Metroid Prime is the perfect example of a great 2D game turned into a fantastic 3D game.
The story behind Metroid Prime is that there's this mysterious substance called Phazon that has infected the planet Tallon IV. You, as Samus Aran, must travel to Tallon IV to eradicate whatever lurks there. Most of the backstory of the planet itself and how the Phazon got there is told through the multitude of scans that you can choose to scan and read. The story is not resolved in this game, however, as there are 2 sequels that continue the story.
The gameplay is one thing that really stands out in this game. You feel like you are Samus. The controls feel very natural, and the autolock makes it easier to beat up on your enemies, to say the least. The morph ball is pretty fun, even to just see how many enemies you can kill while you're in the ball. And in true Metroid fashion, Metroid Prime is a collect-a-thon. You are forced to backtrack and backtrack across the planet for weapon upgrades, energy tanks, and missile expansions (the latter two are optional). This does get tedious at times, but it gives you an opportunity to see the Tallon IV again and again, which isn't bad at all.
The graphics are nothing short of breathtaking. The enemies look great, the environments look amazing, and the whole atmosphere of being isolated on a planet swarming with mysterious creatures is frightening, to say the least. I'd be lying if i said i didn't stop for a few minutes and just looked down at the beauty in Phendrana Drifts. Also, small effects like the visor fogging up and water dripping off of it add to the immersiveness of the game's presentation.
Each area of the map (Phazon Mines, Phendrana) has its own little theme, if you wanna call it that. They all have their own distinctive music, and it really goes with the area. Phendrana's piano theme really suits the peace of the area, and Magmoor's music seems to blend in with the lava, rock, and machinery present there, to name a few.
Lastly, there are incentives for you to play longer. When you scan a certain percentage of the logbook, you get to view pieces of art whenever you want, from the main menus when you boot up the game. Also, when you beat the game, you unlock Hard mode. Finally, if you connect a GameBoy Advance with a completed copy of Metroid Fusion into the GameCube, you unlock the original NES Metroid to play whenever you want at the main screen, as well as the Fusion Suit for the single-player story.
Overall, Nintendo did an extraordinary job with Metroid Prime. It's one of the best games of this generation of consoles, and one that better be in every GameCube owner's collection.