Review by HighOnPhazon

"Those who haven't treated themselves to Metroid Prime are in for a suprise"

I remember reading about this game before it came out. I spent hours looking at screen shots and reading the previews on various sites, I was literally in awe at the beautiful game on a console I didn't yet own.

This wouldn't be the first time a grand Nintendo masterpiece was beyond my grasp. Back in the days of the Super Nintendo when I was younger, I never had a chance to own one myself until years later. I would look on in jealousy as my friends down the street played games like Super Mario World, Legend of Zelda and of course, Super Metroid. I remember watching that game in action; it was to me one of the greatest looking games I've ever seen in motion. For its time and even to this day, Super Metroid is one of my favorite games of all time. No other game in my mind can match the atmosphere, the music and the overall scope of that game. I was literally in heaven when I finally had a chance to play through the game on my own Super Nintendo, and when I got a chance to catch up on all the old hits I missed.
After seeing more and more of Metroid Prime I couldn't take it any longer. I had to own it. It was a different time, and I had a chance to actually buy a Gamecube to enjoy this game, and I must say it was some of the most well spent money I ever laid down. I was excited like a little kid when I unpacked my cube and popped its one and only game into the tray. Upon hitting the power button, I knew I was about to play one of the best games of all time.

Metroid Prime is one of the most immersive, detailed, engrossing and epic games you can play on any console. From the very first moments Samus jumps out of her ship and you, as the player, go first person behind her helmet to learn the controls, the game sets you on an adventure that hasn't ever been matched yet in any game to date. I just couldn't get over how amazing the presentation was of this game from the start. Amazing graphics surround you; the Gamecube delivers eye popping visuals and I was surprised such a little box could pump out the details. The various movies and screenshots that I watched prior to buying the game didn't do it justice. Even for today's HD gaming standards, Metroid Prime is no slouch in the visuals department. From the tutorial abandoned pirate frigate to the massive, labyrinthine world of Tallon IV below, every area you explore in MP is a grand spectacle. No other game that I have played places you into the shoes of the main character such as this.

One of the first things you will notice in this game is how engrossing every area is. Steam will hiss out of pipes and fog your visor, sparks fly from broken machinery and smoke bellows from raging fires around you. Tiny insect like creatures will swarm from above and below you in uniform trails, take aim and blast them to have their green innards spray and cover your visor in gooey filth as you escape an exploding space craft, all the while a hectic countdown blazes inside your helmet. This is only the beginning.

From here is where the real game begins. Once Samus narrowly escapes the first area, you are now on the world of Tallon IV, where you will be spending the meat of your adventure. Above ground, rain pours down and drips and speckles your visor, bounces and trickles off your cannon and armor. A lush forested land of hills, flora and fauna, but don't get too comfortable, as you will soon come to see Tallon IV has a terrible secret above, and below ground. This is what makes Metroid Prime so great. Take all of the great exploration and atmosphere of Super Metroid, a 2D adventure game, and put it into a first person action adventure. The areas you will visit in Prime are some of the most memorable and amazing gaming worlds. They are all massive. From the haunted and time ravaged Chozo Ruins where Samus delves into the mysteries of the planet and its plague, she then heads down into the steaming and lava filled belly of Magmar Caverns, featuring a remix of classic Super Metroid music that any fan of the series will certainly appreciate. Not to spoil much for those who haven't played, but you will explore various sections of Tallon IV and they are all unique, interesting, filled with nasty enemies and incredible music. Each and every area you cover is massive, featuring twists and turns, hidden items, hidden paths, mazes, monsters, challenges and enormous and vicious boss creatures. Metroid Prime has it all.

Samus, like all the previous Metroid games, will have to recover technology for her suit to gain abilities and firepower to reach new areas and destroy new enemies. You will find tons of upgrades for your suit featuring health boosters, missile cannon expansions and other goodies scattered throughout the world of Tallon IV. Every area has places you cannot reach without a certain upgrade or power, so there is some hefty backtracking in this game, as sometimes you will find yourself with nowhere to go but all the way back to a previous area now that you have found a bomb upgrade or a double jump. This however is what makes a Metroid game, well, a Metroid game in its purest form. When Samus eventually covers the entire planet you will see how every area is connected, and you can zip around through the use of Metroid series elevators to traverse to new and previously explored areas.

