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Metroid Prime 2: Echoes review

We went eight years without a Metroid game and now they won't stop coming ... good or bad?

Pros

  • World feels like a living
  • breathing place
  • Thankfully tougher than its predecessor
  • Multiplayer is available for the first time

Cons

  • Offline multiplay is a yawner
  • Boss battles drag after awhile
  • A cosmetic upgrade from the last game

Going from zero Metroid games in eight years to three in two years was a welcome change. But why do both of spacey-chic heroine Samus Aran's first-person adventures have to be so damn similar?Per usual, you start with the most basic of sci-fi equipment; a meager blaster and roly-poly, morph ball for locomotion. Eventually, thesemake way for multi-targeting missiles and a chasm-spanning hover jump. As you explore therocky, swampy and airless terrain ot the planet Aether, new paths will open up. Naturally, some areas are just out of reach, so continual exploration is needed. Heard it before. The twist with Echoes is its balancing act of dark against light.

While responding to an SOS, Samus sees a shadowy, ring wraith version of herself finishing off some space marines. Hot on this Dark Samus' trail, you pass through a milky-black portal that launches you into a mangled, beat down version of the planet you were scoping out. Its searing skies and toxic lakes eat away at your health, and some of the strangest, poison-spewing creations space has ever seen are sweeping in and out of the darkness. Tiny, splintered beacons of light offer brief pockets of safe air, but there's always something lurking nearby. Running around this hostile landscape, all alone, seems about as smart as playing in an airlock. Yet you proceed, driven by the mystery of just who your evil twin is.

It seems there's a civil war brewing between the planet's two anti-races, each of which rules one version of the planet. The angelic Luminoth livein the light phase andare on your side; the parasitic Ing, who hang out in the emotionally devastating dark version of the planet, always have their inky tentacles somewhere near your armored throat. The aliens' duality mirrors many of the puzzles you'll face in the game. The two phases of the planetshare caves, mountains and other topography, but have them in slightly different places. A blocked path in one world may be clear in another, so zipping back and forth through the scattered portals is the only way to rub out the Ing for good.

Beam weapons and armor upgrades are expected in any Metroid, and there are dark- and light-themed cannons to grab, but their functionality is limited. Dark is weak against light (whoo hoo). Samus' info-collecting visors, now in infrared and sonar flavors, show the world in different ways, but feel much like the previous Prime's viewable options.

More Info

GenreAdventure
DescriptionThe consistently engrossing atmosphere and crackling sound effects blanket the excessive amount of recycled tunnel-diving, alien-squashing gameplay.
PlatformGameCube
US censor ratingTeen
UK censor rating
Alternative namesMetroid Prime II: Echoes
Release date:15 November 2004 (US), 15 November 2004 (UK)
Available platforms:
Genre:Adventure
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