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Metroid Prime 3: Corruption

by Jonathan Metts - May 10, 2006, 11:58 am PDT
Total comments: 20

So how do you really control a first-person game on the Wii?

Graphically, Metroid Prime 3 is not a shocking improvement over the last game in the series. There are some new effects for beam blasts, missiles, grapple beam, etc., but the environments look about the same, at least in the demo. Character models are more detailed, particularly the Space Pirates, who have more detailed bodies and are more colorful than before.

But what is shocking about Corruption is the control, which is of course radically different with the Wii controller. You move with the nunchuk control stick and aim with the remote as a pointer. Within the central area of the screen, you can aim the blaster without turning. To rotate the view or look up or down, you point towards the edge of the screen. It’s pretty easy to keep track of, thanks to the targeting symbol. But actually moving with the joystick and aiming/turning with the remote, at the same time, takes a lot of coordination. I did feel more comfortable with it after several minutes, eventually getting into some shootouts with the Space Pirates in which I no longer had to think about the controller as much.

Unfortunately, my comfort level with the remote was irrelevant during the times when the pointing feature would simply stop working altogether. Several times during the demo, my view would freeze up, no longer responding to my pointing gestures. The natural inclination is to wave the remote all over the place to find the cursor, as you might do with a computer mouse, but that doesn’t work at all. The Nintendo employee at the demo station suggested that I hold the remote in a central position to give it time to re-calibrate, which the game apparently does on the fly, and this method worked much better. At this point, I’m still not sure how to prevent the pointer freezes, but at least they can be fixed quickly.

Morph Ball is activated with the round C button on the nunchuk, and it is controlled entirely with the joystick. The nunchuk’s Z trigger button activates lock-on, which helps tremendously with aiming in a chaotic situation. The remote’s B trigger jumps and double jumps (the demo doesn’t call it “Space Jump" for some reason), and the big A button fires Samus’s blaster and Charge Beam and also drops bombs. Left, right, or up on the D-pad turns on Scan Visor, while down on the D-pad immediately shoots a missile. I found that hitting the D-pad in a hurry can be difficult, since it’s a bit of a reach up from the A button, which is your home position when playing this game.

The Grapple Beam is used quite a bit in the demo, and its control implementation is interesting. You lock onto an object with the familiar grappling icon, then swing the nunchuk forward (as if casting a fishing line). Once the beam is attached, you press down on the control stick to pull the object towards you. I think it would feel more natural to pull (or maybe jerk) the nunchuk back towards your body for this latter function, as mixing the buttons, accelerometer, and joystick all for just one move is drastically more complex than the old method of just pushing the L trigger. Of course, the greater difficulty in using this move is balanced by its increased utility. The Grapple Beam is now used to clear away heavy debris that may be blocking your path. You can also use it in combat to disable shielded enemies. I’m pretty excited about these new uses for an item that was nearly worthless in previous Prime games.

The game demo begins with Samus flying her redesigned ship through space and then landing on a planet. A Galactic Federation soldier greets her at the landing pad and explains (in text and a clearly audible, English-speaking voice) that the station is under attack by Space Pirates. You then take control of Samus and move through the installation, where you encounter the typical corridors and ambushes.

Eventually you come out to an exterior bridge, where you must fight Space Pirates (some shielded) and flying enemies that may also be pirates, though I’m not sure. (Didn’t think to scan them.) When all the smaller enemies are gone, a medium-sized gunship flies in and hovers near the platform, firing energy blasts at you. It takes a lot of shots to put down, but it’s not too hard, especially when using jumps to dodge laterally. Then comes a real surprise: a mysterious character enters the scene to dispatch additional gunships. This character flies around on an ice slide, exactly like Ice Man from the X-Men, and he fires blasts of cold at the incoming ships, causing them to slam together and crash. The character then approaches Samus and suggests that they work together to clear out the rest of the enemies. This guy would seem to be Noxus from Metroid Prime: Hunters, and he looks similar in the close-up view, but not quite the same. In any case, this character and Samus appear to be on friendly terms. He flies off at the end of the cut-scene, so it’s not like you are fighting side-by-side with him…at least not yet.

My own demo session ended at this point, but that’s only the half-way point in the floor demo. I watched as other people played deeper into game, though. The next area is a vertical shaft populated by small flying robots, which are easy to dispatch if you can keep them in your sights for long enough to shoot. After those guys are all defeated, you begin a long Morph Ball section to climb to the top of the shaft by navigating tunnels in the wall. Meanwhile, an enemy in the center of the shaft is shooting at you, so it helps to be fast. At the top of the shaft, you encounter Ridley and somehow end up falling with him down a huge tunnel, two kilometers deep. A counter at the bottom of the screen shows how much farther there is to go before you hit bottom…in the interim, you have to deal with Ridley. He has two phases: in the first, he faces you from far away and fires shots at you, which can be destroyed by your own shots if you have good aim. You can only hurt him when his mouth is open to charge up a big fat laser. After a while, he gets much closer, within melee distance, and begins to charge up physical attacks that do a ton of damage. The trick here is to fire a Charge Beam at his hands while he is preparing to attack, which will prevent him from finishing the blow. Sometimes his mouth will open, and that’s your chance to unload missiles or a Charge Beam into his noggin’. If Ridley is defeated before you both land at the bottom of the shaft, the demo ends with a “Mission Accomplished" screen.

I’ll be playing a lot more of Metroid Prime 3: Corruption and may post more impressions if needed. Definitely check back on Thursday for tons of new preview info on the game, as we’ll be speaking with some of the top developers at Retro Studios to learn what the game is all about, what’s new, and how the gameplay is being adapted for Wii controls.


TrueNerdMay 10, 2006

Dude. Grapple beam action sounds bad ass. Let's just hope they fix that pointer-freezing problem in time for... when's this game releasing?

