Metroid Prime - GameCube

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Viewed: 3D First-person / Third-person Genre:
Shoot 'Em Up
Arcade origin:No
Developer: Retro Studios Soft. Co.: Nintendo
Publishers: Nintendo (GB/GB)
Released: 21 Nov 2002 (US)
21 Mar 2003 (GB)
10 Oct 2003 (GB)
Ratings: PEGI 12+, 11+
Accessories: Memory Card


Born on the NES in 1987 and designed by Game Boy creator Gumpei Yokoi, Samus Aran began her days on the infamous planet Zebes in a simple 2-dimensional platformer. Then came Metroid 2, Super Metroid, and in 2002, Metroid Fusion, the fourth in the long running series. Now there's a fifth game that bravely steps away from the series' 2D traditions and revolutionises the Metroid world as we have known it for more than a decade - Metroid Prime.

The blonde heroine has spent much of her life roaming the planet Zebes hunting formidable villains known as Space Pirates. But she has been unable to defeat them completely, and now they've returned a fourth time in another vain attempt to seize the Metroids of Tallon IV and harness their power. But when Samus arrives she discovers the Space Pirates have already run into trouble... your mission begins here.

Two things - firstly it's a 3D game, and second, it's a first-person shooter. To avid Metroid fans that may sound like a recipe for disaster. In fact, we expressed great concern at Nintendo's chosen development path for one of the next generation's most significant and long-awaited updates. But! Persist, and the classic Metroid gaming that once graced 8 and 16-bit platforms shines through.

Typically, you begin your adventure stripped to the bare bones, with only your suit and a single shot weapon at your disposal, yet gameplay remains intriguing. The early stages of the game teach you how to navigate the sprawling game world and how to use your visor for scanning. Move forwards, left, right, strafe, jump and fire - you get the idea. And a semi lock-on crosshair comes in especially handy, removing the need for lengthy sessions of combat, so time can be spent focusing on the platform elements of the game.

Before long you'll encounter several familiar Metroid quirks, such as missiles and super-missiles, but most importantly, the ability to morph into a ball. You'll pick up this trademark upgrade early on in the Metroid adventure, and with the touch of a button, it allows Samus to curl into a ball, giving her access to tight spaces such as pipes and rock crevices. There are even certain areas of the game where the camera pans out to a side-on view, and briefly Metroid Prime actually becomes a scrolling platformer as players navigate vertical mazes. It's a nice touch that lets you know developer Retro hasn't forgotten why Metroid became the game it is.

The platform aspect of the game can be complicated and very much puzzle-based, but face-to-face combat with some of Tallon IV's native creatures and resident Space Pirates can be far trickier. Such enemies can often be defeated only with specific weapons, and many are agile and demonstrate a more than reasonable level of intelligence. So when you come across a room that plays host to several different species and that offers nowhere to hide, weapon changing whilst fighting at the same time can get a little hairy, but it's a skill you'll get better at as you progress.

Metroid Prime is undoubtedly a fine example of what gameplay can and often should be about. The game is a challenge from start to finish, and the learning curve is constant, if somewhat steep. If you have any doubts about Retro's ability to revive the Metroid legend, don't - you've nothing to worry about in the slightest.


Metroid Prime - GameCube Artwork

Metroid Prime - GameCube Artwork

Metroid Prime - GameCube Artwork