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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Retro Studios / Nintendo
Genre: First Person Adventure
Players: 1
Rated: T (Teen)
Release Date: Nov 18, 2002
Written by: Faerieprincessco

It was 1994 when Super Metroid was released on the Super Nintendo. Super Metroid proved to be one of the most creative games of all time and became an instant favorite to many gamers. Although, after seeing the "See you next mission!" screen at the end of Super Metroid, who would have thought that mission would have been eight years later?

Metroid can possibly be Nintendo's most distinguished adventure series they have ever created. The 2D iterations of the series, such as Metroid (NES) and Metroid II: Return of Samus (GB) proved that even though Metroid consisted of jumping on platforms and blasting away enemies that its main focus was exploration. Exploration is what defines the style of Metroid games and it is because of this why Metroid Prime became the captivating game it is.

Prior to Metroid Prime, Metroid games had only been done in 2D. There were no Metroid titles on the Nintendo 64, so Metroid Prime was the Metroid franchise's birth into the 3D world. As if having a 3D Metroid title didn't shock Metroid fanatics enough, it was then announced that Metroid Prime was going to be done in First Person perspective. It was because of this many people became skeptical about how good of a Metroid game Metroid Prime would come to be.

With all skeptical thoughts aside, Metroid Prime was released and proved to be true to the Metroid series and an excellent adventure title.

Metroid Prime takes a closer look at the ancient bird-like creatures known as the Chozo. The Chozo are highly technically and scientifically advanced creatures that have traveled through space, building many marvels across the universe. All was peaceful until the Chozo's society reached a technological peak. This technological peak caused the Chozo to feel a loss of their spirituality and the Chozo then became steeped in prophecy and lore. Unfortunately, the Chozo foresaw their own civilization’s decline and the rise of evil.

A meteor had crashed onto the planet Tallon IV, which spread a harmful substance all throughout the planet. This substance, known as Phazon, immediately sank into the earth and water and poisoned any life forms it came across. Plants and animals instantly died, while other life forms mutated into other hideous forms.

The Chozo tried their best to control the power of Phazon, but it proved to be unsuccessful. Even their knowledge and technology couldn't handle this powerful substance, so the Chozo had to come up with an alternate way to save the land. The only resolution the Chozo could come up with was to build a temple over the crater at the impact site, to separate the Phazon core and seal it way. With that, the Chozo then left the planet leaving engraved markings of their time on Tallon IV in hopes of a savior coming to the planet to save it from the evil it is suffering from.

Samus Aran makes her arrival...

The Chozo hopes came true -- the savior is galactic bounty hunter Samus Aran! However, there's more to Samus's mission than just saving the planet from the Phazon poison. There is suspicious Space Pirate activity on Tallon IV! The Space Pirates have found out about this powerful Phazon element and wish to harness it to take over the galaxy! Wearing the armor made by the Chozo, it is Samus's duty to eradicate Tallon IV of the Space Pirates and the evil they intend to unleash!

Surprisingly, Samus is equipped with all of her power-ups in the beginning of the game. As soon as you begin to play, the game is full of Morph Ball tunnel traveling, missile firing and Grapple Beam swinging action! However, don't get to use to all of Samus's moves just yet. It's not too long after in which Samus gets forced into an accident that causes many of her power-ups to malfunction. Initially, it seems like Metroid Prime doesn't follow its normal formula of having Samus to collect one power-up at a time. However, it's only a matter of time before Samus will be in a weak state, and you must search and find power-ups to make Samus stronger.

Samus acquires an item -- the Super Missile.

