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Metroid Prime

Review By:  Andrew Joy

Developer:  Retro Studios
Publisher:  Nintendo
# of Players:  1
Genre:  First-Person Adventure
ESRB:  Teen
Online:  No
Accessories:  Memory Card, GBA/GCN Link Cable (Metroid Fusion)
Date Posted:  2-4-03

Even months before the game had really made it's appearance into the gaming world, the title was already shrouded with controversy. There was a great upheaval about Metroid Prime's turn from a side-scrolling adventure into a first-person shooter. Personally when the game finally arrived, I had no bias towards it. I had never played any game in the series before and, as such, I was unbiased in every way; this perhaps allowed me to enjoy the game right of the bat, opposed to Metroid veterans. However, even for the seasoned fan of the series, there is no doubt denying that this game revolutionized and revived the long lost series. Its better to just accept this fact now: In the end, Metroid Prime will get us all.


Another controversial point that stirred up the Metroid community was Nintendo's choice to let the relatively untested Retro Studios handle such a delicate project. However, Nintendo did not simply hand over one of its cash cows blindly, instead they worked hand in hand with Retro Studios to create what we have now: one of the most impressive games to ever grace the
GameCube, both in terms of graphics and gameplay. The unique gameplay elements, from the heroine's armor to the intriguing strategy and attention to detail it takes to conquer the game, only further compliment the title.

When you first start Metroid Prime, the first thing you will probably take note of is the visor. A first-person shooter, the game cleverly displays all you need to know (and sometimes more) at one time. Packed full of more gadgets than a Swiss Army knife, players can check their health and ammo, identify threats (both living and environmental), shoot from their variety of weapons, and scan the area with a variety of weapons practically all at the same time. The screen hardly ever strays from the first person view, keeping a fairly realistic sense about the game. The visor also takes into account the effects of various environments, such as the occasional waterfall misting your visor for a short period.

Another noteworthy topic of the game is of course the beautifully rendered environments. From the rubble of time-worn ruins, to the effect that the wildlife has on the area, all of it is impressively detailed and should not be taken for granted. The environment itself also periodically changes, offering more of a showcase for the GameCube's abilities than a gameplay challenge as a sudden downpour overtakes the area.

The wildlife of Metroid Prime, whether it is classic or new to the series, must all be taken into account. Often times you would relish the chance to observe some of the enemies in the game, however they often come at you in such numbers that it is either kill or be killed. Even if you miss the chance to watch the actual creatures, your are allowed the opportunity to
view your data entries at later dates. However you will probably want to find out about an organism when you first scan it, for it's the only way to analyze a weakness and defeat it. Some of the life in Metroid Prime is far from harmful though and, unless otherwise provoked, are quite helpful in certain situations.


With the mention of the classic enemies, there must of course be a way to beat them, which brings us to the weapons of Metroid Prime. Most of these should look familiar to though I am sure nothing can quite compare to seeing these classic weapons and moves fleshed out in 3D. Some of the classic moves that you will likely recognize are Samus' abilities to grapple and
roll into a ball, both allowing access to otherwise unreachable areas.

The new world of Metroid, a three-dimensional one that is, may not be one easily explored as soon as you start the game. However at has been cleverly made into a game that any one can pick up and enjoy with a little practice. In fact, the first level acts as a very direct tutorial to Metroid Prime, as well as laying at the story for the oncoming adventure.

Highs:

  • A spectacular game in every way
  • Revives a long-lost series

Lows:

  • Metroid veterans may not like the switch to 3D or first-person.
  • May seem hokey to newcomers to the series.
  • May be too hard for younger gamers.

Final Verdict:

Metroid Prime is the game that the GameCube was made for, this game does for the GameCube what Zelda did for the N64. The controversy of breaking away from Metroid's side-scrolling roots holds now ground once you see how impressive it now looks. In fact, if you have a system that can do awe-inspiring 3D graphics, use it.

Succeeding where Castlevania 64 failed, it proves that the right games can be made for all audiences, especially when you have the right people working on them. There is no question about it, this game is the one worth handing over your wallet for. Packed full of extras (Most to be enjoyed by connection with Metroid Fusion), this title cannot be fully enjoyed by simply renting it, so it is better no to try.

Overall Score: 9.5

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