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Metroid Prime

Developers: Retro StudiosNintendo Publisher: Nintendo
17 November 2002
Metroid Prime - cover art
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1,551 Ratings / 3 Reviews
#46 All-time
#1 for 2002
Bounty hunter Samus Aran battles against the insidious Space Pirates plotting to harness the power of the poisonous Phazon material infecting the planet Tallon IV, but a much more powerful foe lurks beneath the planet's surface who is spreading the corruptive substance.
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2002 Retro Nintendo  
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2002 Retro Nintendo  
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Metroid Prime Kmart Exclusive!
2002 Retro Nintendo  
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US 0 45496 96053 7 DL-DOL-GM8E-USA
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Metroid Prime Target
2002 Retro Nintendo  
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US 0 45496 96071 1 DL-DOL-GM8E-USA
Metroid Prime Player's Choice / Le choix des joueurs
2003 Retro Nintendo  
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CA 0 45496 96043 8 DL-DOL-GM8E-USA
Metroid Prime Player's Choice
2003 Retro Nintendo  
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XNA XSA 0 45496 96042 1 DL-DOL-GM8E-USA
2003 Retro Nintendo  
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GB 0 45496 96042 1 DL-DOL-GM8P-EUR
2003 Retro Nintendo  
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AU NZ 0 45496 96042 1 GS-DOL-GM8P-AUS
Metroid Prime Bonus Bundle / Super pak boni
2004 Retro Nintendo  
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CA 0 45496 94101 7 DL-DOL-GM8E-USA
2004 Retro Nintendo  
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CA 0 45496 96241 8 DL-DOL-GM8E-USA
メトロイドプライム Wiiであそぶ
2009 Retro Nintendo  
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JP
Metroid Prime Remastered
2023 Retro Iron Galaxy  
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Metroid Prime Remastered
2023 Retro Iron Galaxy  
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JP 4 902370 551068 LA-H-A3SDA-JPN
Metroid Prime Remastered
2023 Retro Iron Galaxy  
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XNA 0 45496 59822 8 LA-H-A3SDA-USA
Metroid Prime Remastered
2023 Retro Iron Galaxy  
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GB 0 45496 47891 9
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Thank fucking God that there wasn’t a Metroid game on the N64. It might sound cruel and imperceptive to belittle the chronic anguish that Metroid fans felt during the franchise's eight-year hiatus after Super Metroid was released, for I don’t have a firsthand account of this period because I was born during the span of time. For those of you older than I who waited with a growing, uncomfortable anticipation just to be stood up by Nintendo, I sympathize with your grief. I must’ve felt like hell knowing that the ecstatic kid from that viral N64 video booted up Super Smash Bros. that Christmas Day and readily recognized every character in the starting roster from their individual N64 titles except for our beloved space-age heroine, and you couldn’t fault his ignorance. Despite the Metroid franchise taking a lap generation during such a crucial time in gaming history, I still defend my position that the near decade of inactivity proved to be for its benefit. Metroid’s gameplay is more difficult to translate to a 3D environment compared to Nintendo’s other properties. Castlevania defined Metroid’s idiosyncrasies with Symphony of the Night, giving credence to Metroid’s core design philosophy which is staunchly two dimensional. Many transitions to 3D from franchises born in the pixelated era had to sacrifice a certain amount of detail in the environments in order to render the 3D competently. Compare the varied terrain and elaborate setpieces in A Link to the Past’s Hyrule Field to the echoey vacant one in Ocarina of Time. While subtracting the amount of attributes in the foreground can still fundamentally work in Zelda, doing the same for Metroid would exponentially compromise on its rich, intricate design to the point of total obliviation. If I had to guess, a 3D Metroid would be similar to the two 3D Castlevania games on the N64: 3D renderings that completely botched its 2D source material with awkward combat and a camera so wonky that it makes Super Mario 64’s Lakitu look like he has the cinematography prowess of an esteemed Hollywood director. To be fair, translating the Metroidvania genre in 3D is a tough task even in this day and age, with only a select few 3D games borrowing only a few assets without emulating the 2D genre to its full extent. Nintendo knew that Metroid was going to need a longer bout of consideration before they planted Samus in a 3D environment, and the eventual revelation came to fruition one generation later with the glorious Metroid Prime on the Gamecube.

Of course, we all know that Nintendo’s four-ported lunchbox was where all the 3D dreams went to die, or at least it was for all of those who were formally introduced to the dimension in the N64 era. After half a decade of buffing out the cracks of the three dimensional realm, Nintendo decided to innovate even further in the second 3D generation with radical ideas that upset those who were used to the loyal 3D reimaginings of Nintendo’s staple series seen on the N64. Metroid’s major offense on the Gamecube was immediately absolved upon its release unlike the cases of The Wind Waker’s graphics or Super Mario Sunshine’s setting, but it did make many of the fans weary when it was announced. Nintendo’s heavily premeditated plan to efficiently translate Metroid into a 3D game was to develop it as a first-person shooter, something completely unorthodox that caught everyone off guard. Not only that, but the game would be outsourced to an American developer called Retro Studios as their debut project. Considering the circumstances, the fans all figured that Nintendo should’ve released a shovel with Metroid Prime to bury Samus’s corpse alongside every fan’s collective hopes and wishes for their idealized first 3D Metroid experience. Such a grand responsibility in the hands of amateurs with an untested mechanic at the helm spelled emanate disaster for the Metroid franchise. Even though things looked bleak and uncertain, the finished product assuaged the skeptical fears of the masses. The modest group at Retro Studios executed Nintendo’s baffling ambitions for Metroid’s 3D debut extraordinarily without compromising on the traditional Metroid experience.

