Metroid Prime is a first-person adventure/shooter video game developed by Nintendo-owned Retro Studios and released by Nintendo in 2002 for the GameCube. It was the first 3D Metroid game and is officially classified by Nintendo as a first-person adventure rather than a first-person shooter due to the large exploration elements in the game. It was either released directly before or after the Game Boy Advance video game Metroid Fusion (the former for America and the latter for Japan, Europe, and every other market that got the game). For America, it was the first game in the series since Super Metroid on the SNES, which was released all the way back to 1994, though protagonist Samus Aran did appear in Super Smash Bros. and Super Smash Bros. Melee as a playable character.
Like all the games in the series, Metroid Prime stars intergalactic bounty hunter Samus Aran. Other familiar faces such as Ridley, the Space Pirates and the Metroid also appear (Kraid was originally going to appear, but was taken out). The game is the first of a three-part video game series that also include Metroid Prime 2: Echoes and Metroid Prime 3: Corruption for the GameCube and Wii, respectively. A side game, Metroid Prime Hunters, was released for the Nintendo DS while on the same console a semi re-imaginning of this game was released in the form of Metroid Prime Pinball.
The game was highly acclaimed by most critics and received multiple game of the year awards from, and not exactly limited to, GameSpot, Gamespy, EGM, Nintendo Power, and Edge. It received the runner-up award from IGN, though did get the best of the GameCube for 2002.
A remake of the game titled New Play Control! Metroid Prime was released on the Wii exclusively in Japan. In America and Europe, Retro and Nintendo released all three Metroid Prime games on a single disk for the Wii, calling it Metroid Prime Trilogy.
A traditional Metroid game basically is a sidescrolling sci-fi shooter. The games never strayed too far off, until Prime came along. The newly found developers meant to create a Metroid game rather than just another first person shooter, and fans and critics alike agree that they successfully accomplished this most challenging goal. While some of the elements are distinct and unfamiliar to the series, it certainly seems to have that special Metroid "essence" that makes the series so special.
The game has abandoned the sidescrolling perspective and is a full-fledged 3D adventure game. Staying true to the series, the game takes place in a large, free-roaming world, and includes plenty of diversions and out-of-the-way areas, most of which can only be accessed by gaining special abilities or enhancements.
The huge world (Tallon IV) in which the game takes place is connected via elevators that take you to the multiple different sections, each one being dramatically different from one another. Like the Metroid video games preceding it, each area has a multitude of rooms each banded together and separated by doors that can be opened simply by shooting them.
The shooting aspect has also been immensely improved. To make the gameplay a tad more accessible, the developers have incorporated a unique lock-on system which allows the player to track enemies and certain objects simply by pressing the L button. For those who want to aim less readily, then that person is capable of pressing the R button which will allow him or her to point more directly at an unlockable object.
A popular ability of the protagonist Samus Aran is being able to transform into a Morph Ball, which reduces her to the size (arguably) of a bowling ball, allowing her to access areas that were previously impassable. In this form, she's also able to lay morph ball bombs, which will explode within a second or two after planting them. With these bombs, she is capable to damage potential enemies and launch herself upwards, making her perform a sort of jump. In this form, the player will look through a third-person perspective rather than a first as you normally do.
Among other abilities and weapons include ones that she'll have to obtain over time. The missiles are among the most popular, and the most potent and available weapons in the game. Her suit will also go through improvements as well; for example, the Varia Suit will allow her to walk through scorching areas, though will not make her immune to intense lava and fire.
One of the most popular and new features in the game is the scan system. With this, Samus Aran is capable of learning the history and abilities of the world and the creatures surrounding her. Almost everything that moves is scannable, giving the player a grand backstory and a more improved plot if they wish for it.
The developers have included a constructive and extensive story that help develops the story of Samus Aran and the many different themes, species, and antagonists of the series, along with giving new worlds to explore and learn about. If the player wishes, he or she is given the chance to learn more about every aspect of the plot by scanning the copious objects in the game.
