Before the release of the first Metroid Prime in 2002 for the Nintendo GameCube, alongside the release of Metroid Fusion for the Game Boy Advanced, the Metroid franchise was left to stagnate after Super Metroid in 1994 on the Super Nintendo. While the series femme fatale Samus Aran might have had a few cameos in other Nintendo games during that time – Smash Brothers for the Nintendo 64 the most notable example – her own adventures traveling the cosmos and shooting-up Space Pirates were neglected for eight years. Retro Studios rectified that by creating the Metroid Prime trilogy, which succeeded in reestablishing the franchises popularity and appeal in the gaming community. Now the trilogy comes to an end as Samus Aran sets out to rid the universe of her doppelganger Dark Samus for good in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption for the Nintendo Wii.
Six months after the events of Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, bounty hunter Samus Aran is hired by the Galactic Federation to aid in a skirmish against the Space Pirates, who have allied themselves with Dark Samus in an attempt to recuperate from their loses throughout the trilogy. During the battle, Samus and several other bounty hunters are attacked by Dark Samus and corrupted with Phazon energy and left incapacitated. After a month, Samus recovers and learns of the Space Pirates true goal: to spread Phazon throughout the galaxy and corrupt every living thing with its influence. Armed with the Federation’s latest Phazon Enhancement Device (PED), a machine that harnesses the Phazon energy corrupting her body into a destructive force, Samus Aran once again sets out to thwart the Space Pirates ambitions, fighting against Phazon-infused monsters and fellow corrupted bounty hunters while trying to overcome the corruption within that threatens to turn her into a thrall of Dark Samus.
Metroid Prime 3:Corruption is a first-person action-adventure game with various elements of a first-person shooter mixed in while a third-person perspective is used when Samus enters Morph Ball mode. Players use the Wii remote and Nunchuk to control Samus, the former executing actions such as jumping, aiming the blaster, firing weapons, and selecting different visor screens. When interacting with the environment, players can pull, push, or twist the Wii Remote to manipulate certain objects or complete various puzzles. In Morph Ball mode, pulling on the Wii remote allows you to jump. The Nunchuk moves Samus, activates and deactivates her Morph Ball mode, and locks on to enemies and grapple points. When the Grapple Lasso becomes available, casting the Nunchuk forward like it were fishing rod tosses the lasso onto grapple points; pulling back on the Nunchuk can destroy or toss aside certain obstacles that the lasso can attach to. An improved hint system has also been included in the game, which players can now regularly access to provide on-screen instructions and navigation advice.
Corruption’s defining mechanic though is the Hypermode system. By pressing “+” on the Wii remote, Samus enters Hypermode, a state which amplifies the power of her beam weapons and makes her invincible to attacks for a short amount of time. Pressing down on “+” and holding it allows you to exit Hypermode faster. There is some major risk in using it though: entering Hypermode completely drains one energy tank and if the player stays in that state for too long they run the risk of falling into “Corrupt Hypermode.” While in this state, the Hypermode timer flashes blood red, and if it maxes out, Samus becomes corrupted and the game ends. It’s a double-edged sword for sure, but getting out of “Corrupt Hypermode” is easy – simply discharge your weapon as fast as you can to vent out the excess Phazon.
Like every Metroid game, Corruption is never short on entertainment: the epic battles, intricate puzzles, weapon and missile upgrades hidden throughout the environment, and numerous logbook scans iconic in the Metroid Prime trilogy only scratch the surface of the game’s entertainment value. In Corruption, players can earn medals by performing certain feats such as killing 500 enemies, killing certain bosses, or completing a specific number of scans in the logbook. These medals can then be used on the extras menu to purchase screen-shot tools to snap in-game photos, bobble heads and bumper stickers for Samus’s ship, concept art and music. Once the game is completed either on normal or veteran difficulty, the player gains access to a gameplay-extended hyper difficulty, which increases the challenge in the game so severely that even hardcore players might be tossing their remotes to the floor in frustration (or howling in well-earned victory).
