Gaming Forums > Reader Reviews

Metroid Prime


Howdy Folks! Just thought I'd help get the ball rolling by reposting some of my Shackreviews reviews over here.  Enjoy!

Aaahhhh yes... Metroid Prime. Possibly Nintendo's biggest release for 2002 Gamecube.

Gameplay: 9.5
Metroid Prime has been billed by Nintendo as a "First Person Adventure" game instead of a first person action game. A lot of people could blow this off as marketing spin, but it really is true: Lots of puzzle solving, exploration, and a Zelda like control scheme. How does it work out??? In a word... Fantastic.

Starting out, the control scheme can be a bit overwhelming. Well, if you've played a lot of console FPSes at any rate. On the flip side of that coin, however, it really does work an awful lot like a Zelda control scheme, so once you figure that out there shouldn't be too much difficulty adapting to it.

A lot of people have put down this type of control scheme, calling it "inadequate" or "not quick enough to work in heated combat". Personally I disagree with this, and challenge anyone who has actually beaten the game to say otherwise. You see, Metroid Prime has enemies that are immune to certain weapons, and invisible in certain visors, and simply put, once you get later in the game, it's set up where if you could not switch visors and weapons very quickly while dodging there would be no way to survive. Having this control scheme allows for new play mechanics to open up where every weapon and powerup in the game is constantly useful, and there's just no way to do this any better given the controller it's been done on.

Anyway, getting on with things...

There's a lot of things this game does right. The platforming sections actually work in 3d (no easy accomplishment, also thanks in part to the control scheme) and the Morph Ball isn't just a gimmick, it's a fun as hell gameplay mechanic that'll have you playing around with it constantly, featuring some fun platforming done with it and some great half pipe/switch puzzles that are devious, challenging, and addictive all at the same time. Thumbs up.

There's also quite a lot of positive things to be said about the enemies. Over the average "shooter" game, several of them require specific strategies to beat, beyond the aformentioned weapon immunities. Also, the AI on several of the enemies is quite good, mostly the Space Pirates who use the environment to their advantage, ambush you, and use flanking tactics and more. Then there's the bosses. Each and every one of them is unassalable minus an "acchilles heel" which is then cleverly disguised in some way to keep you from being able to just blast them apart. This really adds a whole new dimension to what would traditionally be just point, blast and dodge (although you have to do that too) and keeps not only the gameplay refreshing but keeps your weapons and abilities useful through the entire game.

Another thing that bears mentioning is the exploration aspect of the game. Getting as many items as possible really makes beating a lot of the bosses much, much easier and plus getting the elusive 100% garners you a second ending. It never really feels contrived or poorly done either. It's just part of the game and it works really well.

I could go on for ages about how interesting and different a spin this is on what was a pretty stale genre but I think I'll stop here. It's a little unfortunate that the screw attack and dash attack didn't make it in, but I guess that's the bricks with first person. Can't really knock any points off for anything else.

You've already heard a lot of people going on about how wonderful the graphics in Metroid Prime are, and so I'm not going to say a whole lot about it.

One thing I'm going to mention is that I've read in a few places people complaining about the framerate and that the game is glitchy. I've never encountered any of this. The framerate is always rock solid, the load times are nonexistant for the most part, and I've never, ever seen a single graphic or system glitch of any kind.

For me, it's not so much the technology that makes the game so visually appealing, but the art direction and the amount of care that went into designing each room. It really is impressive how they can run with a them and each and every room looks distinctive while retaining a solid theme. I genuinely commend them for achieving such a polished design. It truly is absolutely fantastic.

Metroid Prime is about average length for an adventure game, which is much larger than a standard FPS. I'd say roughly 25-30 hours through the first time, dependent on how thorough you are. The level designs, enemy designs, and boss designs are all fresh and interesting, keeping you glued during the whole play time so you'll probably blow through it in a week or two at the most anyway, sacrificing your poor girlfriend, life, friends, and holiday relaxation time in the interim. Once you're done with that, you get a gallery, hard mode, and if you have Metroid Fusion, a different suit and the entire NES Metroid game, with memory card saving instead of passwords. Then there's getting 100%... doing that without a guide could take AGES.

Quite a bit of value to be had here.

Buy if:
You're a fan of the series. There's no reason not to own it. Also buy if you're looking for a first person game that's actually fresh and you thought the genre was stagnant. Hell, buy a Gamecube for it.

Rent if:
You're concerned about the control scheme. Also, if you've never played a Metroid game before the idea of backtracking (which you do a fair amount of) and respawning enemies may also put some people off. Some people could find having to scan to get the backstory tedious as well.

Don't buy if:
You want a new blaster game. This is NOT a shooter, it's an adventure game, and if you go into it expecting a shooter, you'll be disappointed. This game is nothing like that. Also, if you have a short attention span and don't get into the idea of having to scan everything, this might not be the game for you.

Overall rating:9.6
In conclusion, Metroid Prime is a rock solid game that once you realize what it is and take it on it's own merits, really does live up to the tremendous hype that's been placed on it. It's well worth owning, and I'd agree (although just barely) by saying that it is the best Gamecube title to date.

Well worth the price of admission.


[0] Message Index

Go to full version