View Full Version : Metroid Prime: Four New Levels

Black Ace
08-23-2002, 01:57 PM
August 22, 2002 - Last May Nintendo rocked the crowds at the Electronics Entertainment Expo will a fully playable demo of its 3D first-person adventure Metroid Prime. The title, created by Retro Studios, proved to be better designed, more polished and far prettier than the majority of critics could have hoped for, and as a result it quickly became one of the most hotly anticipated GameCube titles.
In the months following, IGNcube has brought its readers new videos of the one-level demo every week. But earlier today at a Nintendo held Gamer's Day in San Francisco we had the chance to witness not one or even two, but rather four brand new running levels of the game in motion. We've already posted screens and unfortunately we don't have new videos, but trust us -- the presentation blew our mind. Read on to learn why.

The first area Nintendo took us through is named after the Chozo statues featured in past Metroid games. It is vastly different in look and feel from the Space Station demo previewed last at E3 2002. In it, Samus makes her way through a gargantuan snow-filled world complete with platform-ized ice pillars. As gorgeous snow particles fall from the sky in a virtual cold storm, the heroine must use her double-jump abilities to traverse the harsh ruins and into a formidable structure created and operated by the nemeses of the title, the Space Pirates. The draw distance impressive, the geometry and textures detailed, and everything running at a solid 60 frames per second.

There are a couple of noteworthy updates here. First, the double jump function does not pan the camera back into third-person view as some had hoped -- it stays in first. But strangely the jumping elements still seem to succeed where other first-person titles fail. Indeed Samus's jumping setup is not only functional but very satisfying. Jets on the back of her suit kick out exhaust when a double jump is activated, and gamers can actually hear the air pressure. It's a nice effect, and though it's a small detail, it goes a long way to backing up the realistic style of the adventure. For the record, Nintendo easily whipped around the ice platforms using the double jump, never once failing off a ledge to Samus's untimely death.

Eventually the space hunter makes it across the chasm and to the ice structure itself. Here players must use the character's scan visor to analyze the area and determine the way inside. There are red and yellow scan points, with red offering critical information and yellow background details. After scanning the structure's crystallized blockage, data on Samus's visor reveals the type of weapon and charge needed to blast through it. There's no doubt that Nintendo plans to emphasize much of the scanning elements featured in the game as -- even in the four levels shown most recently -- these types of puzzles were everywhere. Several brimstone statues are situated about the area, all but one of them "flawless" according to scans by Samus. Analyzing reveals that one of the statues is trained, and Samus blasts through it.

Interestingly, after an object or enemy has been successfully scanned, it is saved to the character's logbook, which can be accessed by menu at any point in the adventure. Here players can view more detailed images and read more data on each entry, which is hugely entertaining inclusion, both because it helps within the game and also serves as something of a godsend for Metroid geeks like us who just can't seem to get enough of the franchise's history and background.

Once inside the structure, Samus encounters a small sheegoth, what the game lists as a "glacial predator." That's an understatement. The grotesque two-legged beast is made all the more menacing by its hard shell and huge, gaping fangs. It's quick too, has the ability to jump forward and attack without hesitation, as unsuspecting gamers are bound to find out. After strafe-dodging and scanning the creature, data reveals its shell to be its weak point, but it's difficult to get at it. Only by double jumping into the air, aiming, and then blasting at the shell can gamers really take it out easily. Nintendo did this effortlessly, once again exemplifying just how integral the double jump is in Metroid Prime.

After some platforming upward, Samus discovers a bomb activation point, rolls into a ball and triggers it. A magnetic track located horizontally on a wall can then be rolled to, and then the heroine can actually drop onto the track where she will magnetically cling to it. Here, she can roll left or right while clinging to the wall. A true crowd pleaser, for sure, but it gets better. Samus also has to traverse through a classically styled maze using bombs, going up, down, left and right. Not, perhaps, an easy task in full 3D, but luckily the camera pulls back to reveal a simulated 2D style in which gamers can actually see the entire maze as Samus rolls through it. Once the character bombs her way past, the camera reverts. Fabulous.

