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Metroid Prime 3 Overanalyzed

The release of a new Metroid game is indeed a rare occasion.   For me it’s almost a religious experience, a sacred day in which the gaming gods have bestowed their blessing upon the world.   Sometimes it can even feel better than Christmas morning… assuming that Mario or Link both don’t have games coming out during the holiday season.

What makes a Metroid game so special?   Metroid at its very core is the definitive exploring game.   Sorry Castlevania fans, I just never got into the whole Castlevania thing.   There’s just something about running and shooting plasma beams that entertains me more than a whip.   No, just kidding, Castlevania is awesome too.

The basic concept of the “Metroidvania” type games is that you start out in an unknown world, and it’s your mission to chart out and explore that world while collecting various power ups and items along the way.   Each power up or item holds the potential to unlock new areas in the game world that you couldn’t quite reach or find before.   Maybe you see a ledge high up on a cliff, but with your current condition you can’t make that jump.   Then, 20 or 30 minutes later you come across an item that boosts your jumping height—well, now it’s time to back track and find that damn cliff because you forgot where it was.

Some people may think this is a pain, but I love this type of game play.   I feel like I’m constantly going where no one has gone before, even though potentially thousands of other players are doing the same thing.   In a Metroid game, an item just isn’t a new way to move around, or a new gun to shoot—its unlocking a whole new world for you to explore at each pick up, and the feeling never loses it’s intensity.   Every item still feels like getting the Morph Ball for the first time, or the Missiles, or the Space Jump.   It’s just an amazing sensation when I play any Metroid or exploring adventure game.

Warning: Spoilers for Super Metroid, Metroid Prime, and Metroid Prime 3 Corruption are ahead.

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