E3 2002Metroid Prime impressions

Nintendo shows off new footage of Retro Studios' Metroid Prime.

At today's press conference, Nintendo showed new footage of Retro Studios' upcoming Metroid Prime for the GameCube. Metroid Prime is another chapter in the life of the bounty hunter Samus Aran, and this one finds her exploring the planet Tallon IV and encountering the deadly metroids. Retro Studios' remake shifts the game from its side-scroller roots into a first-person perspective, emphasizing the game's shooter aspects but also maintaining the previous games' platforming elements.

Samus' various abilities have mostly been converted into full 3D, including the wave beam, the freeze beam, and the morphing ball. While the game predominantly takes place from a first-person perspective, during certain key areas, the perspective will change to third-person when morphing occurs. In one sequence shown, while in ball form, Samus dropped a couple of bombs, which then shot her directly into a winding tunnel that she raced through at a rapid pace. Once she dropped out the far end of the tunnel, she smoothly transitioned back into gravity-suit form and back into the first-person perspective.

The various visors and suits available throughout the game also provide new abilities that Samus can put to use. During two of the scenes shown, we saw Samus' heads-up display and targeting reticle zoom in on an enemy, displaying relevant information. The HUD also reveals various functions in the game, such as directional radar, health and energy meters, and maps that update in real time. New visors and suits found later in the game will allow you to revisit earlier worlds, unlock new areas, and reveal secrets.

We had a chance to see many of the enemies that will appear in the game, including swarming space mites, giant insect creatures, and face-hugging metroid parasites, which fly through the air and can latch themselves onto an unassuming bounty hunter's helmet.

From what we've seen, the game employs detailed, high-poly graphics and a variety of attractive effects to show an abundance of moving creatures onscreen, explosion effects, and varying levels of dynamic lighting and metallic sheen, both from the environments and Samus' suit itself. Different environments shown include barren, icy areas and the techno-organic innards of a metroid hive.

Check out the first Metroid Prime screens and video footage, and stay tuned for hands-on impressions of the game from the Nintendo booth at tomorrow's show.

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