The first game in the critically acclaimed Metroid Prime series is Samus' first foray into 3D, as well as an initially controversial shift from a third person to a first person perspective.
It was developed by Retro Studios along with important members from Nintendo's EAD and R&D1 divisions. Proclaimed a "First Person Adventure" by Nintendo, Metroid Prime combines multiple gameplay elements, such as platforming, puzzles, exploration and shooting, while presenting a large, open-ended world.
Metroid Prime revolves around Phazon, a highly radioactive substance with mutagenic properties. The game takes place on Tallon IV, which has been corrupted by this substance. Throughout her journey, Samus learns more about the nature of Phazon, as well as how her enemies, the Space Pirates, intend to use it. She also learns of the Chozos' struggles, an ancient race that lived on Tallon IV when the infection first arrived.
As well as maintaining most of the traditional Metroid gameplay features, Metroid Prime introduces a number of innovations to the series. The first person perspective led to the introduction of lock-on targeting, which allowed for a more intuitive combat system, as well as the ability to strafe around enemies. A heads-up display was introduced, which showed Samus' health bar and ammunition, among other details. A multiple visor system was incorporated, which allowed for different kinds of displays. The most intriguing display was the scan visor, which allowed a multitude of objects and creatures to be surveyed in great detail, as well as activating lifts and revealing weak points. A hint system was built into the game to aid players.
Metroid Prime saw great success worldwide, particularly in America. This commercial success led to the development of a Metroid Prime trilogy, as well as other Metroid Prime spinoffs.
When Metroid Prime was revealed, the most controversial aspect of the game was its first person perspective. With the game's release, however, it was universally accepted that the gameplay did not suffer at all from the new perspective, and that it took full advantage of the helmet view to increase immersion.
Metroid Prime, like its predecessors, puts massive emphasis on exploration. Tallon IV is wide open, ready for Samus to discover all its secrets. The Metroid series is known for its open, non-linear game-play, and Metroid Prime is no exception. There are only a few instances in the game where the player is given direction, though most of the time it is through subtle hints. The game will alert the player, then direct them to a place on the map. Reaching this place and most purpose behind the objective are up to the player to discover.'
The player controls Samus using the analog control stick. Unlike other FPS games of the era, Metroid Prime is controlled primarily with a single analog stick, rather then the dual stick format. In order to look around, players must use the R button. The R button allows the players to use the analog stick to look around and observe the environment, as well as aim at opponents. While traversing the landscape of Tallon IV, Samus will encounter many situations where she simply cannot walk. Luckily, Samus has the ability to jump, using the B button. Platforming is an important element of Metroid Prime, as in previous entries in the series. Metroid Prime has been praised for its excellence in platforming, something few thought possible in the first person perspective.
Combat in Metroid Prime is similar to that of most other FPS games, utilizing a variety of weapons. Samus fires using the A button, and when in the morph ball, Samus uses the A button to drop bombs. To lock on to enemies, Samus uses the L button. By lightly pressing the L button while locked on, Samus can swap out targets. If the player does not wish to lock on, they can look freely using the R button, and aim at opponents through that method. While locked on, the player can press the B button to dash from side to side. Samus must use all of her beam weapons, as well as her missiles, which are activated with the Y button.
The C-stick is used to select the weapon which Samus will use. Samus's basic weapon is the power beam, which she begins with. Throughout the course of the game, Samus can obtain the plasma beam, the wave beam, and the ice beam. The plasma beam is the most powerful of all Samus's weapons, and shoots short tang molten energy. The plasma beam can potentially ignite enemies, and comes in handy to melt ice. The wave beam fires three oscillating waves of electric energy. The wave beam has a limited homing effect. The ice beam is a cold blast, and has a slow rate of fire. The ice beam can potentially freeze an enemy in their tracks for a brief amount of time. Each weapon is strong against particular enemies, and all can be combo fires with Samus' missiles for greater effect. Once Samus obtains the charge beam, all weapons can be charged up as well, providing greater fire power.
In order to access many areas, Samus must use her weapons to destroy obstacles. Many doors are blocked by shields which require certain weapons to activate, and others have blast shields that must be destroyed with the missiles.
