A prime candidate for your next game to play
2017 marks the 15th anniversary of Metroid Prime, Samus Aran’s first adventure in 3D. While fans weren’t quite sure what to make of the first-person shooter gameplay at first, the game has become not only one of the most successful games in the series but also one of the most critically-acclaimed games of all time. I myself didn’t fully play the game until this year (I’ve had it ever since I got my GameCube, but I was way too young to be able to play it properly), but for a fifteen-year-old game, it was still incredibly fun to play. As someone who tends to not play games when they first come out and prefer to wait until they get older and drop in price, I tend to be a little more forgiving when it comes to adjusting to older video games. Still, Metroid Prime is something I can still recommend for anybody. Here’s some reasons why:
Fun shooter gameplay
I’m not the biggest fan of first-person shooters, but most of that comes down to the game design rather than the actual aspects of shooting in first-person. It’s also my belief that FPS games work better on a PC than on console because, for me, mouse control allows for better precision in combat. But for an early 2000’s shooter on the GameCube, Metroid Prime’s shooting is damn fun. Nintendo worked to make sure the controls were as comfortable as they could be on the GameCube controller, including breaking some of the company’s traditions (example: the B button jumps!). The end result is shooting that, while it does take a while to get used to, is incredibly satisfying. Blowing up space pirates never felt so good.
A selection of great items
Metroid fans know the inner torment that comes from having all of your upgrades in the very beginning, then having them all taken away because of reasons. But this makes collecting all the items throughout the game all the more fun. All of Prime’s upgrades offer their own unique ways of solving puzzles and navigating through the world. Staples like the Morph Ball, Charge Beam, and Power Bombs return, and new items like the Beam Combos give us new toys to play with. By the end of the game, Samus feels equipped to deal with basically any kind of threat. It’s a good thing, too, because she’ll be going up against some of the galaxy’s toughest enemies, such as space pirates and native species of Tallon IV. Speaking of which…
Some of the biggest threats of the game come not from the enemies around the world, but (obviously) from the big, bad bosses. Interestingly, not all of them are beaten by simply spamming your beam cannon until he collapses. Many of them require you to get creative with your items in order to do any damage. This is the kind of boss design I look for in video games; ones that require you to use your inventory and abilities to your advantage, rather than just chip away a health meter shot-by-shot. This makes all the bosses stand out in their own way, since each of them forces you to use a different tactic. They’re all tough, they’re all mean, and they’re spoiling to kill you – but you’re more-than-equipped to deal with them.
One thing that Metroid Prime does well is create an amazing atmosphere. The planet of Tallon IV has wonderful environments, from the desert-like Chozo Ruins to the freezing wastelands of the Phendrana Drifts. Every area looks unique from one another, and even when you’re crowded into a hallway, the environment design is always pleasant on your eyes. Even the industrial setting of the Phazon Mines manages to be fairly vibrant. Most of the game has a natural setting to it, and traveling around the planet often feels like a fun safari adventure but with even more creatures trying to kill you. This all adds up to a game that is pleasing to look at as well as play.
Wonderful ambient music
Music can make or break a game for me as to whether it lasts the test of time. On that front, Prime definitely delivers. The music takes some inspiration (and sometimes, flat-out reuses tunes) from previous Metroid game soundtracks to create an atmospheric and ambient soundtrack. The end result is a soundtrack that not only fits wonderfully with Samus walking around and shooting up enemies but also stays in your head after you’re done playing. Highlights from the soundtrack for me include the songs for the Crashed Frigate, the Magmoor Caverns, and the Tallon Overworld. Take a listen if you haven’t played the game already – it’s definitely one of the best aspects of the game.