Review by Katon

"This is a killer game! Anyone with a GC needs this one!"

Despite what people may say about Nintendo, they always deliver when it comes time to roll out another game in one of their signature franchises.

Metroid Prime is no exception.

The Metroid series is one of the most beloved jewels in Nintendo's crown, although it has also been the most-ignored. This is the first appearance of the Metroid series on a console since the seminal Super Metroid in the mid-1990s on the SNES. Despite the pleas of their fans, the brass at Nintendo chose not to release a Metroid game for the underachieving N64, which all in all may have been the best decision. However, this made the wait for a new Metroid game unbearable, resulting in one of the most hyped games in years. How does it stack up? Well, you should have already figured out my thoughts from my score and review title, but let's get into specifics.

Graphics:
Let me say first that I am not a fanboy of any particular system (I own a PS2, GC, and Xbox). But I do have to say that I continually see examples of the graphic prowess of the GC blowing away the more-powerful Xbox, and Prime is yet another example of that. Metroid Prime may be the best-looking game EVER! Environments are superbly detailed, and enemies are animated well and brilliantly conceived. Of course, you don't really see Samus except for cutscenes and when she turns into a ball, but her character model is outstanding. The programmers at Retro Studios did a remarkable job with the look of this game.

Score: 10/10

Sound:
Yet again, this is another amazing area for this game. The background music is suitably moody and really adds to the tension of the situation, making you wonder, ''What's behind the next corner?'' My only complaint here is that I would have liked to have heard some remixed tunes from the classic Metroid games, but the soundtrack is good enough to stand on its own without them. Weapons' sounds, explosions, and enemies' death screams are all also satisfying.

Score: 10/10

Gameplay:
This is the area where most Metroid fans had concern. The move from a 2D exploration game to an FPS (well, they call it First-Person Adventure, but you get the point) is quite a dramatic one. Have no fear, the atmosphere the originals had is faithfully maintained in Prime. Despite viewing the action from a first-person perspective, the sense of exploration is still there and perhaps even greater than before. All of Samus' signature attacks are in the game. Adding most to the gameplay is the use of Samus' visor. The addition of the scan visor is a godsend in this game. This visor will allow you to scope out enemies to discover their weaknesses and your surroundings for information which may help you on your quest. The combat visor is also very useful, allowing you to lock onto enemies and blast away with glee. There are additional visors and weapons which can be discovered during gameplay, also increasing the exploration element. Best of all, this game is very addictive and fun to play! Prepare to lose your social life until you beat it. Add in some nice link-up capabilities with the GBA, and you've got a very sweet package indeed.

Score: 10/10

Story:
Well, Metroid has never been known for having a great story, and Prime is not an exception to this rule. Metroid Prime begins after the events of Super Metroid, in which Samus defeated Mother Brain and the Space Pirates once again. Now, she is off to Tallon IV to continue her own personal battle. Sure, the story isn't too much, but it is pretty cool (at least to fans of the series), and it gets the job done.

Score: 8/10

Overall impressions:
Has Nintendo done a great job of farming out their classic franchises or what? First, they hand off Donkey Kong to Rare in the days of the SNES and N64 and get a complete revitalization of the DK series. Then, Rare does a stellar job with Star Fox, even if it was a little too influenced by Zelda. Now, Retro Studios has created a classic experience with Metroid Prime. Don't let the fact that Prime is such a deviation from other games in the series scare you away. A great game is a great game, period. I don't know if Prime will ever replace Super Metroid in my heart, but it has definitely earned a place on the list of my all-time favorite games. I suppose if you absolutely hate first-person games, you should rent this first, but I am very confident that it won't be long before you decide to buy it. Metroid Prime is a must-own for all Gamecube owners. Go get it and enjoy yet another fine Nintendo gaming experience!

Overall score (not an average): 10/10


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 11/22/02, Updated 11/22/02


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