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PostSubject: Metroid Prime - GC    Sat Jan 01, 2011 1:25 am

[SIZE="5"]An incredibly brief, retrospective review[/SIZE]

By 2002, the Metroid Series had spanned 4 games and over a decade and had already etched its name into the annals of videogame history as a Nintendo staple. Loved by fans for its sidescrolling shooting, exploration and atmosphere, an entry into 3D for the franchise would be a daring move. So after successful 3D Mario and Zelda installments, the obscure Texan developer Retro Studios was brought in to set about creating Metroid Prime, for the Gamecube.

Above - Blasting away at a Sheegoth in the Drifts

The plot followed interstellar bounty hunter Samus Aran through a foray on the planet 'Tallon IV'. While there was no narrative to speak of, the depth of the homeworld really sold Metroid Prime as a story device.

In a departure from the series' origins, Prime's gameplay was in first person. Gamers blasted, jumped, solved and trekked through the lavish outdoors, occasionally encountering bosses which were truly ones for the ages with battles as epic as they were intelligent. Critics claim that the game never provided enough purpose for the player – objectives were delivered in their simplest form – a command to find a certain area on the map. For many though, this intentional design decision placed the emphasis squarely on exploration, and indeed this played to the game's strengths. The player was actively encouraged to see the sights, soak up the atmosphere*and trawl through the endless troves of fleeting instants of awe. Sold by utterly unparalleled aesthetics, Tallon IV was really the best part of Metroid Prime. Gamers experienced unmatched immersion and a sense of grandeur, adventure and amazement with Metroid Prime in what still is the most atmospheric game ever.

Above - A fleeting instant of awe, as Samus gazes over the icy drifts

But Metroid Prime is far more than that. Spanning over 15 hours and containing enough intelligent design for 300 games, it's probably the best game ever. Between the smooth, intelligent gameplay, pitch-perfect progression and deep game world, no-one can deny that Metroid Prime is art. It's in the serene aura of an awe-inspiring game, it's in a 3D re-imagining that has become a genre unto itself, it's in a mesmerising and convincing world sold by unparalled audiovisuals and depth of lore and it's in the fleeting moments of perfection – the first time you step out onto the tranquil Phendrana Drifts. But above all, it's in Metroid Prime, the best game that's ever been.


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