Publisher: Nintendo, Retro Studios Rated: Teen Released Year: 2002
- Nintendo Gamecube
- Nintendo Wii
Answering a distress call, Samus Aran, hero of Zebes, finds a series of weird experiments being conducted on a Space Pirate freighter. Eventually, her objectives takes her to the planet the freighter was orbiting, Tallon IV, where she discovers something much worse going on, as well as a prophecy depicting her arrival.
"This "really" represents what the Gamecube is able to put out."
Plot / Concept: 9 / 10
The game starts off with a LOT to do right as you get off your ship. You learn the basics of how to play through the first section of the game, the frigate. A disaster befell the Space Pirates onboard and they were forced to evacuate the ship. As Samus gets through the ship, she learns the Pirates were busy with experiments with an unusual radioactive substance we later learn to be called "Phazon" and from there inadvertently destroys the ship by plugging an enemy boss into a reactor system, causing the Timed Escape to commence, during which time a major explosion causes a malfunction in her Power Suit, losing every upgrade she had at her disposal. Nonetheless, she spotted Ridley, and followed it to Tallon IV, where the real game begins.
The most interesting experience with the story in this game has to do with the option of "Scanning" everything in sight to learn about the creatures, Space Pirate logs, Chozo Lore, research points, stations, your own gunship, a tree, just about anything and everything. Scanning is also used as a plot device to make part of the game more accessible, so sometimes it is mandatory to scan things, but there more optional than not, so you can either choose to skim right through the game, or stop and piece together everything that has been going on.
Gameplay: 9 / 10
Explore a frigate, explore a planet, scan and research, collect items all over the world, fight bosses, enemies and put up with loading times. Oooh yes, there is a LOT to do in just one game. This land is big and full of exploration and puzzles to solve. It brings back the original feel that was greatly emphasized on both Metroid 1 and Super Metroid. Despite having objectives, they brought back the exploration concepts while maintaining a decent combat system and puzzle-solving opportunities.
Being a disc game and not a cartridge game, there would be an issue with load times, but Retro Studios took an extremely creative way of dealing with this by having the rooms loading as Samus is in the room beforehand, cutting down on the wait time. Sometimes a door would not immediately open since the room behind it was still loading, but it is not a regularly occurring event and does not ruin game play. This trick was further improved by creating small rooms in-between every big room, also with a limited number of entry points. This design helped to cut down on how much needed to be loaded beforehand.
What might have been a 10 was knocked down to a 9 because of both the loading times issue (while you sit at a door, sometimes while things are happening to you) and that the 1st-release of the game had 2 places where it would crash because of bugs in how sections of the game was loaded up.
Controls: 6 / 10
While I praise Metroid Prime for making excellent use of the button layouts, these controls took way too long to get used to. It is bad enough with the Gamecube having an analog stick as the primary movement, but the directional pad was used only for scanning purposes since it is not in a convenient place for the thumb. And really... who thought of reversing what A + B did? How often did I want to shoot and I ended up jumping and vice-versa?
It is possible to get used to, it just takes a while...
Music: 10 / 10
One of the benefits of putting a Metroid game on a more advanced game console like the Gamecube is the feature of using fully pre-rendered music to play in the game, rather than depending on the system to synthesize music, depending on which sound fonts are to be used. Prime has a lot of it's own music and scores very well, even though it does draw from other Metroid games. The semi-dramatic music in the frigate Orpheon drew a feeling of mystery right from the start of the game. The music of the Crashed Frigate was calming, full of melody and piano. It does not give the feeling of safety (No Metroid game should ever do that, in my opinion), but it suits such an underwater mood well. The Phendrana Drifts "Tinkled and trickled" which suits the mood of ice and snow quite well. Phazon Mines ranged from a doom and gloom feel to a mystery feel, especially as you get further in. Every boss in the game had it's own music, adding even more variety to such a soundtrack. The remixes of the classic tunes of both Metroid 1 and Super Metroid were used rather well and nothing ever really got boring or stale.
Sound Effects: 8 / 10
Audio effects, monster cries, even a non-annoying Charge Beam sound. This game worked for audio effects VERY well,
Graphics: 10 / 10
This is a "Prime" example on how to unleash the pure potential of the Gamecube by creating the variety of different rooms, the textures, lighting effects, dull and vibrant colours played for the game in a professional manner. It would be better to call this game an art piece instead of a Gamecube game. There just happens to be so much to look at as you move through the game.
Moderate - High
Metroid Prime is simply a beautiful game to play, despite not having a lot to offer besides such a complex and well illustrated world that would be worth seeing many times over. Of the Metroid Prime games, this seems to be the easiest, but still sufficiently challenging enough to ensure it is not simply a cakewalk. You can easily improve your game by pushing to get all the scans, work on your time and item collection ratings.