Exploring Tallon IV is not an easy task, this planet is huge and seems very overwhelming at first. Thankfully, due the in-game accessible map, the areas of Metroid Prime become much easier to deal with. Metroid Prime is not a linear game, meaning that when you leave one area of Tallon IV you aren't done with it. You will be backtracking throughout Tallon IV, as acquiring more power-ups will allow you to get to that one area that you couldn't get to before. The main idea of how to navigate in Metroid Prime is to explore. Samus will travel through several areas of Tallon IV, such as the grassy and jungle-like Tallon Overworld, the fiery depths of Magmoor Caverns, the cool and icy Phendrana Drifts and even the dangerous Phazon Mines. By exploring, Samus will be able to regain her power-ups one by one also giving a hint to the player the next area to head to. Each power-up Samus acquires will definitely aid in reaching new places! That's an important thing to keep in mind when playing Metroid Prime. Luckily, just in case if you get stuck, Samus's display will help you. Metroid Prime features a hint system that if taking too long in acquiring the next power-up then a message will display on Samus's visor. The message will refer you to the map, which then the map will put a question mark in the area you need to go to next. An excellent feature of Metroid Prime's gameplay is its steady pace. The beginning of the game starts of slow, and gives you hints as to what controls do what. Then once you start getting deeper into the planet, the game fills up with more and more action. Boss battles are extremely intense and may take repeated tries before they actually are taken down.

Samus prepares for a boss battle...

Samus has a variety of items and power-ups; some are from the original Metroid titles while others are new. Of course, with the transition of Metroid going from a 2D sidescroller to a 3D First Person Adventure means that not every power-up from the original Metroid titles could be available in Metroid Prime. Original power-ups like the Speed Booster, Spring Ball, Space Jump and the Screw Attack aren't in Metroid Prime, but that doesn't prevent Metroid Prime from being an excellent Metroid title. The game still amazingly plays like a Metroid game that Metroid fanatics loved from the past. Metroid Prime is a nice change of pace, allowing gamers to see through the eyes of Samus from behind the visor.

While there were some original power-ups that couldn't make it to Metroid Prime, there were many that did. Power-ups such as Morph Ball, Morph Ball Bombs, Power Bombs, Grapple Beam and even the Spider Ball. Samus can acquire the Space Jump Boots, but this isn't really the Space Jump we've known in past Metroid titles. The Space Jump Boots give Samus the ability to do a double jump, enabling her to reach higher places she couldn't reach with a normal jump. Previously, the Space Jump would allow Samus to continually jump in the air. Morph Ball behaves slightly differently now that Metroid Prime is in first person view. When Samus goes into Morph Ball mode, the camera shifts to a third person view. While in Morph Ball mode, Samus can crawl in small tunnels that she wouldn't fit into normally. Also in Morph Ball mode, Samus can lay bombs to give herself a "bomb-jump" to bounce onto a higher surface or to destroy debris that can open up new areas to explore. Samus also can lay power bombs which are similar to bombs but are much more powerful. A power bomb will create a massive explosion, killing just about any enemy that gets touched by the resulting explosion. The Spider Ball, which until Metroid Prime was only been seen in Metroid II: Return of Samus, allows Samus to cling to magnetic tracks to travel all over walls and ceilings. The Grapple Beam first featured in Super Metroid also makes a comeback and works beautifully in Metroid Prime. Throughout Tallon IV, there are various Grapple Beam hooks where Samus can use her Grapple Beam to hook onto and swing from one platform to another.

Samus can travel in new ways with the Spider Ball.

Samus's Power Bombs are no joke!

Samus's most famous beam weapons also make an appearance in Metroid Prime, such as the Ice Beam and the Wave Beam, but Samus has four beams in total. The Power Beam is Samus's standard weapon fires standard blasts at fast firing rates. The Wave Beam fires electricity at enemies with long range and homing-in-on-target capabilities. The Ice Beam does just as it sounds; it shoots out ice and has the ability to freeze enemies. Finally, the Plasma Beam is a very powerful beam and gives off extreme heat with every shot. The Plasma Beam does shoot a short range, but it has the power to melt ice. All of Samus's beam weapons can be charged for a more powerful blast causing severe damage such as momentarily stunning foes or making enemies disintegrate as they die from extreme heat temperatures.

Don't forget to use your map!