Samus has a variety of visors which will come in handy throughout the game, as well. The standard visor is the combat visor, which is used through regular gameplay. One of the most important visors, which Samus has at the beginning of the game, is the scan visor. The scan visor is used to scan nearly everything in the environment. Scanning proves useful for gathering details about enemies, and discovering the most efficient way of taking them out. Scanning is also one of the main ways to discover elements of the backstory. Scattered throughout Tallon IV are chozo lores and Space pirate logs, which Samus can scan and read. Most all scans are stored in the pause menu for Samus to read later on. Another useful visor is the thermal visor, which helps Samus track objects in the environment based on their heat signature. This visor is quite helpful in dark areas, enabling samus to see lifeforms clearly. Finally, the X-ray vison allows Samus to look through walls to find secret passages, and track enemies who use optical camouflage.
Like all previous Metroid games, Samus can transform into the morph ball. The morph ball is activated using the X button. In morph ball mode, Samus becomes a small ball, rolling around, and it allows access to areas Samus regularly could not fit into. Combat is limited, however, in morph ball mode, and Samus can only use the bombs, dropped using the A or Y buttons. The bombs prove most useful for morph ball jumping. A morph ball jump is performed by laying a bomb, then lingering over the bomb, which will shoot Samus into the air. Multiple bombs can be laid to reach higher areas, which can become very tricky.
One of the most useful tools in the game is the map. The map is accessed using the Z button, and is a detailed three dimensional depiction of Tallon IV. As exploration is so important in Metroid Prime, consulting the map becomes regular throughout the course of the game.
As in all Metroid games, items are scattered across the planet. Samus begins initially with merely her power beam and power suit, but as she explores more and more, she can expand her arsenal. Most weapons and visors are hidden throughout the game, and in order to obtain them and move further on in the game, Samus must find out how to reach them. Not all items are essential to the player's progress, however, some will prove very useful. Energy tanks and missile tanks are not required, but are a great help. Some missile and energy tanks can be easy to find, though many are not. Some of the most important items Samus must find are the Varia Suit and Gravity suit, as well as the space jump boots, which allow Samus to double jump. Metroid Prime also marked the return of the Grapple Beam from Super Metroid, which allowed Samus to grapple on to specific points and swing over great distances.
On October 2, 2008, Nintendo revealed that they planned to bring various Gamecube games over to the Wii with new controls, including Metroid Prime. The official name of the Wii release is called "New Play Control! Metroid Prime". This time around, players will control Samus with the Wiimote and Nunchuck. Movement is controlled by the analog stick on the Nunchuck. The biggest change to the controls is the aiming, which is now controlled by the Wii's IR pointer much like Metroid Prime 3. Lock-on is still available and is done via the Z button. Shooting is mapped to the A button (missiles and other weapons on the directional pad) while jumping is controlled by the B button. As in Metroid Prime 3, changing visors is done by pressing the minus button and choosing the visor wanted by pointing on screen. Despite these changes, the Wii release is largely the same Metroid Prime that was played on the GameCube. The Wii release also has 16:9 Widescreen and 480p support.
A Space Pirate frigate, this vessel was used by the Space Pirate Science Team for experiments, some more bizarre than others. This is where the Parasite Queen resides, as well as the place that gave birth to a reborn Ridley. In the beginning of the game, it is still partly functional. When it crashes, it is a gravesite for all that inhabited it. Samus will return to the ruins of the Frigate later on in her journey
The place where Samus first lands, the Overworld is a green place, always raining. It is sort of a central hub, linking to most major areas on the planet including the Impact Crater, along with being the place where the frigate crashed.
The dusty, abandoned ruins of a Chozo city, filled with stone buildings. Flaahgra, along with the Chozo ghosts can be found here.
An underground area filled with lava and rock. Long and narrow, the caverns are a dangerous place despite their lack of a boss.
A snowy area filled with icy creatures. The Space Pirates have a base here. It is also home to sheegoths and the gigantic Thardus.
The central point for all Space Pirate activity on Tallon IV, the mines house many labs, much Phazon, and some sinister creatures in the depths.
An area that no one has dared go near, and was sealed off by the Chozo. It is the source of the Phazon. This is where the final battle takes place.
