Metroid Prime 2. 'Nuff said there really
Oh you want more now? Well if you insist on reading (see what I did there? I just made it look longer :P) I'll try to justify it. I'll admit that outside smash brothers the first Metroid prime was my first experience with a Metroid game. Perfectly paced exploration is the best I can say. It's a simple matter of Samus pursuing the space pirates (yar!) onto a mysterious and dangerous world then shooting it and looting it. This draws her into a war between the Luminoth (Light) and the annoyingly named 'Ing' (Dark) as the saviour of Aether. As much as Link has to be woken up from a lazy slumber at the start of his adventures, Samus tends to lose all of her equipment when beginning her own. I'm the same with my house keys. And so after a simple early section that gives the player the gist of everything I am stripped all of my equipment bar the most basic weapons of mass destruction, i.e. the big-assed arm cannon. This beautifully set me off at the start because I wanted to get my gear back and after that I was compelled to find what new toys I could find. I even played through the Dark Aether parts despite my hatred of slimy worms. There's mutant worms in that dimension, big worms. They don't attack of anything, they just squish there like it's their business to freak me out. Massive towers of pulsating worm gunge that you have to walk next to or even stand on. Eeiw, heiweeiweeiweeiw. I gibbered like a school girl.
The worms, the worms! they'll come in the night, they say there's no worms but I see them. They're on the floor, they hide in the socks but I know them, they can't fool me. I had the mini-fridge made into a weapon, I'll show them, I'll show them all!!!
Ahem. As said, the world is split into two halves; light and dark. Light being a once lush world slowly decaying into ruin with the Luminoth receding into hiding and the usual inhabitants becoming homicidal. Dark being a twisted version that's like hell painted in purple and full of twisted oil slicks that would put Devil May Cry's Nightmare boss to shame. Those little black puddles are the Ing. Dark Aether is obviously the more dangerous of the two to such a point that the air itself eats Samus' armour. At the begining extreme caution is needed to prevent unexpected death but gradually stronger weapons and better protection are found later on, even better modes of transport so that rushing through those paths becomes even easier, gotta love that screw attack. Art work is once again excellent. Samus' already impressive methods of traveling have been expanded upon even more. There are tweaks to the morph-ball such as the boost being used as a weapon along with the addition of nifty little cannons that can shoot Samus across gigantic canyons. On foot the screw attack is a fantastic addition to the inventory.
Weapon wise a new ammo system has been added. The limited power for the dark and light beams adds a sense of urgency when confronting the bigger foes that enhances the atmosphere on account of the player knowing that they have to make every shot count. The weaker power beam remains the same but with it's unlimited ammo it's far more useful. Running out of ammo only impairs combat, puzzles that rely on shooting can still be completed through charging the weapon.
Both Aethers are similar enough for the areas to be recognized but diverse enough to warrant their existence, so the same room can have entirely different ways to navigate across on each plane. The basic geography is the same but the architecture, platforms and obstacles are entirely different. It's interesting to tread across the Dark, evil twin of a section already visited. The Dark version of Aether really forces this horrible, choking claustrophobia upon you; because the very air is smothered in a corroding fog there's a panicky mad dash between each beacon that offers protection. Unless the beacons are charged up, the Ing can still enter the safe zones and attack so combat is often restricted to squeezing in a tiny safe area as much as you can. Well, not restricted as much, but it's safer in there.
The Ing themselves are often black shape-shifting entities whilst the Luminoth appear to be like the Chozo. There is actually only one active Luminoth upon Aether during Samus' adventure but lifeless bodies of warriors are scattered across both planes of Aether marking past battlefields. Both Luminoth and the more recent battles of the Space Pirates. The Pirates themselves play a much smaller role here as do the Metroids, being confined mainly to a single area although they've became a lot stronger since the last time.
Difficulty is something that's been increased in Metroid Prime 2. Enemies are stronger and more agile, the Ing being able to move across walls and ceilings as a liquid blob and their attacks are harder hitting and far more unforgivable then last time. Environments are more dangerous, standing still in Dark Aether can get you killed. Boss fights are much more common and richer in variety. This time just about almost every piece of equipment found have a gigantic battle preceding or following it. Some are simply unbelievably huge (Quadraxis) and others are completely unique as a boss fight (Spider guardian).
Everything is held together so tightly. The environments are awe inspiring, the music conveys the mood, the combat never dulls. From start to finish Metroid Prime 2 is a tour-de-force that demonstrates how to make a beautiful world free to explore. An amazing sequel is all I can say. It doesn't exactly take the original and spin it on it's head demanding perfection, but with a game that follows something so excellent it's normally impossible for a developer to improve upon the formula. What's delivered is something that can live up to the original and proudly sit aside it's predecessors. Metroid is something rarer then a talented musician; a series that consistently delivers greatness
Oh and BTW, pre-ordered MGS3 : ) and Star Ocean just got all matrix on me and I don't know what's going on
27/10/2004 4/11/2004 20/11/2004 04/12/2004