Review by BlitzBoy

"An impressive end to a fantastic trilogy."

The Metroid series has been one of Nintendo's stables since it's inception in 1987. Since then a Metroid game has appeared on nearly every Nintendo console, ever expanding the adventures of Samus Aran. When Retro Studios brought the series to 3D with Metroid Prime, they changed the formula from a classic side-scroller to a first-person adventure. This was a successful venture and Metroid Prime was quickly hailed as one of the best games on the GameCube. Metroid Prime was followed by an equally impressive sequel, Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, which expanded on the gameplay of the original. The third and final instalment of the trilogy was released on the Nintendo Wii and was met with anticipation equal to that of the first Metroid Prime game. Metroid Prime 3: Corruption had the difficult task, as most third instalments do, of trying to meet the level of excellence of the first two games. Corruption may not only meet these expectations, but exceed them as well.

The action in Corruption begins not too long after the action in Echoes. Samus Aran, the bounty hunter whom the player controls, has been called up to the Admiral Dane of Galactic Federation. Apparently the Space Pirates, the primary antagonists in the Metroid universe, are responsible for infecting the Galactic Federation's computer network system with a virus. Samis along with three other bounty hunters, Rundas, Ghor and Gandrayda, are put to the task of restoring it as well as investigating the Pirate's activities. As you might expect, this doesn't turn out to be as simple as it sounds. Dark Samus, formally known as Metroid Prime, makes another wickedly appearance and Samus's overall mission is to stop her and the Pirates from infesting worlds with Phazon, a highly radioactive material that mutates and corrupts all life.

One of the finest features in the first two Metroid Prime games was the rich environments and the superb atmosphere of the worlds. Corruption continues this trend with more fantastic areas to explore, each unique and providing each planet with its distinct identity. From the fiery temples in Bryyo to the steampunk Skycity of Elysia, from the Federation base on Norion to the dark and ravaged remains of a destroyed battleship, the locales of Corruption are as varied and stunning as the worlds in first two instalments. Visually, the characters and enemies you encounter are adequately detailed and presented, although are nothing special graphically. Many enemies have multiple death animations depending on how you deal with then; the disintegration of particular enemies, for instance, is a nice visual effect. Corruption is a great looking game for the Wii, and while it may not be overly impressive when compared with more graphic-intensive games, it should be enough to satisfy the eye.

Corruption follows the same format as the previous Metroid Prime games.
Samus must travel over a variety of environments and overcome various obstacles and enemies. She begins the game with minimal items and the overall objective is to track down and obtain items and weapons that will allow her to get through the game and save the day. Corruption mostly uses a first-person perspective, however doesn't follow the more typical FPS format of moving from one fire fight to the next. Instead, Metroid Prime focuses more on platforming and exploration. The worlds are not all that linear and although you and generally forced to proceed through the world in a specific order, you do not usually do so in a straight line. Backtracking through previously explored locations to get to new, previously unreachable areas has always been a part of the Metroid formula, and is still a feature in Corruption. Often there are shortcuts you can find or open up with the right equipment, or locations where you fly between in your ship. When compared to the previous games, however, the game is a little more restricted in terms of direction. It is harder to get lost and inter-planetary travel during a main mission is minimal. Sometimes you'll find yourself only travelling between only two of planets in order to make progress.

Samus makes use of a visor system which enables her to select one of four possible visors to provide her with different functions. The default combat visor provides you with a map and radar as well as allowing you to target and shoot at enemies. The scan visor allows you to receive all kinds of information of the world around you, whether it be about the bridge you are walking across, the statue in front of you or the enemies that are attacking you. You can use this information to find your way past obstacles, find out your enemies weaknesses, or simply learn about the planet you are currently on. Samus also has a morph ball mode that enables her to transform into... well, a ball. In this mode you control Samus from a third-person perspective. Often you'll be required to navigate a maze of tunnels in morph ball mode in order to proceed or find a hidden item.

Corruption diverges from its predecessors in that it removes the sense of being isolated and alone on a large, empty world. The Galactic Federation have a far more prominent role in Corruption which provides Samus with a variety of characters and troopers she can talk and interact with. Although Samus remains a silent protagonist, practically every trooper you encounter will have something to say, even if it's nothing but them telling to you shove off as they're busy. This, coupled with the ability to travel between multiple planets, gives the game a larger, more populated feel than the large hollow worlds you explore in the previous games. Each planet is a similar size, perhaps slightly larger, to each "area" in the previous Metroid Prime games. While this does give the game a larger overall feel, it does lack that grand scale of exploring one large world. The planets in this game feel somewhat confined, and you sometimes are left wishing there was more to do in each one.

