Review by ZGDK
"It's Prime Time Baby!"
When Metroid Prime was first released in 2001 people had a right to be skeptical. Did a small Texan developer have what it took to bring Metroid to the third dimension? Let us find out.
Like other Metroid games you play as bounty hunter Samus Aran. She has been tasked with investigating strange going-ons on a planet known as Talon IV. However your foes known as the Space Pirates get mixed up in the chaos along with a new enemy. The story is told through text logs that you scan in the environment. The writing is top-notch and will wet your mouth for more. However it's sad that the developers didn't put more emphasis on story.
The gameplay is where this game shines. The game is played like a first person shooter, but it isn't. It's a first person adventure. Rather than a heavy emphasis on combat instead you'll be doing a lot of puzzle solving often which requires acquiring new weapons, using your surroundings to open a door, etc. Don't worry there are plenty of enemies and big bosses to fight, but that's not the main focus of the game. Because of the heavy emphasis on puzzle solving, you'll do quite a bit of backtracking. Never fear though. Each return trip will lead you to a new section of the levels and you'll also have more powerful weapons and items meaning those pesky enemies are pesky no more. Each level is gigantic filled with enough to keep you playing for about twenty hours, combine this with plenty of challenges and you've got a winner.
BUT. The game isn't perfect. The biggest problem here is the controls. They're not bad whatsoever but take a lot of getting used to. The game could've gone better with a regular Dual Analog control set-up seen in many first person shooters. Because of the setup certain weapons such as the grappling beam are hard to use and while they work well for exploring and adventuring, they are clunky and hard to use in the thick of combat when you need precision the most. Another problem is the bad guys. They take way too many hits to destroy and when you have three or four you're required to defeat it' suddenly not fun anymore. I can understand bosses like this, but regular enemies? Also because of the control setup and the fact that you do a lot of fighting in closed quarters attacks are hard to dodge, and most of the time battles are more about endurance than anything else.
Visually this game is stunning. Environments are eye-poppingly gorgeous. The games attention to detail is magnificent. Rain trickles down your helmet, enemies are detailed. The game truly is a feast for the eyes. The game has a very atmospheric style that makes you feel all alone in space with no one to help you. As you can clearly see the concept art is integrated greatly into the final product.
The music goes hand in hand with the graphics. The music is eerie and dank at one minute and catchy and upbeat at another. Sound effects are also detailed. You can hear Samus' footsteps and enemies crawl around. Each weapon has its own unique sound also. The sound department is simply perfect on every level.
Overall Metroid Prime is an amazing game that no Game Cube owner should be without.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 11/26/07
Game Release: Metroid Prime (US, 11/17/02)
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