Samus will have a multitude of ways to deal with the dangerous inhabitants of Tallon IV from the small to the extremely large and aggressive. Missile pods, super missiles, wave beam emitters, ice particle cannons and even a concentrated plasma beam. Each weapon has a sub weapon which uses Samus' own missile reserves to power it, kind of like a special attack. Even in morph ball mode, where the camera view switches to third person and Samus curls up into a traveling sphere, she is equipped with small bombs and eventually power bombs to open areas and destroy enemies. Samus will upgrade her suit functions to withstand atmospheric hindrances and add shielding and just plain make her look awesome. You will need all of these tools to survive this visit, as some enemies are hideous and very agile. Bosses are, in every sense of the form, large, challenging, intimidating and wonderful to fight, and each require a special way to defeat. Fans of action should not be disappointed.

Some people may find that this game, despite the way it flows, to be somewhat linear. In truth, there is more linearity to this Metroid title than there is to Super Metroid. In the SNES title, you would sometimes be in multiple areas at once and have no idea where to go next, and a lot of the paths and secrets were far less obvious. Metroid Prime's secrets are a little easier to find, although some will still take a bit of guesswork, exploration and some platforming skill. Missile expansions, health upgrades and other tools all emit a machine like “humm” through the walls, giving you an idea that there is something that you can dig up. A lot of the time however you won't be able to access the goods until later. Don't let the term linear fool you, this game is large. You will not be going down a straight path at all, ever, in this game. Every place you visit will have you going into a pipe in morph ball mode, or jumping up to a door on a cliff, falling into a ravine, or climbing some bio organic structure. You will be twisting, turning and being amazed at every turn.

As you are lost exploring this intricate and beautiful game, you will be treated to some ambient but very impressive music in each world. From the way the music seems to tack on and build itself up as you explore and open more and more of the Chozo Ruins, to the icy and delicate theme of the Phendrana Drifts, you will feel like you are really visiting this alien world. All I could think of while playing this game was how well done each area was music wise, as it felt right in every stage, and it doesn't overpower the game play.

The control of this game is fantastic. Featuring a lock on mechanism for Samus' HUD, you will be aiming, shooting and jumping around like a pro in no time. This is not a first person shooter, as many will argue. The lock on feature is used in a variety of ways. Not only will it help you dodge attacks from enemies but it will allow you to switch visor modes and scan computer consoles, activate switches and read enemy data, giving you an edge in combat. Completion addicts will love hunting down every single scan in the game to unlock artwork, and a lot of the story is revealed through the use of the scan visor.

Speaking of the story, let's get this out in the open: there isn't much story in Metroid Prime and what little there is, is very subtle and a lot of it is found as I previously mentioned inside various scans. The overall premise behind this adventure is Samus learns of a devastating substance called Phazon which has plagued the world she is exploring. Apparently, the native sentient race of Tallon IV succumbed to Phazon and its mutations, and worked their very existence on containing the source of the catastrophe. Space Pirates, Samus' rivals throughout the Metroid series, have set up shop on Tallon IV to study Phazon and its chemical mutation behavior in its own warriors. Samus will learn this, if the player deems it necessary, through scanning Chozo tablets and reading Space Pirate logs. It's actually all rather interesting and all completely optional. A lot of the logs are easily overlooked but reading them is neat. Space Pirate logs are probably the best scans to reveal. They go from research to the gradual increase in Phazon studies hinting at new adversaries that Samus will have to face off with. Some logs even detail how they are trying to contain Samus, or as they call her the “Hunter”.

After I had completed Metroid Prime I felt really good. It was an epic game through and through. I had been challenged by enormous bosses, fought through a massive and detailed landscape, dug up tons of upgrades to defeat enemies and felt like I really saved Tallon IV when it was all over with. I haven't felt such a great feeling after beating a game such as this in a long time. In every sense of the word, Metroid Prime is a game that everyone needs to try. It was my first Gamecube game, and honestly if it was the only game I ever bought for the now long dead console, it would have been just fine. Metroid Prime is an example of gaming bliss.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 04/03/07

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