|By Andrew Raub||Thursday, 8 Jan 2004|
When Nintendo unveiled the first previews of Metroid Prime they started a chain of controversy surrounding their new GameCube games. The Metroid series had only been 2D platformers until this point, and the thought of a 3D Metroid from the first person perspective scared and angered many gamers. Of course, there is a time for change, and as seen by Super Mario 64, Nintendo can easily make the transition from 2D to 3D. The only difference with Metroid Prime is that its fate was in a third party’s hands. Retro Studios was given the great task of making Metroid Prime, and coming from a huge fan of past Metroid games I can honestly say that Prime is a great game.
Metroid Prime easily captures what made other Metroid games so fun. There is plenty of exploring, and you will visit many familiar locations, although Prime is set on a different planet. The story revolves heavily on Samus Aran’s past, and includes the Chozo race as well as many Space Pirates.
The first person perspective gives the Metroid series a fresh feeling. It is nice to borrow stuff from the other games, but if Prime was a 2D game it would not be nearly as good. You look right through Samus Aran’s visor, so it is much like playing as her. Retro went heavy on the graphical details, including reflections of Samus’ eyes or fog on the visor. All of the locations are lush and beautiful, most notably the surface of Tallon IV.
The controls perform amazingly, and are simple enough for gamers who don’t usually play first person shooters. When Samus jumps she looks down slightly, allowing you to land more easily. You can aim and look around by holding R, and strafe by holding L. You can change weapons or visors with a simple press of the D-Pad or the C-Stick, making adapting to large amounts of enemies a breeze.
The sound and music add an nice ambiant touch that is reminiscent of older Metroid games. You won’t find complex melodies or catchy riffs, but you will find nice moody music that doesn’t take away from the experience.
Metroid Prime turned out to be one of the best games for the GameCube, and rightfully so. It can be a bit difficult at times, especially the bosses, but it isn’t because of annoying controls or cheap enemies. Metroid Prime will require some skill, but it isn’t so hard that it will push you away. Nintendo should be shaking their asses in the faces of all the naysayers who thought Prime would be terrible.