Continuing onward, the character crosses an icy lake in which gamers can see the frozen remains of other creatures underneath, an ambient addition for sure. Snow particles continue to drench the scene. A cut-scene introduces an adult sheegoth, which is several times larger than the previous one, and with the addition of a dangerously sharp-tipped spiky shell. Outstanding animation complements the triumphantly detailed model, which moves and sways toward Samus at an astonishing pace. The creature's size and speed are made more troublesome by its ability to literally absorb Samus's discharges with its spikes and then convert them into energy that it then blasts back at the heroine. The onslaught of attacks from the creature, quick and painful, make it impossible to scan for a weak spot in time, so players must figure out another means. Samus's thermal view, which enables her to detect heat anomalies, proves the suitable solution, and before long the creature's weakness is unearthed: heat distortions project out on each side from sets of gills. A barrage of well-placed fire eventually takes the creature down. The camera swings around Samus, the classic music plays and voila: the wave beam waits in its wake. A fantastic cut-scene shows the character snapping the weapon onto her arm. Drool.

The visual style of the level, the sheer variety of textures used, the particle effects, the geometry, the curving architecture and vegetation that surrounds objects, all comes together for a very moody, not to mention stunning experience. If there was ever any doubt that GameCube was a powerful console in the hands of the right developer, let it be squashed once and forever: Metroid Prime is phenomenally, unbelievably polished, jaw-droppingly beautiful. Retro Studios owns.

Black Ace
08-23-2002, 01:58 PM
Space Pirate Research Facility
Amazingly, it gets better. The second level takes Samus into another sci-fi filled station owned and operated by the Space Pirates. The nemeses seem to be cooking up all kinds of experiments in these technologically advanced perimeters, which are dark and filled with gadgetries, and tunnels that make their way outward to a two-story area with enemies. As Samus rolls through the tunnels, she encounters a new type of foe -- a purple electronic circular device that rotates and projects lightning bolts onto the walls. It seems to be patrolling the corridors. The character cannot walk past it without getting hurt. She has two options: to shoot it with her wave beam or to time its lightning bolts and roll by. Either suffices. In what has to be one of the more impressive visor effects, when the device swims too close to Samus, her visor is temporarily filled with noise of the same kind one would find on a television with no reception. It's these types of touches that make us lick our lips at the chance to play the final product.
On her way through the facility, Samus encounters more Space Pirates. She can even shoot them down when they are on a ramp or story higher than her, which results in a rag doll effect: the dead Space Pirates go limp, fall, and slide down the ramps, banging along as they pass Samus on their way to hell. It's an excellent addition. Turrets, placed on ceilings and corners, shoot at the bounty hunter as she progresses, and if they succeed her visor view malfunctions and lightning bolts flash in front of her screen momentarily, another atmospheric inclusion that is sure to be induced on purpose by intrigued gamers. Samus can take out these and other enemies with power shots, which actually zigzag around and search out enemies, but also dwindle missile supplies.

Sooner or later Samus arrives at the holographic observatory, and she must roll into ball form and spin in order to trigger the gorgeous display. Once activated, a series of planets are displayed in mid-air above her, all of them scrolling realistically. Planet Zebes is one of them. Scanning each planet reveals data about it, and text also appears above each revealed item letting players know they've already checked it out. Still, it's possible to go to the logbook to learn more about Zebes (and others), which is primed for subterranean construction according to Samus's scans.

After some more exploration, the heroine finally comes upon an outside area where she battles several flying Space Pirates. The creatures shoot at the bounty hunter while in mid-air and Samus can hide behind crates that hide extra goodies including energy. Samus can aim and shoot back, at which point the creatures will crash to the ground and try to take the character out in one last kamikaze-style slide before exploding. When all of these enemies are downed, Samus is rewarded with an energy tank, another upgrade familiar to Metroid fans.

Spiderball Meets the Half pipe
The third level opens to a huge, sprawling hall decorated with sunbeams that have bled through cracks in the wall and ceiling. Tiny emerald green butterflies float through the streaks of light, a nice effect. At the pit of the room lies a concaved structural half pipe of sorts, and it's clear that Samus needs to use this formation for her own gain. She rolls into a ball and surfs the pipe, amassing more speed and height with each drop in and out. It's possible to get extremely high this way, and that's exactly what the character must do. Eventually she can jump from the pipe to a magnetic track located on a nearby wall. This is not automatic. Gamers actually have to hit the R button just as they are about to pass the magnetic tracking and then Samus will cling to it. Otherwise she will simply drop down the pipe again. Once on the track she can roll over to the initial desired location. Brilliant.

