Metroid Prime (2002) Review

Metroid Prime is the first game in the prime series, these games follow an action adventure style with a focus on exploration and puzzle solving which is a completely different style to the previous games in the series. It was developed Retro Studios for the Nintendo Gamecube and was released in 2002, the game was also re-released in the Metroid Prime Trilogy for the Nintendo Wii, In this review I am focusing on the original GameCube version of the game so keep that in mind.

After escaping Zebes in the Original Metroid, Samus recieves a distress signal from to travel to the Planet Tallon IV to prevent Meta Ridley and the Space Pirates from exploting the planets core and stealing its phazon energy, Samus lands her ship directly in planets center in a forested area and prepares herself for her very first 3D mission.

Right from the get go the game looks gorgeous and it has a large variety of different areas, my favourite was the forest but you also have to deal with ice and snow, lava, underground caverns, mines and toxic substances, all of the areas of the game are fantastically designed and I have no issue with graphics or visuals.

You will spend the majority of this game shooting enemies and as you explore you will discover new weapons, the game is very well designed with the different weapons needing to swapped regularly in order to damage different types of enemies, so many games will give you loads of weapons but only one will really be needed, in Metroid Prime however you need all of them to survive and the final boss of the game requires you to use each of them.

You can also find many upgrades to your armor most of these are series staples but the final phazon suit upgrade is new, it allows you to walk through the toxic substance without taking damage, the gravity suit also makes a return allowing Samus to double jump.

Of course the morph ball makes a return and while there isnt any new power-ups for it, it is very satisfying to use and once you unlock the spider ball upgrade it makes exploration a lot easier and at times a little bit quicker.

What is new is the ability to use half pipes to launch your morph ball to high ledges, this takes a while to get the hang of and I feel it could have been made a lot less stressful if they took out the need to time you boosts.

For the first time in the series Samus is able to upgrade her Visor to deal with different environments, the scan allows her to scan enemies and items to collect information and interact with the environments, the thermal visor allows her to see heat in the dark and the x-ray helps her to find secrets hidden within the landscapes such as walls that she can destroyed or ice she can melt.

The boss fights are really memorable but I do feel they drag out a bit too long, some of these fights can take up to 20 minutes and all of them quite difficult, it doesnt help that you still need to discover save stations to get a checkpoint, I feel that auto saves in some areas would have been a better choice, for example half way through the game you get to the mines and there is a section where you have to take out various difficult difficult space pirates and solve puzzles to get to through the areas, after getting so far you have had your health drained and instead of giving you a chance to save and heal the game just throws you into awkward boss battle that takes off large amounts of your health, at the same time more space pirates turn up making this the only part of the game that I felt was badly designed.

Another really annoying issue with the boss fights is that you have hold down the controller buttons in order to do powerful charge shots and missiles, your hands really start to ache after 30 minutes or so fighting the same boss and while this may come across as nitpicking it really does get annoying when you are really getting into the game and you have to stop playing for a while just so that you rest your fingers.

As per usual the soundtrack for Metroid Prime is as great as you would expect it to be, these games have always had immersive music that fits the lonely atmosphere of the games surroundings perfectly, the music is often creepy and chilling, it makes the player feel uneasy and on the edge of their seat not knowing whats lurking in the darkness and this is no exception its a really good soundtrack and while I still prefer the music from Super Metroid even though most of that music is remixed here this is still one of better Metroid soundtracks available.

I may have complained a little bit about this one but I did really enjoy my experience with Metroid Prime, for the first game in 3D the developers did a remarkable job in making it feel similar to its predecessors, this may be the hardest Metroid game I have played yet and while I do enjoy a challenge a few extra save stations would have been nice especially before major boss battles. I am very excited to eventually get around to playing Metroid Prime 2 but for now I will leave the series here, giving It’s first 3D game a score of 8.4/10

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Super Mario Sunshine (2002) Review

Super Mario Sunshine is a 3D platfomer for the Nintendo Gamecube, it was directed by Yoshiaki Koizumi and Kenta Usui with producer credits for both Shigeru Miyamoto and Takashi Tezuka

Mario, Princess Peach and Toadsworth are all flying to the luxurious Island of Isle Delfino for some summer fun, relaxation and a well needed vacation after Mario’s past adventures.

Unfortunately a Mario impostor has covered the entire island in toxic slime and due to this Mario is mistaken for the criminal resulting in him being thrown into prison. Luckily he had previously picked up one of Professor E-Gadd’s inventions FLUDD, FLUDD is a water propelling device which has multiples functions and is able to remove the slime, Mario is eventually released and told that he must clean the entire Island before he can leave, this gives him plenty of opportunities to figure out who framed him and explore the entirety of Isle Delfino.