As I said before, my earliest gaming memories can only recall the successful impact that Metroid Prime had after it was released, and the recollections during the period of despair I only know from popular sentiments that have been chronicled for reference. As someone who wasn’t busy hyperventilating at the thought of Nintendo dooming the Metroid franchise at the time, I can express that Nintendo shipping the responsibility of developing Metroid Prime off to an American studio was always a brilliant idea. Think about it: every single notable first-person shooter before Metroid Prime’s creation (and to this very day) was developed and produced in the western world. For some reason, the immensely popular genre never made an impact on the industry titan that is Japan, making the first-person shooter as American as apple pie (with some examples from Europe as well). Truthfully, any renowned Japanese studio would’ve been as inexperienced in developing for the first-person shooter genre as Retro Studios was, so why not assign the duty to a group of Americans in which their second-amendment rights allow lead and gunpowder to flow through their bloodstreams? Perhaps people assumed that an American studio would bastardize Metroid by formulating the series as a crude, hyper-violent bloodbath where Samus wears nothing but a skimpy bikini, which I’m not sure is an unfair indictment of the FPS genre or American media as a whole. Fortunately, the game showcases the utmost respect the developers had for the source material and how they masterfully coalesced a 2D character into a 3D environment with FPS mechanics.

While Samus infiltrates the Space Pirate-operated Frigate Orpheon orbiting over the planet of Tallon IV, a series of force fields impede Samus from progressing any further past the outer gates of the facility. Four red buttons located on each corner of the force field’s boundaries imply that interacting with them will most likely manipulate the activeness of the shield, so shooting them with Samus’s distinctive blaster will switch them off. The ones at face level can be shot with a simple tap of the A button, while the two situated above Samus require more consideration from the player. By holding down the R trigger, the player can aim the blaster manually in a myriad of directions, and they’ll use this often to clear out overhead enemies that Samus will encounter throughout the game. However, it’s more likely that the player will embrace the option given to them on the opposing L trigger, which locks onto enemies and objects to ensure more accurate aiming. Holding down the L trigger will automatically lock onto anything significant in Samus’s peripheral range, which varies from enemies, objects, switches, and other points of interest. Deeper into the Frigate, the lock-on system is tested in combat with the defense turrets, a common enemy type in Metroid Prime whose stationary status makes for ideal practice fodder early on. The Parasite Queen, the game’s first boss, is the pinnacle of Metroid Prime’s test run with the combat as the player will shoot at the slimy beast through an exposed crevice as it’s suspended upward in its cylindrical chamber. Like Ocarina of Time before it, the lock-on mechanic is the helpful aid to ease the player into the transition between the familiar 2D combat and the radical shift of 3D.

For more robust enemies with legs and wings, the player will gain more perspective on Metroid Prime’s combat as soon as the surviving Space Pirates rear their ugly heads out of the shady corners of the station. Combat in Metroid Prime is ultimately more defense oriented as the enemies are quick on their feet, and their rapid fire projectiles will penetrate through Samus’s armor quickly until her energy tanks deplete and she screams in bloody terror upon dying, with her visor flashing off like an old television. Using the lock-on feature ensures that each shot from Samus’s blaster has an almost certain likelihood of hitting the enemies, so the player’s objective during combat is to dodge their array of firepower with the dash move. While locked-on, the player can strafe from left to right with the swiftness of an intergalactic ninja, evading the barrage of energy bullets. Samus is more agile than the average FPS protagonist, compensating for the fact that the environment of a Metroid game doesn’t have as many foreground pieces to duck and cover behind. More so, Samus’s shrewd mobility can be attributed to the developers loyally translating Samus’s platforming origins in the FPS genre, as platformer characters tend to be more sprightly than the more action-oriented FPS protagonists, who usually only need to occasionally scale a more structured staircase while blowing away their enemies with shotgun blasts. Platforms are situated all around Tallon IV, with most of them fitting appropriately as an area’s rational architecture while others levitate over the ground with much less of a solid constructional bearing. Even when a certain section is littered with these types of platforms for convenient ascension, they never overstay their welcome and ruin the consistent overlay of the area. Overall, I’m glad that Tallon IV offers plenty of structures for Samus to jump onto because it’s a humbling reminder of the Metroid franchise's roots as a platformer. That shan’t be forgotten when translating Metroid’s gameplay despite the FPS frontier, and both elements complement each other superbly. The unlikely marriage of both here makes for something nuanced, efficiently streamlined, and as smooth as Samus’s legs right before she docks herself in her bulky space suit for the lengthy duration of a mission.