The fourth and final new level shown was in fact a boss battle. Samus travels to a containment cave that the Space Pirates have set rocks in for some entirely suspicious reason that is soon revealed. The character jumps into the cave and a cut-scene ensues, showing off her beautiful model (a darker shade in the dim area) and what is an enormous, cold battlefield. A pile of rocks begins to move and it isn't long before it has taken some kind of monstrous shape -- a rock monster similar to the creature from the Tim Allen headlined feature movie Galaxy Quest.

The thing roars, pounces, and threatens to do Samus in once and for all. Certainly it could. It boasts a series of high-powered attacks: it throws rocks, it curls up and rolls around, it shoots ice attacks at Samus which can in turn freeze the character momentarily, and it can even summon a snow storm. When this happens, the beastly thing rolls into a thick, snowy haze and it becomes more difficult to track it before it is out again and on full attack. Samus can't scan the thing for its weakness so she must use her thermal view to find it. Sooner or later she gets it, and centers in on its weak spot, exposing it, at which point a blinding light floods her view making it impossible to see in thermal mode. Another nice graphic touch, when the monster hits Samus, she puts up her left hand in defense as if to beat it off. After a long, challenging fight, the beast goes down, again highlighted via cut-scene. A comic addition to the cinema: the final piece of the rock monster hurls around in the wind and nails Samus in the head, bounces off with a metal clank and the character looks behind her before moving on.

Our Thoughts
Fabulous. Amazing. Outstanding. Phenomenal. Wow. Any of these words sum up the latest four levels in Metroid Prime. Before E3 2002 we had our doubts about Metroid Prime as a whole. After the show, we had our doubts that other levels would be as solid as the first demo. Now, we have no doubts. This game kicks our collective ass. It's stunningly beautiful, clever, innovative, and most of all fun. It'll remind players why they've always loved the Metroid franchise and at the same time blow away newcomers with its style, theme and play mechanics. This is Nintendo's flagship title.


08-23-2002, 02:23 PM
AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

08-24-2002, 09:31 PM
is this game all on 1 disk........ok fine 2 more questions.....how long will the game take to beat???? and will there be multiplayer??

this game seems like the graphics are too good to fit all on 1 disk. either that or the game is gonna be hella short. as for multiplayer.....its not a true fps unless it has it.......sorry.

08-24-2002, 10:36 PM
It's not a FPS its an adventure game with a first person view that focuses on exploration loke ala THE WHOLE METROID FRANCHISE. NOT AN FPS. IT's an FPA if you will. but to answer your question. one disc I heard between 10-15 gameplay hours I heard.NO MULTYPLAYER.

Black Ace
08-25-2002, 12:08 AM
I'm guessing this game will last 20-25 hours. Nintendo also said you can linked up with the GBA Metroid Fusion.

Necro ??
08-25-2002, 05:32 AM
Still the whole idea of metriod being in this view is really werid.
Im guessing samus wont be able to do her classic rolling into a ball and laying bombs? *does that and gets dizzy* @_@

Plus do you have to aim or will it be auto?
Im basicly trying to get at is,Will it have controls like super only you will be seeing it in first person?

Black Ace
08-25-2002, 05:42 AM
Originally posted by Necro ??
Still the whole idea of metriod being in this view is really werid.
Im guessing samus wont be able to do her classic rolling into a ball and laying bombs? *does that and gets dizzy* @_@

Plus do you have to aim or will it be auto?
Im basicly trying to get at is,Will it have controls like super only you will be seeing it in first person?

You've must not read that. The ball roll is there since the beginning of Metroid Prime, actually it was revealed January this year.

08-25-2002, 05:44 AM

08-25-2002, 02:10 PM
It is auto-aim. I think you press L to lock on.

08-25-2002, 07:07 PM
I don't know about the auto-aim.. perhaps it has a lock-on mode ala Zelda, but that article talked about a power mode of fire which would waste more ammo but seek out enemies for you.. implying that the normal mode of fire wouldn't...

08-31-2002, 01:56 PM
This games looks so cool!

I can hardly wait!

Hopefully their is a code to go 3rd person and Samus gets to remove her armor

Justin Baily