Reviewed on Game Cube

METROID PRIME

                      Reviewed By: John Wade, IV
     VOLUNTEER GUEST REVIEWER
GAME TECH INFO

Computer Platform: Game Cube (Nintendo)
Produced by: Nintendo/Retro Studios
Price Range: $41-50
Learning curve time: 1-30 min.
Age level: Children (Older)
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)

Genre: Sci-Fi Shooter/FPS
Christian Rating: 5 of 5
   (slightly offensive)
Gameplay: 4 of 5
   (excellent)
Violence: 3 of 5
   (mild)
Adult Content: 5 of 5
   (none)

Metroid Prime.  Illustration copyrighted.
Metroid Prime is the greatest game in the series. I've never quite played a game where I really felt that I was looking through the character's eyes as much as Metroid Prime has. The graphical effects in this game are incredible. The screen has a rounded effect because you're looking through a visor. When Samus goes under water, the screen fogs for a brief moment, and water drips down the visor when emerging from a pool. Explosions that cause a bright flash will cause you to see Samus' reflection in the visor, and if you look closely you can see she's actually focused on the action. Looking through the X-Ray visor will actually show a skeletal frame of Samus' arm in her beam cannon and picking a different weapon with the same visor will have a different hand position. Each environment has it's own living, breathing, world about it. Plants react to your movements, water around you creates ripples when you walk through it, and rain drips down your visor. Scanning objects will provide more about the environment, as well as provide clues about a rich and well-developed plot. At the beginning of the game, you know nothing except what Samus knows, and as you progress you learn what she learns. It's all very breathtaking. But before I start ranting again I'm here to do a review, and a review I shall provide.

Here's small breakdown of each category:

Christian Rating

The Chozo, and ancient civilization of bird like creatures that inhabited Tallon IV built an extensive and architecturally beautiful world (and also built Samus' power armor). A lot of these places have statues dedicated to the Chozo, and some would construe this as self-worship. Some would also say that they worshiped technology, but as one plays the game more they will discover otherwise. Upon serious had a love and an intense respect for their natural surroundings and merely sought to improve upon it.

Another questionable element would be that some Chozo have stayed behind as ghosts, and driven mad by Phazon radiation will attack Samus. Those that know a Christian world view will know the truth behind spirits and where they come from. If your child could handle Luigi's Mansion and you approved of it, you shouldn't have much trouble with this game.

Gameplay

Absolutely phenomenal. This game is a major contender for the Best Game of 2002, and has been nominated for a record-breaking 10 nominations by the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences 2003 awards. It plays like an unorthodox First-Person Shooter, but ends up being more of an adventure than a shoot-em-up. Players are encouraged to explore an ancient civilization and uncover secrets about what happened to the Chozo, why the Space Pirates are interested in Tallon IV, and just exactly what Phazon has to do with all of this. MP also incorporates a phenomenal jumping system, and combined with very intuitive camera controls will have the player bounding around across platforms like the Samus of old.

Violence

I wished there were a rating between mild and barely present. It's certainly better than mild, but I couldn't exactly say it was barely present. The whole idea in combat is to shoot something until it stops attacking or dies. But the violence level in this game is no more than shooting a bug and watching it splatters against the visor, or blasting an alien that looks like a giant space crab. There's no graphic violence whatsoever, and the most objectionable content is words displayed on a screen when you scan a Space Pirate that's near death (it says something like: "subject is suffering from severe internal damage due to removal of internal organs", meaning something ate this guy.) No more graphic than reading an anatomy book. If you've played a Metroid game before, it's just like the others.

Adult Content

Again, none whatsoever.

Overall, I don't think I could recommend a better game at the moment. As much as it pained me, I've lent this game to people around my church, and parents and their kids alike were all amazed and captivated about it. I can't recommend this game any more highly.

Taken from the manual:

Metroid Prime.  Illustration copyrighted.
"The Chozo…over millennia, this bird-like race of creatures made incredible technological and scientific leaps. Traveling at will through space, they built many marvels across the universe--technological wonders of unfathomable complexity and cities unmatched in beauty. They shared their knowledge freely with more primitive cultures and learned to respect and care for life in all its forms.

Even as their society reached its technological peak, however, the Chozo felt their spirituality wane. Their culture was steeped in prophesy and lore, and they fore saw the decline of the Chozo coinciding with the rise of evil. Horrified by the increasing violence in the universe, they began to withdraw into themselves, foregoing technology in favor of simplicity. Tallon IV was one of several refugees they built--a colony bereft of technology, built of natural materials and wedded to the land and its creatures.

The years passed, and in time a great meteor crashed into Tallon IV, sending a massive spume of matter into the atmosphere and impregnating the land with a cancerous element known as the Phazon. This element immediately sank into the earth and water, poisoning life wherever it bloomed. Most plants and animals died while other mutated into hideous forms.

The Chozo then called upon their knowledge and technology to control the power of the Phazon, but their efforts were doomed to fail. All they could do was build a temple over the crater at the impact site, separate the Phazon core, and seal it away. Believing that someday a savior would return to the planet, the Chozo left for an unknown destination, leaving nothing behind but engraved accounts of their time on Tallon IV.

The Space Pirates

The space pirates were interstellar nomads, technologically advanced in both weaponry and space travel. When they plundered the Metroid population that had been discovered by the Galactic federation on SR388, they recognized in them massive military and energy resource potential. They immediately invaded the nearby planet of Zebes, wiping out all life (including most of the indigenous Chozo) and building a massive network of research facilities below the planets surface.

