Metroid Prime

GameCube

Review by Tony Bueno

Nintendo

FPS

Graphics: ?

Sound: ?

Gameplay: ?

Overall: 8


Space Hunter Samus Aran, who previously starred in two of the Big N’s most memorable and innovative space adventures, is back for more in this latest installment of the series. As 2-D side scrollers are now long passť, Nintendo has graced us with a new and improved first person shooter, albeit with enough old school play mechanics and new innovations to keep players across the board happy.

Investigating a derelict spacecraft, Samus discovers that her longtime nemeses, the Space Pirates, have been up to their old evil ways, still capturing, experimenting with, and augmenting malevolent alien beings to further their own agenda. Unfortunately, it isn’t just Metroids this time, and Samus arrives just in time to reveal a much larger conspiracy that gets a little too convoluted at times with the game going a little overboard with a lot of technical space mumbo jumbo. This doesn’t hurt the game too much, however, as gamers will soon find themselves engrossed by the same exploration and problem solving elements that have made the Metroid series such a success.

Although the first person shooter genre is arguably (read: almost certainly) over saturated, the unorthodox and surprisingly novel control setup for MP works amazingly well. Interaction with computers, hieroglyphics, and even enemies is achieved by entering scan mode, with a separate combat viewpoint for engagement. Nintendo has blessed players with a target lock on feature that, while not perfect, is DEFINITELY appreciated as aiming with two thumbsticks has NEVER been an optimal control scheme. Not all of the game is first person, however, as the viewpoint does enter the third person perspective when the morph ball is employed. Sounds confusing, but the whole thing is done very well and the transitions between the two are about as smooth as they could be.

Audiovisuals are above average but not outstanding. The monsters, caverns, corridors, and such are well depicted with fluid animation and a decent frame rate, or so it would seem. The sounds are also adequate, but really nothing about which to write home. As with most if not all fps, the overall appearance is way too dark, even with the brightness cranked all the way up. Do space station designers have some kind of aversion to overhead lighting or something? Some may appreciate this as another level of ambiance, however, so feel free to disregard this complaint if it suits your taste.

Overall, Metroid Prime is a winner. It’s wonderful to see that game companies still honor classic characters and series with modern updates. Now if only the Big N would make a GC title starring Stanley the pest exterminator…

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Last updated: Wednesday, December 10, 2003 02:28 PM