The question is, why remaster something that was already of cult status? In fact why remaster two things that have cult status? Simply: to make them better. Has Nintendo achieved this? You could read the rest of the review, or I could just say 'Yes' so I can get back to playing it... again.
What you have here are Metroid Prime
, the atmospheric titles from the days of the GameCube that made Samus Aran, the bounty huntress, all 3D. Now, I was never a huge fan, to the extent that I didn't expend vast amounts of time, energy or concentration on them.
Also bundled into the box is the Wii's Metroid Prime Corruption
, which once again I barely looked at.
Now I feel as if I should go back in time, get a GameCube and stop being such a noob, facing as I now am the dawning realisation that I've missed out. This, of course, also enables me to review these titles without the encumbrance of nostalgia.
So, first up, Prime
. Here's Samus, here are some horribly slaughtered space pirates with some equally horribly genetically formed creatures. Here are some of the most creepy atmospherics I've experienced since Doom
with a keyboard. And here is a soundtrack that refuses to get Planet Rock
out of my head.
When first sitting down with Prime
it took about two minutes for a broad smile to fill the lower part of the front of my head. I was recognising a gaming experience. Not a “massive virtual world in which downloadable content will move my game-experience forward”, but a genuine game.
Then I realised that I was using the Wiimote and the Nunchuk to wander around, explore and shoot things. Here's some perspective: the last time I did that was with The Conduit
and it made me feel dizzy and nauseated. In the case of Prime
and – let's face it, Echoes
– boy does the control system come together.
At first there's a bit of nonsense sorting the visors out. Pointing up to a certain area of screen and holding down one of the tiny buttons on the Wiimote seemed to be a little bit much. It was one of those moments, in fact, where I could have done shaking the controller to switch visors. However, this would have proved inefficient and possibly dangerous given the amount of visor swapping I did.
This is down to the fact that, when played on a decent sized (50-inch) screen with the lights off and the sounds up, I was examining everything only to discover that I wasn't shooting at enough hideous nasties in my combat visor. A tactical error that lead to death, a lot. But what can I say, I was genuinely enjoying the game. When I took the office Wii to play the game on a teeny 32-inch TV... I was still enjoying it.
This enjoyment came, as much as anything, from the fact that in all three games included in the collection our hero(ine), Samus, can and does do a wide variety of things with apparently little effort on your part. This is a major upside for a new player to the Metroid
universe. Speaking to a number of cultists, however (it's called research), having let them have a crack at the remastered classics, I was also made aware that the switch to motion control was not at all a bad thing. Given the highly conservative nature of video gamers when it comes to not “having my childhood raped”, this came as a surprise.
I'm not going to delve into plot lines and the like here in any depth. It's a review of the way in which the games play more than a rehash. Suffice to say, however, that you are a lone hunter, you have to shoot at things to open them or kill them (or stop them killing you).
So far, so par for the first-person explore'n'shoot. But there is more to the games than that. This is a set of games where you find yourself surrounded by 'things' that you feel should be obliterated purely out of self-preservation. These things, however, are often placed around the game environment purely to increase your feeling of unease.
When creating the games Kensuke Tanabe
must have watched both Kurt Russel's The Thing
and the bit in Alien
where the eggs are found many, many times. There is a subtlety and style going through all three titles in this bundle (let alone the optional goodies) that makes games such as Fallout 3
appear to me at least to have dragged their heels.
The fact that you always begin by finding your various weapons (many, including rockets!) and visors somehow disappeared, and that the 'tutorial' levels are mercifully brief, means that you definitely have to game your way through both mechanic and narrative.
From my perspective as a Wii user and new inhabitant of Samus Aran's shell, this collection of titles is almost faultless – a definite must-own for video games players.
An almost faultless collection of video games. Can be a bit fiddly to begin with, but that rapidly passes as the games soak you up and move you forward with both story and control system.
SPOnG Score: 96%