Of course, aesthetic appeal is never lacking in a Nintendo game. Retro Studios spared no effort in making this game visually pleasing with its detailed realistic environments, high-resolution textures, and well-rendered, crisp 3D imagery that make every room its own original stage. Lighting and shading are greatly emphasized in this game’s design as each explosion, ray of sunlight, and flickering computer panel is given just the right amount of illumination and shadowing to fit in naturally with the environment they’re placed. Complimenting the graphics is an orchestral and techno-mix soundtrack with throwbacks to previous games like Metroid Prime and Super Metroid.
The game’s shining achievement though is the high quality of its cinematic cut scenes. Metroid Prime 3: Corruption features some rather intense and entertaining scenes that make it feel as if you were watching a movie trailer (much of this credited by Retro Studios superb graphics of course). The voice acting – the first Metroid game in the series to include actual speaking characters – is well performed and manages to establish a stronger connection between the gamer and the Metroid universe. There are many epic moments to watch – some humorous, some just straight up disturbing (Gandrayda’s defeat is memorable) – but for those that want to skip the cinema it’s as simple as pressing “A.”
A lot of work was put into the final installment in the trilogy, but despite the effort there are some problems; problems severe enough that even die-hard Metroid fans might be somewhat disappointed they weren’t properly addressed. The issue that comes to mind first is the lag in Samus’s movements. Aiming your weapon with the Wii remote is a little clunky and takes some getting used to, and while the lock-on function helps considerably there are some moments in the game (the free-fall battle with Ridley being a prime example) where the lock-on function is near useless and you have to rely on guiding the cursor onto your target yourself – which is frustrating to no end when your target is constantly slamming into you and knocking you off-balance. Turning around in battle or jumping in Morph Ball mode is quite a hassle as their movements suffer some noticeable lag, which make large group battles and Morph Ball puzzles unnecessarily harder to overcome. Again, it takes some practice and careful timing, but be forewarned that any gamer with a shaky hand is going to want to throw their Wii remote at the screen out of pure aggravation.
A big disappoint is the inconsistent difficulty of the boss battles; they teeter-totter between being extremely easy and crazy difficult without any set progression level. What’s worse is that the boss battles you would expect to be grandiose and challenging like Omega Ridley are pushovers (I barely lost a tank fight him; such a disappointment considering how vicious he was in the first MetroidPrime). On the flip-side of the coin, bosses like Mogenar and Gandrayda the bounty hunter are more annoying than they are challenging (seriously, Mogenar’s ability to restore his defenses so quickly is insane; Gandrayda is just ungodly FAST and hard to hit). The final battle with Dark Samus is also a tad anti-climatic – still challenging, but compared to fighting the final bosses in the previous two games it’s a cake walk. It’s rather unfortunate.
Now anyone who has played through the first two games of the trilogy is going to snarl at this problem, which still hasn’t been fixed: the load time when a door opens is still infested with lag! It has gotten better since the first game, yes, but there are those times when you fire your weapon at the door and it just refuses to open after the first shot – as well as the other following shots that emphasize your frustration. Instead it just stares back at you, its dull metallic surface mocking you as everything that wants to kill you in that room takes the opportunity to swipe, shoot, and stab at your backside. It’s no picnic having to backtrack through a room full of screeching Metroids with only one tank of health left, but it’s worse when you’re trying to bull-rush your way through it and the door on the opposite end refuses to open despite how many times you scorch it with your space lasers. Why Retro Studios refuses to solve this problem is unknown – maybe it’s an unavoidable lag in the animation because of the time needed to load the next area; or maybe the developers are sadistic and get their rocks off throwing in that extra annoyance that makes the flying jellyfish attempting to suck the soul from your body just a little more difficult to run away from. Either answer is applicable.
Overall, Metroid Prime 3: Corruption brings a fitting and stylish conclusion to such an epic series with enough entertainment, challenges, and extras to keep gamers playing through it more than once.
- Enough challenges, extras, and achievements to keep the gamer entertained for hours.
- Excellent 3D imagery complimented by an equally excellent soundtrack.
- Stunning cinematic features that breathe new life and creative possibilities into the Metroid series.
- Slight difficulty aiming your weapon and moving around.
- Disappointing boss fights (either immensely frustrating or ridiculously easy).
- The time it takes a door to open up to the next area is still lag heavy.