GAME OF THE
MONTH COLLECTION! METRIOD PRIME
Studios, November 19, 2002)
Theft Auto VC won last month's GOTM, I figure that
we could not forget about some of the other bigger games of the 2002 holiday
season, especially since this particle GC game is this good, eh? I waited 8
lonnggggg years for this but it's finally here! "Yes, it's back!"
Here is Metroid Prime for the Nintendo Game Cube. Bounty Hunter,
Samus Aran returns to fight the evil Space Pirates of the galaxy again but now
this Metroid game is completely 3D and the view is almost always First Person
Shooter now like in other games a Halo,
Quake, Goldeneye. Weird but true. Metroid Prime is filled with spectacular graphics,
familiar sounds, and the same good old gameplay that made the originals such
great games, but is this really the best Game Cube out so far or is this game
one big 3D disappointment?
After the last known Metroid was killed off in her previous adventure, Samus
Aran was searching for the final batch of Space Pirates that escaped from the
now destroyed planet of Zebes. We now know that Samus's reason for hunting these
evil aliens is because she was orphaned as a child after an devastating raid
by the Pirates on her home world. Samus uses her advance techniques and famous
power suit originally from the peaceful Chozo race to protect anyone from the
deadly menace of the Pirates. The few remaining Space Pirates fled to the planet of Tallon IV to rebuild their
once fearsome empire and unfortunately for you, Tallon IV had more that enough
natural resources to get Samus's enemies off their feet again.
First let's start off with what developer Retro Studios did with this new Metroid
here. The new First Person view sure takes some getting use to especially if
you are used the classic 2D gameplay of the original Metroids, thankfully these
controls are fairly simple to learn. The basics to the newer controls is the
Aiming (R button) of Samus's hand canon and the Lock on (L button) feature to
focus on a object or enemy, once you learn those two buttons you'll be ready
for action. I only wish that Nintendo gave me the option to change my control
set up around, but you can't even edit the controller in the options menu so
you're stuck with them. The reason I bring this up is because the 'Jump' button
is used by 'B' red button to the left of the giant A button used to shot, some
may notice that those buttons are actually in reverse from the NES
Metroid. "I can't tell you how many times I hit the 'X'
button (the Morphing ball) by mistake, just because I wanted to jump!"
Moving on to the subject of 'Jumping', the only problem with the First Person
view is the difficulty of judging your jumps and if miss an important jump could
really frustrate you in a hurry. You can also forget about doing flips and Screw
attacks in Metroid Prime, it's one of the major problems with this new view
here. Another thing to get use to while in this view is fighting some trickier
enemies from that attack from behind or something, it's really annoying when
you get hit by a enemy that you can't even see. Still Metroid Prime is very
easy to get into despite the 3D look and you won't have to mess around with
a camera all the time either unlike in Super Mario Sunshine.
"This is only the first boss too!"
The view and controls are not the only things new here. Samus can now open a
cool new Scan window to exam various things for clues and info or to activate
devices. Most of the orange items that are scan able are pretty pointless so
I recommend only scanning the red square for anything important. As you get
deeper into the game there are upgrades for your Visor that can help you see
attackers in the dark or find some hidden area too. Don't worry Metroid freaks,
Metroid Prime also has a lot of classic game play that made the other three
Metroid games such cult favourites. Samus starts off the game with many of the
power ups from the past games like the Morphing ball (in Third Person view of
course), the grabbling gun, varia suit, and more but don't too attached because
she is going to lose it all after some trouble near the beginning. The fun thing
about a good Metroid game is to find a new item or ability that helps unlock
new areas and Metroid Prime has that here too.
I don't know if you hear yet, but there is a little glitch in some of the earlier
copies of Metroid Prime. I experienced it too when Samus was riding one of the
Chozo Ruins elevators, the game just froze up on me before she reached the top
and I was forced to turn the system off. In fairness to Nintendo, it only happened
to me once but it's better to be safe then sorry when or if you buy this game
that it's not one of the defected copies. Ask the sales rep just to be sure.
Metroid Prime is also compatible with that kind of useless Gameboy
Advance to GameCube link adapter too. With this little gizmo
you can download some of your Metroid Fusion data to a Metroid Prime game to
unlock some special features like new suits and if you finished Metroid Fusion
you get to play the NES Metroid on your GameCube. The only problem with that
is you have to spend a extra 20 bucks for a link cable that only works on a
weak hand full of games, the thing is really just a dust collector but that's
for another review.
The graphics in Metroid Prime are nothing short of stunning!
The First Person view thing may seem a little strange at first but it sure makes
this game look like a million bucks! I love the way the screen ripples when
your Charge shot blasts away at a target, plus the Scan effects also alter your
view to change things up a bit, it's looks very realistic. Other noteworthy
things are the many things that get in the way of Samus's vision like alien
slime, mist, and water, words can't describe how impressive it is to get something
right in your face like that. Not only is the game super detailed with very
diverse landscapes (although some of trees and snow banks look a little blocky)
but the frame rate is really smooth too, I'm pretty sure this baby runs at 60
frames per second. The action only slows down when there are too many baddies
on the screen at once but that's fairly rare.
Speaking of your enemies, the world of Tallon IV is filled with lots of them.
Remember those spiky wall climbers, or those pesky suicidal bugs that explode
on impact from
the other Metroid games? They're back in this game
and they are beautifully detailed in 3D (most of them are still ugly though
of course). I also love the attention given all the animations, it was really
freaky seeing those bugs that pop out of the ground and caw their way towards
you. Metroid Prime also has some killer looking bosses like a giant plant bug
with razor sharp claws powered by ancient sun mirrors. Although you don't see
Samus a lot in the game, you can view her sometimes during intermissions and
when Saving your game, her suit looks amazing with a nice amount of glare and
detail. The action switches into a third person perspective when Samus transforms
into her Morphing Ball mode (X button) and there is even some cool lighting
trail effects created simply by moving around.
I was very surprised by the sounds in MP, not because it sounded cool and all
but a lot music in here is from the past Metroid games. Fans should instantly
recognize many of the remixed tracks from Metroid
and Super Metroid (sadly no Metroid II music though). The sound
effects were really impactful too with lots of cool loud shots from the various
lasers, plus we can't forget about the tons screaming aliens on the other side.
It also really helps if you actually hear a enemy making lots of noise especially
if one of them decides to strike from behind like I pointed out earlier.
Metroid Prime is not like most First Person shooters you played
before, this game involves a lot of searching, jumping, and even some puzzle
solving besides the usual shooting. Although it's weird
that Retro Studios didn't go all the way with the First Person craze and do
the first ever Metroid multi-player (or even Metroid Online, eh?) but you can't
win them all I guess? There better be a GameCube sequel though so people could
really get excited by Metroid again and add the features I just mentioned, eh?
"None of this wait a decade crap Nintendo."
If you hate First Person Shooters then I recommend renting this game before
you invest your cash right away but chances are if you are a hardcore Metroid
fan, you will love it anyways. New comer Retro Studios still did an absolutely
fantastic job with their game here and if you don't fall in love with the liquid
smooth graphics or heart pounding sounds, then maybe the addictive game play
will lear you in. Like the past Metroids, I couldn't stop playing it until I
did everything possible there is to try out and believe me it's gonna take awhile
to beat this one. It's not really better or worse then the awesome Super Metroid
but I'm glad there is finally another Metroid, it's not fair that we should
have to wait 8 years to play one, especially when the games are this good. "Don't