"Metroid Prime - One of the greatest games this generation."

Metroid Prime

Two words can describe this game: Simply Amazing. This game following the bounty hunter Samus Aran into a pirate ship in which something goes terribly wrong which leaves her stranded on the pirate’s planet, stripped of her most devastating armor. The game was developed by the Texan company Retro Studios in co ordinance of both Nintendo of American and Nintendo of Kyoto, Japan. It was released in the US on November 17th, 2002 and shortly after was awarded Gamespot’s Game of the Year. Graphics, gameplay, story, and sound are all top notch, and you’ll be loving this game all the way through.

Graphics – A game that truly shows off the power of the Nintendo Gamecube. The graphics are simply beautiful, with fully 3D rendered backgrounds. The pirate planet called Tallon IV is beautifully designed with stunning water effects and weather. The game takes place from the first person view of Samus, which gives you the awesome feeling of controlling her. The visor is probably the coolest part. Looking through Samus’ eyes, you see through her visor as things are happening. So if it’s raining, you’ll see tiny raindrops on the visor, or if you blast a monster close up, it’s remains will splatter over the glass. The weather effects are the best I’ve ever seen in a game. Raindrops look real, when you are submerged in beautifully rendered water and remerge the water cascades your visor and trickles down it. Suddenly there’s a flash of lightening and you’ll see Samus’ reflection in the visor, it’s just that detailed and Retro Studios did not miss a thing. Mist, snow, storms, heat, it’s all in the game, and all looks amazing. Everything is beautiful and highly detailed from the heat waves the ripple the air when you fire your power beam or the snow covered platforms in Phendrana Drifts to the Magma Craters and explosions in Magmoor Caverns. The frame rate will always run at a constant speed, and you’ll never see a slowdown, even when you’re dealing with a ton of aliens. Finally, becoming a morph ball brings you into the third person view, in which you can see the heavy amount of detail that was put into Samus’ armor. Simply put, the graphics are down right brilliant, and grats to Retro Studios for designing such a visually appealing game. Score – 10/10

Sound – Delving into the Metroid fashion, Retro Studios was able to make this game as realistic as possible even with the music in the background. You can here it all perfectly in Dolby Prologic II sound. Metroid veterans will be happy to hear remixed music from the original games, while people newer to the genre will probably have an eargasm. Lava filled caverns pound with temple drums and chanting(much like Zelda's fire temple), while Phendrena Drifts give off a soft christmas-y melody. Now as for sound effects I must say that they were done considerably well too. Samus' cannon sounds very realistic, especially when fired rapidly. Creatures give off their own little battle and death cries which give you the feeling of uniqueness, the metallic sounds that come from Samus' feet as she lands is quite believable too. Basically the sounds are as pleasing as the graphics. Score – 10/10

