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First Glimpse: Metroid Prime

Nintendo classic in first-person shooter-shocker...
Your reporter Ben Jackson had veritable orgasms over the original Nintendo action title; so thought this new GameCube update of the brand deserved a little of the limelight too… read-on in this quick-look to discover a little about what the big ‘N’ has planned for all you fanatics. The wait is finally over for all you Metroid fans… Samus will be with us again soon, this time on the Game Cube. It has been a long, long time since we last saw Samus Aran in action, she was in Smash Brothers, kicking Yoshi’s arse, but she hasn’t been in her own game since Super Metroid on the SNES and that was way back in 1994. In case you didn’t know, Samus Aran was the original hard woman of gaming, forget Ms. Croft, Samus goes alone to distant planets, not an Egyptian bazaar. Granted she’s not too sexy with all that armour on, but it allows her to kick some serious alien butt, so we’ll let her off. The big shock this time is the fact that Nintendo have allowed another developer to create this title, given the fact that Metroid has such a huge fan base, this could be viewed as a mistake… but Nintendo haven’t just given Metroid to any old losers, the title is in the capable hands of Retro Studios of Texas. Retro is made up of former Id software and Valve employees... this might explain the next shock for all you Metroid fans… First off, if you are expecting an updated side-scroller, you will be disappointed. Metroid Prime is shaping up to be an action-adventure FPS, with not a sprite in sight. Although at this stage it is unclear whether the game will be wholly viewed from a first-person perspective, or from a mix of first and third; as indicated by early screenshots. If you want traditional Metroid, look to the Game Boy Advance, Samus will be making an appearance there too with Metroid IV. This doesn’t mean that this game will not feel like a true Metroid game however, not by any means. The game looks very much like all the others in terms of style, there are plenty of derelict ships for you to explore and even a few ancient cities for you to meander through, if you can eliminate all of the terrible inhabitants of the planet first! The creatures that inhabit this planet look very similar to the beasts that we encountered in Super Metriod, accept that it’s in glorious 3D of course. It all looks very promising indeed, I just hope that there are some huge beasts to compare with Super Metriod’s Ridley and Mother Brain. Oh, and I hope the Metroids are back, naturally, although we’re not sure if they are. Wouldn’t be a Metroid game without them though! First Glimpse: Metroid Prime The graphics are incredible for such an early stage of development, the ships look decayed and spooky and the outdoor environments seem so vast that they install a slight agoraphobic feel into the game, attacks, it would seem, could come from anywhere. Samus’ HUD looks just right, giving the correct atmosphere, it curves towards the edges making you feel enclosed inside the helmet, combating the open area all around you. Except for when you are inside of course, when it just makes you feel claustrophobic, as you would expect in that situation. This all emits a great sense of realism and attention to detail. The old Metroid favourites are still in place in this version, Samus can still turn into a ball (or ‘Maru-Maru’ if you prefer!) and dash along the floor and I’m sure that the spider-ball add-on will be there somewhere, making nearly all of the planet accessible to clever players. Just how Samus will defend herself is still sketchy, although I’m sure the likes of the Spazer, Wave, Ice and Plasma beam weapons will be back, as well as the normal missiles and bombs... who knows what has been cooked-up whilst Samus has been away? As you can most probably tell, there is not a great deal of information flying around for Metroid Prime. Nintendo and Retro are keeping this game under wraps, not even letting us peak into the plot or story-line! The only hint we have about the game’s background is that the game could be set before the original Metroid on the NES. That would place this game before the space pirates and even before Metroids! Although it is only a rumour, if it is true, we could be seeing a Metroid game without it’s namesake! Madness, surely? Well, we have to wait and see… So for the time being, that’s all. Until Nintendo let us have a proper gander, I leave you all to speculate and stare at the lovely surroundings of Metroid Prime…