I find this game just as immersive and engaging now as when I first played through it about twelve years ago. I still find the story multi layered and intriguing. My level of interest only increased as I traveled throughout Tallon IV’s various regions and read all the logs and lore left behind by the Space Pirates and Chozo respectively. There was a whole planet’s worth of craziness going on and I was the one that had to piece it together and make sense of it all. It’s a good thing I like to read . . .
Even the graphics have aged well. Environments are still grand, sweeping, and surprisingly detailed. Metroid Prime is as breathtaking to behold now as it was back in the middle of 2003 when I first played through it. Either that or I haven’t been spoiled with the hi-def graphics that are so common in video games nowadays. Graphics are not what can either make or break a gaming experience for me anyway. If the story is uninteresting, the gameplay is unrefined, or the characters are blithering idiots, then I don’t care how amazing or minimal the graphics are. To me, the whole game is just a waste of time. There are a heap of beautiful wastes of time out there in the gaming world.
On to the actual gameplay. The entire control scheme has been ported over from Metroid Prime 3: Corruption which took full advantage of the motion controls that the Wii console had to offer. I didn’t find it too much of an adjustment because several years ago, I played through a large portion of that game. Let’s just say that it was the perfect crash course for learning how to use motion controls to their fullest effect.
As always, it took me some time to get totally into the groove of this game. It can all be boiled down to one reason: most of the best features of Samus’ suit are taken away right at the start of the game and I have to work my armor-clad ass off to regain them. I’m going to go ahead and make a list of everything that gets lost to make my point clear.
1. Missile launcher
2. Charge beam. Allows for concentrated beam fire.
3. The morph ball. Allows access to small areas. That’s where all the good stuff is hidden.
4. Morph ball bombs.
5. Space jump boots. Grants the ability to double jump to reach higher places.
6. Varia Suit. Has the iconic round shoulder pads and makes intense heat no sweat.
And just to up the ante, only one energy tank is available when first landing on the surface of Tallon IV. I always start a playthrough feeling totally hemmed in and extremely vulnerable. It isn’t until I manage to restore some of the suit’s most crucial features and a decent amount of firepower that I truly begin to enjoy the exploration and discovery aspects of the game and using the newly upgraded weapons to blast everything in my path to pieces.
*My Favorite Parts of the Game*
*The music that start playing as soon as I get into the Phendrana Drifts region of Tallon IV. And the remixed version of it.
*Getting deeper and deeper into the various regions of the planet.
*Learning more and more about the game’s story and what happened to the Chozo.
*Finding as many energy tanks and missile expansions as I possibly can. I still like to see how many of each that I end up with at the end of every playthrough.
*Taking on an enemy early on in the game and having a REALLY hard time only to come back later with better weapons to take that same enemy out with a few well placed beam shots.
*The plasma beam which can turn anything into a sooty vapor if it gets hit with enough blasts.
*The phazon suit that grants immunity to the effects of blue phazon. It also looks really epic in- game.
*And now, a few complaints*
*Do I REALLY have to lose almost all of my weapons and suit functions at the beginning of the game? Isn’t there a winged, mechanical monster heading for the surface of the planet? And what about all the other creatures down there that have been designed to kill me?
*The ultra-basic and utterly defenseless power suit that doesn’t have those iconic shoulder pads. So wrong. So weird looking.
*The cold weather research facility where the Space Pirates experiment on metroids. Why in the world does everything go dark after I pick up the Thermal Visor? (It’s no secret; just play long enough and the game will reveal its location anyway.) Combat really sucks when I can see the enemies but the not the terrain.
Ok, that’s enough complaining. My issues with this game don’t detract from its quality, scale, or epicness. I consider it one of the classic installments of the Metroid franchise. In fact, I like to think of it as the Super Metroid of 2002. It was just so groundbreaking, innovative, and the perfect method for introducing this series to a whole new generation of gaming enthusiasts like me.
That’s about all I can say about the first game of the Metroid Prime lineup. Soon I will be reviewing the second game, Metroid Prime: Echoes, to see if it has held up just as well as its predecessor.