Gameplay – Wow…just wow. Nintendo has managed to take Metroid into the FPS world, and they couldn’t have done a better job. From first looks, you would think jumping around from platform to platform would be clunky and irritating, but somehow Retro Studios has managed to make this transition to third person 100% perfect. As mentioned earlier, the entire game takes place from the view of Samus Aran. You look through her visor and see what she sees. The visor, not only a source of visual eye candy, also plays an important part in the game. Everything you do usually involves the visor, from changing your weapon to scanning an enemy or an artifact. You get a brief explanation on what you scan. The visor is your interface. It controls nearly everything you do within the game. A simple flick of the C-Stick will change your power-beam to whatever weapon you have in your arsenal, and a tap of the D-Pad will change your visor type, either to normal mode, scan mode, or the more advanced Thermal visor and X-Ray Visor. Each visor mode allows you to do various tasks throughout Talon IV. Normal visor is just seeing the world the way it is, without anything special. Scan Mode allows you to scan monsters and various artifacts and other things throughout the game. The Thermal Visor lets you see the world in Thermal Vision, picking up on sources of heat. This is used for picking up on puzzle objects that throw off heat, or to find an enemy that you cannot see. The X-Ray visor works almost the same as the Thermal Visor. It lets you see things that you couldn’t normally see, and don’t throw off heat, like a certain enemy that resembles a ghost. Also you can see into some solid objects or through enemies, which lets you see a puzzle object or the weak point of a foe. As stated before, the game takes place in a first person view, so the same basic elements of an FPS does apply. Simple things like side-stepping and shooting play very much like a First Person Shooter. But, this game takes it to the next level and has been dubbed a “First Person Shooter-Adventure.” Instead of the usually run into a room and shoot every Nazi you find, you spend a lot of your time jumping from platforms or solving puzzles. This may sound weird in first person, but it plays out flawlessly. You would expect it to be clunky and jumping would involve you missing more than you wanted, but the platforming aspect of the game plays just like you were in third person. Of course there is also a great deal of action, between the space pirates who just don’t like you, or inhabitants of Talon IV who just get in your way, you have enough to blast out the sky to your hearts content. You start the game with only your basic armor, and as you go through the game you’ll discover more armor and weaponry. You start of with only your power beam, but as you progress through the game you find upgrades including the charge shot, wave beam, wave buster, ice beam, ice spreader, plasma beam, flamethrower, as well as a couple missile upgrades. You also can upgrade your armor from suits that allow you to move quickly underwater to others that allow you to sustain immense temperatures. There’s also the morph ball and it’s upgrades, which takes the game into a whole new perspective. Rolling around randomly as the morph ball is almost as fun as just playing the game normally, and the morph ball is included in some of the most challenging puzzles in the game. The morph ball also has it’s own arsenal of upgrades. The speed ball provides a lot of fun in and out of the normal game play. It allows you to charge up your rolling in morph ball form and get a huge burst of speed. There are “V” ramps scattered throughout the game, most of which are used in specific puzzles, but it provides interesting fun to roll around on one of those. There’s also an upgrade that allows you to jump with the ball, which is just an interesting addition to the upgrades. You also get later in the game a “Spider Track Ball” which lets you grip onto certain surfaces and roll around into areas you normally wouldn’t be able to access. There are bomb upgrades as well, which let you drop bombs to destroy objects or kill enemies. All these upgrades provide interesting fun to track down and a sense of pride to use them to solve puzzles and just have fun with them. The game is pretty long, but you can speed through it for a good challenge. To get 100%, it will probably take you between 20-25 hours, but you can probably finish the game off within 15 hours. It isn’t RPG length, but it’ll take a good chunk out of your time, most likely because you’ll become so obsessed with it you’ll play it constantly. The game is freaking hard. Even on the easier modes you’ll find yourself running your ass off to get away from dangerous situations. Space pirates later on became very viscous and can major damage. You’ll have to apply special tactics to kill many. Along with the space pirates, you’ll have to deal with the Metroids, which will duke it out with any pirates in the room first. Then they’ll go after you…luckily the Metroids aren’t fully grown, so they’re pretty easy to take out with the right tactics. The more you move through the game, the more challenging it becomes. You’ll find yourself in huge areas where there are tons of foes wandering around, ready to attack you at any moment. It’s easy to become overwhelmed. There are some faults in the gameplay though. When you start off, the controls may seem clunky and hard to use. It’ll take some time to master side-stepping and firing. Fortunately the game allows you to lock onto enemies, so side-stepping becomes very easy. You may also find yourself shooting off a missile when you want to open a map or missing a jump. Eventually the controls become second nature and you’ll be blasting space pirates and the metroids like a pro. The whole concept of “FPS Adventure” may seem odd to you. A lot of people expected this game to be a normal shoot the snot out of everything you see, but it’s much more than that. It’s really an action-adventure game from the first person view. You may become frustrated with this, but if you stick to it, the game becomes second nature, and your love for Samus Aran comes out. These faults are only minor compared to the rest of the game, and don’t even touch the score. It’s just that great. There is just far too much in this game to really talk about it in a review. Basically, the gameplay is GREAT and unique. You’ll either love it or hate it, but if you even slightly liked the Metroid series or FPS’s you’ll love this game and how it plays. Score – 10/10

Story – This is where the game is somewhat lacking, for players who blast through the game anyway. Throughout the normal gameplay the story barely develops at all. But, throughout the course of the game there are scannable objects which delve you into what has happened to the planet of Talon IV. The biggest story is introduced by the Chozo Lore, which are mostly found in the Chozo Ruins, but others are scattered throughout the world. They appear as water in a wall, and when scanned you get information from the Chozo. Also, in more Space Pirate heavy areas, there are objects like computers and other things to scan, that gives you ideas on what the pirates are doing and the farther into the game you get, you find the pirate labs and why the Metroid are there. Not much to talk about this aspect, it could have been a lot better, but you take what you can get. Nobody said American’s could write good storylines. Score – 4/10(if you just rush through the game) 9/10(if you don’t^_^)

Well that’s about it, really this game could be finished off in a rent, but it’s good enough to buy it. I would recommend to buy it, because you’ll probably want to go back and experience the |337 h4x0rness(damn internet geeks)

Graphics – 10/10
Sound – 10/10
Gameplay – 10/10
Story – 9/10

Overall(not an average) – 10/10


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 04/18/04


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