In the game you will travel to different areas of the Island which each hold a number of Shine Sprites (This games stars).

In order to receive these Shine Sprites you will have to complete various tasks ranging from basics such as collecting red coins and more complex tasks such as fighting ghosts, riding yoshi’s and even riding roller coasters !!

My favourite Shines in the game are from the second world you can access, there are two missions here where you can ride on squids to go fast across the water, this is really fun and not too difficult to control once you get the hang of things.

Another game play style worth mentioning here is when the game takes the FLUDD away, this goes back to basic Mario game play and its very challenging because you are now used to using FLUDD for practically everything, I can see some gamer’s being very frustrated with these sections because they are both difficult and visually differing to the rest of the game but personally for myself these are some of the highlights of Mario Sunshine.

Speaking of the worlds they are each so differently designed that I want to briefly discuss my thoughts on them.

The Hub World has its own Shine Sprites which you can collect as you unlock new peripherals for your FLUDD, the main layout is actually really good and minus two Sprites which are a pain to collect it had little flaws, the only issue I have is the awful plachinko mini game and the red coin mission which is requires you to navigate a Yoshi to an island using boats which you have no control over.

The first world you enter is Bianco Hills a really summery area that is powered by windmills and ruled by ferocious pirana plants. I really like this area its genuinely really well designed and a great place to get used to using Mario’s jumping mechanics and it also teaches the player the basics of FLUDD.

Next up is Ricco Harbor a water based level which requires players to quickly adapt to using FLUDD in order to explore the stage,I like this level but I do feel its really unfair at times especially so early on in the game, I love riding the squids but I hate the wind that knocks you off of the towers which are already challenging to balance on.

Gelato Beach is one of my least favourite areas of the game, it can be very creative when it comes to using water to control the sand and I also enjoy the general atmosphere of the level, the stage was not very well designed for the Shine Sprites it holds, examples of awful design would be the much hated sand bird stage and rolling the water melon, while the sand bird is a stage hidden within the Beach it is still extremely frustrating and does not work well with the games genuinely slippery control and the water melon mission is just ridiculously difficult as one hit and it get destroyed and the level is crawling with unfair enemy placements.

Pinna Park is easily the best part of the game, its a theme park which is really fun to explore and is one of the best areas to climb up really high to get some good views and appreciation for the game design. I love this part and I have no complaints.

Sienna Beach is an odd name considering that you hardly spend anytime in the beach part of the level and mostly explore an old hotel, the hotel is a pretty cool area its a little boring considering that most of it is locked from the player but what we do get is great, I really love finding the secret rooms and the Casino is a memorable part due to that really crazy fight with King Boo.

An area I always forget about before each play through of Sunshine is Noki Bay, this is another water based area and I don’t know why I never remember this because its one of my favourite places to visit. It is a really challenging level because when you first enter the entire water area is poisoned and will kill Mario fairly quickly, the level is very small but has some great details such as the use of seashells as decoration and buildings, there are a lot of well hidden secrets to find and the stage is designed in a way that makes it really fun to explore with little frustration, I love the colours used, there is a lot of dark blues and purples and other darker colours that each blend really well together and build great immersion.

Pinata Village is the final area before you head to the Volcano to fight Bowser, I hate this level because it is really boring, there is nothing special about it and while I think its interesting that it was developed with players being able to explore both the village and its underside the entire layout is just basic and nothing really stands out, I would argue that even the Shine Sprites here are not great, the only one I enjoy is when you have to drag the giant chain chomp into the hot springs but apart from that nothing else is memorable for me.

While exploring all of the Island you will primarily be using FLUDD who has four functions, shooting water, hovering, blasting water to move Mario at rapid speeds and the rocket allowing Mario to propel himself into the sky, these are all really easy to use but you will be mainly using the hover which is the most useful as it can come in handy to allow you to make tricky jumps.

Yoshi’s can be ridden in the game but they are hardly ever needed a very unusual choice was for them to spit out juice from their mouths, this juice can be used to remove a specific type of slime that can not be destroyed otherwise.

At this point we have covered most of the game but the last thing I want to touch on is the blue coins, these are hidden all over the game and the primary function is to sell them for more Shine Sprites, people do complain that these make up a large chunk of the Sprites in the game and is just lazy I think its done in a way that works well enough but I would be lying if I didn’t slightly agree with the statement.

The game may be a little flawed but you have to admit that the soundtrack is fantastic, its very simple I wont deny that, it even repeats music but with a different style and instruments but its done in such a clever and discreet way that it just works, the music fits perfectly and helps you get immersed in the really silly world of Isle Delfino.