One of the new things Metroid Prime offers is Samus's ability to use different types of visors. Given that we can now see from Samus's perspective, Retro Studios decided to vary our view up a bit. Samus will be able to use four visors in total once they are all acquired. These visors are the Combat Visor, the Scanning Visor, the Thermal Visor and the X-Ray Visor. The Combat Visor and the Scanning Visor are actually available to use from the beginning of the game and do not have to be found. The Combat Visor is the visor Samus will be using the most, since that's the visor that is equipped by default and it displays what Samus's sees from the visor with no special effects; it displays the way you and I would see the outside world. The Scanning Visor is very important in Metroid Prime. The Scanning Visor allows you to scan enemies and download information about them into your Log Book. However, enemies aren't the only things you can scan. You will find various Space Pirate data on computers and find engravings on walls that contain Chozo Lore. By reading this data, gives you even more detail of the story by hinting what the Space Pirates are up to next and how the Chozo felt during their time on Planet Tallon IV. There are also other things to scan, such as elevator platforms and terminals that will aid in getting you to the next place that you need to go. The Thermal Visor allows Samus to detect heat signatures making everything Samus's see through this visor look pretty colorful; items with a higher temperature will be a brighter color while things with a lower temperature will be of darker color. Enemies that have heated weak joints will be detected so Samus can really hit them where it hurts. Also Samus can activate switches, known as power conduits, which no longer have power by searching for its heat source and energizing it with her Wave Beam. Finally, the X-Ray Visor, which is somewhat similar to the X-Ray scope from Super Metroid, allows Samus to see through walls. Seeing through walls may be an indication that the wall is fake and can be passed through somehow. It also allows Samus to see enemies that aren't present in the visible spectrum.

The Thermal Visor helps Samus see in darker areas.

The X-Ray Visor allows Samus to see hidden walls and platforms.

The Scan Visor will allow you to find information on enemies found on Tallon IV.

The fact that Metroid Prime was made into a First Person perspective definitely affected its gameplay. Many thought Metroid Prime was going to go down the path of a First Person Shooter genre and others thought the game would just lose its Metroid touch in the 3D realm. Thankfully, Metroid Prime has an excellent blend of exploration, action and platforming to stay faithful to the Metroid formula despite it being in First Person view.

With that being said, for those who are expecting for Metroid Prime to play like a First Person shooter should be expecting a big disappointment. As you begin to play Metroid Prime, this actually becomes quite evident as you learn the controls. Here is a layout of the controls you will use to control Samus in Metroid Prime.

  • L Button - Locks onto enemies, scans objects when using the Scan Visor and uses Grapple Beam.
  • R Button - Look up and down, aim when shooting, activate spider ball ability when near magnetic tracks.
  • Z Button - Displays the map. The map will tell you the name of the room you are currently in with a green cursor in that room. Using the C Stick allows you to highlight other rooms, and the Analog Stick will allow you to rotate the map. You can zoom the map in and out using the L and R buttons.
  • Y Button - Fire missiles from Samus's arm cannon, or lay Power Bombs when in Morph Ball mode.
  • X Button - Go into and out of Morph Ball mode.
  • A Button - Fire current beam weapon, or lays bombs when in Morph Ball mode.
  • B Button - Makes Samus jump, press twice to use Space Jump Boots. Also activates Boost Ball when in Morph Ball mode. When locked onto an enemy, B can also be used to dash.
  • C Stick - Selects Samus's beam weapon.
  • Analog Stick - Controls Samus, look around and aim (with R button).

Metroid Prime's control scheme is very unique but the game definitely does utilize it very well. With Metroid Prime's heavy emphasis on platforming and excellent controls, the gameplay really does make Metroid Prime feel like a Metroid game.

