As if there was ever any doubt, this is Kaiju… I’ve been pretty intrigued by the ‘New Play’ series, other-wise known as the Wii-makes of popular GC games. I found Pikmin and Mario Power Tennis to be fantastic- Donkey Kong: Jungle Beat was a huge improvement, but I’m not much of a DK fan. While I respect it, the Metroid series has never really impressed me. Not until now that is.
The GameCube marked a split in the Nintendo camps of history due to the various innovations (see: changes/genre jumping) chosen for its main franchises. Some loved the new gameplay types adopted by Nintendo for its mainstays – others were not so pleased.
Link from “The Legend of Zelda” was cel-shaded and Hyrule was flooded for “Wind Waker.” Donkey Kong picked up a pair of bongos and entered the music genre with “Donkey Konga.” Kirby hopped on his Warp Star in “Kirby’s Air Ride” – a floaty racing game. Mario strapped on a water jetpack called FLUDD and battled Bowser’s son for “Super Mario Sunshine.” Fox ended up on a “Dinosaur Planet” upon his arrival with “Star Fox Adventures.” Pokemon games took on a more focused-RPG tone with the Coliseum series.
There were those that embraced these changes and those that shunned them. The main complaint was that there was no traditional Kirby, Donkey Kong, or other such games. Then… there was Samus and the Metroid series.
After skipping an appearance on the N64, Samus came back with a blast in 2002 with the first-person shooter, “Metroid Prime.” The graphics were crisp and detailed, the controls were spot-on, and the boss battles were epic. “Metroid Prime” has the honor of being one of the ten highest rated video games of all-time. The only complaints people had was the lack of a multiplayer mode and the hunger for a sequel…
A sequel did indeed come a few years later with “Metroid Prime 2: Echoes” on the GC. It added multiplayer and continued Samus’s journey. The third and final chapter would later release on the Wii with stunning graphics, the greatest controls for any console FPS to date (though The Conduit might disagree), and a fantastic conclusion for the series. Let’s fast forward to 2009.
After playing the masterpiece that was “Metroid Prime 3: Corruption,” gamers began crying out for remakes of the first two Metroid Primes with the same controls. Nintendo observed the massive fan requests and delivered. While Japan, a less Metroid-friendly region, received Prime 1 & 2 as separate products with the new ‘Let’s Play’ series, Nintendo of America decided to release the entire trilogy on one disc- no minor feat.
For the price of one brand new Nintendo Wii game ($49.99), you can be the proud owner of all 3 of the Metroid Prime games with updated controls and graphics. Let me tell you… that’s an amazing deal.
Graphically, the first two games offer some great improvements. They can’t be compared with the third entry, but they hold their own with other games on the Wii. Better lighting and particle effects have been added to the Wii-makes as well as improved textures. The bosses I’ve gotten to so far have had some obvious touch-ups and attention and their Ai seems to be enhanced. It’s hard to look anywhere without seeing some improvement- no matter how small.
This is not a case of a video game company just trying to make money off an old port with a few minor tweaks- I’m looking at you Capcom. Nintendo has gone the whole mile in making this package a beautiful one. It’s especially impressive to look at the original Metroid Prime with its new graphical enhancements. I could be wrong, but it seems a little bit of extra polish was given to Metroid Prime 3- though it could just be that the game looked awesome to begin with. Widescreen support has been added as well as several other graphical updates.
Now everyone knows that graphics aren’t everything, so I’m sure you’re wondering if the controls are what they should be. Just like the masterful effort put behind MP3’s controls, its predecessors got the Wii treatment. IR support does wonders for the Prime series. There’s no going back to the old analog stick once you start taking out space pirates with the Wiimote’s pointer. The controls are extremely responsive and intuitive. You’ll feel like the remote is simply an extension of your arm- much like Samus’s.
The stories haven’t been altered in anyway- the tale of Samus’s three-part journey remains intact and true to the originals. Step back into Samus’s armor and retake her journey through space, planet to planet. Most enjoyable were the face-offs with Dark Samus- Samus’s archenemy in the Prime series.
Among the most notable improvements were significantly shorter load times and the addition of the reward system from MP3 to its prequels. Yes, by collecting tokens in the first 2 games, you can unlock music, artwork, and other great secrets. This alone adds a great deal of replay value and motivation to explore that much more. Elevators and doors open faster now thanks to the greater processing power of the Wii- goodbye tedious load times!
Last but not least, there’s the multiplayer. When MP3 released for the Wii, fans were disappointed by the loss of MP2’s multiplayer mode. I’m glad to say that Metroid Prime 2’s multiplayer is part of the package and not to be missed. Some may be upset by the lack of Wi-Fi, but the split-screen multiplayer is tighter in control and much easier to play with the wireless Wiimotes and Nunchuks as opposed to GC controllers. It can’t quite compare to Metroid Prime Hunters for the DS in terms of multiplayer content, but it’s a great feature nonetheless.
In the way of complaints, there are really only 2. First being the fact that previous saves for Metroid Prime 3 are not compatible with Trilogy. Those of you that completed the third game and were looking forward to carrying that progress over to Trilogy, will be disappointed. The second problem has to do with design. Those of you familiar with the Prime series will already know- backtracking. Especially in the first two games, you’ll be forced to backtrack through stages fairly often. It can be tedious, but it doesn’t ruin the experience. It simply unfairly inflates the total play time.
Overall, Metroid Prime Trilogy is one of two things for gamers. Either its a fun, fresh take on 3 old favorites for past players or a fantastic package of Samus’s 3 greatest games at a bargain price. Metroid fans, shooter fans, exploration fans, and general fans of the Wii shouldn’t hesitate to pick up Metroid Prime Trilogy. Those looking forward to next year’s ‘Metroid: Other M’ should especially be pleased with Metroid Prime Trilogy’s offerings. Finding all the secret tokens and playing the multiplayer mode of Metroid Prime Trilogy should hold you over until its release. Strange creature, traitor to the world- this has been Kaiju.