So I know I have complained a fair bit here but I do feel this game is far from perfect, It’s buggy and the controls are not as great as they usually are and for the most part it feels unfinished but there must be something great about this game because I have replayed it every Summer since 2002. I think what this game does well is that it genuinely feels like a vacation, its so silly and charming that its hard not to put a smile on your face and I think for a lot people its nostalgic, it definitely is for me I got this game when it came out and I’ ve grown up with it since I was seven years old, back then I would have told you that this is one of the best Mario games ever made but now that I’m older and I review video games for a living I can see that its far from being a masterpiece for reasons I have stated previously. It’s a game that I would say is half amazing and half mediocre its a little bit of a mess but is also really fun, Mario Sunshine is probably the most difficult game in the series to rate because its hard to look past how much fun it is but then as reviewers we must look into It’s problems and it has a fair few so I think its only fair to give it a 6.5/10 and just enjoy for what it is, not the best Mario game but a great way to start the summer.

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Metroid Fusion (2002) Review

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Metroid Fusion is the fourth entry in the Metroid Series and is the second game to be released on a handheld console. The game was developed and produced by Nintendo.

It takes place after the events of Metroid Other M and as of this review it is at the end of the chronological timeline of events.

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While flying over the planet SR388 Samus is attacked by an Alien Organism called X, she crashes her ship but is thankfully rescued by the Galactic Federation, the organism affects her nervous system and almost kills her before she is cured by having Metroid DNA pumped into her body, with her new DNA she is now able to absorb the X parasites and gain energy and ammunition from them however she is now damaged by cold due to cold being a Metroid’s weakness.

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An explosion on the space station that Samus is being recovered on gets damaged by an explosion, Samus is commanded to investigate, its here that she is introduced to a new computer system she names ADAM after her ex-commanding officer, the computer informs her that the X parasite is able to clone its prey and that SA-X (That’s Samus Aran X) have been made and are highly dangerous, and its from here that Samus and ADAM work together to find a way to destroy the parasite and save humanity.

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Metroid Fusion is a unique game in the series because for the first time the game-play changed drastically, the main idea is the same you do explore various locations and find many secrets such as Energy Tanks, Missiles and Power Bombs but this time the parasites make enemies a lot more difficult to kill, the reason for this is because when you destroy an enemy it releases the an X parasite and if you don’t collect it fast enough it will either re-spawn the enemy or will attach itself to another enemy making it more powerful.

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The game is a lot less cryptic than its predecessors this is due to ADAM telling the player where they need to go to reach their objectives, the game actually pin points almost everything on the map making the adventure feel a lot less immersive and much easier than you might expect, the only thing that really bothers me about this is that a lot of free exploration was not available here and it sucks because you could explore freely in all of this games predecessors, security doors no longer require weapons to open either as you can find security rooms that can unlock all of them, I actually prefer this idea as it allows Samus to save on ammunition.

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Even though the game does hold your hand a little bit by guiding the player throughout the majority of the adventure, the locations are just as beautiful and fantastic in art design as they were in Super Metroid.

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Throughout the game Samus can upgrade her suit and with each upgrade she will gain new abilities and sometimes a new colour, however none of these colours are the traditional orange, this is because orange is the colour of the Samus Clone SA-X that at some points in the game will hunt you down and try its best to kill you, this creature is extremely powerful and does major damage to the player if they are hit, its actually quite scary and reminds me of the film invasion of the body snatchers.

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There are many bosses to fight in the game and all of them are creepy and have amazing features and I absolutely love the design of all of them, my favourite is the nightmare a big robot with a goopy face that melts the more damage that you do it, its honestly quite tragic watching its face melt off but in a Nintendo game its also really cool, the issue that I really had with boss fights is that they all get killed the same way and apart from the final boss I remember killing all of them with just missiles and compared to Super Metroid where the bosses were killed in more creative ways this was little disappointing.

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What is new about the boss fights here though is the core that they leave behind after blasting a boss with missiles they will die and release a core, the core will also need to be blasted with missiles in order to release an X parasite that will give Samus one of her past abilities and weapons.

A few changes were made to some weapons here, the high jump and jump ball are now combined, the missile upgrades all act as one weapon instead of separate weapons, the X-ray scope is gone however the Super Bombs can now show secret passages instead and the grappling lazer is not in the game at all.

One other thing to note is that the spin jump is now much easier to pull off, in Super Metroid it is quite difficult to master but here players should get the hang of it after a few uses.

