Cube owners, your wait is over. Finally you can laugh back at the Xbox cronies or the PS2 junkies. Because the good people at Nintendo (its for breakfast now) have given us Metroid Prime. First let me say this; Nintendo seemed to freak everyone out when they released the first information of the game. I don’t think anyone expected the next gen Metroid to be a first person shooter. The gaming community is already flooded with games in the FPS genre, so no one was expecting anything revolutionary.
I bought the game with some hesitation. Although my thin Gamecube library was the main reason for me to trade crap in and reserve a copy of Metroid, I had no idea that the game would be bringing me back to Metroid the way it was meant to be played. Upon placing the game into the console, the first thing I wanted to see is if it played like Halo. I find Halo to be the standard of any FPS, with the way it handles movement and combat. Metroid’s controls unfortunately had nothing in common with Halo at all. The movement is done totally with one stick. No movement and aim stick, just one for both. Although is sounds odd, the movement is very smooth, as a matter of fact the whole game is best described as smooth. To add to that, this game ends up bringing a bit more zest to the FPS genre. This game, strange as it may seem, is a platform! That’s right I know exactly what you are thinking. The good people at Retro developed this game for the purposes of exploring. You will use your visor a lot for this reason. Samus’s visor comes equipped with a scanner that will give you tips to the games many puzzles, and hints to the vulnerabilities of the game’s enemies.
In Prime you will not find yourself with hordes of enemies swarming you from every angle. Instead you will find yourself trying to jump gap after gap, all the while fending off exploding enemies. The crazy thing is, that in a regular platform game, you can see your jumps, ala Mario Sunshine, the challenge with a FPS and jumping is that you cannot see them. Although Retro does make this task seem natural, you will no doubt find yourself at the bottom of an acid pit due to a mistimed jump, only to have to try to make that jump again.
Everything is back, from the Morph Ball, to the upgradeable weapons. The game stays true to Metroid fashion. You will have to use your morph ball to get into tight places, and at the end of the level you are sure to encounter a huge boss. Thanks to the new technologies in the Cube, there are so many little things that will have Metroid fans marking out from time to time. For example the game is seen though the visor of Samus, and depending on your environment you can see condensation on the visor, or water dripping on it, as well as the reflection of her face when you are near a light. Retro made sure to show as much of Samus as possible. You will ,surprisingly enough, see Samus in full so many times throughout the game. These small details add to the personal experience a FPS brings to the table.
Metroid will cater to the tastes of so many gamers. Obviously the FPS freaks will feel right at home, and I believe the platform junkies will love this challenge. For those of you that appreciate a game for visuals…this game will not let you down either. Metroid is easily the best looking game for the Gamecube. The environments are exactly how you would have imagined they should be, if you are a fan of the series. To be able to bring it to life as Retro did, is quite an accomplishment. In my opinion this game is a buy. Go out trade some games in and own the first real good Gamecube game. Hopefully this is the beginning of more quality games to come.