Review by Mysmatoria

"Primed and Ready"

Seriously? Where do I start? There are just so many aspects, so many upgrades, so much EVERYTHING! I'm here left with a bamboozle of thoughts, all racing eachother to be heard. Well, I guess I'll begin with a little history--after an eight-year hiatus, at E3 a Metroid Prime trailer was shown--it was mind-blowing to see the jump from 2D side scrolling platformer to 3D beautiful first-person adventure. However, many doubted that Metroid would have success in first-person--especially doubting the skill of Retro Studios, the developer. Well, then came the release...

The first thing I noticed was the music and graphics--Samus was displayed in her shiny, fully-dimensional Varia Suit! I couldn't believe it! Today, the graphics aren't as beautiful as they were 8 years ago, but back then, it was like Final Fantasy: The Crystal Bearers. Then, of course, the music! It was immerseful, and of course after the dramatic music stopped and the camera swiveled around Samus, the classic music played--boy, was it beautifully remixed. I remember the chills going up my spine.

Okay, right now, it feels like I'm just throwing out my random memories. Here, I truly begin. I might start to mention the graphics--using the current GameCube hardware that had been recently released around a year or so prior to the release of Metroid Prime, the graphics were unrivaled. They were clear, held a considerable amount of depth, and as far as landscaping was concerned, could almost be real--almost. Maybe that's a slight exaggeration. One problem was that, being right after the close of the Nintendo 64's 64-bit era, some of the areas remained blocky, not unlike most graphics from N64 games. Then the lighting sometimes seemed...unfitting, I guess. I mean, in one paticular area, there was a huge window giving off light and a bright deposit of Phazon at the bottom, and although it was underground, still--some parts seemed almost pitch black. Another thing is that in the Phendrana Drifts, the snow doesn't really seem like snow--more like white dirt. Chozo Ruins didn't feel much like a desert-y place either. However, if you can ignore those small flies buzzing around the corners of your mind, they are quite stellar.

Next we go to music. From abandoned ruins to jungle overworlds, and snowy drifts to underground mines, the music always knew its way. It never in a single instance seemed out of place, nor did it ever cease to keep me interested. Boss fights were especially frantic with the addition of fast-paced music--besides maybe Meta Ridley, but the soft techno music really added a unique feel to it. Not only that, but it was a remix of the original Ridley theme. One that I'm especially fond of is the Space Pirate Battle music. When I first got the Thermal Visor and all the lights went off, along with the music that crept in, chills filled me, my blood started pumping, and of course, I got scared out of my pants. Well, not really, but I was pretty scared. No, definitely not Resident Evil-esque scared, but like "What the eff is going on I don't like this" scared. So all in all, I think the music was almost flawless. I also found the Chozo Ruins beat to be rather infectuous.

Now for the plot. I think that the plot was one of the weakest points of this game. It wasn't well explained, not fully developed, and mainly only accessible through reading extremely long Lore, Pirate Data, etc entries scattered throughout the world. Basically some kind of trouble is going on in a Pirate Frigate orbiting around the planet Tallon IV, and Samus is sent to investigate. After a battle with the Parasite Queen and a meeting with her sworn enemy Ridley, Samus flees the now-exploding frigate for the planet. From there, she is determined to track down Ridley and destroy him--but must pass many harsh challenges that await her--along with scuffles with Space Pirates. However, after destroying Ridley, she has learned that something much more sinister awaits in the core of the planet...

Finally, the Gameplay (I actually consider gameplay to be something like the controls and such). As we all know, masterful gameplay is that which is fresh, easy, immersing, innovative, and finally, overall good--fun would be more like it. Not only that, but it must show some variety--even good gameplay can get boring if it just keeps getting repeated...and repeated...and repeated in the exact same way. Thankfully, this gameplay is an amazing example of what good gameplay should be. It never gets old, seeing as you are constantly receiving upgrades that are well-incorporated into everything else. The controls are a little clunky, which is a drawback, but otherwise they stand surprisingly well. The difficulty levels were also a handy inclusion, although even the Normal difficulty might give some newbies trouble.

Before the final score is given, I will list my few problems with the game:
1. There are only four beams, and although most are series staples, they can get a little old and unoriginal.
2. Repetition. You are always forced to backtrack; another thing is that there are barely any locales as you stay in the same planet.
3. Scanning--why must I scan? Can't I just find everything else some other way?
4. Desolation. You never encounter another soul, which is well-made into the game, yet I still can't help but to feel lonely from time to time.
5. The inclusion of the Phazon Beam was kind of lame, seeing as you only used it once.

But putting aside the flaws, you find an amazing title--a sure classic. It mixed the traditional Metroid elements of frantic platforming and endless exploration and freedom with new elements that still fit the Metroid style--kudos to Retro Studios. I couldn't have done better.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 01/05/10

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

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