Sci-fi should balance realism with fiction in a way that is fantastic enough to pull you in, and believable enough to hold you. Space exploration in sci-fi is most realistic when portrayed with sense of isolation combined with a pioneering spirit. The fiction aspect then supplies the possibility of anything happening, the possibility of something astounding being just out of sight. To be all alone, far from home, where no one has ever gone, is a scary yet intriguing experience. Anything from the horrifying to the beautiful can happen. A fascinating future has a fascinating past. These strange and wonderful feelings have always been best portrayed by the Metroid game series.
Somewhat briefly, if you’re not familiar with the Metroid series (I suggest you start with Metroid: Zero Mission), it features a female space-faring bounty hunter named Samus Aran. She was orphaned at a young age and raised by a powerful and wise bird-like humanoid alien race called the Chozo. She is given Chozo DNA and this, along with her “power suit” is the result of Chozo technology, gives her a great advantage over various galactic scurges. The titular Metroids are dangerous parasitic creatures of great power. Another common foe of Samus is the Space Pirates and their leader Ridley, a giant dragon-like creature responsible for the death of Samus’s parents. Samus is a righteous bounty hunter and is frequently hired by the Galactic Federation.
The series began on the NES and several 2D Metroid games followed. The main gameplay was revolutionarily non-linear for its time on the NES, and the basic gameplay concept is still widely beloved and used. (Though it’s an ugly-sounding term, the genre of gameplay is often called “metroidvania”.) Throughout the series, Samus typically has to travel to other planets and explore complex foreign environments, often ruined and hiding ancient but powerful technology. She’s usually on her own amongst what seems like a living, breathing ecosystem. Over the course of her explorations, Samus discovers technology (often in the form of suits, suit upgrades and weapons). She must use them to gain access to new areas and, ultimately, complete the job she was hired to do.
Metroid Prime Trilogy for Wii is an updated collection of the three console Metroid Prime games. The Metroid series has been arguably better in 2D form but Retro Studios did an amazing job bringing it to the third dimension with the Metroid Prime games. The first two games Metroid Prime and Metroid Prime 2: Echoes appeared on the GameCube. The third Prime game, Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, appeared on the Wii, brought the Prime series to a close and introduced revolutionary Wii controls. It was arguably the first Wii game to get point-and-shoot controls right in an FPS (though Metroid is more of an FPS/adventure hybrid). Now, all three games have been updated with Corruption-style Wii controls and placed on one disc, complete with unlockable extras (via an achievement-like system).
I’ve made it no secret that Metroid is one of my favorite game series of all time, second only to Metal Gear. For that reason, it’s hard for me to demand anything less than perfection with how my beloved series is treated in an updated released like this. For the most-part, the developers and Nintendo have done right by us hardcore fans. The updated controls work spectacularly well in the first two games, just as they did in Corruption. This is the main reason to get Trilogy. The multiplayer of Metroid Prime 2: Echoes is included as well, and has been updated with motion controls for up to four players. Other updates to the games include, bug fixes, enhanced textures, 16:9 widescreen support, and shorter load times. As if that weren’t enough, the game box looks great (a shiny metal tin that slides out of a thick decorated clear plastic sleeve) and comes with a small but beautiful fold-out art and Prime series history book tucked under the game manual.
What kind of drooling fanboy would I be if I didn’t nitpick? The overall package, experience, and value are wonderful and worth every penny, but I do have a few small gripes. Some of the small visual effects in the first Prime were removed (such as the ice build-up when firing the ice beam). I’ve read that this is probably because the added motion controls in the first Prime now means Samus’s cannon moves around instead of remaining static on the screen. In the original, the effect were probably just a 2D animation that was overlayed. Now they wouldn’t match up. This comes off as a bit lazy. Remodeling the effects in 3D can’t be that hard. Another issue is that the bug fixes make some “sequence breaking” impossible now. While I don’t tend to bother with “speedruns“, those who do may find some of the methods they used in previous releases of the games no longer work. Still, they’re bug fixes. It’s hard to complain about that! Other smaller negatives include no original gamepad control support (who really cares?), one title screen replacing the individual title screens for all three games, occaisional textures and such looking a bit blurry in widescreen, etc.
If these petty complaints have you saying, “Meh!” Congratulations, you’re right! Metroid Prime Trilogy is a fantastic update and package. Hardcore fans, like me, may wish that it had about five more minutes in “the oven”, but even at $49.99 USD hardcore fans and newbies alike should get Metroid Prime Trilogy. It’s just that good.