In the beginning, Samus Aran will land on the Frigate Orpheon, responding to a distress call she received. Once she is ejected from her ship, she explores the inside where she finds that the entire crew has been ambushed by a mutated parasite that became corrupted through the Space Pirate's experiments with Phazon, a dangerous and powerful substance that is destroyed in the final installment of the series, Metroid Prime 3: Corruption for the Wii.
After fighting and ultimately killing the mutated beast, who's name is the Parasite Queen, the boss falls into the ship's reactor, thus making it explode within a few minutes. Samus escapes, though she looses all of her weapons through an electrical surge that resulted in the destruction. This is when she spots Meta Ridley (Ridley's reconstructed form), who flies off to Tallon IV. Samus makes an appropriate decision and follows him onto the planet.
Once landed on the planet, Samus was required to find Chozo Artifacts in order to enter the Chozo Temple, which at the time the Space Pirates were attempting to break through. She then goes through three primary areas and infiltrates each of the Space Pirate's bases. While exploring the Phendrana Drifts, she comes across the first Metroids in the game in a Space Pirate lab.
After returning all of the Chozo Artifacts to the Chozo Temple to access the Impact Crater (the source of all the Phazon corruption within Tallon IV) Meta Ridley apprehends Samus, then attempts to destroy her. After defeating Meta Ridley, Samus enters the Impact Crater, where she finally encounters the last boss of the game - Metroid Prime. Here, she destroys the beast, but with its last strength Prime grabs and absorbs Samus's Phazon suit. The beast being defeated and the Phazon corruption stopped, Samus leaves Tallon IV. If the player has obtained 100% of all pickups, they will be shown the concluding cutscene of the game, which shows Metroid Prime's hand leap up from the last pool of Phazon, which leads to the creation of Dark Samus, who is really Metroid Prime wearing Samus' Phazon Suit.
The game mostly takes place on the planet known as Tallon IV, which features a diverse environment that consists of scorching underground segments, icy tundras, eerie forests, Phazon mines and desert ruins. The first portion of the game takes place on a ship that got ambushed, though it can basically be considered a training stage. Neither of the sequels take place on Tallon IV, excluding the remake Metroid Prime Pinball.
The actual atmosphere can sustain human life, among other life forms. There is a healthy amount of oxygen and plenty of vegetation and meat for their respective consumers.
- Samus Aran - Samus is the female protagonist who has appeared as the playable character in almost every Metroid video game to date. She's noted as the first ever female heroine in a video game.
- Ridley - The antagonist of the Metroid series and Samus's long-time nemesis.
- Metroid Prime - The primary antagonist of the Prime trilogy, Metroid Prime is a mutated beast that was the result of a mixture with Phazon. Samus defeated it at the end of the game, though it fused with a stolen Phazon Suit and was reborn as Dark Samus.
The developers of Metroid Prime, Retro Studios, opened their doors in 1999 as a developer of Nintendo games. In the beginning they had four games planned, one of them including the revival of Metroid. This was surprising considering that the development team hadn't even received development kits yet for the GameCube, the platform on which all of the games were planned. Their Metroid game was the one the team was most enthusiastic about, and certainly the one that Nintendo kept a close eye on. Nintendo saw that it was a mistake to allow the company to work on so many games, so they cancelled two of them so they could focus on Metroid Prime and Raven Blade. Early on in development, however, they ended up cancelling Raven Blade too so that Retro could exert exclusive devotion to Metroid Prime.
When word got out that an American team that just opened up were creating a new entry in a beloved series, fans wondered how in the world they would be able to do it, and Retro was keen on making sure that they wouldn't disappoint the fans who thought that they'd receive a sequel to Super Metroid on the Nintendo 64 due to promises made by sites that weren't kept. They explained that when Shigeru Miyamoto and then-translator (now president of Nintendo) Satoru Iwata went to America, it was one of the most frightening things that the game's primary designer Mark Pacini went through. One reason they were so afraid was because they only had a few pieces of concept art and a three page document on their idea. They explained that all developers must be able to explain the core idea within three pages.