The FPS format does not forsake Samus’s gravity-defying jumping ability, but what about other aspects pertaining to Metroid’s identity? One of the core elements of Metroid often credited to its effectiveness is the franchise's atmosphere, the feeling of total isolation in a hostile habitat weighing down on the player to the point of palpable dread. As blazing fast as the pacing of many FPS games tend to be, the genre is not alien to titles with a more methodical direction that fosters something similar to Metroid’s oppressive ambience. Half Life and System Shock, the noteworthy FPS exceptions, probably owe their cold, pensive auras to the classic Metroids, and Metroid Prime dips back into this sphere of influence by borrowing the FPS mechanics of those games. It’s a wonder why the FPS genre isn’t characterized with deep immersion more often because the unique perspective it offers is incredibly intimate. Since its inception, gaming has made great strides in increasing its immersive elements, with several outlets such as character customizability and naming the protagonist as a few examples. Samus is already an established character with a canon name and backstory, so Metroid Prime cannot reduce her to a retrograde, faceless avatar to enhance the player’s immersion in this regard. The FPS vantage point rather allows us to better understand Samus’s surroundings via seeing them directly through the consciousness of the space-age bounty hunter.

As one would figure, Samus is a human being whose lungs cannot subsist off the oxygen-deprived extraterrestrial ecosystems she excavates, so her trusty space helmet provides both the protection and sustenance she needs. Thanks to the first-person view, we now see the game through Samus’s visor along with its various components. In each corner of the computerized interior details notable features such as Samus’s total health and number of energy tanks, the alternate visors in the bottom left corner, the various beams in the bottom right corner, the number of missiles at her disposal, a radar that signals if there are enemies in the vicinity, a danger meter, and a rudimentary outline of the location. Using Samus’s visor as an onscreen menu is a clever transitional aspect to the FPS genre that seems all too natural. In addition to the detail in the interior visor, the developers went the extra mile to showcase how external factors affect Samus’s visor as well. After the Frigate Orpheon in the introduction is demolished and crashes on the nearby planet of Tallon IV like a crude meteorite, Samus decides to follow suit, albeit with a more dignified entrance using her ship. She parks her vessel on a wetland area colloquially known as the “overworld” that shares the planet’s namesake. The constant rainfall endemic to this watery quagmire naturally cascades onto Samus, as not even the acuteness of the strafe move is swift enough to dodge rain. The area’s ceaseless precipitation plinks and plops onto Samus’s visor like a car windshield and immerses the player into the scope of the environment. In Magmoor Caverns, burning steam jets out of the molten crust of the area, achieving the same effect as the Overworld’s rain even if its orange texture is reminiscent of Cheeto dust. Gunk spewed out from certain enemies will splatter on the visor, and the biting frost of Phendrana Drifts will obscure Samus’s vision like she’s been ensnared in a block of solid ice. The most impressive visual detail relating to the visor is that whenever the player shoots a burst of energy from Samus’s blaster at a wall, the reflecting light of the shot shows a flash of Samus’s baby-blue eyes from inside of the visor. The developers do their best to envelope the player as Samus and achieve this sensation with meticulous attention to detail.

Traditionally, the intended atmosphere conveyed in a Metroid game is exuded through the areas, either on their individual merits or as a collective. The feeling of discomforting dread is achieved through the game’s progression in that as the player digs deeper into the crevices of uncharted territory, curiosity will proverbially start to kill the cat that is Samus. Or, at least it will gradually dawn on her that her surroundings have become overwhelmingly perilous the further she strays away from her parked ship. In Super Metroid, scrolling down the two-dimensional map of Zebes from the zenith point of the ship almost simulates a literal descent into a harrowing rabbit hole with tinier swathes of respite as Samus continues to burrow. Progress in Metroid Prime couldn’t have been emulated the same way, as tunneling downward consistently in a 3D space would’ve oversimplified the area’s designs. Yet, Metroid Prime attempts to recreate something similar to Super Metroid’s sense of progression all the same, almost to an uncanny extent. Several parallels can be made between Crateria and the Tallon IV Overworld, as they’re both rainy groves marked as “safe zones'' due to their naturalistic environment and calming rate of enemy activity. The main difference is that the Overworld here is expanded to the scale of a fully-fledged area such as Brinstar or Maridia as opposed to the foyer with several branching staircases that was Crateria. Comparisons to Super Metroid’s levels are even clearer when Samus can access the flooded remains of the Frigate Orpheon, located conveniently along the path of the Overworld like the Wrecked Ship was in Crateria. I’m convinced that Magmoor Caverns exists to fill the lava pool level requisite in lieu of Norfair’s absence. Metroid Prime unintentionally flirts with 3D reboot territory by repeating a number of classic level tropes and broadening them to an admirable degree, but it might unfortunately indicate that Metroid might be a one-trick pony in how its areas are structured. However, the developers proved this to not be the case by integrating new areas with the traditional ones to still progress the game in a familiar manner.

