I was honestly quite disappointed with Metroid Prime 2: Echoes back on the Game Cube in late 2004. Prime 1 (2002), was an excellent game and a damn nice addition to the Metroid franchise, and a great turn over as well, making a rather large leap of faith from the original 2D formula to the now 3D first person shooter formula. Prime 1 was a great showcase in graphics and gameplay, and while Echoes had its graphics beefed up even more, the gameplay pretty much remained the same. In fact, graphics aside, Echoes seemed like one giant re-skin of the first game. Upon hearing of the release of Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, the finale of the Metroid Prime trilogy, I was somewhat hesitant to buy, or even play the game. But, when I saw it on sale at the local JB Hi Fi store, I couldn't resist.
and I don't regret it.
Metroid Prime 3: Corruption is the first Metroid title for the Nintendo Wii and as I've previously mentioned, the finale of the Metroid Prime trilogy. Once again players step into the Chozo power suit of Samus Aran, and it's up to you to save not just a world, but the entire universe, from the ever spreading Phazon, corrupting each world it touches. Once again it's up to Samus to take on these Space Pirates, all with the Wii-mote as your weapon of choice.
The control scheme, like the previous games will take some getting used to, however unlike the previous games once you've grown accustomed to it, it's damn fun and reliable. Players use the Wii-mote to aim Samus' arm cannon, firing with the A button and jumping with the B button. Players will also use the Wii-mote to look around, change direction in movement (movement controlled with the nunchuk's analog stick) and so fourth. The lock-on system has once again entered the scene but also with a change. With the nunchuk's Z button, you can lock onto an enemy and strafe around them but your fire doesn't necessarily lock onto them. Instead, the lock-on feature pretty much makes Samus focus on the enemy, not aim at them. So while focusing on the enemy, strafing and circling around them, you can aim freely and attack other things on screen, or should it be a boss, aim at certain weak points and fire away.
Graphically, Corruption is one of the best looking games on the Nintendo Wii at the moment. While Samus continues to be a silent protagonist, players will notice that the story in this game is much more narrative then the previous games. There are a cast of characters, each with various dialog and voice acting (well done voice acting, at that), from other galactic Hunters to marine soldiers of the Galactic Federation. The story is a bit slow to begin with, but as the game progresses the story opens up even more, slowly revealing and adding more mystery and suspense.
The story starts with Samus Aran arriving to a Galactic Federation's fleet (lead by Admiral Dane) as she is, along with three other Hunters, assigned a special mission. Leviathan Seeds, sources of Phazon are landing on worlds and corrupting them with Phazon, and it's up to Samus and her fellow Hunters to take them out. Shortly after the mission is given, the Federation fleet and the planet of Norion are attacked by Space Pirates, and the battle for the galaxy begins.
As with all Metroid games, there is much exploration involved, many items to collect and even upgrades for Samus' suit. However unlike the previous two Prime games, Corruption will have minor backtracking, and isn't as daunting when it comes to exploration. Regarding upgrades, Samus will be able to find numerous items, from missile upgrades, Morph Ball upgrades, and weapon upgrades. Unlike the previous two Prime games, Corruption returns to the original Metroid formula, where your beam weapon is a single weapon and each new beam weapon you obtain simply stacks upon the next one. Old upgrades such as the Screw Attack, multi-missile launcher and the classic grappling hook also make a return.
One of the biggest upgrades in the game is Samus' ability (which she receives after the Battle of Norion) is to enter a "Hyper Mode". Using newly acquired armor incorporating Phazon energy, Samus is able to enter a mode where Phazon becomes her weapon, and she literally tears anything and everything apart. Upon entering this mode however, players will have to act quickly. When Samus enters Hyper Mode she must sacrifice one energy tank, and the more Phazon she uses, the more energy she drains from the said energy tank. Should Samus remain in her Hyper Mode for too long, she will become corrupted, and will have to drain all of the Phazon from her suit - should she not do this and the corruption takes over, she will die.
That said, Hyper Mode is a dangerous, but powerful tool to use. Sometimes necessary at that, especially against boss battles. Some boss battles in Corruption are fantastic, however some seem very bland and quite repetitive. It tends to vary, which is unfortunate. Some bosses can just be downright easy while some will be extremely complicated and at times difficult, forcing the player to enter Hyper Mode to deal any reasonable damage.
The next, and most obvious and annoying flaw of Corruption also appeared in the previous games. Doors. When you shoot a door, you'll have to wait for the door to open (the game secretly loading the next area for you), and sometimes this can be quite a pain. Whether you're impatient, or you just want to escape the area from incoming Space Pirates, it's quite frustrating to be standing in front of a door which is supposed to open (on a serious, non-exaggerated note: I once stood in front of a door for SEVEN minutes, before it finally opened).
Metroid Prime 3: Corruption is regardless, one hell of a ride and probably the best in the series. Not only does it offer better graphics and a new, excellent control scheme, but it offers the player a more narrative storyline that's more action packed and interesting than the previous games. A stunning conclusion to the Metroid Prime trilogy.
A must for Wii owners.