Review by Zylo the wolf
"It took me 10 years to finally understand that this game really is as good as everyone says...."
I have always had a really strange relation to the Metroid series. I quickly get bored the first time I try them, then a couple of years later I decides to give them another chance and realizes that they have a special atmosphere that can only be found in a few other games, but after a while I find another game to play and forgets all about it. I needed three times to really get Metroid, I needed three times to understand that Super Metroid is a one of the best games ever made and I also needed three tries to get into this game. I was a huge Gamecube fan back in the day but for some reason this game never got my real attention until now..
Many fans of the series were very worried that this game wouldn't be able to live up to the reputation the three previous game had, since they are all considered to be one of the best games on the systems they are on, and even more got worried when the game first looks like a bland FPS. Since this game is a bit different than the previous games in the series, Retro Studios created a prologue level which explains a bit of the plot in the game, but this level is also a tutorial stage where you get help to get used to the different control system in this game.
The game takes place just right after the first Metroid game. Samus is now a well known bounty hunter in the galaxy after she defeated the evil Mother Brain. At the start of the game she gets a distress signal from a Space Pirate Frigate whose crew seems to have been killed by modified experiment subjects on the ship. After investigating further Samus have to battle the Parasite Queen. Before the Queen dies it manages to activate a self destruct sequence on the ship and Samus must now flee from it as fast as possible. During her escape she losses almost all of her equipment and just when she is about to escape she sees her old nemesis Ridley, who now looks like a cyborgdragon, escape from the ship to a planet called Tallon IV. Despite having lost most of her equipment, Samus decides to follow Ridley and once again rid him from the galaxy.
After having landed on the Overworld of Tallon IV, you quickly realize that it doesn't take much to kill you right now since you only have one healthbar and almost nothing to defend yourself with, so the first thing you need to do is to find some equipment. Actually that the whole point in this game. Once you have found a new weapon or item you can explore new places in Tallon IV. All the upgrades that you could find in previous Metroid games are also in this game such as the Morph Ball, the double jump, the grappling hook, the missiles, different beams e.t.c. There are also a couple of new upgrades such as the speed ball which allow Samus to reach really high places if you can find a half-pipe in that area. Another interesting power up is the Spider ball, which can be used on rails to make Samus follow the rail while she has morphed into the ball.
As always you open a door by shooting a beam at the door, but many doors in this game requires you to shoot with a certain beam in order for the door to open and some enemies can only be killed by one of the different beams, so you can at anytime change the beam you want to use with the C-button. If you press up on the C button Samus will change to the Power beam, if you press right you get to use the Wave beam e.t.c.
Metroid Prime is also one of the few Gamecube games I can think of the really takes advantage of the small d-pad. Just like how you change the beam on your canon with the C button you can choose from four different visors with the d-pad. The first is the normal one with no special feature that you will use for about 90% of the game since you see best with this one. The other is the scan mode, which works like the action button in many FPS. You can use this to start an elevator or other machinery. You can also examine most of the objects in this game, which will either explain different puzzles, help you find an enemy's weakness and even explain the history of Tallon IV for Samus if you scan on walls with cryptic writings. The settings and the plot in this game is actually much deeper than the previous games, but it's actually optional so you don't have to worry about it at all unless you are trying to get 100% of the game.
Except of the Overworld, there are four other levels in Tallon IV. The whole point in this game is to reach new places once you have a new power up, so as you might have guessed you have to back track a lot in this game, both if you want to get further in this game or if you want to collect more missiles ammo or healthbars. Even if you have a map and each room has it's own name, it would still have been difficult to remember all the important things you passed through. But thankfully the game will help you after a while and point out on the map where you are supposed to go for most of the game. Personally I think this is great since I think it's much more difficult to keep track of a 3D world than a 2D world.
One last thing that I must praise this game for it's the boss fights in this game. They aren't that many but most of them are really intense and you have to beat the boss by being clever and use a certain strategy, usually with the new gadgets you recently found. The battle with Ridley is one of the best moments in the series, even if it can be difficult for someone who has a bit of trouble to control my character in first person mode.
And that's the only complaint I can think of here. The control is not bad, but it takes a lot of time to get used to. Since you never see where Samus has her feet, it can sometimes be difficult to time a jump correct, but this problem disappears when you get the double jump. Another thing that can be annoying is that you use both the C and D buttons to change different things but you have to hold R button if you and aim at something and then you can't move. You can lock on one target for a better aim, but that will sometimes make the situation even worse. I also which that Samus could've changed her beam a bit quicker.
Still I'm surprised how hooked this game got me. As every other Metroid game it needed a couple of years to grow on me, but I can now say that the game deserves to appear on all the top lists it's on. But personally I still have a slight problem with the first person view, so I have to end with even if the game gets a 9, it's still a weak one. Maybe the Wii version's control system is more of my cup of tea?
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 09/14/12
Game Release: Metroid Prime (EU, 03/21/03)
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