When the two Japanese developers came to America (note: this was before they scrapped the ideas for the three games), all of the teams showed Miyamoto what they were working on. Hoping for the best, they got the worst. Miyamoto hated everything, and one of the leads on the action-adventure concept even said that Miyamoto was ridiculous and that he didn't know what he was talking about. Despite this, Nintendo saw something in Retro Studios, and assigned them to create the new Metroid game.
After being assigned to the project, discussion between both Nintendo and Retro about whether the game would be seen through a first or third perspective ensued. Pacini recalled that he was one of the major contenders for the game to be a third person game, stating that he really didn't want to be involved if it wasn't. Shigeru Miyamoto stated that he felt that shooting in a third person view didn't feel intuitive, and after many debates Retro agreed that first person was the route to go.
Retro Studios president Michael Kelbaugh stated that he didn't want to create just another first person shooter. He wanted to make sure that this was a true Metroid experience, and not just a game with Samus Aran and elements that wouldn't fit in the series. He explained that one of the hardest things to do was make Samus turning into a Morph Ball in 3D. They were convinced that the game should be made in 3D, though the Morph Ball was on the chopping block for awhile since they didn't know how they would implement it in their game. Though Miyamoto warned Retro that if they can't put the Morph Ball in the game, and make the transition between first person to third person seamless, then Retro would not be allowed to make the game. They worked months on making the Morph Ball segments perfect, and they were relieved when Miyamoto approved what they had done.
Late in the game's development, Nintendo of Japan said that something was just missing. Later on Nintendo's team gave Retro the idea for the Scan Visor. Despite the game nearing its finish, Retro placed two people on the job, one artist and one engineer. Nintendo knew that it was critical to the game, and that people in Japan would really appreciate it.
The game has spawned three sequels and a remake - Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, Metroid Prime Hunters, and Metroid Prime Pinball, with the latter game being considered the remake of the video game. The first two mentioned games further the story more constructively than Hunters does, which has been considered a spin-off of the series by most.
The Frigate Orpheon is a stage in Super Smash Bros. Brawl for the Wii and in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate for the Switch, and to go along with it the Parasite Queen is stationed in the background the entire time. Characters, elements, stickers and trophies can be found throughout the entire video game.
The critics' appreciation for the game was astronomical. From the cream of the crop, the game received no negative reviews, and the game came in possession of a copious amount of "game of the year" awards from a multitude of different websites and magazines such as Gamespot, Gamespy, Nintendo Power, EGM, Edge and others. EGM and Nintendo Power alone gave it perfect scores (an outstanding feat from EGM which has three reviewers review the game).
Other awards include the game of the year from the 2003 Game Developers Conference and the excellence in level design, and the "console first-person action" game of the year from the 6th Interactive Achievement Awards.
Currently, it is one of the better selling GameCube titles, selling 1.49 million copies in the US alone. It didn't fare as well in other countries, though did have minimal success in Europe and Japan (in America and Europe the game eventually became a Player's Choice title).
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- Metroid Prime is ranked as the seventh highest rated game ever at GameRankings.
- Kraid was supposed to be in the game, and was even designed by Retro's Gene Kohler, though because of time constraints they decided not to include the famous boss in the game.
|Metroid series||Metroid (NES Classics) • II: Return of Samus • Super Metroid • Fusion • Zero Mission|
Other M • Samus Returns • Dread
|Metroid Prime series||Metroid Prime • 2: Echoes • Prime Hunters • Prime 3: Corruption • Prime 4|
Prime Pinball • Prime: Trilogy • Federation Force
|Related||Nintendo • Retro Studios • Samus Aran • Super Smash Bros. • Nintendo Land|
Gunpei Yokoi • Kensuke Tanabe • Yoshio Sakamoto