The soundtrack is fantastic due to the Gameboy Advances sound capabilities, just like in Super Metroid the music is creepy and dark, Samus is trying to survive and the new threatening parasite has made enemies more powerful and she is afraid but feeling hopeful, the music really gives this impression through the way its orchestrated and is generally really good, but its not all creepy as a good number of action packed tracks are used to compliment the slower ones, this is best shown when Samus runs into the SA-X and is running away trying to escape from the terrifying clone of herself.

With all of its flaws I actually really like Metroid Fusion, it is linear in its gameplay but the environments are fantastic, it has great boss designs and its plot makes the game a lot scarier than its predecessors. What I think this game did really well was that it showed the player from the beginning that the hero Samus Aran who has survived many missions can die, she is only human like the rest of us and that makes the adventure feel much scarier and more important that players try to survive, the game is full of great details and even has voice acting which is actually really good for what you would expect from a gameboy advance game.

I only wish that you were able to explore more freely and that the game was not as easy as it is, however on the flip side this is a great game for people who want to be introduced to the Metroid series as compared to the previous games this is the least frustrating.

7/10

hope you enjoyed this review of Metroid Fusion for the Nintendo Game Boy Advance.

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Spider Man (2002) (PC,PS2,GC,XBOX) Review

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In the past four years of writing reviews for this website I haven’t really delved into the world of super heroes, we’ve all seen the movies but what about the video games that came after them?, I haven’t really played many super hero games but after Sam Raimi released the first Spider Man film I remember begging my parents to buy me the game that Christmas, I recently repurchased the game for nostalgia but was it as good as I remember?

spider-man-the-movie-pcThe first thing that stands out with this game is that it doesn’t have much in common with the movie at all, the first stage of the game actually takes place long after Peter is bitten by the spider as its his mission to track down Uncle Ben’s killer.

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The rest of the game has a unique story line, Spider Man ends up taking on all of sorts of super villains including The Shocker, The Vulture, Scorpion and Kraven the Hunter (Kraven is only in the XBOX version of the game), of course the Green Goblin is still the main antagonist in the game but apart from one level every time you fight him its different to the movie, even the final battle doesn’t take place where it does in the film, I personally really like that the game is so unique but some people may be a little put off by its differences.

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Spider Man is a general beat em up game and it consists of 24 stages, most of the game is boss fights which are all really fun, some stages require Spider Man to hide in the shadows and sneak about but most of time you will be beating up bad guys and trying to complete a goal to finish the stage, Peter doesn’t just fight with punches and kicks as he can also use different fighting techniques by using his web, there are a lot of moves you can unlock but for me the most useful was shooting my web at enemies while I was swinging through the air, other useful moves include tying up bad guys with your web, pulling enemies towards you by lassoing them with your web and creating an exploding shield around your body, you do have to be careful though as you can run out of web and it can only be topped up if you find a blue spider, you can also top up your health by finding red spiders and you can unlock new fighting moves by finding gold spiders.

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The biggest problem I have with this game is that when you are outside you cant land on the street otherwise you will die, its kinda annoying because in the movie Spider Man is able to walk about in the street so why cant he here, it doesn’t make any sense what so ever.

The game controls pretty well when you are stable or fighting, I found the controls to be tight and responsive but when I was swinging I had a lot of trouble trying to make Spider Man go in the direction I wanted him too go, he just kept bumping into the sides of buildings and due to the way the game is designed sometimes he would grab onto a building when I bumped into it, this slowed me down and was a particular pain on levels where I had to chase the villains.

Graphically for a game that came out in 2002 it looks fairly impressive, I was very surprised with how smooth the animation was when I was playing the game, for some reason the cut scenes look quite pixelated which really sucks considering how great the game play looks.

I don’t remember any music in this game at all which isn’t a good sign because that means that it blatantly wasn’t that good and I cant really comment on it because like I said none of it was memorable to me.

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Through out the game you will gain points depending on your performance, these points will unlock loads of really cool secrets, the best in my opinion is pin head bowling where you can team up with a friend and can swing into bad guys to get points, other unlockables include secret cut scenes, being able to change Spider Man’s model so you can play as Mary Jane, a Police Officer, Peter Parker etc, you can unlock the ability to play a Green Goblin campaign if you beat the game on the Hero or Super Hero difficulty, this campaign is almost exactly the same as the main game and I recommend skipping it.

Spider Man is a pretty fun licensed game, it’s not perfect by any means but it definitely stands out with its unique story and different game play styles, it’s really cheap to pick up these days and if you ever come across it I recommend picking it up especially if your a Spidey fan.

6/10

I hope you enjoyed this review of Spider Man the Video Game 2002

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