Deep below the surface of Zebes, the space Pirates researched Metroid for Many years, even as a young girl orphaned by their raid on the neighboring planet K-2L was growing up among the Chozo. Trained as a warrior and infused with Chozo blood, Samus Aran donned a Chozo-made power suit and cut a swatch through the space pirates operation destroying everything in her path, including the mainstays of the Space pirate army. She eventually made it to the core of their base, destroyed all the Metroids she say, and seemingly blew up the mother brain.

Metroid Prime.  Illustration copyrighted.
But the Space Pirates were far from finished. They immediately split their survivors into two main camps. One headed to Zebes to begin rebuilding their ravaged facility and resuscitating mother brain, Ridley and Kraid. The second set out in search of a planet with powerful energy resources. They didn't search far before they discover Tallon IV, which was still emanating huge pulses of energy from the Phazon contained beneath the Chozo temple. Entranced by the massive potential of the strange mutagen, they immediately moved in retrofitting their laboratories, transporters and life support systems into the Chozo ruins.

As the mined the Phazon and they found that its capacity to mutate was beyond anything they'd ever seen, and they promptly started combining it with native life-forms. They refined their operation: powering their machinery with thermal-powered engines sunk in the molten depths of Tallon IV, they drove deep mineshafts and mined more and more Phazon, shipping it to their two man labs in the Phendrana Drifts, where sub-zero temperatures made specimen containment safer. Research leaped forward; by harnessing the Phazons power, they were able to create untold horrors that soon patrolled the dark caverns below Tallon IV's crust.

The space pirates also transported man species to their orbiting ship for zero-G Phazon experiments, unaware that Samus Aran had finally tracked their ship to its low orbit. As they continued with their unnatural experiments, Samus sped towards Tallon IV, preparing to wipe them out once and for all…"


Year of Release—2002



User Comments   [ Send Yours ]


Positive—This game is rated T for a reason; this is one of the more violent T games I've played. Most of the violence is shooting the Space Pirates because they can just pop out of anywhere and you'll discover later in the game that they are informed to kill Samus upon first sight. Space Pirates come in numbers and can slash and shoot you. When you do kill them their deaths might not be pretty. If one was standing near the edge of a platform, when it dies it may fall down and if you watch closely, it will hit all other platforms below it. This may be considered disturbing by younger players. I also find the Chozo ghosts a bit questionable because I didn't expect this type of enemy in the game and it degrates the Chritian value to this game. Overall it's a great game, but these are just some things you should know going into it. My Ratings: [4/5]
   —Josh Morgan, age 14

Positive—Metroid Prime is an awesome game. It's graphics are some of the best I have ever seen on the Game Cube, and it has a great game play to match. My Ratings: [4 / 5]
   —Danny Meyer, age 11 Positive—This is one of the best games I have ever played. It is rated T for violence, but unlike most games, you do not shoot human people, you shoot bugs. The gameplay is wonderful, the violence is mild, and their is no bad language. I highly recommended game to almost all people. My Ratings: [5 / 5]
   —Sam Powell, age 12

Positive— I suggest Metroid Prime for anyone who is looking for a great game that has depth adventure and action. I personally do not find anything offensive. But the ghosts may offend some people, but if you can play any of the Mario games then this shouldn't be a problem, especially since ghosts are in the Bible. (Holy Ghost) And like the reviewer said, the violence is pretty mild, it?s like smashing a bug with a fly swatter. The most extreme violence (and I can hardly say that?s extreme) is fighting the space pirates. You also fight some very large bad guys. I also forgot that green blood drips from some dead space pirate?s wounds in the first part of the game. But it?s not disturbing and actually looks pretty fake. But note that the space pirates disappear after dying, and they don?t explode or anything like that. Samus uses weapons based on energy and the only thing that blows up are the very small creatures. ?The Legend of Zelda? is more violent than this game. So I can honestly say that really nothing "degenerates the Christian value of the game". And if anything really does, it would be the fact that this story place in space and some people find it offensive because, ?God only created one world in the universe for only one type of intelligent life?. Other than that this game is great for all ages. My Ratings: [5 / 5]
   —Christopher, age 16

Positive—I have to agree that the Chozo ghosts are a tad creepy…The room gets darker, the music is scarier, and they're pretty tough enemies in general. Just something to keep in mind.

Also, if one were to attempt to read all of the scannable entries (Chozo Lore, Pirate Logs, etc.), the plot-line gets pretty deep for a game from Nintendo (no offense to Nintendo, but generally their plot-lines are shallow). Lots of talk about DNA reconstruction, exposure to radiation, etc. You clearly see that the Space Pirates are utilitarian as they sacrifice their own bodies to radiation to be fighters that will only live for 2 weeks at best, but will destroy massively in that time. The Chozo Lore speaks of you (the main character, Samus Aran) in the form of prophecy; the Chozo are definitely a (pseudo)-spiritual race while the space pirates or immoral, or perhaps amoral.

I highly recommend this game to anyone, especially fans of the series (note: this game takes place chronologically between the first Metroid for NES and the second Metroid “The Return of Samus” for GameBoy). My Ratings: [5 / 5]
   —Patrick Gann, age 19


Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Christian Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Films for Christ or the Christian Answers Network.

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