Metroid Prime Trilogy Review (PART 1: ORIGINS RELOADED)

xandermartin98
METROID PRIME TRILOGY REVIEW (PART 1: ORIGINS)

Truthfully, some of my very first gaming memories come from a combination of this game and Super Metroid...rather fittingly so, considering how much the former borrows and adapts from the latter. I still remember reading about all of the ferocious controversy going on between Nintendo and its insufferably diehard fans back when the company first announced that, after a literally EIGHT-YEAR hiatus, they were going to be "handing over" their next Metroid project to a relatively unknown western developer known as Retro Studios, which also later went on to make the equally amazing Donkey Kong Country Returns/Tropical Freeze duology (to all of you nostalgia freaks on this site that constantly whine about games that are very clearly superior to or at the very least equally as good as their predecessors being "not being as good" as them and/or "travesties" compared to them, SHUT UP RIGHT NOW, for the greater good of gamer-kind).

However, what Nintendo DIDN'T tell all of its insane cultist fanboys about said business decision was that they were actually going to be working TOGETHER with Retro Studios (who was originally planning to make it a shameless Halo ripoff) in order to make SURE that the resulting product was top-of-the-line classic Nintendo quality...and THEN some, while we're at it.

Honestly, it's hard to say anything that hasn't been said before about how astonishingly well this decision turned out for both companies, but anyway, let's suit up and get started, shall we?

STORY: Truthfully a MILLION times better than Super Metroid in this regard (DIS-regarding nostalgia and how innovative SM was at its time), Metroid Prime starts out with a remarkably similar bang to that of SM right from the get-go. Samus is sent on a bounty-hunting mission in which she has to investigate a recently attacked and parasite-infested Space Pirate frigate of which basically all of the crew members are already dead (or at the very least, might as well be).

After making her way into the Reactor Core room and doing battle with the pathetically weak and easily-defeated Parasite Queen in what is literally only the first HALF of what is quite easily one of gaming's all-time greatest tutorial levels, said queen's corpse falls directly INTO the reactor core and triggers the space colony's obligatory self-destruct sequence, during which Samus meets the newly mechanized Ridley...and also unfortunately loses all of her abilities BY BEING MILDLY ELECTROCUTED AND THROWN AGAINST A WALL.

(Well, at least it's a better excuse for the trope's presence in this game than NOTHING, I suppose...)

From there, Samus follows the familiarly fleeing Meta Ridley onto planet Zebes Tallon IV, which truthfully is in much better condition than Zebes but is still very much a barren, deserted wasteland. After a brief trek through the Tallon Overworld jungle, Samus finds herself in Chozo Ruins, establishing that this planet is not only a major Space Pirate base of operations but also a former home for the Chozo as well...before they were all wiped out by "The Great Poison", that is.

At first, most players who haven't read into spoilers on this game probably thought that "The Great Poison" was referring to the nasty green toxin that you initially see polluting Chozo Ruins' water until you finally defeat the area's resident Eldritch Abomination plant boss and purify it again...but no, it turns out that it's actually talking about something MUCH worse. Something called...PHAZON.

Of course, naturally, Phazon has mutated much of the local wildlife (including the final boss Metroid Prime itself, who is NATURALLY quite the Eldritch Abomination indeed) and is also being mined from deep within the planet by the local Space Pirates so that they can use it as a performance-enhancing drug (and horrifically abusively experiment ON the local wildlife with it, of course), but much like Undertale and Bioshock, where this game REALLY shines is in its backstory.

Yeah, get ready to scan a LOT of Chozo Lore and Pirate Lore entries, because believe me, it'll definitely pay off in the long run (and also more importantly cement MP as having one of the greatest back-storylines in gaming history).

GRAPHICS: For the love of God, this is a fracking GAMECUBE GAME made in 2002 and STILL looks better (both aesthetically and in many ways technologically as well) than most XBOX 360 titles. Go on, Nintendo haters, TELL me unironically that the company has bad graphics in its games again, I DARE you. (Also, go and play Super Mario Sunshine, which was also from the EXACT SAME YEAR.)

Without even going into too much detail ABOUT it, the environmental design is BREATHTAKINGLY detailed (in many ways, even by today's standards); the enemy design is perfect, the boss designs are second-to-none, the special effects are spectacular, the textures and animation are so amazingly fluid that they almost look photo-real at times, and most importantly, the design of Samus' suit itself is easily, BY FAR, the best it has ever been in the franchise.

SOUND: Once again following in the footsteps of Super Metroid, Metroid Prime also has some of the greatest music and sound design in gaming history. From the cold, lonely emptiness of the Chozo Ruins theme to the wonderfully captured "beautifully mysterious" atmosphere of the Phendrana Drifts, Crashed Frigate and Tallon Overworld themes, there is seriously not even a SINGLE entirely dull moment in this game's soundtrack. Seriously, MAJOR props to Nintendo and Retro for how much work they clearly put into this particular aspect of the game ALONE.

GAMEPLAY: While still remarkably weak compared to its other aspects, Metroid Prime's gameplay is still in many ways second-to-none as far as "First Person Action" games are concerned. In literally EVERY single way that the first Half-Life failed miserably in attempting to seamlessly integrate platforming with first-person shooting, Metroid Prime succeeds spectacularly.

Even without the upgraded Wii controls on its Trilogy edition, MP controls incredibly smoothly for a one-stick first-person shooter if I do say so myself. The puzzles (although insultingly simple) are very well-thought-out and tie in wonderfully to the areas that they appear in, and the combat (even though the lock-on mechanic completely breaks it) is a ton of fun as well.

The classic Metroid theme of becoming progressively more and more powerful and versatile as you acquire more and more abilities and expansion tanks is executed better here than it is in probably any other game in the entire series (even though it's still obnoxiously easy, framerate lag is basically nonexistent, and although I'm still not quite entirely sure, to this day, how they actually managed to do it, Nintendo and Retro even somehow managed to make the SCAN VISOR one of the most fun mechanics I've ever used in a game. Seriously. EVER.

While I wouldn't entirely call it BETTER than Super Metroid overall, it's a massive improvement in pretty much every place that counts, so without further ado, I'm going to have to give this a 9.75/10

Comments

The only Prime game I have actually played. At first I was a bit thrown off by the tank-like controls but I eventually got used to it. A few issues with backtracking, although most of it was more of my fault, but as a game overall it was a really good game. What makes it more so is the sound design and the atmosphere. Playing it with lights off in a dim room was like the perfect way to get sucked into the game's world for me. It's still a gorgeous game to look at and it makes me wonder how Nintendo will compare for the 4th game.
7/10 for gameplay, 10/10 for sound design, aesthetic and level design - cjWriter1997

Metroid Prime really was quite reminiscent of Half-Life in retrospect, wasn't it - xandermartin98

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