Review by KungFuSamuraii
"Does Metroid Prime live up to the hype?"
Enter Metroid Prime, the next installment in the highly acclaimed Metroid Series. With a new system, and a new look, the highly acclaimed Metroid series returns for the NGC, and what comes next is simply put...amazing.
Metroid Prime has to be one of the best looking console games to date. First thing you will notice about this game is the constant frame rate of 60 fps, this is becoming more and more important in todays games, and MP doesnt suffer one bit from slowdown. The environment is simply amazing, the detail put into this game really shows, as you will see markings from an ancient civilization, to high tech computers of the Space Pirates. Each new area brings in something new, from the ice cold winds of the Phaedraena Drifts, to the hot lava pits of the Magmoor Caverns, you never feel like a new area is similar to the one you just left, and I belive that to be very important. The character models are highly detailed with great animation and special effects to follow, like the amazing lighting effects that come off of Samus's weapon, to the very cool reflection of here eyes in the visor. The enemy models really look amazing, and the special effects really start to stand out here, stealth enemies, huge bosses that make the mouth water, or even the simple effects of the creatures being hit with your weapon. I saved the best for last, the coloring...there are only a select few games that really match the great coloring that comes in MP, each environment looks just the way it should as the very pale look to the ruines, or the bright red that comes from the rocks in the caverns. Oh and there is the visor effects too. Retro took the power of the GCN and made a very visually appealing game with a great atmosphere, that will not disappoint anyone.
This is my favorite thing in the whole game lol. I cant believe the music that they put into this game!, basically Retro took the amazing 16-Bit music of the SNES that everyone loves, at turned them into high quality old school tunes. When I play the game I am always remembering the music that was on the old school systems (genesis, snes), and thats a good thing. The change in music is pretty nice as you will hear very soothing music in Phaedraena Drifts, to a more steady beat in the Chozo Temple, and the . Nothing to complain about the sound effects, they are top notch and fit the game well. Make sure to keep those speekers up. This is a game that I hope they release a soundtrack to, yes its that good. Magmoor Caverns theme is just too sweet!!!
I cant really complain about the story, it is simple, has a center plot that runs through most of the game, with a few twists and turns here and there. It isnt the most engrossing story, nothing much, but FPS tend to stick with visuals and gameplay rather then the story. For being a FPS, it isnt awesome, but is good enough to keep your attention.
Metroid games are known for being played many times over, and with Metroid Prime, I cant see myself completing it multiple times. With a game lenght of over 20 hours(30 if you want everything), this game does last a long time, and it is fairly challenging, and thats always a good thing. You can always check your time, and current percentage at the load game screen which is a nice feature. Just remember time only counts when you are actually playing the game, not when the game is paused, or when cut scenes, or the options menu is up,so you will actually spend a lot more time then the in game timer shows. I wont be taking off a any points for multi-player as Metroid games are single-player games. You can also gain image galleries, do a little GCN to GBA link ups for even more secrets. When it comes down to it though,once is enough for me.
I love the way they do all the menus and options.Right when you start the game up, the opening sequence really catches your eye. Easy to navigate, and looks great overall. The map is a little bit of a pain, but it slowly becomes a little easier to read the longer you squint at it.
This is where I was pretty disappointed in MP. As you start out, you get really caught up in things as your are in the ship. The sequence really comes out great, and it lets you get a feel of how the game works. The first 5 hours of the game was just amazing, as you start out with nothing but a gun and a jump button. You start to slowly gain back your equipment, which brings me to my first complaint. Most of the time you wont be able to move on to your next objective untill you acquire a specific item, then you must backtrack(more on that later), and beat a boss, following this is you will look for upgrade that will allow you to reach another area, and then following that....the gameplay starts to get old, because the only thing you are doing is actually repeating the same objective over and over again, and it gets almost tedious. The backtracking is rather annoying, because you will go to a part you believe is the right way, spend 20 minutes to get there, then realize that you need different weapon powerup to get through the door, you spend a lot of time going back and forth, and it starts to get annoying. I believe that this style of gameplay is perfect for a 2-d game, but when moved to 3-D it just seems to lose a lot of its appeal. Another thing that I changed my mind on way scanning...I thought it was a great idea originally, but it seems to really slow the pace down, when you must spend 10 minutes in a large room scanning things. The different info you get from everything is cool, although I think a lot of it is worthless information that really doesnt add to the story or gameplay at all. I think its a great idea, it just had to be used a little too often. The weapon upgrades are cool, with different attack power, and different rates of fire, they all can be used very efficiently in the right hands. I love the enemies in this game, while some are just kind of duplictaed a bunch of times, the farther into the game you get the more impressive, and harder the enemies become. It is good to see some old classic creatures get a nice little overhaul too. The boss fights can get pretty amazing, with a different strategy for each one. Some of the boss fights arent as good as most of the others, but the good easily make up for it. One thing I do think thatthey implemented well was the morph ball, they did an absolute perfect job on the the switch from 2-d to 3-d. It just really comes down to the gameplay, which is exactly like the old metroids, where you acquire an item, backtrack, new area, repeat, and it just doesnt seem to make the jump with the new style very well.
Now I will start off by saying that the buttons are mapped onto the controller very well, with the right buttons assigned to the right command. Samus moves smoothly, and the jumping is exactly how it should be. The FLAW here is this, while you go throught the game, the beginning isnt to bad, you just lock-on and shoot. While most enemies are pretty slow and weak, its an easy target, the controls seem perfect...but as soon as you start to face off against a lot harder enemies that are flying around, you will get a lot of cheap hits on you as you have to hold the L Trigger to free-look(cant move while in free-look), which while you are trying to get a lock-on you are getting nailed, then when you get a lock on you can only do a left or right strafing which makes it also irritating when you dont have enough room to move around because you are on a small platform or the room is crowded. This is more of just a small complaint, but when there is about 6 enemies(bats) flying toward you, you have to hits L,A,L,A,L,A,L,A it just feels odd, and because of how the targeting works you really can mess things up by locking onto the wrong enemies.It just gets really irritating when the hurt starts coming, and your the one getting hurt. Everyone is used to dual-analog controls now, and it would fit the game perfectly.
I think that because I avoided all the hype, I was able to have a more open view to the whole game. I wasnt expecting the best game of the year here folks, I just wanted it to be a fun experience that would last awhile.With the only a few major flaws being the lock-on/free-look and the repetative gameplay, this still is a solid title. It is worth paying $50 for, because if you look at the whole package, it turns out to be great gaming fun, nothing more nothing less. One of the best single player experiences on the Gamecube.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 11/23/02, Updated 11/23/02
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