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Metroid Prime (Wii)

missing cover art
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MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
4.6
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Pagen HD (81)
Written on  :  Mar 09, 2014
Platform  :  Wii
Rating  :  4.2 Stars4.2 Stars4.2 Stars4.2 Stars4.2 Stars

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Summary

Double Jumping Shooter

The Good

The Wii version got rid of the cumbersome GameCube controls. Now you can aim and move normally with the Wii-mote + Nunchuk combination. You point at your TV to aim and look around. Your movement is very natural, like you are in Samus's suit yourself. There is no reason to go back to the GameCube version. The Wii controls are superior in every way.

The C button for the Morph Ball is particularly genius. The button itself looks just like that -- a small ball.

Metroid Prime is a First-Person Shooter but the more accurate description is "Double Jumping Shooter". Why? Because, in Metroid Prime you will get this item called "Space Jump", and Super Metroid fans will be disappointed. It's not a Space Jump. It's actually a Double Jump. Once you receive this ability, you will realize two things. You will realize why some platforms were just out of reach -- you need to jump twice to reach it! And you realize that from this moment on, double jumping will be what this game is ALL about.

You will be double-jumping in Metroid Prime all the time. It's addictive. Unlike most FPS games, Metroid Prime doesn't care about your weapons. You have four types of beams, with only cosmetic differences. You will not get any Uber-weapons as you would in Halo games. No. Metroid Prime is all about jumping. And why? Because Metroid Prime is the sequel to a side-scrolling platform game. Jumping around and reaching a previously unreachable area is the gameplay we're talking about here.

This is fairly common in 2D shooters, but very rare in 3D first-person shooters. There are a very small number of FPS games that say to you, "Don't bother to kill the enemies; ignore them. All you need to do is jump to this door/ledge/cave/whatever". You are often in a huge room and need to go from point A and get to point B in this same room. This formula is rehashed in the X360 hit Portal 2. There are many ridiculous, epic and exhilarating jumps in Portal 2, but if you've played Metroid Prime, you know that feeling already.

Other than the jumping, the most prominent distinction of Metroid Prime (as opposed to other FPS's) is that your character is VERY strong. You can kill most enemies without even trying. It's very easy to stay alive. The Halo formula of "die, respawn at checkpoint, survive until the next checkpoint" is unheard of here. You will only die a few times throughout the game. Metroid Prime's challenge isn't survival. It is "be careful not to fall". It is still challenging, and it still offers a great deal of satisfaction after you complete something.

One thing about the level design: It is now possible to die in a Save Room. I almost died in a Save Room once, and almost died in a room directly next to a Save Room once too. It's one of those moments in gaming you never forget. Words cannot describe the joy when you're almost dead and discover a Save Room, and actually save in it.

The Bad

** The X-Ray Visor. Oh, the X-Ray Visor. Super Metroid fans will be disappointed. Metroid Prime's designers decided that the X-Ray Visor cannot be used to find hidden items. If there's an item right in front of you, and you switch to the X-Ray Visor, chances are that you will NOT see it.

What does the X-Ray Visor do then, you ask?

1. The X-Ray graphics are kinda cool. Metroid Prime is a very atmospheric adventure and cool graphics like this are always appreciated.

2. The X-Ray Visor is required to see invisible platforms. This is quite lame.

** The Wii version removed the original Metroid game.

** Music isn't memorable. The only tune I can remember is the Lower Norfair theme from Super Metroid.

** No real desire to achieve 100%. I finished the game at 94%(item) and 94%(logbook) and felt content. The problem is that there is no way to know which item you DON'T have. I have read the Metroid Recon guide a few times and still haven't figured out which items I'm missing.

** The #1 annoying element of Metroid Prime: Boost Ball / Half-pipes. It seems to be inspired by the Speed Booster in Super Metroid, but while Speed Booster was the highlight of that game, Boost Ball/Half-pipes are a giant failure here. They are a chore to go through every time.

The Bottom Line

Expect the need to use a walkthrough from time to time. Metroid Prime is Super Metroid + Halo, and it's often the best of the both worlds.