I couldn’t wait to play “Metroid Prime” when it was finally released for the Gamecube in 2002. It was a boon of a year for “Metroid” fans with the simultaneous release of “Metroid Fusion” on the Gameboy Advance after 8 long years without a new Metroid game to sink our teeth into. Sure, I was a bit nervous about Nintendo taking this hallowed franchise into the 3D realm but they had successfully modernized Mario and Zelda, so why not Metroid? Luckily, my faith in Nintendo was warranted.
“Metroid Prime” is the first of a three part “Prime” trilogy that was supposed to have taken place between the events of the original NES “Metroid”/GBA “Metroid Zero Mission” and the Gameboy sequel, “Metroid II: Return of Samus”. “Metroid Prime” turned the series into first-person 3D mode, and in many respects, it can be considered a first-person shooter, except for the fact that you spend too much of your gameplay time exploring than actually shooting for it to strictly qualify as an FPS.
Samus Aran is once again battling space pirates, this time on the planet Tallon IV. The gameplay mechanics (e.g. areas only accessible by elevators, items that must be acquired before advancing, mini-bosses found in different, distinct regions) will be recognizable to anyone familiar with the 2D versions of the series but through a modern looking lens. I played through “Metroid Prime” at the time of release and really enjoyed the updated graphics, the familiarity of the 3D enemies, new twists on recognizable items and weapons and had no problems getting accustomed to using the Gamecube controller to strafe while locked onto an enemy, aim, shoot, as well as switch weapons and items on the fly. Nintendo made the game’s interface extremely intuitive and utilizing the first person perspective provided the player with the same background information through scanning items and surroundings as if you were inside Samus’ suit. “Metroid Prime” was a near flawless game for its time and still holds up. I could make a joke about how it was a “Prime” example of how to transport 2D characters and worlds into a 3D environment but that would be cheesy…..right?
“Metroid Prime 2: Echoes”, is the sequel and second game of the trilogy picking up where “Metroid Prime” left off. The two games are nearly identical in appearance and gameplay. Thus, mastering one allows you to easily play the second. While this may be a positive in some respects, gamers looking for a new twist or something exciting to warrant their hard earned money may be disappointed. Overall, “Metroid Prime 2” is still a very solid game as Nintendo didn’t screw up a formula that they successfully mastered the first go-round. You just may get a sense of dejavu or even “Prime” fatigue if you try to play the two of them back-to-back.
Currently in my collection:
Metroid Prime – game, manual, case A
Metroid Prime 2: Echoes – game, manual, case B