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My journey with the Metroid Prime series has been a rocky one. Like most gamers raised in the 16-bit era, I adored Super Metroid. I had played the NES original before, but never really got into it. And then my buddy lent me his copy of Metroid II: The Return of Samus, and I was amazed at how fun the series was. My NES had long since died though, so I patiently waited for the next installment. Super Metroid was to Metroid like A Link to the Past was to The Legend of Zelda. It took everything that made the series great, added a whole slew of new weapons and maneuvers, threw out all of the bland elements, added amazing visuals, and succeeded in creating a creepy and isolated atmosphere.
So of course, I was one of the many who wanted to boycott Nintendo for allowing such a beloved series to be developed by Retro Studios, who hadn't even released a game before, and allow the game to become a FPS! How dare they! I distinctly remember reading an issue of EGM where Metroid Prime, Super Mario Sunshine, and The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker were all featured. Nintendo was becoming a joke: Samus was the new Master Chief, Mario had a freaking water cannon strapped to his back, and Link looked like he had just stepped out of a Saturday morning cartoon. How could Nintendo do this to its long-time loyal? Of course, all three games ended up being successful, with two of them being great (Sunshine is a quality game, but just falls short of the "classic" status afforded to all other games in the primary series).
The moment I realized that I was obviously wrong about Prime was at a midnight Gamestop launch. It was either for a GTA or a Madden or a whatever the hell was popular at the time, and there was a demo for Metroid Prime sitting in the corner of the store. I thought, "what the hell, I'll give it a chance", and started playing. The game blew me away. The visuals were stunning, the sound was near perfect, and the controls - awkward as they were - dismissed the notion that this was just another FPS. This was something different... this was an adventure game in FPS clothing. When my turn came to pick up my pre-order, I took out an additional $5 and pre-ordered Metroid Prime.
I can't begin to describe my love for the original Prime. The game successfully translated a 2D experience to 3D. When solving one of the games many puzzles, and seeing land morph to reveal a hidden path, I realized that this is just like Zelda, just from a different perspective. And that's exactly what the original Metroid was to the original Zelda - just a different perspective.
I played through Metroid Prime a total of three times without seeing the ending. Thanks to not one, but two corrupt memory cards! Each time I restarted the game, a little of the magic was lost. I stopped scanning each item and wall in each room, now more interested in just getting back to where I last stopped! The game, which had once been a thing of beauty and freedom, became tedious. So, I stopped playing. It wasn't until Metroid Prime 3 was announced that I became interested in the series again.
Metroid Prime 3: Corruption rekindled my love for the series, but also destroyed my patience for the Cube controls. Unlike the majority of reviews out there, I don't think the Wii controls are perfect. There isn't enough customization and turning completely around takes far too much time... but it's still a million times better than the Cube controls. Being able to look around while moving only adds to the grand sense of atmosphere. When Nintendo announced their New Play Control series, it was just a matter of time before my wish came true.
$30 for Metroid Prime with Wii controls is, in my humble opinion, an awesome deal. $50 for the entire trilogy is nearly unbeatable. Two of my favorite games and one that I've yet to experience. It almost doesn't make sense, coming from Nintendo. I support the Big N, but my lord do they like to rip people off. The Wii is still $250 for christsake! For $50 more I can get a super computer (PS3 Slim). I mean, I get it. They're still repackaging three old games together and selling it at the price of a new game, but I'm not going to complain, knowing the alternative.
Metroid Prime Trilogy is glorious. I'm a ways through Prime, and I've already fallen back in love with the game. Everything just works so well. The text has been expanded to look better on modern tvs, the widescreen is flawless, the various "achievements" and their eventual rewards are fun and encourage extended play, and the controls make an already amazing game even better. On top of all that, the packaging is worth noting. The slipcover and metal case are both fantastic, and the included art book is just icing on the cake. Again, Nintendo just doesn't do these kinds of things... it's pleasantly odd.
I can't recommend this package enough. If you have a Wii, you should have already bought this game. It reminds me of picking Super Mario All-Stars, and being floored with the amount of content and beauty it contained. Metroid Prime Trilogy represents the best of Nintendo, and really gives reason to all of the excitement surrounding the next Retro Studios project.