Chozo Ruins is a sensible next step to the base of the Overworld because the increase in hostility is miniscule. Similarly to the Overworld, the Chozo Ruins are relatively sparse in enemy presence, but I wouldn’t describe the area as tranquil like the Overworld. The aura of stillness in the Chozo Ruins stems from the arid dearth of life in the sandy remnants of the once proud Chozo people. Overgrown, brambly vegetation covers the sublime architecture as scavengers roam the dunes looking for what little nourishment there still is. Chozo Ruins is the graveyard of a formally prosperous civilization and while the eeriness of the site might instill a sense of consternation, the dangers involved are appropriately tepid. Magmoor Caverns and Phendrana Drifts, the two following areas, showcase a particular relationship with each other relating to their elemental themes. As I expressed before, Magmoor Caverns is Tallon IV’s Norfair, only more linear and with a more literal sense of claustrophobia with its cramped corridors. The nearest elevator from the Chozo Ruins exit will take Samus to Phendrana, and the snow-covered winter wonderland seems like a stark contrast from the hellish cesspit of Magmoor where one misstep in the gushing flow of lava could fry Samus in seconds. At first glance, Phendrana seems as blissful as the Overworld, but the 3D space allows an area to district more distinct tropes into an area than seen in Super Metroid. The escalating sense of danger in Metroid Prime seems to be intertwined with the presence of the Space Pirates. Eventually, scrounging around Phendrana will lead Samus to the frigid laboratory where Metroids are housed for experimentation. The awe-inspiring atmosphere from outside drops like a rock as Samus plunges into a chilling facility swarming with Space Pirates. One could argue that the dread of this particular sector of Phendrana might stem from the pitch-black darkness of the second half, but I’d have to disagree using the last area of the game as evidence.

The Phazon Mines are the last area of Tallon IV that Samus encounters, and it’s the point of the game where the consistent difficulty curve rockets off to the moon. The challenge imbalance might be why this area feels so unnerving and if this is so, it’s because the Mines are the base of the Space Pirate’s operation and Samus has found herself in the heart of the hive. Every breed of Space Pirate is here to bushwhack Samus at every waking step, and the infamous trek from the crane site to the Power Bomb room is the epitome of an endurance test. Besides the rich Phazon material radiating in this area’s crust, the Mines are nothing but a barren crater. It’s unsettling how there is no organic life here, only the prevalent corruption of the Space Pirates. The Phazon Mines serve as the pinnacle of Samus’s journey to despair with the same creepy subtitles seen in Super Metroid.

Perhaps the most challenging task in orchestrating the intended progression is rendering the Metroidvania elements in this 3D environment. It’s hard to believe that there aren’t more translations of the traditional 2D Metroidvania tropes in more 3D games because Retro Studios makes the process look effortless. As layered and multifaceted as a Metroidvania’s design might seem, the specific crux of Metroid that cultivates the distinctive progression is simple: Samus gradually regaining her misplaced powers. The introduction sequence teases the player with a select few of these powers before stripping them away when Samus is blown back by an explosion. Because the game gives the player a sample taste of Samus’s full power, retrieving the upgrades also serves as a great incentive to play through the game. Starting out on the field of Tallon IV, Samus’s arsenal is limited to her standard blaster and piddly single jump, so she is heavily restricted to a very finite range of ground. As par for the Metroidvania course, the few paths Samus can explore are illustrated clearly by the game, so the player shouldn’t find themselves hopelessly lost and confused. They can even use the 3D polygonal map of each area as a helpful reference. One complaint I often see regarding Metroid Prime’s treatment of the Metroidvania progression is that the game makes the objective too obvious by pinpointing it on the map. During the exploration process, a signal will beam onto Samus’s visor with a brief description of the objective and marking the area of interest with a question mark. While doing this might hold the player’s hand to some extent, I’ll excuse it because it ultimately doesn’t force the player to drop their freedom to explore and follow that particular path.

Once the player traverses through the mapped trajectory the game lays out for them, several returning items are translated to Metroid Prime for Samus’s further use in the new 3D environment. Missiles are now designated to their own button on the Gamecube’s controller and still serve as the best complimentary weapon to Samus’s blaster. All of the other familiar power ups seen in Metroid Prime are quite surprising that the developers managed to implement them considering that they could’ve compromised on the FPS foundation. Samus’s inhuman flexibility returns with the Morph Ball and when Samus scrunches down to her supernatural fetal position, it’s the only instance where the player sees the game in third-person. Given that a first-person view of Samus rolling around would’ve made everyone bilious, the shift in perspective is reasonable and it manages to work harmoniously in contrast to the normal first-person viewpoint due to the limited array of Morph Ball functions. Morph Ball bombs and Power Bombs are still laid like chicken eggs to blow open cracked crevices, and the Grapple Beam is made possible via the trusty lock-on feature. Sadly, series staples like the Screwattack and the skill-based wall jump had to be scrapped, most likely because their utilization crossed the line of practicality that the others didn’t. Fortunately, the developers realized that Metroid’s 3D space allowed for newfound ingenuity with Samus’s abilities. Regarding the Morph Ball, it seems to be the upgrade most tinkered with for new methods of traversal. Jumping in Morph Ball mode with the spring is no longer an option, but the Morph Ball can boost with built up inertia, which is mainly used in skill-intensive half-pipe sections to ascend Samus to heights incapable to reach even with the second rocket boot jump. The Spider Ball upgrade magnetizes Samus to a striped rail grid when she’s in the Morph Ball, which carries Samus along its track. Whether using these new upgrades in traversing the map or for retrieving health and missile expansions in obscure crevices, their implementations make for the most circuitous and engaging platform/puzzle sequences.