Another new feature is the objectives system that has been integrated into the log book and map. This isn't much different from the hint system that was present in Corruption's predecessors, and generally just tells you were you might pick up your next item, but it does list other goals such as destroying a shield generator so you can bypass the enemy defences. Although the game continually advises and guides you along a set path, the game is no more linear that before and you can feel free to ignore these objectives until you are ready to proceed.

The weapons systems have also had an overhaul. Unlike Metroid Prime and Echoes, you do not have a multiple beam selection system, but instead a system more like Super Metroid where your beam is simply replaced by a new one. Missiles and morph ball bombs are back, although the super versions are noticeably absent. While this has damaged the variety in your weapons repertoire, there have been some additions to change things up a little. The Grapple function has been upgraded so that it can not only swing you across chasms, but can latch onto shields and debris and allow you to pull them away. This is used not only to make your way through the environment, but in combat, allowing you to latch on you enemies and expose weak points, or rip them apart altogether. Hypermode from Metroid Prime also makes a return, this time as a fully-fledged weapons system. At the cost of an energy tank you can go into Hypermode to greatly boost your offensive capabilities. However, this can be dangerous as not only does it chew through your energy, but staying in Hypermode too long can lead you to becoming corrupted... which means game over.

Samus's ship, as well as carting your from planet to planet, also gets a few weapons. These can be activated using the new Command Visor and include firing ship missiles at enemy targets, and picking up large items with the ship grapple. While these are fun additions and give a little more use to Samus's ship which has hitherto been sitting in a corner, they are not utilised too often which is rather disappointing. Ship missile expansions are one of the new items you'll find in your adventures, but you'll be wondering why you need so many as you hardly ever need to bomb anything with your ship.

The Wii controls for Corruption are very well done and compliment the gameplay nicely. Aiming is done by simply pointing at the screen, and unlike in previous Wii first-person games, the reticle is accurate and responsive. The added versatility of being able to aim in this manner allows the use of more interesting enemies and battle tactics, plus it is a lot more fun. There are three levels of sensitivity as well as a "lock-on free aiming" option. When enabled, this allows you to move the target reticle around while locked on. This way you can shoot at enemies and projectiles without losing sight of your primary target. Occasionally there are control terminals that are used by performing motions with your Wiimote, such as turning it clockwise to turn a switch or pushing it forward to activate a level. Other motion controls include swinging the nun-chuck to launch your Grapple beam, and flicking the Wiimote up to perform a jump in morph ball mode. The Wiimote speaker is not used.

The music in Corruption, much like the music in its predecessors, ranges from ambient, spacey background music to more full blown grand choir-like music. The battle themes are faster paced and pumping and thus match the mood of the battles, especially the boss battle themes. The music is matched up well with the areas they are played in and considerably add to the atmosphere of the game. The sound effects consist of the typical blasts, booms and monster growls we've been familiar with before. There's not a lot new or anything fancy in this department but it works well and does its job without detracting from game. Something that is new is the addition of voice acting in Corruption. The game isn't dialogue heavy, but every line of dialogue that is in the game is spoken. The voice acting is actually very well done and there are no real negatives to speak of in terms of it.

As with the previous Metroid Prime titles, Corruption features extras in the way of bonus galleries and concept art. These are unlocked by collecting tokens found during the game. You receive these by scanning log book entries, defeating bosses and tough enemies as well as finding secret areas or performing special tasks. There are a number of different types of tokens of which you can trade in for these extras. Additionally, you can collect friend vouchers which you can trade to friends via WiiConnect24 for friend tokens to unlock the more prized extras, such as the screenshot tool.

Metroid Prime 3: Corruption takes first-person adventure action from the first two games and builds on it to create a fantastic close to the trilogy. Utilising the added functionality of the Wii, Retro Studios have created a great adventure game which is just great fun to play. Corruption is undoubtedly one of the best titles on the Nintendo Wii and is definitely recommended to anyone who owns the console.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 11/15/07

Game Release: Metroid Prime 3: Corruption (AU, 11/08/07)

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