It's Metroid Prime. And it's pinball! We give you a first look at this oddball interpretation of the Metroid Prime universe.
Nintendo today released the first video of Metroid Prime Pinball, one of the first nonadventure titles in the Metroid brand...well, ever. This DS exclusive takes advantage of Samus Aran's ability to enter a morph-ball mode, and it sends her careening around numerous boards based on her Metroid Prime adventures, sending her up against Space Pirates and, of course, metroids in her quest to obtain artifacts and phazon energy.
What's even more interesting is that the gameplay footage we obtained implies Samus will periodically be able to morph back into her upright mode to fire missiles and other weapons at her enemies. It appears that shooting your morph ball into a small hole near the lower flippers on the board will let you access Samus' upright mode, letting you fire away as you see fit. The rest of the gameplay we witnessed appeared to be more faithful to stock pinball features, although with a Metroid twist, of course. Some of the enemies in the game are mobile and have to be hit as they move, although some of them are rather large, such as the souped-up space pirates that were occasionally seen in Metroid Prime. Extra balls are also in full effect, although these appear to take the form of collections of phazons. There's only one Samus Aran, after all.
We haven't been overly fond of DS games that stretch one gameplay surface between the upper and lower screens, but Metroid Prime Pinball seems to have a less noticeable gap in the surface, thanks to the inclusion of a second set of flippers at the bottom of the upper screen of most boards, giving players a reference to work from rather than having a purely split screen, which can make some games, like Breakout in Retro Atari Classics, sometimes tough to control.
Once we get some hands-on impressions of Metroid Prime Pinball, we'll be sure to let you know how the game plays. Keep your pinballs, or morph balls, as the case may be, aimed at GameSpot.