After a long hiatus, Samus is making
her way back into the videogame spotligh in one of the best looking games of E3. Absent
from the N64, to the dismay of fans and the detriment of Nintendo, Samus hits the GameCube
in style. When Nintendo announced that much of Metroid Prime would be delivered in first
person, fans were understandably cautious. Afterall, Metroid skipped an entire generation
of console development. Now its returning as an FPSnothing like the 2D, 3rd
person shooter we all know and love. Can it be a Metroid game in anything but name?
Yes it can. The
immersive nature of the gameplay hasnt changed, though virtually everything else
has. The attention to detail in Metroid Prime is absolutely stunningcombine this
fact with visionary art design and a technological powerhouse and you have an unparalleled
combination. The air literally sizzles as charged energy blasts rip through the corridors.
Aliens explode, covering Samus visor with blood, obscuring visibility. If
youre standing too close to an explosion, the blinding flash reveals Samus own
eyes reflected in the visor. Enemies look wonderfully wicked as well; smaller enemies
attack in waves and Samus gun crackles with energy as you thunder away, devastating
the wave of baddies with lasers and missiles. All of this, and more, is delivered at an
unwavering 60 fps.
Adding to the
graphical spectacle is Samus visors. A combat visor and a scanning visor were on
display at E3, each providing a readout of relevant information and helping to create a
feeling of total immersion. Expect additional visors to be available in the final version
of the game.
Metroid Prime is unconventional for a FPS, but it looks promising. The left joystick
controls movement, while the right trigger allows you look around and search for enemies.
Holding the B button down will allow you to strafe while locked onto enemies. Its
uncertain whether the controls will be customizable, but I suspect only limited
customization, if any, will be available. Well have to wait for the final version to
There has been
some ambiguity, until now, as to how much Metroid Prime uses a first person perspective
and third person perspective, but allow me to put this to rest. Metroid Prime is an FPS,
making use of a 3rd person perspective only when Samus morphs into ball form,
which can be done at any time by hitting the X button. She can still drop bombs in this
mode, and use her reduced size to navigate obstacles. This is a cool effect and adds some
depth, but the vast majority of the game will be navigated from a first person
there is no multiplayer available for Metroid Prime, and Id be surprised if one is
added in. This too is a departure for a FPS. Metroid Prime will instead focus on
delivering a superb single player adventure. Im not sure the style of Metroid Prime
lends itself well to a multiplayer game in any event, and multiplayer was never a part of
the Metroid experience in the past.
Expect Metroid Prime to be released in late 2002.