Review by Omniphagos

"Metroid's first foray in the world of 3D is a big disappointment."

Metroid : One of Nintendo's most precious franchises that has not seen the light of day since it's historic run on the SNES game Super Metroid. Nintendo has long thrived to get this franchise into today's standards but didn't have the chance with the N64. Now with the help of the Gamecube and along with a rookie programming company called Retro Studios, Nintendo has finally achieved it. But was Metroid Prime going to be the game that Nintendo visioned when they wanted a 3D Metroid? Read on and find out.

Story

Unlike most past Metroid games, Metroid Prime finally sheds some light on the series's heroin Samus Aran. Now that some back story about Samus has been revealed, the player can finally understand Samus's story that the other games failed to tell. But Samus is not the only character the story touches on, the mysterious race know as the Chozo have a story to tell that must be collected in the form of ancient artifacts littered in Metroid Prime's world of Tallon IV. The artifacts are the pieces that will reveal the story of what happened to the Chozo, Samus's origin, and of course what happened to Tallon IV, former home of the Chozo which has evolved into a barren wasteland thanks to the band of Space Pirates that have taken over the planet. The story is constructed well enough to be made into a short book that most gamers would enjoy.

Graphics

The graphics in Metroid Prime are some of the best the GC can dish out. Every environment in the game is very well detailed. Some things however aren't as very well detailed like others; an example would be any type of water lake of lava pools. The lava pools look like Retro didn't even care about making it look as great as the other things in the game. They must've thought something like ''a red floor with little movement is enough to make it look like lava so let's keep it at that.'' One of the more impressive graphics in the game is shown through the use of one of Samus's four weapons. Each weapon shows good color and animations when they are fired, reloaded, or it's animation when chosen. Another good graphics display is when you walk past a pipe releasing gas, the Head's Up Display[HUD] fogs up. The fogging up adds a bit of realism to the game but not enough to make it seem like "WOW!". I will say however that the best graphical showing in this game is the way the HUD is displayed. Everything is well set up and it really did make me feel as if I was watching the game from inside Samus' suit.

One of the best displays is the 3-D map in the game. If you've ever watched the movie Alien vs. Predator and remember the map system the Predators had, it's almost the exact same thing in Metroid Prime. You can pretty much move the map at your will which is pretty cool IMO. This is one of my favorite things out of this game. Retro did this part very well.

The character models in the game are average at best. Some of the models look amazing while others look like someone at Retro just threw together in the morning after waking up from being drunk. Samus' in game model looks very good and highly detailed. when you get the armor upgrade, even more detailed is used to show off Samus' new equipment. Everything down to her gun arm, armor joints, and helmet is astounding. With the enemies though,. your regular Space Pirate enemy model looks like it could fall over if you tap them on the shoulder. Overall, the graphics in Metroid Prime are great with the expection of a few items and characters in game.

Sound/Music

The music in Metroid Prime could have been much better. The music gets very tedious after 5 minutes of playtime. Out of all the beats and themes in this game I only found myself going back to listen to only 2 areas of the game that had music I actually enjoyed. Other areas have badly composed music that would warrant a mute of the TV. Some of these stage themes are remixes of Super Metroid. You would think that the remixes are good since they come from Super Metroid correct? Wrong. Besides the music in this game, everything else seems to be just fine. The guns in the game have sounds that would sound like a gun and the enemy screams sound very well. Even when they die they sound like they really are dying. They only sound I suggest you try to dodge is when Samus falls into lava. When you fall into lava, you are greeted with one of the most annoying sounds in any game ever made.

Gameplay

Retro Studios has taken Metroid and turned it into a FPS. The game plays out through Samus's point of view. But don't worry, when Samus turns into her Morph Ball mode, the game switches from first person view to third person view so you can direct her easier when she is morphed.

I split this section up into different sections to cover the different aspects of the game.

Enemies

The enemies in this game are completely stupid. They will never, ever pose a threat because 70% of the enemies in this game only have melee based attacks. The problem is, by the time they reach you, they'll be laying on the floor dead due to your well timed missile or charged attack. The enemies that have range and melee weapons are dumber than the melee only enemies. They will shoot you from so far away, that by the time their attack reaches you, you would be on the other side of the room ready to counterattack. This makes the game very easy and not a very hard challenge, even on the harder difficulties.

The bosses themselves are pretty challenging. However,one of my gripes with the bosses of this game is the fact that some of them are just larger versions of existing enemies within the game. So it's not really a big challenge when you are just facing a bigger version of an enemy you already know how to kill. It's a good thing though that not all bosses follow this concept.

Scanning

This is probably the most annoying gameplay aspect of the game. You will be scanning 65% of the time you are playing the game. You need scanning to get info on enemies. You need scanning to access elevators. You need scanning to read the artifacts the Chozo left behind. You basically need scanning for everything. So if you hate scanning then why do it? Technically you don't need to, but you NEED to scan to complete the game at 100%. So you will either want to scan to only get the important things needed to move on or you will want to scan to beat the game everything completed at 100%.

Jumping

The jumping in Metroid Prime is easy, too easy. You can jump to the next ledge without fear of dropping down to a bottomless pit below. The jumping is so easy that a 2 year old baby wouldn't have a problem jumping from ledge to ledge. You'd figure that after getting the module to let Samus jump twice, that jumping from ledge to ledge would get harder, correct? It doesn't. When you get the double jump, you are just treated to jumping that will only get you yet another missile upgrade. I still don't really understand why add a second jump if it will not be utilized in a more meaningful way.

Controls

The controls in Metroid Prime are annoying. Anybody who has played FPS on the new consoles know that the best way to play is to have one analog doing the aiming and the other analog doing the walking around. This is not the case with Metroid Prime. In Metroid Prime you can move around but not shoot at the same time. The stupid thing is, is that they mapped the different types of arm cannons to the second analog! What the hell was wrong with Retro when they thought of this? They could have easily added the gun switching function to the Z button. But instead of doing that, they mapped the Z button to the 3D map of where your location is! Why didn't they add this to the pause screen like all other Metroid games?!

Weapons/Add-Ons

You get a total of four different weapons to use in this game. If you get the an add-on for each weapons you have a grand total of eight. After a while, you will notice that the extra weapons don't really serve a big purpose in the world of Metroid Prime. You will basically only need the different weapons for two things : 1) To open doors you couldn't with a previous gun or 2) Solving some puzzle that requires a certain gun for the job(EX : You need the flame gun to melt some things in the ice stage). Either than those two reason, you will not find yourself using the extra guns unless you wish to experiment what's the best effective way to take down enemies with each different gun. I on the other hand, I chose to play the game with just the default arm cannon and the available missiles I had. The reason why is because the game gives you so many extra missiles that it's easier for me to blast away enemies due to how much ammo I had with these two options.

Replay Value

Metroid Prime's single player adventure doesn't have anything worthwhile playing for again. The only things you can unlock are a picture gallery, the original Metroid game for the NES, a harder difficulty setting, and if you have Metroid Fusion you can like it up with Metroid Prime to get to use the Fusion suit which brings absolutely nothing new to Metroid Prime. But to get these you need to scan a lot, so if you really want these extras you would need to scan everything in the game.

Rent or Buy?

This game is not worth the $50 dollars. I suggest renting it in a rental place that lets you keep the game for 4 to 5 days because Metroid Prime doesn't even last 3 days.


Reviewer's Score: 6/10 | Originally Posted: 01/06/03, Updated 09/09/07

Game Release: Metroid Prime (US, 11/17/02)


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