Review by WhatTheDeuce92

Reviewed: 04/09/07

Wow, Metroid Prime surprised me, and thankfully in a good way.

Ah, Metroid Prime. For those of you who don't know, Metroid Prime is the first 3D Metroid game and the first Metroid game to be released after Super Metroid, which was released in 1994, eight years prior to Metroid Prime. Developed by Retro Studios, Metroid Prime is classified as a first-person adventure game, rather than a first-person shooter, and this is because of the high level of exploration in the game. Now, when Metroid Prime was first announced to be in the first-person, a lot of fans were iffy about the game. Many thought it would be a disappointment and a disgrace to the Metroid series, but thankfully for everyone, those people were wrong. In fact, rather than being a disappointment, some consider Metroid Prime to be the greatest games of all time.

Now, for long-time Metroid fans, they know that the Metroid games never really had much of a story to them at all. This is where Metroid Prime has taken a turn from the rest of the Metroid games. There is a story present in Metroid Prime, however you really need to pay attention to it, because it is practically nonexistent if you don't. There are short cutscenes before important boss battles, and you can read about the story of the Chozo and Space Pirates by scanning things, which will be explained later. Now, the Metroid games are hard to place in a timeline of the games, but Metroid Prime is believed to take place between Metroid and Metroid II: The Return of Samus, and to be more specific, Metroid Prime supposedly takes place directly after the events of Metroid: Zero Mission, released two years after Metroid Prime.

In Metroid Prime, you play as the bounty hunter Samus Aran. The game starts when Samus receives a distress call from a Space Pirate frigate, Orpheon, and Samus goes to explore the vessel. Samus discovers some biological experiments, and after destroying one, she triggers the ship's self-destruction. While trying to escape, Samus discovers Meta Ridley, which is Ridley from the past Metroid games only cybernetically enhanced, who wakes up and then escapes the ship. Samus is severely hurt during the destruction of the ship, and so she loses most of her powerful weapons. Samus then chases Meta Ridley to a planet known as Tallon IV, which is where the majority of the game takes place, only time it doesn't is where I just said. So now, Samus must find Meta Ridley, get her weapons back, and help the Chozo, which I'm about to get at explaining.

Now, even though there is a main plot, what's interesting about Metroid Prime is that there is a backstory to it. While on the planet of Tallon IV, Samus discovers about a group of people known as the Chozo. The Chozo were very intelligent, and created many great things, but one day they retreated to Tallon IV to get away from their technology and live a different life. However, one day Tallon IV was hit with a giant meteor, and this meteor contained an evil mutagen known as Phazon, which was also used on the Space Pirate frigate in their biological experiments. What's interesting is that if you don't want, to you don't even have to find out about the Chozo and Space Pirates. You can skip it entirely if you want, because you find out about them by scanning things all around Tallon IV. However, if you do choose to pay attention to the backstory of Metroid Prime, in your time on Tallon IV you learn what became of the Chozo and all about the Space Pirates evil plans of experimenting with using Phazon to create enhanced soldiers. Samus must also collect the ancient 12 Chozo artifacts to help the Chozo and thwart the Space Pirates' plans.

Alright, that's enough of the story. You can find out more about it by actually playing the game. And this brings us to our next point: what do you do in Metroid Prime? Well, just like in previous Metroid games, Metroid Prime takes place in a vast world for you to explore, in this case Tallon IV. There are six regions on Tallon IV connected by elevators for you to find and explore, including a rainforest-like area, which is actually where you first land when you get to Tallon IV, a region with magma-filled tunnels that has creatures such as fire-breathing serpents, and even a cold, mountainous area, which is probably the favorite of the six regions of most of the people who've played this game. Each of these regions has its own set of rooms, which can be opened by shooting a door with one of four different colored beams.