In previous Metroid titles, every subsequent beam upgrade Samus finds is intended to make the previous one obsolete. In Metroid Prime, the developers decided to incorporate every beam upgrade into a comprehensive arsenal of elements that Samus can alternate with the C-stick. Samus’s neutral Power Beam she begins her adventure with is not perceived as a puny little pea-shooter; rather, its quick release of energy bullet rounds is essential in dealing with groups of smaller enemies throughout the duration of the game. The energized Wave Beam stuns enemies and provides power to deprived energy circuits with a single blast. The fan-favorite Ice Beam returns as the optimal Metroid vanquisher, and the Plasma Beam disintegrates anything Samus shoots. Each beam, except for the Ice Beam, also has their distinctive Super Missile combination. The traditional one is used alongside the Power Beam while the Wavebuster operates as a destructive taser, and the Flamethrower power with the Plasma beam is pretty self-explanatory. The variety of the beams is also integrated into the Metroidvania progression with doors coinciding with a specific beam to shoot and enter. It adds a nifty layer of inhibiting progress, but I wish the door would revert to the standard blue color after being shot with the correlating beam once so I wouldn’t have to shuffle the beams constantly. Samus’s visors are also a vital aspect of Samus’s inventory as she acquires the heat-vision Thermal Visor that spots enemies in the dark and spotting terminals as well as the X-Ray Visor that unveils invisible platforms. The only upgrade that still stacks are the Power suits, as scrolling through multiple of these would be unnecessary. The question pertaining to Samus’s eclecticism here is if it’s an artistic direction from the developers or if 3D now allows for Samus’s tools to coexist. Either way, if the Metroid series insists on shuffling, it’s much less of a hassle here than in Super Metroid.

One alternate visor I glossed over has a particular use outside of traversal and or combat, and that’s the Scan Visor. On the left side of the D-Pad, a widescreen lens will come into view, and the scannable objects are represented by an orange indicator. Using this visor will list a bevy of information about whatever is scanned, which can include practically everything under Tallon IV’s sun. Samus can trace information about enemy properties, items, surfaces, etc. and compile an encyclopedias worth of knowledge. The beauty of the Scan Visor is that besides the occasional elevator activation, using it to gather and store information is optional. This includes the nuggets of Chozo lore etched onto the walls of Tallon IV written in some sort of Sumerian-esque hieroglyphics that the Scan Visor automatically interprets upon scanning. The reason why learning about the world of Tallon IV and its history through the player’s wilful volition is that it allows the world building through exploration to take center stage as it did in Super Metroid. 3D gaming allowed for more cinematic potential, but bloviating on the world’s context in Metroid Prime would’ve nauseatingly swelled the experience.

If one must know the central story of Metroid Prime that the game doesn’t overtly expound on, the Space Pirates have been adulterating the natural ecosystem of Tallon IV with their presence after the events of the first Metroid game. Yes, it appears that not only is Metroid Prime canon to the 2D games, the series has caught the timeline bug from The Legend of Zelda, so it’s even more relieving that the player isn’t forced to get caught up in the delirium with pointless exposition. They’ve been farming for a radioactive element called Phazon and using it to conduct madcap mutations on the wildlife of Tallon IV like a gang of Josef Mengeles, namely on the Metroids they fear. The Space Pirates final goal is to unlock the eponymous Metroid Prime, the source of the toxic Phazon whose impact annihilated the Chozo people. However, it is locked behind twelve artifact keys located throughout Tallon IV, and Samus must retrieve them to destroy Metroid Prime before the Space Pirates get their grubby, maniacal mitts on it.

