Hello gamers and welcome to day two, week ten of our 100 reviews in 100 days.
Rolling into the number 54 position…
In 2002, Metroid Prime was released, and while I would normally say it was a risky move to take a game series from a side stroller to a first person shooter, they definitely knew what they were doing. Anyone who had played previous Metroid games could see the similarities, while enjoying a very new experience. After eight years without a Metroid game, it was time to adventure from the eyes of Samus Aran.
The Bounty Hunter Samus Aran comes across a distress signal from a Space Pirate ship. Investigating finds the crew slaughtered and evidence of genetic modifying experiments, and that the ships core is destabilizing. But worst of all is that the Pirates were experimenting on Metroid, an extremely dangerous parasitic organism. While escaping the doomed ship, and killing a Parasite Queen, you catch site of a cybernetic Ridley (a villain brought back from previous games). You chase Ridley to the nearby planet Tallon IV, where the hunt begins. Samus must fight her way through jungle, ice, and caverns to hunt down Ridley, find out what the results of Pirate’s experiments were, and on the way discovers many of the secrets and history of this Tallon IV.
Samus’ different abilities diversify as she defeats greater enemies and solves the puzzles of the Chozo, an extinct race of Tallon IV. An assortment of upgrades to her armor, arm cannon, and suit’s systems give her access to more and more of Tallon IV. Some are familiar, like the ability to roll her suit into a ball, drop bombs, and fire missiles, but others are unique, such as the Phazon suit that allows Samus to channel the corruptive material it takes its name from, which seems to be corrupting and destroying the planet slowly. Aran must find a way to access the source of the Phazon corruption, a large impact crater, and prevent the Metroid from spreading to the rest of the galaxy.
The Metroid universe was already well established, but had been dormant since 1994. The games had been popular for their expansive world and the gameplay inside of them. So when it was announced that the Game Cube would not just host a new Metroid game, but that it would be a first person shooter, fans of the series were hesitant. How would the game that had been traditionally a side scroller translate? Mario 64 had been good, but with how badly others had been adapted, it was understandable to worry about if it would do the previous Metroid games justice.
But the game is beautiful. The environments are rich and well designed, with nooks and secrets you can easily miss unless you give the world the attention it deserves. Water flow, lava jets, snowfall, and wildlife are all well designed and feel real. But minor details make as large of an impact on the player’s immersion into the game as the large graphics. The game’s interface is in fact Aran’s suit interface displayed on the glass of her helmet, and the environments affect them as you would expect if the game were real life. Frost gathers around the edge when trudging through snow banks, electrical blasts can sometimes short out the interface and make it disappear for a moment before it reboots, and even large blasts of light near to the visor reveal the reflection of Samus’ face inside the glass. The fact that this is all seen from a first person perspective draws a player into the world you’re exploring, and shows that the adventures of Samus Aran should have always been experienced this way.
The New Genesis
Metroid Prime was critically acclaimed when it came out, and justly so. Its success stemmed a trilogy of ‘Prime’ games. The way it played allowed lore into the game, which only expanded the universe. Metroid games also saw releases for the Gameboy systems and have continued onto the Wii, utilizing the Wii remote’s capabilities. Prime was a revolution for the Metroid series, and one more reason the Game Cube was so successful and viewed as a great system. Five out of five is what it has earned after strongly establishing its place in video game history.