Review by Newborn1990

Reviewed: 02/22/05

Retro Studios has pulled off the impossible and have created a masterpiece.

Introduction - Some sequels are worth a long wait. The Metroid series, which had presumably reached its peak with Super Metroid in 1994 didn’t see one Metroid game during the 64-bit era. Yet, Nintendo remained consistent in taking Metroid to the three-dimensional world. They decide to hire a team known as Retro Studios, who have never created a game before. Yet, after a long hiatus, Metroid has finally arrived.

Metroid Prime isn’t truly a sequel. There is nothing in the game that refers to events that took place after Metroid II: Return of Samus, meaning that Metroid Prime presumably took place before then. Although, there is clear evidence that Metroid Prime is indeed a sequel to the original Metroid. Nonetheless, it’s a long awaited Metroid game, so it’s going to be valued to fans of the series. However, what’s odd about Metroid Prime is that the action takes place in first-person.

I should note that as Metroid Prime was released, Nintendo wisely decided to release a Game Boy Advance title named Metroid Fusion, which is old-school side-scrolling action at its best. Nintendo definitely tried their best in giving their fans the opportunity to be entertained with the latest Metroid installments.

Gameplay – Samus will have standard equipment at beginning. Every upgrade you hold has made another appearance in another Metroid game somewhere along. At first, it becomes interesting as you experiment with your inventory and give it a few tries in the new three-dimensional world. Morph Ball in particular is rather very interesting. However, it’s due to the upgrades, or lack of upgrades, which makes the game feel rather linear at the beginning. The first level really feels more like a tutorial than anything else. A little more into the game and you’ll feel helpless. Yet, just like every Metroid game, the area opens up to you as your upgrade your arsenal. It really is amazing, and you’ll feel like a true adventurer. With an accurate map at hand, you’ll feel accustomed to this title.

Not only that, but you’ll find a ton of upgrades. A quantity of beams, visors, missiles, Morph Ball abilities, combos, and navigational tools such as the Grapple Beam or the Space Jump Boots are all included. Every upgrade has some form of representation somehow or another in Metroid Prime, and play a big role in accessing the next room or beating a boss.

As you obtain upgrades, you would imagine that the game would get much easier, right? Quite the contrary, you will use the upgrades to access new areas with foes of greater difficulty. I was impressed to say the least at the rise of difficulty. The game is perfectly placed, whereas the difficulty never falters. To add onto the difficulty, Retro Studios also allow greater enemies respawn in place of weaker enemies in case you need to explore previous areas. This livens up the feel a bit each time you walk into a room previously visited.

Metroid Prime has very accurate jumping. I was actually surprised at the convenience of jumping early on, as it feels more physics based. Rather, some first-person shooters feel very “floaty” as if you were on the moon. With its convenient controls you’ll be able to move, strafe, aim, turn, and jump simultaneously by using the B Button to jump and the Control Stick with the shoulder buttons to perform the other actions.

A new visor in Metroid Prime, the Scan Visor, is totally unique. With this piece of equipment, you’ll be able to scan creatures to find their weaknesses, surfaces of walls and floors to find out what demolishes them, and lores and log entries of Chozo and Space Pirates about their past, present, and what they’re planning for the future.

Another great turn of events is that Metroid Prime allows you to lock onto targets, essentially throwing dual-analog out of the window. I wouldn’t necessarily describe it as reinventing the wheel, because Metroid Prime doesn’t truly play like a typical FPS. Yet, it’s original, convenient, and allows the developers to challenge the gamer with quicker and bigger foes, allowing Metroid Prime to showcase some of the best boss battles since the turn of the century.

Metroid Prime contains some of the best scenes ever. There are many of which I won’t spoil that are priceless. I can’t believe the extent Retro Studios put in this game. It’s remarkable of the quality work Retro Studios has done. Many times, games aren’t great when a company is young. Yet, Retro proved Nintendo it was worthy of creating a Metroid classic.

