At first glance, Metroid Prime Trilogy may seem like an unnecessary compilation. The original GameCube versions of Metroid Prime and Metroid Prime 2: Echoes are already playable on the Wii thanks to the system’s backwards compatibility, and Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, as we know, was specially built for the Wii. So was there really any need to put all three games together in one box?
Initially, I would’ve told you no, probably not, especially with the price tag set at $50. However, upon closer examination you’ll discover that Metroid Prime Trilogy is so much more than a mere repackaging of the three-game Metroid Prime saga.
First and foremost, the first two GameCube installments, while fully intact in terms of plot, graphics, audio, modes and overall menu presentation, have been retooled with 16×9 wide-screen support and Metroid Prime 3’s precision motion-control interface, similarly to how Nintendo handled its “New Play Control!” Wii-makes of Pikmin, Mario Power Tennis and Donkey Kong: Jungle Beat. If you’ve played Metroid Prime 3 before, you should already understand how much of an improvement this is.
Earlier this summer, High Voltage’s The Conduit garnered a lot of praise for its smooth, customizable FPS control scheme, but even it pales in comparison to the effortless fluidity of Retro Studios’ point-and-shoot interface. The constant shooting and scanning in the Metroid Prime games handles even better with a Wii Remote and Nunchuk in hand, even if switching between visors still isn’t quite as intuitive as I’d prefer.
Another neat touch Nintendo and Retro brought to Metroid Prime Trilogy is an expansion to the achievement/trophy-like unlock system — also first introduced in Metroid Prime 3 – to tie into all three games. By defeating bosses, clearing areas, completing certain objectives and reaching various scan, kill and item collection milestones, you earn different colored credit emblems used as a collective currency to purchase bonus content, such as concept art, music tracks, and even more extravagant goodies like a screenshot capture tool and a dashboard Mii bobblehead for your ship in Metroid Prime 3. Sure, the actual unlockables are the same, but the credit system makes them more fun to unlock and extends replay value in a more enticing way.
This type of unification can be seen in the main menu system as well. When you turn on the game you create a profile (up to three different profiles can be saved at a time) which tracks your progress across the entire trilogy. So when you are logging in you can look at your profile and see your play time, completion percentage and chosen difficulty for all three episodes.
I do have one minor complaint with the all-in-one menu system, though. Say you’re playing one game and you want to switch to another. When you quit out of any of the games you are taken all the way back to the profile log-in and have to skip through an annoying message reminding you that the Nunchuk is required to proceed. I would have liked to have seen this process streamlined a little more. If I’m already logged in, it’d be a lot quicker to be able to quit back to the game selection menu without having to choose my profile all over again. This probably won’t be an issue for most players, but in having all three games on one disc I’ve enjoyed flipping between each one to see how the series evolved from game to game (it’s particularly cool to see how the visor effects become more and more impressive with each installment). I just wish the transitioning was less of a hassle.
Metroid Prime Trilogy is like a love letter to Metroid fans. Clearly, if you have yet to experience the Metroid Prime series or perhaps you played Corruption on your Wii but missed the two previous GameCube installments, Metroid Prime Trilogy is a must buy. However, this bundle is also very much for the core Metroid fanbase. The trilogy is stylishly packed as a “Collector’s Edition” with a collectible steelbook case bound by a transparent plastic slip cover, a detailed manual, and a mini art book pamphlet with a short text recap of the Metriod Prime story and a selection of concept artwork — the art book isn’t much, but it’s a pack-in freebie so it would’ve been unrealistic to expect a tome of artwork. You’ll find a gallery with pictures I took of the packaging at the bottom of the page.
I imagine a large chunk of this trilogy’s audience consists of long-time Nintendo and Metroid fans wondering whether or not it’s worth getting, particularly if you already own all three games. If this were simply a repackaging of direct ports I’d question the value, but the added motion controls, expanded credit system and collectible goodies truly enhance the entire package. So go pawn off your old standalone Metroid Prime collection and grab yourself a copy of Metroid Prime Trilogy. Once you play with the motion controls you won’t ever want to go back to the GameCube versions!
+ First two games greatly benefit from motion control upgrade
+ Unified menu system
+ Expanded credit-based unlockable system
+ Sexy “collector’s edition” packaging and presentation
+ Three classic games for the price of one
– Switching between games is somewhat sluggish
Developer: Retro Studios
Release Date: 8/24/09
Genre: First-Person Action/Adventure
ESRB Rating: Teen
Players: 1 (2-4 player mode from MP2: Echoes also included)