Metroid Prime
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9  |  Metroid Prime, First Impressions
larsoncc , 11/25/2002 9:35:46 AM

Metroid stares at youMetroid Prime has arrived. I am now officially prepared to be worthless for the next week. Say hello to my family while they are out searching for me. Someone please play with my kitty cat, because I'll be the drooling mass on the couch, staring blank faced into the screen. Yes, this game has that power. Now, granted, my first 15 minutes with the game have revealed some control flaws (quirks?), but it is of little consequence. This game is one of the fabled MUST-OWNS this holiday season.

If a GameCube is all that you have in the way of game systems, you should definitely seek out this game, play it, and experience it. For your viewing pleasure, all of the pictures in this article were taken live from the game, and all three of them are "click-able", so that you can witness the detail that this game features.

Now, I've played exactly 15:01 into the game, so I can't say that my experience is comprehensive, nor can I say that I'm going to share all sorts of juicy secrets within this review. But I will say... Collectors must own this game. I am confident that it will retain value over time, because the art within the game is bar none, and it comes from a franchise that has proven its longevity.

The first positive thing to note about Metroid Prime is its educational system. Although the control scheme is somewhat complex, the task-oriented education system takes on each control feature separately, and without stopping game play. It's as if Nintendo KNEW there was no way I was reading the game's manual. This in-game education is nice, and it works well to introduce the visor system. As you have no doubt heard by now, Metroid is played from the perspective of the lovely Samus, inside her suit, which becomes an additive element to the game play. This surprised me, because I was expecting the first-person perspective to be terrible.

Now, fortunately, there's no way for me to spoil the plot line for you, as I am so early into the game. Here's what's happened so far: I got a distress signal (sound familiar?), from a deserted space station (sound familiar?), and I've had to perform some relatively easy tasks - which is causing the space station to self destruct (sound familiar?!?). I take out the

Here's where it's a bit different than other Metroid games. Getting out of the Space Station has proven to be a bit difficult. I'm getting my butt kicked! In fact, I think that this must be one of the key points of the game: the difficulty level is high. I'm sure that two days from now, I'll be wondering what I thought was so darned difficult about this whole scenario, but for now, I'm taking the opportunity to stop playing for a few minutes, take a few screenshots, and post this article.

That's right. I fully intend to be worthless over the next few days. We went over this in the first paragraph, didn't we?

OK - so, I've mentioned some control difficulties. Here they are, in no particular order:

  1. In nearly every FPS type game that I have played for console systems, there are two joysticks actively used to control your character. One joystick controls your movement, and the other joystick controls your view. Metroid shies away from this control scheme, in favor of something unique. For the most part, you don't have to worry about controlling your view, unless you are shooting at something high. In which case, you hold down a button and use the same stick to control view. The view also operates a bit more slowly than other games like this, so it's difficult to quickly adjust and fire. Perhaps I just need to get used to it.
  2. Scanning an item takes forever. When I'm trying to escape a burning building, I don't want to take 5 minutes to read the "Exit" sign. Granted, scanning is fun most of the time, but I'm not a fan when I'm in a hurry. And at this point in the game, I AM IN A HURRY.
  3. Having so many controls can be a bit cumbersome, but I guess I just need to learn them. For instance, my initial impression is that activation of the scanner is on a stupid part of the controller. You use the + button below the joystick to activate/deactivate the scanner, which means for that second, you can't control your character. I don't know if this delay will become a factor later on. We'll see.

Get out...Now!For each of the control difficulties, I can mention 15 games that have worse control. I can also mention 15 different features that I like about the game that more than make up for the control.

For instance, it's amazing to me HOW ACCURATE this Metroid is at keeping the look and feel of a 2D game, in an entirely 3D environment. From the Morph Ball to the way that the gun operates, to the save points, this is Metroid. There is no mistake there.

So, I left the GameCube running... Um, and I only have a few minutes before I have to get to work. So, ah, I've got a few things to, ah, do before I go in to work today.

So... BYE!

(Zip!)

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