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Music Monday: Metroid Prime

Last Thursday, 29th January 2015, was a day worthy of celebration.

It was a red letter day for gamers, particularly those who hadn’t previously managed to buy a copy of the Metroid Prime Trilogy compilation for Wii.

I was fortunate enough to happen across a copy – minus shiny cardboard outer sleeve – in Brighton’s GAME store for £25 two or three years back having missed out, for no good reason, picking it up for full price on its 2009 launch.

No doubt collectors will still want their own, pristine physical copy and will pay the (presumably somewhat diminished, yet still hefty) eBay prices asked.

Tremendously enough though, Nintendo released the game on their digital store, the eShop. Not only that, but for a more than reasonable for an epic first-person adventure triptych £17.99.

Even better than that though, for its first week on sale the asking prices is slashed by 50% to a stupidly trifling £8.99*.

I owned and completed Metroid Prime 3: Corruption on Wii and enjoyed it very much. I’ve owned Metroid Prime 2: Echoes four times I think and still have yet to get very far with it.

I love the first Metroid Prime though.

As almost every review of the game (and this recent Martin Robinson retrospective) attests, Retro Studios did an incredible job of taking what was so captivating about the 2D Metroid games – especially Super Metroid – and transferring that sense of isolation, that weighty, alien atmosphere and that endlessly compelling exploration into the 3D space.

The reduced loading times, widescreen aspect ratio and elegantly implemented Wiimote and Nunchuk controls of the Wii version only improve the experience further.

I think it’s fair to say that the visuals have aged somewhat. This is no HD update and, while more than functional, the 2002 era graphics are no-longer as believable as they were on the GameCube.

What endures then is the soundtrack, which was always absolutely integral to the peerless immersion offered by Prime and if anything the ageing of the environments allows the music to shine even more.

While the game was developed chiefly in the United States, the soundtrack duties were awarded to Nintendo and Metroid series veteran Kenji Yamamoto – with assistance from Kouichi Kyuma.

From the moment the game boots up and the series’ trademark atonal bleeps and squeaky organic noises take over the title screen, you know you’re in safe hands. This promises a rich, sci-fi experience worthy of the Metroid brand:

Press A or Start and things move up a gear. The pace picks up and the ancient sounding chanting washes in over a lively, driving beat:

While the quality of the accompanying soundscapes rarely drops throughout the lengthy duration of Metroid Prime, a standout moment for me (and many others I believe, looking at the comments on YouTube), comes when arriving in the snowy wastes of Phendrana Drifts.

This glassy, new-agey piece is the ideal companion on your quests as Samus to explore Metroid Prime’s mysterious ‘slippy-slidey ice world’.

It may yet be some time before we tackle the Metroid Prime Trilogy on the Cane and Rinse podcast – heck, we haven’t even started on NES Metroid yet – so in the meantime give yourself a treat.

Head to the Wii U eShop and spend nine of the best pounds (or the equivalent in your local currency) – it’s worth it even if you only play the first game – and become Samus Aran, for at least 20 hours or so.


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