By jclane 8 Comments
Before reading on-please read Part 1’s intro for a brief rundown on what this “series” is all about. Or don’t, I won’t judge. And if you’d be so kind as to take a listen to the mood setter of sorts (seen above). With that out of the way, let’s dive head first into the world of Metroid.
Metroid is a series all too famous for giving players a real sense of isolation. Samus Aran may not be alone in the universe, but any allies she may have seem to either die on her or arrive too late to the party. Enter Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, the finale to Retro’s fully realized 3D trilogy. Right off the bat, Samus is greeted by a Galactic Federation fleet and is requested to come aboard the flagship Olympus. Inside, she passes by many engineers and GF troopers until finally heading to the meeting room with Admiral Dane, who is accompanied by 3 fellow hunters. Suddenly, Samus no longer has this battle to fight alone. Or so it would seem…
You see, shit goes bad very quickly. No less than a couple of hours into the game, Dark Samus shows up on a planet that Samus and the other bounty hunters were trying to save from an incoming organic meteorite known as a Leviathan seed. The 4 of them are easily dispatched by the Dark Hunter and when Samus awakens a month later, she finds herself in a fancy new suit that comes with a heavy price. Whilst she was unconscious, scientists discovered that she now carries a bit of Phazon inside her, thanks to her evil counterpart. You now see where the subtitle comes into play. Samus is soon sent off to discover what happened to the missions the other hunters were undergoing and finish their jobs if need be.
It comes as little surprise that her former allies have now gone mad from the corruption within themselves. Our attention today is drawn not on these encounters, but rather a mysterious ship that was said to have been attacked by the nefarious Space Pirates. Whether you choose to go there immediately or leave it for late in the game, the result remains the same. The situation is about as bad as it gets in the world of Metroid. The music alone already tells the tale. All that remains on this broken vessel is the debris and the broken husks of GF troopers stationed here.
(No one dies gracefully or peacefully in Metroid. Not even our flipping-off friend here.)
WELCOME TO THE G.F.S VALHALLA.
An ironic name if I’ve ever seen one. Valhalla is the Norse mythos equivalent of the afterlife, but there are no Gods and eternal paradise aboard this ship. Only corpses and broken machinery. Moving into the bowels of the ship, you discover the bodies of those stationed here, completely lifeless. Using your trusty scan visor, all indications point to cause of death as the titular creatures, who love to feed on their victim’s life energy and leave nothing but an empty shell behind. What is most haunting are the troopers who so desperately tried to open an ID locked door, whose very flesh now remains stuck in place, blocking the only means of progressing onwards in this deep space graveyard. Having no choice but to shoot the bodies, they just dissolve into black dust. Once inside the meat of the ship, you can see through the windows as a ferocious pack of metroids pass by the debris outside on the backdrop of the blood red hue coming from the nebulae. It sets the mood, letting players know that Samus Aran is now alone on a desolate vessel in the middle of nowhere with her greatest enemy somewhere aboard the ship, possibly in their hundreds.
The metroids are not alone, however. With them comes all manner of Phazon infected beasties hell bent on sucking down your energy tanks and testing your mettle. Unlocking more areas of the ship using energy cells that are scattered both on board and on other planets, you venture deeper, not knowing where you may be led. It only becomes hauntingly apparent towards the end of this journey that the space pirates (led by Dark Samus at this point) that laid siege to this vessel were after the Aurora Unit that was assigned to it. After fending off a Metroid Hatchling, you find the final transmission of Aurora Unit 313, who in an almost sombre yet emotionless tone, reveals the true nature of the Phazon corruption’s point of origin, the sentient planet of Phaaze, before shutting down with the final message:
(Orange Optimus Prime informs us just how dire the situation is.)
It’s a fitting end to this haunting level, setting up the final confrontation of the Prime trilogy as Samus and her Galactic Federation buddies use the remaining Leviathan seed stationed by the Pirate Homeworld to create a wormhole and take the fight to Phaaze, where Samus must defeat her nemesis and dark clone, who now has the intention to merge with the stolen AU and help spread Phaaze’s poison until nothing is left.
Winding down this story, I’d like to point out the fact that I was having second thoughts on including this level as part of this series; the reason being is that our beloved Chozo-raised heroine is a walking engine of destruction. Compare and contrast to the debut entry, which features the protagonist of a Soul’s game, which basically means by default that they are going to be weak and brittle from the get go and depending on what order you tackle Demon’s Souls’ worlds in and how high a level you are, your character is still going to be harshly vulnerable to the nasty creatures that dwell within Latria. The game and location I’ve chosen for the next part also does a good job of making your character feel exposed to the dangers of the world. In the end, I decided that it was Retro’s stunning presentation of this level in particular that sealed the deal, coupled with the fact that the MP games are rated 12 here in the UK and T for Teen in the US, yet still managing to make me feel unnerved and unsettled by the environment and carnage strewn before my glowy Phazon eyes.
In any case, thanks to you (yes you, sitting right there) if you stuck it out this far. My next choice will soon be gracing these forums and let me tell you, it could stir some controversy as to what classifies as horror as well as how subjective the entire topic is.
(When we return, we'll be heading to a different kind of Mushroom Kingdom.)