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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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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