*Notice how I deftly avoided a frozen penis joke.*

UltimatePartyBearMay 10, 2006

Sounds cool. I hope you give the developers an earful about how bad an idea it is to mix the accelerometer and analog stick controls like that. That sounds really unintuitive. Also, why in the world would the game lose calibration after it was established? If you squeeze some information about how the controller actually works out of them, you'll be my personal hero.

RizeDavid Trammell, Staff AlumnusMay 10, 2006

From everything I've taken in over the last week or so, I don't think Prime 3 is a launch title (oh how that saddens me). My gut tells me that if it isn't launch, it might as well be fall 2007 (that would put it head to head with Halo 3, yay). Honestly, I just want Retro to have enough time to really polish it.

As for the remote... judging by everything I've seen, they're using IR not RF. That means you're going to have line of sight problems with the remote if you're not careful. Hopefully a little practice and a little more software development make that a minimal or non-existant problem.

mantidorMay 10, 2006

Anything on the speaker in the remote? was it used in the demo?

From what I see theres a long way to go for the game, but so far it looks to be on the right track, I hope it doesnt get to much on the action side but more on the exploration side.

SlayerZeroMay 10, 2006

Based on Retro's previous work most, if not all, of these bugs should be worked out by the time they're finished. If all goes well, Prime 3 should be an excellent addition to the Metroid franchise.

wanderingMay 10, 2006

Good impressions.


As for the remote... judging by everything I've seen, they're using IR not RF. That means you're going to have line of sight problems with the remote if you're not careful. Hopefully a little practice and a little more software development make that a minimal or non-existant problem.

I'm sure there's a reason they had to go with IR, but dang, that sucks. I thought they held off on making a wireless controller for so long because they didn't want to use infrared?

UltimatePartyBearMay 10, 2006

If my current line of thought is better than my last one (still not over that face-icon-small-frown.gif), the IR is for detecting where you're pointing. It still uses RF (specifically Bluetooth) to communicate with the console.

Bill AurionMay 10, 2006

"I hope it doesnt get to much on the action side but more on the exploration side."

I believe Retro has already commented on this and has said there will be even more puzzles and exploration this time around...

And I think I read that they are looking at a Summer 07 release, though I'm sure it's a tentative release (as all release dates are)...

mantidorMay 10, 2006


according to IGN

no multiplayer
x-ray is back
no ship direct controls
a wave beam that actually goes through walls like in the 2D ones
its a launch title

Let me repeat the best part

NO MULTIPLAYER face-icon-small-happy.gif

*me and paladin celebrate alone while the rest of the internet complains*

Bill AurionMay 10, 2006

I don't see why taking it out is a good thing, but it's not going to hurt anything either...

mantidorMay 10, 2006

Well Nintendo is all of the sudden catering to my own weird tastes, I cant be nothing but happy face-icon-small-smile.gif

wanderingMay 10, 2006


Originally posted by: PartyBear
If my current line of thought is better than my last one (still not over that face-icon-small-frown.gif), the IR is for detecting where you're pointing. It still uses RF (specifically Bluetooth) to communicate with the console.

Yeah, probably right.

I suppose, since the pointer functionality expects you to be pointing at the tv screen anyway, that infrared isn't so bad...although, when you loose signal, there needs to be a message explaining what happened and what you should do. "Signal lost - point remote controller at TV screen" or something.

Link LinkMay 10, 2006

I just hope that this time we see Kraid make the game. I want to see and battle a 3-D Kraid. Even a Phazon corrupted Kraid would do.

KDR_11kMay 11, 2006

Strange. With the manual aiming multiplayer would actually have made sense.

PaLaDiNMay 11, 2006

No multiplayer. face-icon-small-smile.gif

Oh good, my fears about this game have been laid completely to rest. This can't turn into another Metroid Hunters if they take multiplayer out. This game is going to kick so much ass now that Retro's just working on making a beautiful single player game.

Ian SaneMay 11, 2006

I never thought I would be happy about a feature being removed. But no multiplayer in my mind is a good thing. It just shows that Retro is going to focus on what's important for a Metroid title. In a way Hunters' existence is kind of good. Retro can no say "There! NST made you your crappy Metroid FPS. Now shut-up and let us make a REAL Metroid game without you FPS fans bugging us to make a Halo clone."

"its a launch title"

If this and Super Mario Galaxy are launch titles then I'll get a Wii at launch. There would be pretty much no reason not to. Even if stores forced us to buy bundles I could just get that because there would be enough titles I want so that I wouldn't feel like I was forced to buy something I didn't like.

CalibanMay 11, 2006

Ian, SMG is most likely not a launch title: http://revolution.ign.com/articles/707/707709p1.html

PaLaDiNMay 11, 2006

Yeah, SMG is coming out sometime in a six-month launch window, and I'm still not convinced Metroid Prime Corruption will be there at launch. Zelda pretty much has to be there though, and that's good enough for me.

Ian SaneMay 11, 2006

"Ian, SMG is most likely not a launch title"

Bummer. Then I might hold off for a price cut. After all I might get the Cube version of Zelda which would keep me occupied. Still the Wii is pretty much a definite purchase for me barring any financial woes on my part. Considering I had no interest in buying this thing less than a week ago that's a big deal.

CalibanMay 11, 2006


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Game Profile

Metroid Prime 3: Corruption Box Art

Genre Adventure
Developer Retro Studios

Worldwide Releases

na: Metroid Prime 3: Corruption
Release Aug 27, 2007
jpn: Metroid Prime 3: Corruption
Release Mar 06, 2008
eu: Metroid Prime 3: Corruption
Release Oct 26, 2007
aus: Metroid Prime 3: Corruption
Release Nov 08, 2007
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