The History of Metroid

Meanwhile at Intelligent Systems, development on the long-awaited Game Boy Advance sequel, Metroid Fusion was progressing smoothly. For the first time in years Team Shikamaru had reunited especially for the Metroid project, and was going to be the most accessible, plot-heavy instalment yet.

Fusion took Samus back to SR-388 (where she'd earlier exterminated the Metroids) where she swiftly became infected by X Parasites, the galactic pandemic that Metroids were originally created to destroy. Samus was saved by surgical removal of her armour and infusion with Metroid DNA, allowing her to absorb X Parasites for health. The consequence was the creation of an evil Samus clone, who constantly stalked you throughout the game.

Objective based gameplay made for the a far more linear Metroid than had been seen before, and Team Shikamaru hoped it would finally help them sell a few more copies in Japan.

In North America Retro Studios' public image - and expectations for Metroid Prime - got worse and worse. The developer's final non-Metroid project, Raven Blade was officially canned and staff moved over to help reach the deadline for Metroid Prime. Then a series of embarrassing photographs of led founder Jeff Spangenberg to resign from the company. Miyamoto and Japan stepped in.

A year later Metroid Prime re-emerged - this time playable and in first-person at E3 2002. Expectations were totally and completely blown away; the controversial sequel successfully retained the classic Metroid formula while moving it into a 3D environment.

Nintendo called it a First-Person Adventure; seamless and beautiful HUD effects immersed the player in Samus' world like never before, registering everything from rain effects to the bounty hunter's own reflection in her visor. But glimpses of the famous Varia suit weren't completely removed; morph ball antics were flawlessly moved into first-person and many of Metroid's famous items survived the move into first-person.

At the end of that year both Metroid Fusion and Metroid Prime arrived in North America in the same week, both receiving rave reviews. But it was Prime that turned out to be the real winner, garnering tons of game of the year awards and becoming the second highest selling title on GameCube. Metroid had finally become a success, and Nintendo quickly moved in to purchase Retro outright and commission a trilogy.

The second game in the Prime series, Metroid Prime 2: Echoes arrived in record time just two years later, receiving a similarly stellar reception - but suffering from the competition of Microsoft's much-hyped Halo 2.

The game saw Samus explore the moody planet Aether, a battered world split into light and dark dimensions by the twisted race Ing. Meanwhile Dark Samus roamed the planet unchecked, a reincarnation of the long defeated Metroid Prime.

The Metroid revival continued with Metroid Zero Mission, a surprise remake of the NES original, and NST's Hunters, a first-person spin-off designed to show of the 3D hardware of the Nintendo DS. Positive reaction from pack-in demos with the new handheld caused Nintendo to pour extra development resources into the project and Hunters managed positive reviews thanks to its solid online modes, but failed to impress in the sales department.

Retro farmed the DS game to NST for a good reason: it was about to embark on its biggest game yet for Nintendo's next console...

Metroid Prime 3: Corruption was the first game to be shown running on Wii hardware, a proof of concept that Nintendo's radical new control method could be used to make the most accurate and smooth console shooters yet.

Thanks to the Wii remote, players can now aim Samus's weapon with the flick of a wrist, and traditional series items such as the grapple beam can be taken to levels of interactivity previously impossible on old hardware.

It's also the taken longer to develop than any of the Metroid games to date (it was originally planned for the Wii launch). It missed its projection by almost a year, but since then the gain in quality is blatantly obvious, and it retains a standard that may be regarded as the best yet in the acclaimed Prime series.

Prime 3 was one the of Wii's post-launch triple-A titles. Maybe, finally, Metroid's learnt to be at the right place and the right time...

Courtesy of CVG


  • JosefMotley - January 8, 2010 3:53 a.m.

    they totally ruined metroid when it went 3D. everything that makes it metroid remained (unlike say mario 64) but these traits are the most ill-suited to adapt into a first person game ever. exploration? hard enough in 2D, in 3D the hidden passages and non-linear routes are just intensely frustrating, especially with a HUD that covers so much of the screen you feel completely removed from the action. i spent most of metroid prime rolling around in a ball just so i could actually see what the hell was going on. platforming is something that no first person game has ever done well and this is no exception. lastly the metroid prime games just don't feel anything like the old ones, they feel americanised and generally less cartoony and stylish. they should have just been a seperate series of games rather than running such a beloved and understocked franchise into the ground for the sake of fashion. PAH
  • AyJay - September 21, 2008 2:28 a.m.

    W00t first comment! metroid is always underrated
  • DARK HUNTER - November 17, 2008 8:49 p.m.

    Halo got boring real quick. Metroid prime did'nt. I have the first two in the trilogy and i'm going to get the third and i can say that between halo and metroid, i'd pick metroid. Metroid prime 1, 2 and 3 are awsome games and last longer and do better than halo. i like first person shotters and all, but halo is justlike every other shooter, while metroid should be in its own genre. It is that different feel that metriod gives that makes it way better than playing halo over and over.
  • Nodoudt - August 28, 2009 1:33 a.m.

    And I agree with Dark Hunter, Metroid beats Halo 1-3 ANY DAY. Hands down.
  • Cyberninja - August 25, 2009 7:32 p.m.

    the 2d metroids are the best
  • ihopethisisnotantistasblood - September 20, 2009 4:59 p.m.

    "Metroid Prime Hunters online beats Halo online" come on, i'm a metroid fan and i don't like halo that much but i know that's a big lie
  • madasivad - September 3, 2009 1:14 a.m.

    Return of Samus didn't introduce the Wave Beam or Bombs. It did introduce the Spider Ball though.
  • Dread - September 2, 2009 10:20 p.m.

    Why the hell does it say it doesnt rival the legend of zelda?Ive played nearly all of the legend of zeldas except oracle of seasons/ages & 4 swords, Metroid sick owns Zelda. Maybe not Mario but still.The only Metroid game i havent playd r Metroid 2. Metroid Prime Hunters online beats Halo online,but i think its a tie on which franchise its bettr since Metroid doesnt really hav multiplayer games except Hunters & Echoes.
  • Edge2k10 - August 30, 2009 7:29 p.m.

    I didn't realize that Metroid had such a struggle to get off the ground. It's very fortunate that Nintendo finally realized how to market the series.
  • Nodoudt - August 28, 2009 1:32 a.m.

    A little bit of me died inside when the gave this to Ninja...Next thing you know it's gonna be Metroid Extreme Beach Volleyball o_O

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