Calling Metroid Prime visually stunning isn't generous enough. Metroid Prime definitely pushes the GameCube's graphic capabilities to the fullest. Samus, as well as other characters, are very detailed and have excellent shadowing. Textures of environments and lighting in areas are also done very well, which helps in setting the mood of Tallon IV. Metroid Prime also has excellent environment and visor effects. When in rainy areas, you can see the raindrops splashing on Samus's visor making vision blurry for just a second until the rain stops. Samus's visor will also become foggy when Samus comes close to a blast of fire. If that wasn't enough, when Samus comes out of a body of water, the water will fall down Samus's visor, leaving watermarks behind. Even Samus's arm-cannon has a nice effect! Fire a lot of repeated shots, and watch smoke rise from the tip of her arm-cannon. With the game running at 60 fps, you just can't help but notice these detailed effects.

Lighting effects really give a nice glow to this room.

Enter the Phazon Mines... if you dare.

The graphics are so flawless, it's hard to say anything bad about them. However, not everything is perfect. Tallon IV does look beautiful, and the structures found in the planet are amazingly designed. However, since loading in Metroid Prime is handled when traveling through different rooms, it seems like the loading time isn't noticeable. But, when entering large areas, opening the door may take a little but longer than you'd like.

Metroid Prime is definitely one of the GameCube's most beautiful games. With the help of cut-scenes and stunning graphics, Metroid Prime is a beautiful 3D transition of the series!

The music played in Metroid Prime is unforgettable. It's definitely a strong element in this game, just as its gameplay is. Metroid Prime features remixes of original Metroid tunes and new tunes as well. However, calling them "tunes" makes them sound like they are some kind of midi files. Well, let's clear that up. The music featured in Metroid Prime sounds nowhere near the sound of a midi file. In fact, it sounds like a composer did it. Also, it's important to note that when Samus is in trouble, such as battling a bunch of Space Pirates, the music speeds up and gets tense. As if the Space Pirates didn't make you tense enough, the music also has to add to that feeling.

Super Metroid fans will be extremely glad when they hear the song played in Magmoor Caverns. This is a perfect example of a remix of original Metroid tune. Also, the sound of acquiring an item is the same and is more charming than ever -- you couldn't be happier to get that item! Besides tunes, Metroid Prime does have great sound effects as well. When Samus falls too deep in lava, you will hear her armor have an electrical zapping noise indicating she's taking damage and needs to get out -- pronto! Also, when Samus is hit, she gives off a humble groan. And when enemies die, they make a coinciding "splat" or groaning sound before their remains disappear.

Metroid Prime is the largest Metroid game to date, and will take a long time complete on your first play through. Averaging about 20 hours to complete, Metroid Prime will still have you coming back for more. It will take much longer to find 100% percent of item collection, which also gives you a special ending. What is that special ending? Well if I told you, then it would be much of a surprise! Also, scanning all the items and enemies in the game unlocks art galleries, which contains some nice art that you won't see anywhere else. Then there's also a hard mode, which is unlocked just by simply beating the game once.

Metroid Prime also has connectivity features with the GameBoy Advance. Connect to Metroid Fusion and be able to play the original Metroid game on the GameCube! You can also replay Metroid Prime with the Fusion suit on, although, it's not the most attractive thing in the world. Metroid Prime is so amazing that you just might find yourself replaying the game just for fun!

Despite the fact many Metroid fans hated that Metroid was going into First Person view, Metroid Prime turned out to be a fantastic game. Becoming the best game on the GCN in many people's eyes, Metroid Prime attracted tons of new Metroid fans. There are very few games that have this much attention to detail and this level of excellent gameplay.

Nintendo has done it once again. In the Nintendo 64 days, Nintendo was successful in bringing some of their famous 2D franchises, such as Mario and Zelda, into the 3D world. Games like Super Mario 64 and Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time came to be some of the most revolutionary games ever. Even though we had to wait eight years, it happened again but this time with Metroid. Metroid Prime gave us a new look at Metroid and it only made the series stronger. Nintendo and Retro Studios seem to make the perfect team when it's time to deliver Metroid. Metroid Prime is a game that every GameCube owner should own and you haven't experienced a true adventure game unless you've played Metroid Prime.


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