Review by Etherius

"What?! I can only go up to 10?!"

Well, after 8 years it's finally here. Another Metroid game has graced the gaming world with it's presence. For a fan of the Metroid series, it's been far more than what I would call ''Worth the wait''

It's simply astonishing what some game companies can turn out, given enough time. Retro Studios, a no-name corporation was selected for the task of bringing Samus Aran to the 3D world, and a helluva job they did. But enough of my rant, on with the review.

Graphics: 10/10

Amazing, simply amazing. The shear amount of detail in the Metroid world is astonishing. Everything you would expect to happen while you're in a suit of armor happens. When it rains and you look up, rain falls on your visor (And correctly refracts the light of the world around as well). When you move past a steam vent or under a waterfall, condensation builds on your visor. Gib an enemy too close? Blood smears your visor. Coming out of the water is a treat as well while you watch the water sheet off.

The effects are great as well. Charging the Ice Beam coats your gun in a layer of ice. Charging the Wave Beam forces electric arcs to coarse through your blaster. When the plasma beam charges, the gun expands to let out the extra heat. Firing the full Power Beam charge is pure eye candy, as watching the space around the shot warp and twist.

Retro did an amazing job with enemies as well. Space Pirates no longer look like mindless bugs as they did in Super Metroid. No. They LOOK like feared enemies of humanity in Metroid Prime. Not to mention a VERY COOL real-time death system.

There is ONE problem I have with the game, and that is vertex lighting. But this is SUCH a minor beef, I'm not sure why I even bother listing it.

Sound: 10/10

Enthralling. The music and sound effects draw you in and don't let go. Space pirates have fearsome roars and guns sound exactly as you would hope they would.

Nostalgia galore as well. Fans of Super Metroid will instantly recognize the music of Magmoor as being a gorgeous remix of the Norfair theme. The sound you get when you find a new item is there as well.

Every sound Samus' Power Suit makes is totally believable and makes you feel like you're actually there.

Controls: 10/10

As anyone well knows, gameplay is THE most imporant part of any game. If you're reading this review, than you must have read others. The most common complaint about Metroid Prime is it's control scheme.

While it's true that traditional FPS games use the dual-analog control scheme, Metroid Prime is HARDLY a traditional FPS... if you can even call it an FPS. A dual-analog configuration just would NOT work. A dual-analog configuration is based on a scrolling type of weapon switch. Metroid Prime however, uses the second analog in a more ingenious way. Instead of Weapon Scrolling, it's instant Weapon Switch. The idea of Metroid has NEVER been a 'one gun does the job' type of deal. Different enemies require different weapons, not just more powerful weapons.

Different doors require different guns just like enemies. If a weapon scrolling system were in place, there would be FAR more complaints about this game.

For someone who plays traditional FPS games like Halo for XBox uses dual-analogs, this may be a little awkward. Please, get used to the controls, it won't take long, and after a while you'll wholeheartedly agree with what I'm saying about traditional dual-analog controls just NOT being right for Prime.

Gameplay: 10/10

I could not ask for anything to be more of a Metroid game. The idea that one needs a weapon found later in the game to get an item in the beginning is as strong in Metroid Prime as any Metroid game. The chlaustrophobic feel that some corridors give is great as well.

Everything is there. Except NOW they give you satisfaction. If you look long enough, you'll find many Pirate logs stating just HOW badass you are. Reports of how you can access their systems at will, how you are considered heavily armed and dangerous and how you must be stopped at all costs litter Pirate bases. It's very satisfying to realize just how terrified your enemy is of you.

AI: 9/10

I wasn't considering putting this section in my review until I remembered some shootouts I've had with the space pirates. Space Pirates aren't the mindless clunky bugs from Super Metroid. In Metroid Prime they are large, agile, and strong... not to mention FAST and SMART. It's not often I see AI so good. When a pirate is under fire, they will take cover. When they SEE a shot come at them, they roll out of the way if they can. They are SMART, make no mistake.

Replay: 10/10

As any Metroid fan well knows, there's always a reason to do it again. Well now there's 2. Not only will you obviously get better endings depending on % completion, now you get a hard mode. If the primary mode wasn't challenging, this will be. Enemies are far more plentiful, and tougher.

Story: 9/10

For a Metroid game, it's damn good. Metroid games' storylines ended in the instruction manual. Here the tale of the Space Pirates, the Chozo and the fate of the planet are propogated thoughout the entire game (For those who choose to use the Scan Visor to read Pirate Logs and Chozo Lore). Some of the facts revealed in the Pirate Logs will rearrange your whole understanding of the Metroid Saga as a whole.

Do you want it? YES
This game is the best Metroid game to date (And for someone who loved Super Metroid enough to beat it in under 3 hours with 94% completion, that's saying alot), without question. At least half of the people that have played this game will agree that if you don't own a GC, you should buy one if for no other reason than to play Metroid Prime.

That's my 2 cents. Thank you.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 11/22/02, Updated 11/22/02

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