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Platform

GameCube

 

Genre

Shooter / Action

 

Publisher

Nintendo

 

Developer

Retro Studios

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

Q4 2002

 

 

- Everything

 

 

- Might have to search all over town to find a copy

 

 

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Metroid Prime

Score: 10 / 10

 

Perfect: from the Latin “perfectus”; entirely without fault or defect (flawless); satisfying all requirements; corresponding to an ideal standard or abstract concept; lacking in no essential detail.

 

Add Metroid Prime to that definition.

 

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There haven’t been many games this year that I’ve awarded a perfect score to.  In fact, only one other game – Morrowind – has hit the rating ceiling.  It’s got to be an extra special game that scores a perfect rating and Metroid Prime (MP) is an extra special game – and maybe the best game of 2002.  If you own a GameCube, you owe it to yourself to at the very least rent MP if you don’t buy it outright.

 

Before you hit the “back” button while muttering, “Hyperbole,” hear me out because I’m not kidding.  I started MP with a mix of dread, excitement and skepticism but within 30 minutes I was totally absorbed: hooked by the graphics, pulled into the environments, and completely enjoying myself without having to wrestle with the controls.

 

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MP drops you into the snazzy Power Suit of Samus Aran as she hunts down the vestiges of the Space Pirates and arrives at an orbiting research facility above Tallon IV.  And the adventure proceeds from there…

 

The most intriguing aspect of MP is that you’re right in the upgradeable Power Suit, viewing the world through the visor and many gameplay elements stem directly from this.  It’s so seamlessly integrated to the core of MP that after a while you actually feel as though you’re in the suit (unlike, say Halo) especially when a Metroid is trying to latch onto your face.

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While the suit and high-tech visor uses every button on the controller, I can’t say the control ever distracted from the gameplay.  Scanning the surrounding area for clues, locking onto enemies, rolling into a ball (in four possible modes), dodging sideways while firing missiles at enemy targets – egads, it’s easy!  This ease of control is fortunate as there’s plenty of challenge; puzzles to overcome and some great-looking enemies to turn to dust after scanning them to find their weak points. (And since they respawn you can face them multiple times.)

 

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Graphically, MP is the one of the best looking games on the GameCube, if not the best.  The effects really have to be seen in motion to be appreciated.  Old school players will recognize familiar enemies and appreciate the numerous small touches such as the mist that collects on the visor when walking near waterfalls. (Retro really went all-out to make you feel like you’re behind the visor.)  And I shouldn’t forget the weapon effects, which never fail to impress with their raw beauty and wicked power.  The same can be said of the visor effects, including a thermal visor that is just plain wicked.  (I know I used “wicked” twice in one review but it’s appropriate.  Nothing like late ‘80s slang to set the mood – if you’ve finished Metroid Fusion (GBA) and have the cable link, you can play the original 1986 NES Metroid on your GameCube!)

 

I could go on about the technicalities and minutia – like the weapons, the various Power Suits, the history of the Chozo who settled Tallon IV, the tension and moments of claustrophobia, the well placed save stations, the rich detail and beautifully designed levels, the ball puzzles – or search for flaws but I’d just wind up sounding like a pompous ass.  I want you to play MP and see for yourself what I’m raving about.

 

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Do yourself a favor, drop everything and go buy Metroid Prime (or ask Santa!) – it’s definitely worth the money and you will not be disappointed.

 

- Omni

(December 10, 2002)

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