Review by RykuXr

Reviewed: 12/14/05

Metroid Prime is a great Action Adventure FPS for the GC.

Metroid Prime is the first 3-D Metroid game and it came out in late 2002. Some have great things to say about this game and some have some bad things to say, but is is one of the most original games out there. Metroid fans will definitely love how loyal Prime is to the entire Metroid series. Prepare yourself for one of the most immersive games ever made.....Metroid Prime.
Story: Well some people say there's no story while others, say there's a great one, you just have to look. As in all Metroid games you play as the might bounty hunter Samus Aran. You board a ship to destroy the space pirates, but the ship ends up crashing on a planet called Talon. As you land on this planet you have no idea what's going on.

You start searching the planet and end up entangled in one of the greatest adventures on the GameCube. At the start there doesn't seem to be much story, and that's true, but it's up to you mostly to find the story in the game. You come to find out that a substance known as Phazon is corrupting the planet and is one of the reasons a great race known as the Chozo, are now dead. A meteor with Phazon crashed on this planet and is slowly taking over every thing. You're not sure what exactly happened to the Chozo until later in the game, but it's not good. As you go about your mission you find that, there's something more going on here than meets the eye. Much of the story line is found out by scanning different objects and then reading them. Saying too much more would ruin the plot of the game so I'll keep quiet about the rest. It sure doesn't seem like there's a story when you first start out, but trust me there's a pretty good one lurking in the game.

Audio: As is the case with most Nintendo games the music and sound effects are always great.
The sound effects like aliens screeching, lava, water, or phazon beneath your feet all just sound great and fit the game perfectly. Samus's beam weapons and rockets all sound loud and powerful, they also sound very unique and like they could actually be real weapons. Certain sound effects are really eerie or sound blood curling like, Samus's scream when she dies. As if the sound effects aren't awesome enough just wait till you hear the music. The subtle background music fits each and every area to a tee and sets the atmosphere too.

The tunes are a classic collection from previous Metroid games and of course, brand new ones too. If there's one thing that everyone(no exceptions so far) likes about Prime is the music. All the music in the game is amazingly atmospheric and sets the tone and mood for whatever you're doing. If you're fighting the music is a bit louder and menacing than the normal background music. The music for boss fights is especially great and is unique to each and every boss there is.
Sometimes you can barely hear the music and it's a nice calm tune, while other times the music shines through to make this atmospheric game even more so. The sound of rain or the radiation from the phazon is great and sounds just like it would in real life. When you jump in a pool of water you hear the distinct splash that water should make. Whether it's the sound effects or the music you can be sure to enjoy all the audio in Metroid Prime.

Graphics: If you like graphics then you've got the right game in mind, Prime delivers on some of the best graphics you could hope for. Sure it's 2005 and graphics have gotten better and yet, Prime is still a great game to look at. Of course you can tell that it's an older game, but it still holds up amazingly well when compared to other games. The character models are unique and well done just like you would expect them to be. Samus in particular looks very good and you can even see her face in the suit in cutscenes. The lighting effects are done well and show that the team behind this game cared about getting things right. A really neat thing in the game is, when you run into fog or kill an alien too close your visor will fog up for a second or the alien blood will splatter on it, but will be cleaned off in a second. You can also see the reflection of her face when an explosion happens close to you. Snow and rain look very good as do most other things like phazon do. There are some things that don't look that great, but you have to remember this is a 2002 game. Lava and most explosion don't look that great and can look flat and unnatural for the most part too.

Certain areas look a bit bland and don't have a lot of detail to them either. Most buildings and trees look pretty good with attention to detail while other times they don't look that great. Grass, leaves, enemies, and temples and such have that Metroid feel to it. Enemy designs(as well as bosses) are original and look great, with a pretty good amount of detail to them. While not perfect it still looks great and has amazing detail, realism, and just so much more that make these some of the best graphics available.

Gameplay: Alright this is the meat and potatoes of Prime. It's classified as a FPS, but it's more like a First Person Adventure game than anything else. As you might expect you see every thing through Samus's eyes. The HUD is great and gives you a great amount of info so that you always know what's going on, while not being in the way or taking up too much space. Metroid Prime is a slower paced game than most FPS's(like Halo or Half-Life), but that's what makes it so unique and worthwhile. When you start the game you don't have a lot of options to take down enemies or solve puzzles, but that changes latter in the game. You start out with your basic power beam and 100 hp and nothing else.

As you go along you pick up different powerups(some neccesary and some not) to help you get to the next section or solve a puzzle. As you go along you get more powerful and by the end of the game you truly feel like you're the most powerful bounty hunter in the galaxy which, is a pretty cool feeling. You'll be solving various puzzles more often than battling enemies, but when you start a battle expect to be in for a wild ride. As you progress you start fighting more enemies and tougher ones than you previously had. Even when you start fighting more and more you'll still be solving quite a few puzzles. If you're a hardcore action fan then you probably wouldn't enjoy this game too much, since it's main focus is puzzles and immersion. Even though you won't be doing too much fighting you'll still get a good variety of enemies to use your various weapons on. When you're not fighting you're solving very clever puzzles to dig deeper into the planet and uncover it's mysteries. The puzzles are unique and varied just like previous Metroid games have been. Although you can solve some puzzles right when you enter a new area you'll have to come back to do most of them when you have more powerups. That is one of the biggest problems you'll have with Prime, is how much backtracking you'll be doing throughout the game. It used to be common to backtrack in older games, but that is one thing modern gamers hate to do. It does make sense that you have to come back to an area when you're more powerful, but sometimes it just gets too frustrating when you spend an hour trying to figure out how to get back to a place you were just a little while ago. While there is a ton of backtracking you'll also have quite a few new places to explore also.