By the end of the adventure, Samus will have collected 4 different beam weapons, each of which has a charge shot and can shoot missiles. Each of the beams also have the ability to be upgraded to have a charge shot that uses Missiles as well, only the first of which needs to progress, the rest being extras that are rewarded for hidden puzzles.
The quickest to fire, and also quickest moving bullet but has the lowest damage per shot, good to use on fast moving enemies. The charged version is simply more powerful, and is the quickest to charge of all the beams.
A big explosion dealing high amounts of damage, good for taking out enemies quickly, destroys Cordite objects. It uses 5 missiles.
An electrical beam that has a partial lock on, it's useful against machinery and the charge shot can stun some enemies. The charge version will also track enemies, so it is good against fast moving enemies. This beam can also be used to return power to systems.
This fires a continuous stream of energy that automatically homes in on targets. Although it is expensive to use, it is particularly useful against invisible enemies or when Samus's target systems are interfered with. The Wave
Buster uses 10 Missiles, shooting 5 per second.
This beam has the lowest rate of fire, and the shots move slowly as well making it hard to hit moving enemies, but the upside is that it can freeze them, meaning they can be taken out with a single missile. Targets with more health need the charge shot in order to freeze them.
Sends out sheet of ice when it hits, freezing those it hits. Quite useful in confusing situations with an overwhelming number of enemies. The Spreader uses 10 missiles.
This beam deals the most damage and is relatively fast but has a short range. Also, it can set some enemies on fire due to the extreme heat. Once this beam is obtained, it may become the default beam of choice. The charged version of this beam can melt thick ice with cracks.
This is a short range weapon that leaves behind fire on whatever it makes contact with, damaging things that touch it. Not very useful due to its inaccuracy but good for handling large groups of enemies. It uses up 10 Missiles over 2 seconds.
Suit and Ability Upgrades
Samus obtains various upgrades throughout the course of her adventure. These take many forms, and hark back to the original Metroid games.
The first suit upgrade Samus receives, and the one she is most often associated with. The Varia Suit provides a reduction in damage, as well as the ability to visit environments with extreme temperatures, without being hurt. It is gotten by defeating Flaahgra in the Chozo Ruins.
This suit upgrade allows Samus to move fluidly underwater, as well as increasing underwater visibility and providing more damage reduction. It turns her suit a shade of purple. It is acquired in the Gravity Chamber in Phendrana Drifts.
The result of an overload of pure Phazon, the Phazon Suit is shades of black, silver, and crimson. It protects Samus from the effects of blue phazon (though not orange phazon), and provides the most damage reduction of any suit. It also allows her to use the powerful Phazon beam. It is gotten after the battle with the Omega Pirate, in the Phazon Mines.
Samus' visor has many different capabilities. The standard types are the combat (for fighting) and scan (for scanning the environment) visors. There are also two others:
Thermal Visor- This visor allows Samus to see the heat signatures of everything around. It is used to find Shadow Pirates and energy conduits.
X-Ray Visor - This visor is used to (ta-da!) see beyond the visible spectrum. It is without color though, and only goes a short range. It does however, allow her to see enemies that are invisible to even Thermal Imaging, and to see through flesh.
Simple as it sounds, the missile launcher allows Samus to fire missiles. At first, only five are available, but this is upgradeable by finding one of many missile expansions throughout the world. They are more powerful than a standard beam shot, and may hone in on targets, so they are good for damaging enemies, as well as opening doors and destroying certain materials.
A standard of the Metroid series, this power allows Samus to curl into a ball and roll around. In this form, she is able to get through tight spaces. It is gotten once the Plated Beetle in the Chozo Ruins has been defeated. It has various upgrades:
Bombs - Getting this upgrade allows Samus to drop small bombs while in Morph Ball form. These can destroy certain materials, are effective against many enemies, and can even serve a purpose in some boss fights. They can also be dropped into bomb slots to activate certain things. It is gotten once the Incinerator Drone in the Chozo Ruins has been beaten.
Power Bombs - Able to destroy tougher material (Bendezium) and stronger enemies, the Power Bomb is one of Samus' strongest weapons. The number availible can be expanded. They are obtained by defeating the Beta Drone and passing through the maze in the Phazon Mines.