Now, aside from the 12 Chozo Artifacts, as Samus you also have to collect items scattered throughout Tallon IV, just like every other Metroid game. However, unlike other Metroid games, in Metroid Prime the game gives you hints as to where certain items can be collected. For example, they might say "Seismic activity detected in such and such room at such and such place". What's interesting about going around collecting new items and power-ups is that when you get a new item, you can go back to certain places and use that item or power-up to get to previously unreachable places. Now, these items can range from many things. Some of the items you collect are upgrades, such as upgrades to Samus's suit, which lets you do new things, such as move around in water as if you were on land. Also, some other upgrades include missile expansions, which lets you hold more missiles, and energy tanks, which increase Samus's health. However, some of the items you collect aren't upgrades at all. Some grant new abilities. One way we can see this is in Samus's visors and beams. In Metroid Prime, you have four visors and four beams, however you only start out with two visors and one beam. The visors you start out with are the Combat Visor, which is your main visor and allows you to fight, and your Scan Visor, which allows you to scan enemies to find their weaknesses, scan computer terminals to open doors or disable force fields or defenses, and to find out about the Chozo and Space Pirates as mentioned earlier. The only beam you start out with is the Charge Beam, and like all beams, this shoots out energy out of Samus's arm cannon. Now, there are more items than just beams and visors. For example, you have your Morph Ball, which allows Samus to turn into a little ball and roll around in small tunnels and such, and the Grapple Beam, which allows you to grapple to places when there is a grapple point somewhere. People who have played other Metroid games will notice that most of the items from other Metroid games have returned, however some of them have been limited, such as the Space Jump, which only allows you to do a double jump rather than jump an infinite amount of times like in other Metroid titles. Most of these items and upgrades are completely optional when you're attempting a speedrun, but they make the game easier the more you collect.

Alright, now it's time to talk about the graphics. To put it simple, Metroid Prime's graphics are amazing. This is most likely one of the best, if not the best, graphical games for the GameCube, which is great because now you have great graphics added to a great game. However, like I said, these graphics are perfect graphics for the GameCube. This means that you can't expect it to be up to par with PS2's or XBox's graphics, because of the GameCube's graphical limitations. However, thankfully in reviews, reviewers must judge a game's graphics based on the capabilities of the system of which it is played on, so I have no choice but to give Metroid Prime a 10 for the graphics category, as it is probably the best graphics the GameCube has seen.

The sounds in Metroid Prime aren't bad either. First off for the sounds category, let me first say that there is no voice acting in Metroid Prime. Samus doesn't talk, and neither do any of the creatures in the game. This is probably the reason why the story of the Chozo and Space Pirates are explained through scanning things, as there would be no point to reading the scans if a voice would explain it. Anyway, sound effects are nice. A shot from an arm cannon sounds about accurate and not like a gunshot or anything, so that's good. I've never been too good about explaining things in the sound category, but point in case, the sound effects are done fairly well. Thankfully, so is the music. I really liked how the music suited each environment nicely. It really added to the feel of the game.

Sure, the game is great, but how long does it last? Well, my friend, it'll vary. I beat it 100% in 12 and a quarter hours on my first playthrough, but I used a walkthrough, so that made it easier. I've heard that for some people, it could last well over 20 hours. It really depends on the skills of the gamer and if you use a walkthrough or not. Once you beat it, will you want to play it again? Once again, it depends on you. You may want to play it again, but I personally have way too many unfinished games, so I will probably not find myself going back to this game for a while. Maybe in the future though, maybe in the future. Time shall tell.

Well, now's the time where you're going to ask if you should rent it or buy it. I definitely say buy it, especially since now that it's been out for a while, you can find it for a really low price. I bought my copy used for $5, and it was well worth every penny. Not to mention this is becoming a rare game, and it's very good, so you should buy it. Let's review:

Story: 7
+Interesting backstory, and it can be skipped if you want to skip it.
-Main story is practically nonexistent unless you really pay attention to it.

Gameplay: 9
+Beautiful areas.
+Items are interesting.
-Collecting some items can be tedious.
-Some things can be hard to find without the use of a walkthrough.

Graphics: 10
+Most likely the best graphics the GameCube has seen, and areas are vastly detailed.
-The game's graphics aren't as good as games from other systems.

Sounds: 7
+Music suited areas and added to the feel of the game.
-Sound effects could've been a tad bit better.

Play Time/Replay Factor: 8
+Lasts quite a bit of time depending on the gamer's skills.
-Depending on the person, you might not want to replay the game.

7+9+10+7+8=41. 41 divided by 5=8.2

Well, this has been my review of Metroid Prime, and if any of you have read it, I hope you enjoyed it. Once again, I strongly suggest buying this game, as it is one of the best the GameCube has to offer.

Rating:   4.0 - Great

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