When you do move onto a new area you appreciate it more than in some games since you have a nice change of scenery finally. Some will view backtracking as a bad thing and some, as a good thing, but it really is a trademark of the Metroid series and I wouldn't have it any other way. One other thing that might bother some is the lack of cutscenes. The few that there are, are in-game graphics(not a bad thing) and don't usually reveal much plot wise. Because there are such few cutscenes they feel like rewards once you've done something big in the game. Now on to one of the most important parts of any game...........the controls. To say that the controls are different is a bit of an understatement, since they're unique in just about every way. Most FPS games let you control the character with the analog stick and have you look/aim with the second control stick, but Prime is no normal game. You move Samus with the analog stick, but you don't use the second control stick to look/aim. Instead, you must squeeze the R trigger to manually look and aim. When you are looking you can't move at all, so it makes it a bit weird to get used to at first.

To make aiming at enemies easier there is a lock-on feature where, you look at the enemy and then pull and hold the L trigger to lock-on. This will seem weird at first, but trust me that it will become 2nd nature after your first few battles. When you're locked on all you have to do is hit the A button to start shooting at the enemy. This will be weird at first, but it will come easy after you get used to it, which will be sooner than you think. Other than the looking/aiming the controls are what you would expect, and are easy to use no matter what siuation you're in. Most battles won't get you too excited, expect for the huge boss battles in the game. Each boss is big, fierce and will be a lot of fun. The bosses that you first meet are somewhat challenging, but won't make life too hard on you. The last 3 bosses in the game, however are hard and quite challenging. As with most boss battles the hardest part is figuring out how to defeat them. Now besides battles and puzzles there's another unique thing about Prime, and that is scanning. Unlike most games you will, at the end of the game have quite a few different visors, from X-ray to heat detecting they all play a part.

The two visors you will most often use are the normal one and the scan visor. When you switch to the scan visor it looks just like the normal one, but you now see orange or red symbols on certain items. When you see one of these symbols simply press and hold the L trigger until the information has been downloaded and you can read it. Scanning not only provides helpful hints(when fighting new enemies or bosses), but you also learn most of the story through scanning and reading different tomes left behind by the Chozo. When you enter a new area be sure to scan all the objects first so that you can be sure not to miss anything. Scanning at first seems slow and awkward, but you get used to it fast and it a nice way to differently tell the story. The reasons for some of these things is, this game immerses you in the world and makes you feel like you're really there. From the music to the controls and the way you learn the story, it all makes you feel completely immersed in the game almost exactly like Half-Life 2.

The biggest reason to get Metroid Prime is because it's more than a game, it's an experiece that completely immerses you and does an amazing job of it too. The levels blend together seamlessly and makes for a feeling that this is no ordinary game. While it's not about the story or combat as much as it is about the exploring and puzzles solving it's a very fun and immersive game. Not only is it immersive, but this game is faithful to the Metroid series and any fans would love this game for being so true to a great series. Metroid Prime will last you a good 15-20 hours if it's your first time going through and 10-15 if you've done it before.

Features: There aren't a lot of unlockables and there's no multi-player, but the extras are nice. There are four image galleries that you can get by doing various things in the game, like scanning all items. If you have Metroid Fusion you can play through the game again using the Fusion suit. You can also unlock the original Metroid and is a direct port that holds up very well, it's fully playable and saves the game automatically so you don't have to worry about losing your progress and you don't have to write down a password anymore.

Replay: The replay in the game is debatable. Once you beat it for the first time you can go back through on Hard mode, which means enemies will be tougher to kill and deal out more damage. You can also play through using the Fusion suit(Metroid Fusion required of course), but it's just a suit and doesn't change the game. The only other reason to play through again is to get 100% scans and items, but you can go back and get any item any time. You can't go back and get scans that you missed so you may want to play through a second time. All in all you probably won't go through it more than twice, because it's so long, but that's okay since it's a good game. There being no multi-player does hurt it a bit, but it wouldn't be that great anyways since Metroid is a single-player type of game.

Overall: While the story isn't amazing and the controls are a bit strange you can still have a great time. Prime is an incredibly immersive, fun, and a great time to be had by anyone who's willing to give it a chance. If you like a lot of action and a ton of cutscenes you probably won't enjoy it so much, but Metroid Prime is faithful to the series and made a great transition from 2-D to 3-D.
The graphics are good and the sound is amazing, so if you are a fan of the Metroid series, or you have never played a Metroid game Prime would be a great start.

The unlockables and extras aren't amazing, but seeing different concept designs and other images in the galleries is nice. Playing the original Metroid on the GC is a nice bonus and is a nice way to use up your time. If you're looking for a fun, immersive, original game then look no further than Prime. Do yourself a favor and at least rent this game to experience one of the best GameCube games out............Metroid Prime.

Rating: Metroid Prime may not be what you're looking for, but it has few faults and what it does it does very well. If you're like me and enjoy an amazing single-player game then get this. I loved Metroid Prime and was engrossed after the opening cutscene till the credits. I give Metroid Prime a 9.2/10 for being such a great and fun game that immerses you till the very end.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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