Boost Ball - This upgrade affords Samus a short burst of speed while in Morph Ball mode. Useful for traversing half-pipes and defeating smaller enemies. Acquired in Phendrana Canyon in Phendrana Drifts.
Spider Ball - This upgrade allows Samus to stick to and roll along the magnetic tracks that wind around Tallon IV. Bombs provide a small jump off the track. This is gotten by defeating Thardus in Phendrana Drifts.
Space Jump Boots
These boots in effect give Samus the ability to double jump. They are equipped with boosters to give Samus that extra jump she needs. They are found in the Alcove in Tallon Overworld. They are unique to the Prime series.
Different from other beams in that it can't be used to attack, the Grapple Beam is used to attach to grapple points and cross large distances. It is found in the Storage Depot in Phazon Mines.
Bonuses and Secrets
Unlocking the fusion suit
This can be unlocked by connecting Metroid Fusion to the GameCube after completion of Metroid Prime. The fusion suit will then be selectable from the start menu of Prime. It offers no new power though. In the Metroid Prime Trilogy version for Wii, it is unlocked by beating the game once and purchasing it from the Extras store.
Play the original Metroid (NES)
Upon completion of Metroid Fusion, connecting the completed game to a copy of Metroid Prime will unlock a playable version of the first Metroid game.
Unlocking Hard Mode
Completing the game once unlocks hard mode.
Unlocking the art galleries
- Image Gallery 1: Compile 50% of the Log Book scans
- Image Gallery 2: Compile 100% of the Log Book scans
- Image Gallery 3: Complete Hard Mode
- Image Gallery 4: Complete Hard Mode with 100% of the Items collected
The music found in the game was composed primarily by Kenji Yamamoto, along with Kouichi Kyuma. A CD release came in June 16, 2003 in Japan and contained both Metroid Prime and Metroid Fusion soundtrack, named "Metroid Prime & Fusion Original Soundtracks", The track listing for the Metroid Prime part is the following:
- Menu Select
- Frigate Orpheon
- VS. Parasite Queen
- Escape from Frigate Orpheon
- Planet Tallon IV
- Ancient Chozo Ruins
- VS. Hive Totem
- VS. Giant Beetle
- Chozo Ruins
- Energy core
- VS. Flaahgra
- Lava Caverns (Burning Trail)
- Lava Caverns
- Ice Valley
- Ice Chapel
- Space Pirates (Laboratory Gate)
- VS. Space Pirates
- VS. Thardus
- Tallon Overworld
- Chozo Chapel of the Elders
- VS. Chozo Ghosts
- Ice Valley (Phendrana Deep Lake Area)
- The Downed Frigate Orpheon
- Phazon Mines
- Phazon Area
- VS. Omega Pirates
- Artifact Shrine
- VS. Meta Ridley
- Artifact Shrine (Chozo no Huin Kaijyo)
- Impact Crater
- VS. Metroid Prime (Spider)
- VS. Metroid Prime (Head)
- Shrine Collapsing Epilogue
- Ending Staff Roll
- End Jingle
- Record of Samus
- Samus Aran Appears
- Get Item Jingle
- Get Artifact Jingle
At first, many fans of the Metroid series were furious that Metroid Prime, the first Metroid game in a generation, was going to be in First Person. This led to the famous quote of it being a "First Person Adventure" and not a First Person Shooter. Once people played the game it was understood why that was. Many critics praised the game's level design and incredible graphics. It was stated as being a great reinvention of the Metroid franchise into 3D. Many stated that the gameplay was well done and that the lock on feature was a welcomed addition as it allowed easy strafing. Still, many stated that the controls were difficult and that a traditional first person control scheme, where the left analog controls movement and the right controls direction, should have been included. Though many fans still yearn for a new 2D incarnation in the series, Metroid Prime is now one of the highest rated games of all time.
On August 24th, 2009, Metroid Prime was re-released in North America as part of the Metroid Prime Trilogy for the Nintendo Wii. The game now supports 16:9 widescreen and utilizes Wii Remote pointer controls in this version.
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Gameboy Advance compatible
Progressive Scan compatible (480p)
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