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Samus returns to fulfill all of your childhood fantasies. Does she bring back what we loved so much before or just leave us blue balling?
Well, itís about time I pry myself away from this game long enough to write up a review about it. Metroid Prime has finally reached our grubby little hands, and after eight long years, that bodacious babe bounty hunter Samus Aran has finally reachedÖthe 3rd dimension! *cue twilight zone music* Nintendo has passed the reigns to industry newcomer and 2nd party developer Retro Studios this time around. After an incredible amount of controversy, pessimism, speculation, and just downright hatred for the Metroid franchise going to a first-person perspective, Retro Studios has made all the rabid fans (myself included) stick all their feet in their mouths. And believe me, thatís a LOT of feet! Read on dear friends, and see why one of the greatest games in history might have to pass on the torch to his three-dimensional brother.
Graphics Whatís NOT to say here? Retro has outdone themselves and in an incredibly detailed way. The graphics in Metroid Prime once again set standards for all other GC games and maybe even games in general. The 3D polygon geometry in this game is so complex and so damn detailed that it makes me wonder if they were the least bit holding back. The game just absolutely SCREAMS Metroid, as it well should. The little details such as raindrops on Samusís visor and arm cannon really bring the realism to an entirely new level. And whatís even better is that all the level design is actually realistically portrayed. In past Metroid games and many other platformers, you would see just a floating platform there; it can just defy gravity for no particular reason. Well Retro has actually given these a reason to fly when they actually HAVE anti-gravity packs on them! Snow falling from the sky, chunks of wreckage floating in the water, bubbling lava pits, the numerous visor effects, and tons more are all done flawlessly. And the game NEVER drops below 60fps! Even though the gameís textures at times are not quite up to par with the ones in Star Fox Adventures, Iím not complaining, and you wonít be either.
Sound Again, whatís a Metroid game without a beautifully ambient soundtrack? Kenji Yamamoto, the composer of Super Metroid as well as Metroid Fusion has put together a wonderful soundtrack that adds so much more to Primeís experience. Remixed versions of old tunes, such as NES Metroidís Brinstar theme as well as Lower Norfair from Super Metroid make comebacks and just sound wonderful. My personal favorite is the music in the wrecked frigate ship, which you will just have to play and hear it for yourself. Why Retro didnít include a Sound Test in this game is beyond me, but I am definitely buying a soundtrack. There are a few voice clips in there when Samus takes some damage which of course makes you feel even more that you ARE Samus Aran. Every single enemy makes a different growl, squeal, screech, grunt, or what have you and of course itís all coming at you in Dolby Pro Logic II. If you donít have this setup at home, I highly recommend you find a way to play this game with headphones. It is a completely different experience.
Gameplay Well this is where it all matters, isnít it? The leap (more like a skydive) to a first person perspective is amazingly fitting for Metroid. I believe that even if the game did have the option to go into a 3rd person perspective as well as a 1st person, then you still would really play most of the game in 1st person. The game pulls off the ďfeelĒ of a Metroid game extremely well, and makes me proud of all the guys at Retro for doing such a great job. The game is completely focused on exploration and collecting power-ups, just like all the other Metroids. Puzzles are everywhere, and donít come by as being too difficult at times, but are still intelligently made. Suprisingly, there is quite a bit of platforming in this game, and the jumping is very fine-tuned to make it so you can make all of the jumps, first time. In fact, when you jump, it actually feels like you are pushing forward with your legs and moving through the air. The lock-on targeting is done with the L-button and that makes things a lot easier to shoot things. Many people complain about the non-dual analog controls, but those are mostly used for 1st person shooters, which this game is a far cry from, so the Goldeneye-esque control setup suits the game well. All I can say is I canít wait for the sequel. If you are still skeptical, I guess the only way you can find out is if you play it yourself then, eh?
Overall This game should be in every Gamecube ownerís library, and if it isnít, then thereís something definitely wrong with you. I am completely serious. If you donít give this game a chance, then you seriously shouldnít be playing video games. Metroid Prime is such a beautiful game that I almost feel spoiled to experience something of such high caliber. You may think that sounds a tad bit overblown, but I truly feel that way. The game comes with some pretty nice extra features as well. You can unlock Hard mode after you beat it once, which makes all the enemies twice as hard to kill and makes you take twice the amount of damage. There are also 4 different art galleries to unlock which show some pretty sweet art done by the talented people at Retro. And of course, hooking up a GBA and Metroid Fusion you will be able to unlock the original NES Metroid as well as the ability to play through the game in Samusís new Fusion Suit. The only thing that keeps this game from getting a perfect score is something that has to do with the ending (which I will not spoil for you), but it is a miniscule detail if any. If you havenít picked this game up yet, JUST GET IT. Ask for it for Christmasójust donít miss out on playing this game. You wonít be disappointed.
GameDiscovery.com : GameCube : Metroid Prime Review : Action