Review by sarge21

"This is Super Metroid, only better and in 3D."

Ok, I might as well start off bluntly: This is a action/adventure gamer's game. It has fast and furious action, an art style to die for, and a storyline about as shallow as it can get. Who said modern games need a plot to be any good?

Anyway, if you've ever played a Metroid game in your life (or even if you haven't ), the story does not need much explanation. In the opening sequence of the game, Samus loses much of the abilities she posesses (morph ball, charge shot, etc) while escaping a ship orbiting the planet of Tallon IV. Miraculously, during the ensuing explosion, her gear falls down to the planet, landing amongst devious puzzles allowing you to reach one item only by gathering the preceding items. Fate is cruel, but at least they didn't land in a volcano...

The entire game revolves around a simple premise: You have to go somewhere and kill someone, and to get there you need something. Sounds simple, repetitive, and boring, doesn't it? We shall see.

Graphics: 9.9/10

The graphics in this game will cause even the most hardened videogame vetran to giggle like the proverbial ''little school girl''. Maybe. Well probably not. What the graphics are sure to do are make you wonder how on earth they got that much color and vibrance into such a little disc. It's not so much that the graphics are so much technically good, which they are, it's more the atmosphere that is given off by the lush colors, the expansive (or claustrophobic) enviroments, the trippy lighting effects, and, perhaps the most impressive to me, the immeasurable number of little details that are put in the game. While rain dripping on your visor and seeing your skeletal frame through the suit may not cure cancer, it will unite the gamers of the world.

The character models and animation are awesome. Not like ''Whoa, that was cool,'' awesome, rather like, ''I need new pants.'' The bosses are huge, and their animation is very fluid, and I can confidently say that during the many hours of gameplay I have NOT ONCE noticed any hint of slowdown. And there is a lot going on here, folks. Likewise, the environments look great. Even the historically overused frozen and lava levels (it's a very diverse world), almost have a personality to themselves.

The one fault I found with the graphics (hence the .1 deduction) would be the textures. Somehow, they seemed flat (I guess due to the lack of bump mapping). It may sound like I'm nitpicking, but in certain scenes it was very noticeable for me.

Don't let that gripe lead you to believe that the graphics are anything less than amazing. Due to the wonderful art style and the incredible amount of details, I would say that this game has the best graphics I've ever seen. Good work Retro graphics programmers. From me to you I give a hearty, ''Kudos''. Now stop standing around and get to work on your next game.

Sound: 9/10

What can I say? There was no track of music that compared to the Brinstar section of Super Metroid, and for that I am truly sad :( Actually, for the most part the music was very good, and by ''good'' I mean it provided a great ambient background for the game. However, there are a couple... odd ... tracks and one in particular is downright grating, but to tell you the truth they're in heavy action sequences where your life may be draining out faster than the Dreamcast. Overall, it is impressive, but the least impressive part of the game (well, besides the main story, I suppose).

Gameplay 10/10

And a big 10 it is. Though at first it was a bit difficult to get to control, it soon became evident that this is the way the game is meant to be played. Dual Analog be damned! I cannot imagine playing the game with it. There are a few instances where it is difficult to maneuver, but I guess you can chalk that up to a bulky suit with no perhipheral vision. The lock on system is great and does not in any way make this game simple and easy. I repeat: When there are five enemies shooting missles at you, the thing that will save your precious energy will be your skill and timing, not the lock on system. I think Retro reduced a lot of frustration with the lock on system, considering the amount of jumping that is required while fighting.

I swear, no one will ever come out with something that is both as cool and as utterly insane as the morph ball. Whatever Nintendo was on when they came up with that I have no idea. The morph ball is, of course, an integral part of the gameplay, and thankfully, it is a blast. It controls exactly as you would imagine and there are even 2D areas a la Super Metroid. There is not a lot to add about this, so I won't.

Overall, this game plays very similar to Goldeneye 007 and Perfect Dark, but the game it really reminded me of the most was Zelda: The Ocarina of Time without the towns and people. This game may be similar to a fps, but at it's heart it is truly an adventure game. This is not something that people who have never played a Metroid game can really appreciate, I think. So, if you wanted a high tech Zelda with no towns or NPCs, then this is your game. Fun, fun, fun, and more fun.

Story: 7/10

If I gave the impression that the story of Metroid Prime was not exactly a cinematic masterpiece, that was because there... well... is no story. That is, unless you like making hefty use of the scanning visor, which not all people may. However, much of the plot that it revealed through scanning various items is either necessary or just very cool. This is where the story is revealed, and if you take the time to scan everything you will be made a better person.

Replay: 9/10

With multiple endings, a treasure trove of secrets, and a hard difficulty mode, there are many reasons to play the game more than once. Oh yeah, the game rocks, too. If none of that is reason enough, then please... think of the children. PLAY IT FOR THE CHILDREN!!!

Oh yeah, and if you beat the game under 1:30 on hard mode and collect 100% of the items, you will open up Super Metroid. You probably shouldn't believe that, though. ;)

Atmosphere: 10/10

I know that this really shouldn't be a category, but Prime does it so well that I think it deserves it. Why would this be any different though... all Nintendo licenses have great atmosphere.

Yes I'm a fanboy.

Overall: 10/10

Candidate for game of the year. It's got everything a growing body needs, such as amazing graphics, tight gameplay, and seven essential nutrients such as calcium and vitamin C. ***DISCLAIMER: DO NOT EAT DISC, OR YOU MAY DIE, AND EVERYONE WILL LAUGH AT YOU FOR BEING DUMB***

Seriously though, this is a great game, and a sure classic down the road. This is Metroid at its best. This is Metroid the way it should be. It may not last 40 hours like modern RPGs, but it has more than enough gameplay to make up for it. In all likelihood, you should buy this game. If you have strong doubts, then rent it, or borrow it. At the very least you should try it, because if you skip it you are doing yourself a great disservice.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 12/07/02, Updated 12/07/02

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