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SummaryAn Effective Console Pinball Game.
The GoodThere's a lot going for Metroid Prime Pinball in terms of its visuals, features, and gameplay. For starters, the graphics are great. The programmers did an excellent job in converting Samus' world into a pinball field, with plenty of lights, visual effects and animation. This speaks the same for the graphic diversity in the playfields, which have a different "feel" to them.
The music is a strong selection of various Metroid themes, which sound really well for a handheld. The music is bright and crisp, and sets the mood for the various worlds. Sound effects and voice are equally impressive, with a lot of dings, explosions, and a lot of narration in describing the various power ups earned around the playfield.
As far as the game itself goes, it plays well. The game offers a Rumble feature, that really brings an extra "oomph" to hitting the various targets. The touchscreen works well as a tilt feature, and the ball physics handle very well as Samus launches herself around the playfield.
What is the most unusual aspect of the game is how well the world of Metroid blends into a pinball game. Since Samus spends many of the games moving around in her Morph Ball mode, the fact that she's now rolling around everywhere doesn't seem out of place. The game succeeds in placing a lot of Metroid lore into the game, allowing Samus the use of her missile and bomb power-ups for bonus rounds and defeating the various enemies and bosses. The game even requires the player to complete a quest in that Samus must collect artifacts to defeat the final boss.
The BadAs the game is a dual screen, there is a moment of "loss" as Samus transitions from top screen to the bottom screen. Most of the time, it isn't a major detriment, but in the heat of play, where the enemies become numerous, and the action gets fast-paced, this can mean the difference between clearing a bonus or losing a life.
The creatures that inhabit the bottom of the playfield can also feel cheap at times. There is nothing worse than rocketing past a creature, they grab you, and aim you directly towards the bottom hole, and there's little more you can do in the situation but watch helplessly.
The game offers multi-play via one card, but is limited to one one small generic playfield and only one mode of play. It's fun for a few rounds, but it does leave one longing for more options. At best, this option is average, which is a shame.
The Bottom LineFor a spin-off game (Mario is usually Nintendo's "go to" boy for breaking into different genres), Metroid Prime Pinball is remarkably well done, and a great time passer. The physics are accurate and comfortable, there's plenty of visual flair befitting a pinball game, and surprisingly, it makes sense in context to its subject matter, and rings true to the feeling of adventure that Metroid games offer.
Pinball enthusiasts or Metroid fans can both find something to enjoy with this game, and while not as hyped as some of the other high profile titles, it is, in my opinion, one of the better "twitch" action games available for the system.
A fun title. Recommended.