I’ll use this opportunity to segway into the biggest point of contention most people have with Metroid Prime: constantly backtracking through the five areas of Tallon IV. Naturally, a genre that incentivizes exploration and unlocking paths that were once sealed up will involve a heavy roulette of revisitation, and it’s one of the many appeals of the Metroidvania genre. I don’t inherently find backtracking to be tedious but in the case of Metroid Prime’s final fetch quest, it exposes the design flaws of the game’s world. By this point in the game, Samus has acquired every upgrade possible, so she is free to traverse through any nook and cranny in Tallon IV. Ideally, having the ability to access anywhere on the map without complications should allow the player to breeze through sections with shortcuts, but this is seldom the case. It makes the player realize that Tallon IV is designed competently, but not conveniently. Artifacts are equally distributed in every area, including the far off Phendrana Drifts. From a design standpoint, it makes sense to position this wintery cliff at the apex of the map. Still, the only connecting area on two stretches of the area is Magmoor Caverns, which seems to be the great median of Tallon IV due to having elevators to the three of four branching areas. The revelation that the hot, overlong hallway is a disappointing area started to dawn on me as well, as I intentionally walked through the lava out of impatience upon successive visitations. Also, revisiting Chozo Ruins is made infuriating by the constant goddamn ghost ambushes, so I recommend trekking through Chozo first to save yourself the migraine of their shrill shrieking. Overall, there are still silver linings to this last quest. The player can still sweep up any last expansions along the way. Compared to the appalling fetch quest from Wind Waker released the same year on the Gamecube which had zero redeeming qualities, the one presented here in Metroid Prime seems fine and dandy.

Besides the collecting of expansions throughout the game, the player should be well prepared to fight the title’s namesake at the core of the Impact Crater because the previous bosses have set a significant precedent. Bosses in Metroid Prime remind me less of the ones from Super Metroid and more from The Legend of Zelda because of the way they are dispatched like puzzles as opposed to inflicting rampant firepower on them. Samus’s eclectic arsenal somewhat mirrors Link’s inventory of items in that the intended method of destroying the titanic foes coincides with a specific upgrade that the player will have to solve and dig through their options to defeat the boss. Similarly to Zelda, the solution mostly relates to the recently obtained upgrades. Flaahgra, the direct source of the toxicity of the ruins, needs a combination of the Charge Shot and Morph Ball to defeat while multiple visors are needed for the rock monster Thardus and the burly Omega Pirate. After Ridley stalls Samus by flaunting his new metallic coat of armor, Samus finds herself at the Impact Crater, which strangely resembles the insides of a mouth from a creature so surreal that it’s indescribable. At the core of the crater lies Metroid Prime, and the two-phased boss fight will have Samus shuffling through her weapons and visors like a Las Vegas blackjack dealer. Unlike the Mother Brain fight in Super Metroid, there are no cinematics to bail out the player, as only a proficient understanding of the FPS mechanics and Samus’s arsenal will lead the player to victory. Once Samus conquers the beast’s vulnerable core, another point of innovation commences. Three possible endings will show, and they will depend on the player’s percentage rate of completion. Unfortunately, multiple endings do not work in a series with an overarching plot and protagonist. At least the game got the homage to the timed escape sequence out of the way at the beginning and decided not to use it again at the end, for it would become a tired cliche.

The initial anxieties revolving around Metroid’s launch into the third dimension were unfairly aggrandized to the point of cataclysmic hyperbole, even if some of Nintendo’s ambitions did sound outlandish. The funny thing is that the aspects of innovation planned for Metroid Prime were rightfully outlandish, yet Retro Studios managed to meet Nintendo’s standards and crafted something incredible. For the other 3D debuts in Nintendo’s library, certain restrictions were placed due to a lack of experience in developing games in the realm of 3D to make the transitions feasible. Metroid Prime made no compromises and still delivered something beyond any 3D debut’s expectations. One would think there would understandably be cracks to fill for a first 3D outing, but the foundation of Metroid Prime is as solid as a steel skyscraper. Perhaps it’s a testament to the quality of the Gamecube compared to the N64. Still, the fact that Retro Studios crafted something of this caliber only using Super Metroid as a reference AND formulating it into a sleek, responsive FPS game is unbelievable. All the while, Retro Studios showcased an immense amount of respect for the series which translated into making the game feel as Metroidy as the previous title. Retro Studios should be uttered in the breath as Orson Welles and Francis Ford Coppola, as they are examples of the rare, Haley's comet occurrences of making a masterpiece on their first go-around.
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Varia Bellorum Felicitate
The Gamecube isn't the first console that you think of when you picture the first person shooter genre. It had a few here and there on the system, but The PS2 and Xbox were much more suited for the gritty style with their superior hardware and more adapted controllers. The fact that the Gamecube's flagship shooter came in the form of a classic adventure platformer from the NES and SNES is indeed a curious anomaly. Any time a franchise dramatically alters the gameplay, immediate and intense scrutiny is to be expected. Metroid Prime was no exception, leaving many players aghast at the audacity that Nintendo would display in transforming their beloved action-platformer into an FPS. Leave it to Nintendo to pull it off.

As of this point in time, the recipe for a stellar Metroid game was to create an environment of isolation, and inject it with a semi-open world to wander, collecting upgrades and blasting aliens. Metroid Prime leaves this intact while making the bold jump to 3D. While its stepsister franchise Castlevania struggled with this dimension hop for years, Metroid fit into this new mold with an astonishing amount of grace. The environments that you're put in are both beautiful and sinister. The knowledge that you're entirely alone on an alien world with nothing but your own ability and the long forgotten relics of your ancestors makes for a very tense experience. My personal favorite section of the game is the Chozo Ruins, a beautifully crafted ruined area filled with ancient temples and advanced apparatuses that drips with a somber atmosphere the entire time.

