Pros: More of what you loved with Metroid Prime now with multiplayer
Cons: Isn't groundbreaking like the first title.
When Nintendo announced a first person perspective Metroid game, the
reaction was a mixed bag. They hired a newcomer, Retro Studios, to take
on the hefty task of translating the Metroid world from a 2D platformer
to a 3D shooter. Retro Studios didn't just stand up to the task, but
they ended up making one of the most brilliant games for the Gamecube.
They took the exploring elements of the Metroid series, large boss
battles and successfully blended them together with first person action.
Instead of getting a derivative shooter, gamers got a taste of a true
first person adventure game. Now that Retro Studios has made a hit, what
more can they do with next Metroid game?
There is the classic saying
"if it ain't broke don't fix it" and that is what Retro Studios did.
Instead of reinventing the wheel they made tweaks to their formula and
added in some new abilities. The net result is that Metroid Prime 2:
Echoes isn't a revolutionary title, but instead a game that expands on
the core gameplay of the Prime series. The setting takes place sometime
after Metroid Prime. Samus is flying her ship to investigate a help call
by a group of federation troopers. While flying to Aether her ship is
hit by an electromagnetic storm and she is forced to land on the planet.
When she exits the ship she finds a bunch of dead federation troopers.
After this scene the player is in control and it isn't long until you
encounter the mysterious Ing. These shadowy creatures appear out of
nowhere and steal parts of Samus' suit leaving her without many of the
abilities she came with.
The Ing are in an interesting enemy. These shadowy creatures are
known to sneak up behind you and sometimes pop out of nowhere. There are
cleverly placed segments where the Ing appear and cause unprecedented
trouble for Samus. They also have the ability to change the existing
monsters on the planet. A basic space pirate all of the sudden becomes a
powerful shooting machine after contact with the Ing. The dark
atmosphere and the new villains give Retro Studios the opportunity to
pull some scares, like a survival horror game would. Make no mistake,
Metroid Prime 2: Echoes is an adventure game, not a zombie buster.
To face new enemies Samus is going to need to get her stolen gear
back. This phase of gameplay is similar to the other Metroid games,
where you start out with a relatively weak Samus. This time you won't be
completely out of luck. Samus will still have the Varia suit equipped,
the charge beam and the morph ball power up from the start of the game.
Really early on you'll reacquire the morph ball bombs, missiles and the
jump boots. This makes Samus much more versatile early on than she was
in Prime. The levels are designed to take advantage of this. At the
start of the game there are plenty of morph ball areas and some morph
ball cannons puzzles. There are even more areas to access once you have
the jump boots. On top of all her previous equipment Samus will get
access to new weapons and items. Two new weapons are the dark beam and
light beam. The light beam will quickly dispatch oncoming Ing, but it
won't have much affect on the creatures in the light world. The dark
beam works the other way around, it gives the most damage in the light
part of Aether. Both of these beams have a limited amount of ammo, so
you'll need to use them carefully. In conjunction with the missiles Samus
can pull combo attacks like the Dark Burst, which is a huge ball of dark
Visors were one of the coolest part of the first Metroid Prime. These
devices changed what Samus saw, which means you would things different
on the screen. Some visors, like the scan visor are still important to
the game. In Metroid Prime 2 almost every object is scannable. By
scanning objects you'll start machines, solve puzzles, find enemy
weaknesses and even fill in pieces of the story. Samus also has two all
new visors to use. The Dark Visor gives Samus the same effect as heat
vision. She'll be able to scan the area and see where enemies are
lurking. The Echoes visor is an interesting addition. Instead of
detecting anything visible, the echoes visor detects sound. You won't be
able to see much on screen when wearing it, but you'll gain the ability
of a sonar every couple of seconds. This visor is essential to solving
in game puzzles.
Even with all of the new additions Metroid Prime 2 is still Metroid
Prime. It's a first perspective game that sometimes acts like a first
person shooter. You will be shooting stuff with your arm cannon, but
there is more to the game that just lock on and blast. There are plenty
puzzles to be solved to progress through the game. Metroid Prime 2 still
has a lot of jumping from its platfomer roots, maybe a little too much.
The large areas in the game give Retro Studios plenty of room to hide
energy tanks and missile expansion units. These extra items will keep
players busy long after they beat the game, so they can collect 100% of
Even when you're done with the entire game and gotten the best
ending, there is always the multiplayer mode. Metroid Prime 2 has two
different multiplayer options, the first is your standard deathmatch. In
this classic battle royale four gamers can battle against each other.
Every "Samus" starts with the standard power beam, morph ball and
suit. You can collect weapons like the dark beam, light beam and
annihilator within the level. There is even the special death ball item,
which will allow you to kill an enemy by touching them with the death
ball. The other mode is called bounty mode. Instead of racking up kills,
you'll rack up coins that other players drop when they're shot. The
multiplayer mode is a nice addition to the game, but it's not as well
tweaked as other four player shooting games. There are only a handful of
levels to select from and the lock on firing makes killing another
player really easy. Still, having some multiplayer mode is better than
Metroid Prime 2 is a great looking game. The light world is a rich
world full of plant life and bright environments. While the dark world
is a mirror image of the light world, Retro Studios has done a good job
making it eerie. The environments have plenty of detail, too. In one
area you can glance down off the peak of a giant cliff to see a vast
field of mountains and there are winged creatures flying around. The
team of artists that designed this game made Aether look like a true
alien world. The rich textures and plenty of detail like sand waterfalls
make the world of Metroid come alive. The in game music is similar to
the score in the original Prime. It has a lot of atmospheric effects,
but it changes at tense moments. Atmospheric sounds when exploring and
tense electronic guitar when caught in battle. On the other hand the
sound effects in the game have been reused from the first and the
addition of voice acting is another potential improvement.
As an entire package Metroid Prime 2: Echoes is one of the most
outstanding Gamecube games out there. It's an action packed hit for the
people who liked the first game. If you weren't into Metroid Prime, you
should still give this game a chance. It's not as slow paced as the
first game. You start the beginning of the game with a lot of abilities
and there are lots of enemies to shoot. There are even more areas to
explore and the new multiplayer mode seals the package. Overall, this is
a game that every Gamecube owner should pick up.
We have the US version, since it came out in the US first. How
language heavy the Japanese version is yet to be determined.
It's been out since November 2004.
Metroid Prime 2 offers a larger and more challenging adventure than
the first title. Even though most of the gameplay additions are tweaks
off the original game Metroid Prime 2 is still an amazing title.