brainwave and in 2002 Metroid Prime was given to the world.

Story:

Taking place immediately after the original Metroid/Metroid Zero Mission, Metroid Prime begins with Samus Aran (you), having finally tracked down the Space Pirates, landing on the Pirate frigate Orpheon. After working your way through the frigate you activate the self-destruct, loose all your skills in an explosion, and crash on the planet Tallon IV. Soon you discover a Space Pirate mining operation for a substance called Phazon. Turns out a Phazon meteor, which had crashed several years previously, wiped out most of the Chozo Species (your adoptive parents) and drove the survivors slowly insane. The Space Pirates then came to exploit the Phazon ore, and killed of any remaining Chozo survivors. Your obvious course of action is therefore to avenge the race that raised you by killing the pirates and cleansing the planet of “the Great Poison”. Along the way you will scan Pirate Log entries and learn about their hideous experiments upon A) The native creatures of Tallon IV, B) The Metroids, and C) Themselves. You also discover the greatest of their experiments and the one they couldn't control, the Metroid Prime. Story-10/10

Game play:

Superb. This is of course the first Metroid FPS (First Person Shooter) and it lives up to its legacy. The visor displays your energy at the top, missile capacity/stock on the right, current visors shown on the bottom left, and current weapons on the bottom right. The control system is very easy to get used to. You lock on with L and look around with R; you jump with B and shoot with A (bombs in morph ball mode). Z activates the map while Y activates missiles (power bombs in morph ball). Change visors with the D-pad and switch weapons with C stick. X is to switch to Morph Ball mode. The puzzles can be tricky and the worlds are massive. Open-ended areas let you go anywhere that your current upgrades allow so exploring is very enjoyable. The enemies are varied and the bosses are intuitive. There are 255 missiles to collect, 8 power bombs and 14 energy tanks. There are also four beams and four visors to obtain. You start the game with the combat and scan visors, and pick up the thermal and x-ray visors along the way. The combat is your default visor and covers the basic visual spectrum. The scan visor can spot small data squares on objects to give you information about how they work or to adjust targeting info on enemies. The thermal visor can see the infrared spectrum and can pick out the enemies in a dark room, or find a dead power conduit that can be charged by the wave beam. Finally the x-ray visor can spot invisible platforms or rooms, and some enemies like the crazy Chozo Ghosts. As for beams you start with just the power beam and will get the wave beam, the ice beam, and the plasma beam. The wave beam fires three blasts of electricity that have limited homing capabilities when locked on. The ice beam can freeze enemies for an easy dispatch with missiles, and the plasma beam can set enemies on fire. There are also beam combos that are fired with Y after charging a shot. I wouldn't be doing this game justice without mentioning the Morph Ball system. The Morph Ball is, for those who don't know, the power suit rolled up into a “compact mobile sphere”. You can use it to roll through small tunnels, roll up “half-pipes” with the boost ball upgrade, and traverse magnetic rails with the spider ball upgrade. Also some of the freakiest and trickiest puzzles are completed by navigating “death ball tracks” like a huge spider ball maze over a boiling pit of lava. I give game play a 10/10

Enemies:

The enemies in this game are very cool with tons of different kinds for each world. The Phendrana Drifts have some very large enemies that are of course ice or cold resistant. Magmoor Caverns have some weird enemies in the lava and some that are just annoying when in Morph Ball mode. Chozo Ruins have large beetles that attack and of course the War Wasps. The bosses are astounding. Thardus, who looks like a big boulder, is very intimidating. The Parasite Queen in the Frigate looks truly repulsive. The Omega Pirate is the strangest boss just by virtue of being pumped full of Phazon. Mecha Ridley is the only familiar boss in the game, and the Metroid Prime is SCARY. The Prime looks like a large crab in its first incarnation and it's core essence looks like a giant squid. Finally the Pirates, which are the most varied enemies in the game, have infested every area in each world. There are about 74 different enemies in the whole game and all are very fresh and well rendered. 9/10

Graphics:

Stunning. The worlds look so real! I shivered in the Phendrana Drifts, sweated in the Magmoor Caverns, and jumped at every noise in the Phazon Mines. The enemies made me feel truly threatened, and the water effects on the visor made me feel like I had just been swimming. If you walk through a steam vent your visor will fog up and hinder vision temporarily. In the x-ray visor you can see you bones if your hand comes in front of your face. In the thermal visor it was perfectly shaded based on the environment. In Phendrana it was too cold for efficient use while in Magmoor it was too hot. The plants and animals were realistic and there were no blocky or polygonal outlines to be found. The graphics were wonderfully rendered and I truly felt like I was in the power suit instead of Samus. 10/10

Sound:

An excellent soundtrack with many familiar Metroid tunes as well as some remixes. The sound will always fit the mood. It gets suspenseful when there's danger and is pleasant to listen to when you're just walking around. It can be quite helpful to have the sound in a large room with a mob of tough enemies. This was one of the few games with a soundtrack I wanted to listen to. 10/10

Depth:

There are many different levels you can play on. You can go for the minimum completion or the maximum completion. Only find the necessary items or find all the items. Collect all logbook scans or ignore the logbook entirely. It's totally up to you and it can be completed however you want. 10/10

Replayability:

In truth it may be difficult for many to finish it once and then go straight back to the start for another attempt but with all the unlockables (hard mode, multiple endings, and I think sketch galleries) plus the difficulty of trying to get that elusive 100% (something I don't have yet) you will after a little while find yourself returning to your power suit over…
And over…
And over…
And over again

Chronology:

Some people may wonder where Metroid Prime fits into the Metroid realm. As told by the bonus disc packaged with some Metroid Prime shipments it works like this:
Metroid for the NES and GBA is the original in both reality and fiction originating the storyline and the franchise. Metroid Prime follows next taking place less than a decacycle after the destruction of Zebes. Metroid Prime 2 Echoes is next and Nintendo Power V205 states that Metroid Prime 3 Corruption is immediately following echoes in placement. Metroid 2 Return of Samus on the Brick (original game boy) comes next and chronicles the eradication of all Metroids but one. This last Metroid is a hatchling that mistakes Samus for its mother. Super Metroid for SNES features the space pirates rebuilding the Zebes base and stealing the baby Metroid. You have to eliminate the pirates and try to rescue the baby but it dies trying to kill the Mother Brain. Finally comes Metroid Fusion featuring the death of Samus. It also features her resurrection by a vaccine made from Metroid cells extracted from the baby Metroid before it's death. You then are the only living predator of the X, a parasite that could only be killed by the now extinct Metroids. You uncover a plot to breed artificial Metroids and are almost killed by one when you are saved by the heroic sacrifice of SA-X an X mimicking you. This is currently the full roster with the exception of Metroid Prime Hunters. I was unable to find its placement and thus left it out.

Final:

In conclusion this game deserves a big round of applause. Retro Studios took a hugely popular title, added a new dimension (pun intended), and created a masterpiece. This game is so huge! You will need to spend at least two game files trying to find all the items. The logbook scans are another matter entirely as some are in cunningly placed, out of the way areas. This is a wondrous game, though it has its flaws, but seriously what game doesn't. This was an amazingly good first stab at a 3D, FPS, Metroid game. I am biased to this game because I love the series so much however I'm sure most people will agree that this is a definite buy. 9.5/10 Round up to 10


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 07/10/06


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