Actually navigating these locales is where the strain of the 3D engine starts to show. There's quite a bit of platforming in Metroid Prime, and the unique control scheme takes a bit of getting used to. Metroid Prime does not adopt the now-standard dual-analog stick control scheme popularized by Halo. Instead, it takes on its own strange first person Z-targeting control scheme. Basically, all aiming and movement is done with the one primary control stick, while the C stick chooses weapons. If you want to strafe, gently push down on the R button. If you want to free aim, press it all the way down. Depressing the button completely allows you to turn and move normally, while holding it down with an enemy in view will lock on to it, enabling you to move freely while keeping a bead drawn on whatever you're firing at. It's admittedly very clunky, and sometimes is more of a struggle than anything else.

The actual gunplay itself is really nothing to write home about, either. It's an FPS that deemphasizes aiming. Combat encounters have you mostly being locked on the entire time, strafe dodging around and sometimes having to reposition yourself to hit weak spots. There are different weapon types to switch it up from being a completely braindead endeavor, though. Elemental weapons alter your effectiveness versus certain things, and all have an unlockable super missile effects for enhanced firepower. Even with these variables, though, a lot of combat feels like it boils down to manically dodging and hammering the A button. At least there are plenty of missile and health expansions to keep the game fair. I couldn't imagine going into some of the late game fights with the standard single energy tank.

Visually, the game is a true stunner, especially considering the hardware it's being run on. There are certainly some dated textures, but the art direction prevents you from really noticing all that often. The environments look beautiful in pretty much every section of the game thanks to a lot of clever tricks such as avoiding completely flat walls and covering textures in vegetation to hide the fact that these graphics are, in fact, 15 years old. The visor effects are especially remarkable. Your first person view will fog up when going through steam, or crack when hit by a major concussive force. Samus' face will light up in the reflection as well sometimes, too. The actual variety of these effects isn't super intense, but the fact that they're included at all is a great addition.

The music in this game is absolutely stellar, as well. The intergalactic sounding synth driven score manages to sound both adventurous and lonely. Whether it's the more piano lead Phendrena Drifts theme or the layered synthetic Tallon Overworld theme, the music hits the perfect balance of subtle and catchy. It of course picks up during intense moments in a piece that might leave you with anxiety after it's all over. Standard sound design does the trick just as it should, as well. With how often you fire your beam weapons, the sound effects need to not be annoying, and they aren't, fortunately. There's just a lot of good audio feedback in the game overall.

Metroid Prime isn't an amazing FPS game, but it is an amazing adventure game. When the combat starts to feel like a drag, you get yourself caught up in a new, enticing environmental puzzle. You finally get the moment where after being stuck for a few minutes, something in your head ticks, and you realize the new weapon you just got will open up a path halfway across the map that you passed two hours ago. The way the story is told almost entirely through data drops and lore keeps the storytelling from getting in the way of the game, but also lets you experience it as in depth as you want. All these mechanics far outshine the shortcomings of Metroid Prime and keep it up there at the top of the list of must-play Gamecube games.
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the last really good one
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yoitu 2023-10-10T15:01:58Z
2023-10-10T15:01:58Z
›95%
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Metroid Prime Remastered - Nintendo Switch
My best friend, Ame, would always tell me that this was her favourite game of all time. She would always tell me "Dude you need to play Metroid Prime, it's incredible". But every time I would try and give it a shot, I could never get my head around the controls. A first person shooter that only uses a single stick? That's not right! That's unplayable! But Ame kept telling me to push on through. And I would try, again and again, but every time the controls kept fucking me up. I was raised on dual stick shooters, and anything that laid outside of that would be like pulling teeth. But then comes Metroid Prime Remastered, giving me what I've always wanted, Metroid Prime with controls that I actually understand. And now I can say that yeah this game fucking rules, Ame was right the whole time. Godbless you Ame thank you for teaching me how to play Guilty Gear and the fact that trans people exist.
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Metroid Prime - Retro Studios' debut after several canceled projects, applied Super Metroid's intuitions to a first-person shooter, and therefore constituted another peak in atmospherics and world-design. In fact, the new dimension only made their technique more potent, surpassing its 2D counterpart in terms of thrills (where the new perspective prevails), platforming (due to expansive and elaborate level architecture) and especially in atmosphere. Ominous sound effects and immersive visuals contribute well, but the OST is by far its greatest asset, full of memorable tunes that cover an impressive gamut of styles. Electronic, industrial, ambient, and techno are but a few ingredients of a recipe that epitomize Metroid's art of isolation; one of the most accomplished soundtracks in video games. While packed with the usual set of upgrades and shortcuts, these areas separate themselves from prior games via cramped, less uniform corridors, tricky enemy placement (more akin to ambushes than obstacles) and massive scale in towers and intersections. But despite the differences, the end result remained the same: A dense, alien labyrinth equally as exciting and intimidating to explore.

