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Metroid Prime Preview
game: Metroid Prime
posted by: GF! Back Catalogue 10/2004 => 1995
publisher: Nintendo
developer: Nintendo
date posted: 09:10 AM Mon May 20th, 2002
last revision: 05:03 AM Fri Sep 23rd, 2005

By Jeff Luther

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 it\'s returning as an FPS-nothing 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 hasn\'t changed, though virtually everything else has. The attention to detail in Metroid Prime is absolutely stunning-combine 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 you\'re 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.

Movement in 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. It\'s uncertain whether the controls will be customizable, but I suspect only limited customization, if any, will be available. We\'ll have to wait for the final version to be sure.

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 perspective.

Currently there is no multiplayer available for Metroid Prime, and I\'d 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. I\'m 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.