Story - Metroid Prime’s story is what makes the game so unique. Rather than just delivering you a plot told through cutscenes, you will have to adventure on to scan logs about the Chozo’s past, the Space Pirate’s current plans, and other information. There are hilarious scenes told via Space Pirates logs that are too funny to spoil. Even better is that these logs are accessed via a Log Book on your pause menu at any time during gameplay.

I’ll go a little more in depth about Metroid Prime’s story, because it is the one compelling element of the game that definitely gives the game its backbone. Although it’s easily not the emphasis of the game, the plot goes along like the game and opens up as you progress, similar to the gameplay. As I said, it really is amazing to see things change, as you get closer to Space Pirates’ research labs and bases. It’s interesting to see their writing, and most of all I enjoy the way in which they write. It’s clear that many of Retro’s writers have very intelligent things to say, as it is well demonstrated in the logs and lores of Metroid Prime.

One of the best things about Metroid Prime is Samus’s voice, or should I say lack thereof. Samus doesn’t speak at all during the game, which has been a typical ritual in every Metroid game created. Her only lines of dialogue are those of pain when ever damage is done to her Power Suit. Otherwise else, Samus doesn’t speak. This may seem strange for a game this day in age, but it’s very conveying, as you won’t have Samus speak to herself about how this log makes sense with this other log. Rather, you can put two-and-two together by yourself. It’s very unique.

In fact, some of the best scenes are those moments during battle when a bright explosion or energy source is ignited near by. You’ll see a glare on Samus’s visor that will reflect her eyes and her face. This may seem a bit melodramatic if you’re reading this, but the expression on her eyes so much conveys the current mood and atmosphere of the game. I personally think of it as one of the greatest things to behold, and it’s so eerie to see Samus’s reflection the first time.

Graphics/Sound - I will say that Metroid Prime has some of the best music and graphics in the game. The music is a great mix of eerie sci-fi tunes with nostalgic backlighting. Sound effects will welcome your ears as your footsteps accumulate every surface, for every creature’s roar, for every visor activated, for every weapon shot, and for each slab of pain dealt to Samus. As for the graphics, there aren’t words to describe how beautiful in design they are. I still can’t believe how smooth the framerate is, and how unbelievable Metroid Prime is in motion. The amazing graphic effects that grace the screen will take you back to heaven. Even better is the capability of Dolby Surround: Pro Logic II and a progressive scan mode.

Play Time/Replayability - Metroid contains more than 20 hours of gameplay during your first run in events, and will have you playing more to search for every upgrade, expansion, scan, and image gallery. It’ll take nearly five files for each of these for weaker players, especially with hard mode as an added bonus. There’s also an original Metroid unlockable for those who’ve completed Metroid Fusion, yet you’ll need the Nintendo GameCube Game Boy Advance Cable to do so. Metroid Prime has so much to do, but even when completed, I’ve felt too compelled to play it again and again. There isn’t a true number you can set on Metroid Prime due to its amazing gameplay structure.

Final Recommendation - It’s almost too obvious, but I highly recommend Metroid Prime for every player. However, with a bit of lag in its beginning and the patience it might take for each upgrade, I can see some players being upset with the game. Nonetheless, I hope you can see my point when I say that Metroid Prime is worth getting, even if you don’t even have a GameCube. Go get it. If you’re patient enough, you’ll enjoy one of the finest games ever.

Since Metroid Prime doesn’t require the least bit of memory, is cheap, and is on the cheapest console today, there is really no reason not to at least give it a try. It’s much more than a bargain. It’s a must-buy. Many consoles, such as the Xbox and PlayStation 2 would welcome Metroid Prime onto their systems for the most part. Nintendo definitely does, which is why you can only find Metroid Prime on the GameCube. Regardless, all consoles have good games. The Xbox and PlayStation 2 are some phenomenal consoles, and like the GameCube, and pushing the limit on game boundaries. Of course, consoles also have to have representation in their games, and if there’s one game that represents the Nintendo GameCube the best, it’s Metroid Prime.

Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

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