Where it struggles is in the combat. While action has never been the series' top priority, its newfangled FPS model suffers from slow turning and plenty of odd control decisions (target-lock, limited strafing, free-aiming locked to turret controls, etc.) resulting in a rather stiff, cumbersome shooter. Sometimes, it elicits the confusion and panic of classic Metroid, other times it's plain grating. Thankfully, most enemy/boss designs stick to the same standard of previous games, and the half-lore, half-functional scan mechanic (feeding an unlockable encyclopedia) further decorated their world while adding yet another layer for completionists.

A rare breed, Metroid largely avoided the growing pains of 3D and instead delivered a more convincing slab of claustrophobic tension.
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Blah_Blee 2021-10-24T16:47:14Z
2021-10-24T16:47:14Z
7.5 /10
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Queria chamar de favorito, mas Metroid Prime tem alguns probleminhas que me irritaram: o combate meio desnorteante e a visão estreita em alguns locais, o que prejudicou bastante a exploração.

Mas os pontos fortes mais do que compensam as falhas. O level design é soberbo e tem um dos melhores bosses finais que eu tenho memória.
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gabrielctps 2021-08-04T04:23:24Z
2021-08-04T04:23:24Z
4.5
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Catalog

aprilsDoggy Metroid Prime 2024-02-27T03:32:58Z
Switch
2024-02-27T03:32:58Z
3.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
pagedMov Metroid Prime 2024-02-26T04:59:42Z
2024-02-26T04:59:42Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
The_Sun_King Metroid Prime 2024-02-25T19:49:53Z
Switch • XNA
2024-02-25T19:49:53Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
adg3 Metroid Prime 2024-02-24T06:21:23Z
2024-02-24T06:21:23Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
otodusflora Metroid Prime 2024-02-22T03:38:12Z
2024-02-22T03:38:12Z
4.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
MrYggdrasil Metroid Prime 2024-02-21T08:42:04Z
2024-02-21T08:42:04Z
100
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
col10 Metroid Prime 2024-02-20T01:02:34Z
2024-02-20T01:02:34Z
4.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
hyperhaxorus Metroid Prime 2024-02-18T16:43:25Z
Switch • XNA
2024-02-18T16:43:25Z
73
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
blacefalon Metroid Prime 2024-02-18T15:02:54Z
2024-02-18T15:02:54Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
matheusf Metroid Prime 2024-02-18T06:43:54Z
Switch
2024-02-18T06:43:54Z
5.0
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Akeptune Metroid Prime 2024-02-17T06:40:39Z
Switch
2024-02-17T06:40:39Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
javilondo Metroid Prime 2024-02-16T15:26:31Z
Switch • XNA
2024-02-16T15:26:31Z
4.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Content rating
ESRB: T
Player modes
Single-player
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  • Previous comments (65) Loading...
  • luna128 2023-09-10 07:29:43.56898+00
    My favorite first person shooter, Metroid Prime.
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  • Zelda7 2023-09-13 07:20:35.64689+00
    Yeah the gameplay has aged/isn't the most exciting but man this atmosphere is still one of the greatest, most captivating ever conceived. Top tier soundtrack and props to the remaster for making the visuals pop even more.
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  • Jambee 2023-09-13 10:10:13.382986+00
    playing the remaster now and having played the original the last time 3 years ago or so this game hasn't aged a bit imo. the atmosphere, the little details that amplify the immersion, the artstyle. it's as timeless as super metroid and imo one of the greatest achievements of video games in general
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  • OK_REVENANT 2023-09-18 20:50:30.073803+00
    Playing this game and Dread back to back, you can tell which one is considered to be one of the best games ever and which one isn't (I really like both games ftr)
    reply
    • PiccoloZ 2023-10-17 22:39:02.383304+00
      Prime is easily the best game in the franchise.
    • rainstorm 2024-02-07 20:02:01.926277+00
      Dread is light years better in terms of game-feel, combat mechanics, and boss design
    • WinterMirage 2024-02-11 17:23:18.992493+00
      Too bad it has, next to fusion, the worst map in the series. Dread is a rock solid action game but it kinda fails as a metroidvania.
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  • Jambee 2023-09-20 11:01:21.615183+00
    just finished the remaster and the game holds up perfectly. the minor qol changes make the switch version the definitive one but it's just amazing
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  • ElVareludo 2023-11-12 19:57:35.25974+00
    I remember buying Metroid: Trilogy for Wii back in the day, but I got stuck somewhere (I must have been pretty retarded back then even for someone who was like 12...) and ended up selling it. Just got the remastered version and I'm having a blast playing this. Super Metroid is one of my favorite games probably and I'm glad I decided to give this another chance. The level design is great and the metroidvania 3d style is awesome imo.
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  • figurehead 2024-01-20 02:13:22.858119+00
    great looking game and very unique fps. feels even better with the wii controls
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