Forget Call of Duty, Real Men Need the Retro Love: Metroid Prime

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bill-swift - May 21, 2014

We're not going to get pernickety about the early 2000s qualifying as 'retro,' are we? It was a long-ass time ago, after all. A simpler time, before our hairlines started to recede, before our wife changed the locks and stopped returning our calls, and before Justin effin' Bieber achieved global pre-teen domination with his poptastic shit-tastic.

No. No we aren't. Now that's all cleared up, let's party like it's 2003 and feast our eyes, ears and butts on Metroid Prime.

Samus discovering A THING, yesterday.

In one sense, this Gamecube release was a real Metroid throwback (taking place between the events of the first game and Metroid II: Return of Samus). In another sense, it damn well wasn't at all. Not even a little bit. In Prime, we are placed right inside Samus's visor, close enough to smell the blood from the blood-leaking bullet holes of her alien foes. It's Metroid, Jim, but not as we know it.

From a first-person perspective, that is. This was a radical departure for the franchise, and one that saw the Internet nerdsassins bitching at everybody who would listen (which was, as always, no effer). But they needn't have. This was no shoot first, shoot later, shoot some more FPS.

Developer Retro Studios pulled the term 'first-person adventure' out of their asses to describe the game. While that's not a thing, it's certainly a true thing in this case. From the plot to that lingering sense of isolation and steady exploration, it's all very Metroid.

See this, right here? This is what sexy looked like in 2003. Ogle that snow! OGLE IT!

The story begins with Samus intercepting a distress signal from the Space Pirate frigate Orpheon. Upon arriving there, a predictable shitstorm ensues, and she pursues a fancy-ass new metallic Ridley to a nearby planet, Tallon IV. Conveniently, this abandoned place has forest-y areas, lava-y areas, icy areas, all those wondrous video game ‘zone' cliches. Huzzah!

As you cruise through them, you appreciate what they're getting at with this ‘first-person adventure' thing. There is some combat to be had, of course, but it's a more cerebral experience than that. With your fancy new Scan Visor, you can detect an array of hidden lore entries from around the environments. Through these, you slowly piece together the mystery of the planet, the Phazon which is corrupting it and the fate of the Chozo (those bird-freaks who once lived on Tallon IV).

Metroid Prime was the first 3D entry in the series, and a completely different one, yet also one of the most beloved. It looked incredible, had a interesting backstory, and didn't lose any of the soul of the series in the transition. A true classic, and one of Metacritic's highest-rated titles of all time.

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