The distance between my WiiU and me has put me back in the mood to go on some kind of grand adventure. I was super into Darksiders II on the WiiU and as a result of me leaving my WiiU at home, I am left to my Gamecube while I am here, at school. Now normally, this wouldn't be any issue at all since Nintendo is known for it's large adventure games with great characters and gameplay. With a longing for something bigger than I am, I decided to resume my Metroid Prime experience. Unfortunately, I found that this game was much more of what the doctor diagnosed, as opposed to what the doctor ordered.
Metroid Prime is the Metroid franchise's debut into the 3D world, much like how The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time paved the first 3D path for the hero of time on the Nintendo 64. Many fans were horrified of the idea of Metroid transitioning from 2D to 3D. "What if they fucked it up?", they asked. "I hope they don't do it wrong!" they exclaimed. Well unfortunately, the fans were wise to be so concerned. Metroid Prime is simply a lazily made game with embarrassingly bad graphics, power-ups and abilities copied from other series, and a soundtrack that is only memorable because of how annoying it is.
Let's start with the environment, since it is this aspect of the game that we as the player have the misfortune of having to deal with more than anything else. This game was released in 2003. At that point, Nintendo had only been making video games for about 18 years, so I am willing to be merciful when I judge a game made with only a few years of experience under their belts, but it seems obvious that Nintendo's claims of compensating for bad graphics with better gameplay started way before the days of the Nintendo Wii, only the gameplay here too was shoddy. The graphics in this game are shockingly mediocre at best. There are times when the graphics do have some strong points, for example, the design for the space pirate enemies are admittedly somewhat realistic, but generally, the environments are bland, monochromatic wisps of negligible design that serve not as a compliment to the game, but as a reminder only of what could have been had Nintendo spent some more time considering level designs. I give it a B-
Next we have control scheme and soundtrack, appropriately written about simultaneously because they are both frustrating and poorly done. In the past, Nintendo has had success making attempts at being innovative and breaking molds - just take a look at the Nintendo 64 controller. When it comes to controls though, Metroid Prime was a collection of new ideas that should have never made it to the final product. Shooting, for example, is done unconventionally with the A button as opposed to the industrially-standardized R button. This transition took weeks for me to get used to before I finally had to reconfigure the controls manually and reassign the shoot command to the R button, like how everyone in the whole world is used to. Thank you Nintendo for trying something new, but please, don't fix what isn't broken. And speaking of broken, the soundtrack to this game! I honestly think that the speakers on my TV are broken when I play this game. To me, it seems that the soundtrack is half-missing from the disc! What comes off as some pretentious attempt to add a soundtrack that compliments the environment really only leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Some people praise the soundtrack for this game, but they're elitists who claim to have grown out of music that requires drums or guitar. Excuse me for thinking that a piano and ambient-exclusive soundtrack gets boring after playing the 60 hour game for the first 15 minutes. Perhaps a soundtrack that compliments the environment would have worked better if there was any real environment to compliment. Nintendo, if you're going to base every bit of your game off of the surroundings, then please make sure that you remember to include the surroundings in your game. C+
And finally we end this nightmare of a game with a brief discussion of how every single power-up in this game is stolen from another franchise. Understanding the way that other games execute their ideas is essential to developing your own game, but the similarities must be subtle unless they are obviously references, like how Dragon Ball Z's 7 Dragon Balls is a blatant reference to Sonic The Hedgehog's 7 Chaos Emeralds. Let's take a look at some specific examples:
Charge Shot = Mega Man
First Person Camera = James Bond 007: Golden Eye
Morph Ball = Sonic The Hedgehog
Spider Ball = Spider-Man 2
Double Jump = Dragon Buster
Ice Beam = Rayman Arena
Missiles = Galaga
Energy Tanks = Legend of Zelda
Grapple Beam = Indiana Jones
The Life-Sucking Metroids = Stand By Me (film)
Female Protagonist = Alien
Wave Beam = Wave Race 64
Arm Cannon = Planet Terror
Overall, this game was too easy, too long, and too annoying to actually play through. Admittedly, I only played through about 20-25 minutes of the game before deciding that it was not for me. Maybe I am missing something, but if you ask me, this game is simply a no-go. Happy April Fool's Day.