Back in 2002, Retro Studios released Metroid Prime. While many longtime fans of bounty hunter Samus Aran were upset with the move to 3D from 2D, those who took the plunge and played realized that this was very much Metroid, and not a first-person shooter despite the viewpoint. It was still a game primarily focused on exploration, platforming and turning Samus into an unstoppable force of suited-up nature. Since the final product was the best game on the Nintendo GameCube at the time, and also ended up as the highest rated game of last generation on any console, two sequels were spawned, one on the GameCube and one on the Wii. All three of these titles are three of the most important games in Nintendo’s catalog–not just from the last two generations, but in Nintendo’s long history–so it’s no surprise that they would get the collector’s edition treatment.
A collector’s edition with just the two original games packaged together with Metroid Prime 3: Corruption would be neat enough at a $50 price point–Corruption’s MSRP is still in that area after all–but Retro more than went the extra mile in putting this together, and has come away with a deal that challenges the Orange Box in terms of sheer value as well as content. Let’s go over the basics, and then cover the changes made to the games. The original Metroid Prime, as stated, was the top game of last generation–you would be hard pressed to find games for which the press has that much glowing adoration for, and the use of the word “perfect” in describing it was commonplace. While its sequel, Echoes, did not draw the same amount of attention–Retro kept some parts of the formula firmly in place, making it a very familiar feeling sequel in some ways–it was a wonderful game in its own right, the Majora’s Mask to Prime’s Ocarina of Time.
Developer: Retro Studios
Aug. 24, 2009
You had a darker storyline in a much more difficult experience that could punish even the most seasoned Metroid fan, and for that Echoes earned its stripes. The final portion of the trilogy is probably the best title on the system behind Super Mario Galaxy, but you would find people to argue it’s the best as well. Besides bringing Metroid into the next generation, the game also managed to enhance the series’ control scheme and produce one of the best console setups for a first-person shooter that I have ever used- It doesn’t have the customization of The Conduit, but the default setup is amazing on its own.
So what’s different? The major change to the first two games comes in the form of the controls. Now those controls that you know and love from Corruption work in both Prime and Echoes, which makes playing through those titles again (or for the first time) a more satisfying experience. I recommend the advanced controls, as they allow you to lock on to one enemy but shoot freely on screen, as if you were playing on a PC. Besides implementing the controls, there were also some graphical updates. Both titles run in 16:9 widescreen now, and the original Prime also has new bloom lightning effects that Retro was able to stick in. There are upgraded textures and enhanced visual effects as well, which hides a bit of the age of those games. It’s not an insult to the Wii’s catalog when you say that both Metroid Prime and its sequel Echoes look better than a significant portion of the competition; Retro’s art direction and artists were and are just that good at what they do, which is why Metroid Prime Corruption is far and away the best looking realistic title on the Wii as well.
One other change to the actual gameplay that you may notice is that the loading times have been decreased; Metroid’s loads were never that noticeable to begin with, as each door that opened loaded the next room as it was opening, or had you in a quick elevator ride where you got to check out the enhancements to Samus’ suit, but those have been tightened up in all three titles, and they run off of the disc much faster than their previous ones, even in Corruption which has not changed platforms like the other two.
All three titles run off of one dual-layer disc. You can access single-player mode for Prime 1-3 all from one screen, and the multiplayer from Echoes from the main hub, rather than from Echoes itself. While Echoes’ multiplayer was a bit boring given you button mashed and had to deal with controls that, while suited to exploration and the idea of Metroid, were not ideal for frenetic competition, it gets a second life here on Trilogy. The enhanced control scheme makes this a much better test of skill, and playing in 16:9 widescreen also helps with the four-player local visuals and view. There’s still no online, but it’s a much more worthwhile experience when you just want to see which of your friends is the better Samus Aran than in its original form.
Besides the gameplay, an achievement system was put into place in Prime and Echoes, similar to the one employed in Corruption when it was first released. You get tokens for clearing certain areas, defeating bosses and mini-bosses and the like, and these tokens can be used to unlock loads of fan service such as music and artwork. This extends the replay value of the titles–and helps gives you an excuse to go through the first two titles again, not that you wouldn’t anyways with the other changes–but also fits very well into a collector’s edition package given the nature of it.
Blast Factor: Three of the most important games in Nintendo’s history and one of the best trilogies in all of gaming, together in one package for the price of a single game. You get a collector’s edition case, special artwork, the definitive version of each game in the Prime trilogy, and worthwhile multiplayer for the first time in the series’ history, in addition to the loads of art and music you can unlock with the tokens from the achievement system. The one negative you could point out about these titles is that you have played them before, but given how well they hold up and how they lend themselves to replayability, that’s not much of a negative argument and certainly not a reason to avoid 80 hours of Retro’s masterpiece.
Metroid Prime Trilogy is available exclusively for the Nintendo Wii, and retails for $49.99