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Metroid Prime Pinball

Moby ID: 21714

Description official descriptions

In this pinball game based on Metroid Prime, Samus gets knocked and rolled around the table in Morph Ball form; the table contains Metroids, which can latch onto her and suck away health. Tables include the surface of Tallon IV, the Space Station, the Phazon Mines, and more can be unlocked by searching for artifacts and collecting bounties, which are found by destroying Space Pirates and other dangerous creatures.

Metroid Prime Pinball is a pinball game with a Metroid theme. Players can collect power-ups such as missiles and super bombs, which can be helpful when defeating bosses. There are also missions to be completed within a time limit; these missions can involve defeating unique enemies that appear on the table or completing tasks such as wall jumping. Completing missions earns either artifacts or special tokens.

The game also features a single-card multiplayer mode. In this mode, up to eight players can play. The game is a race to see who can reach a certain score first. Players lose points if they lose their ball. It is also possible to dump enemies onto opponents' tables to cause trouble for them.

Spellings

  • メトロイドプライム ピンボール - Japanese spelling

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Credits (Nintendo DS version)

31 People (19 developers, 12 thanks) · View all

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Critics

Average score: 75% (based on 35 ratings)

Players

Average score: 4.0 out of 5 (based on 21 ratings with 2 reviews)

Can Samus Survive Yet Another Stylistic Transition?

The Good
Few games cross the genre divide without losing some sort of vital elements. Sonic Spinball for example, undoubtedly inspired by Sonic's quasi ball-like nature, was not really the best Sonic game, nor was it the best pinball game. Mario Pinball on the Gameboy Advance saw an even stranger conversion. We can accept Mario as a basket baller, a golfer, a tennis-star and even as a doctor of medicine. I found it a little more difficult to accept Mario as a perpetually squashed and spheroid spinal-victim - it just seemed forced. Also, the game itself was a sparse, almost minimalist take on pinball, with little environmental interaction, and suspiciously flat surfaces. But enough about these preliminary pinball particulars, proceed promptly.

So, could another lovechild of platform and pinball pay-off? Or is this questionable, (yet highly repeated), Frankensteinian experiment doomed to pervert the laws of nature, like so many others?

Well, truly, Metroid Prime has been converted into a successful pinball title. The reason it works so well is that the core game play is built around a great physics engine. The ball (Samus) is fluid, controllable, and retains that feeling that you are in fact smashing a little bounty hunter around. The flippers control great, and give that addictive sling-shot feeling that all good pinballers give. All of these elements are heightened by the included "rumble-pak". This slots into the GBA port, and gives a satisfying rattle and rumble effect on a hand-held system. It's brilliant, and goes to show that some extra care and thought has gone into this title.

Graphically, this title is beautiful. The tables draw upon Metroid Prime series locations, and the heart and essence of these exotic and varied locations is rendered nicely and above all, accurately. Tallon Overworld is a monsoonal, volcanic and earthy table. The ramps and gutters twist and around the steaming vegetation and rocky outcrops. Samus looks at home here, and players of the Prime series will no doubt identify with this unique location. Again, the Pirate Frigate, is the well-worn insides of the industrial space-ship manned by the pirates themselves. Their battles cries are straight from the bigger-brother console series. Phendrana Drifts, and others that I won't spoil, make an equally significant impression, and offer their own dangers and environmental traps.

The Bad
Criticism of this game usually notes the lack of tables, with only six being ultimately available. This is a valid view, but, there is a lot to do on all of the existing tables nonetheless. Each table presents you with little missions to accomplish. Each one levels up individually, and before long, they are pretty difficult. One of these missions gets Samus to unroll into her human form, all while firing the beam at ever increasing numbers of bugs or bats. This gets very frantic, and I don't think anyone out there's ever hit much farther than level five. Further criticism is usually on the tilt system (you know, when nudge the machine so the ball takes a more favorable direction). This action is made by swiping the touchscreen left or right, and it's not always that effective. Neither is it that convenient, as I find that your hands must have unusual dexterity or flexibility (seeing as you've got them tied up on the trigger buttons).

The Bottom Line
The Metroid series really is one of the more stylish and maybe even misunderstood games. Samus is an understated hero-figure, with next to nothing to say (is she Link's aunt?) and a very isolated existence. This impenetrable facade that she has means she can be a flexible character for experimentation, and this pinball game does capitalise on her flexibility. Samus as pinball may sound silly if you're imagining a digitised version of a real table, but this game gives it a more natural and sort of inevitable feel. The inclusion of the regular foes, environments, music, weapons and art makes the experience more than a mere Metroid spin-off - it's more of a missing Metroid chapter.

Nintendo DS · by So Hai (261) · 2008

An Effective Console Pinball Game.

The Good
There'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 Bad
As 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 Line
For 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.

Nintendo DS · by Guy Chapman (1748) · 2007

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Ben K.

Additional contributors: Kartanym, Guy Chapman, gamewarrior.

Game added March 20, 2006. Last modified June 18, 2023.