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Metroid Prime 2: Echoes Preview for GameCube
Posted on Monday, May 31, 2004 @ 11:51:59 pm E.S.T

Once again, bounty hunting legend Samus Aran picks up where she left off on her first GameCube adventure and embarks on a journey to another mysterious planet to exterminate evil in Metroid Prime 2: Echoes. Looking to bring back the energy and excitement that the first Prime contained, Echoes could easily be described as a game that only marginally advances upon its prequel. Then again, looking at the success of the first game, is that such a bad thing? Highly unlikely.

In this adventure, Samus will find the combat zones of the planet Aether to be divided into a world of light and a world of darkness. This idea of contrasting worlds, which one may recognize from The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, is one that should prove to provide a fascinating setting to a series that has mainly thrived on the deep, dark locales of each game in the series.

When the planet of Aether was divided into worlds of Light and Dark due to an ongoing argument between its inhabitants, a new kind of Dark enemy was created, known as the Ing. This new species will be your primary enemy in the game, but youíll gain help from a race in the Light World known as the Luminon. These two species have been engaged in a huge war thatís been going on for many years, and while the Luminon just want peace and solidarity, their evil counterparts have been refusing to sign a treaty. This is because the Dark enemies are looking for a permanent entrance to the Light World in order to exterminate their enemies and rid of them eternally.

This is where Samus enters the picture. Called upon by the Luminon, she is sent to travel to the Dark World before the Ing species are able to put the last touches on their malevolent plan. The Light Worldís inhabitants are providing Samus with assistance through creating her new weapons and giving her advice on how to defeat their enemies, the bounty huntress will be ready to go into action with full force.

Itís very apparent that Samus is on a planet thatís vastly different from Tallon IV, the world that she explored in the first Metroid Prime. The Dark World of Aether is much more threatening, gloomy, and unsentimental than one would expect; doorways are sometimes barred off with webs that are menacing in appearance that, when shot in the center, evaporate. The darkest of caves are illuminated with crimson red lighting. New-found enemies are crouched in shadowy corners, but there are some old foes as well. The Space Pirates, which didnít emerge until later in the first adventure, are present from the get-go. Theyíve been hired by the Ing to mine the treasured Phazon, a rich mineral from the first Prime, for reasons that havenít been explained yet. Another enemy that you will encounter during the game is Dark Samus. While details on the character have yet to be revealed, one of the more interesting pieces of video footage show this dark individual. Itís been explained that, while sheís not the main enemy in the game, the evil antagonist will prove to play an interesting role in the story of Echoes.

As far as the aforementioned hardware, what exactly will Samus be toting on her journey? Along with her standard Beam, upon beginning her adventure sheíll also be bringing along the Light and Dark Beams, two pieces of weaponry specifically developed for the bounty hunter by the Luminon to help annihilate their menacing adversaries. In a method thatís reminiscent of the GameCube sleeper hit Ikaruga, the Light Beam will have the greatest effect on enemies in the Dark World, while the Dark Beam will have the converse effect, working the best on enemies that have managed to seep into the Light World. Also, with certain switches, the Light Beam will be used to turn things on, while the Dark Beam will be used to turning the switches off. As Samus continues her expedition, her suit will be upgraded with new weapons and powers accordingly. However, unlike in the previous Metroid games, Samusí ammunition will be limited with the new artillery, which is done to make the player make clever selections in their strategy in completing the game. This will prove to be a very fresh, modernizing addition to the Metroid series.

One of the other new additions to the bounty hunterís suit will include the new Echo visor, which will pick up sound. This new visor, while sharing a very large similarity with the subtitle of the game, is not related. The title of the game, however, refers to the two worlds that are contained within Aether, and how an event in one world will influence something within the other.

What may be the biggest add-on to the sequel, though, is the multiplayer action. In a deathmatch style format, players must compete to obtain the most kills with your weaponry, but the unique aspect is the integration of the Morphball. Using the new Morphball Cannons that have been added to Echoes, you can launch your character when in the Morphball form across the arena. Along with the cannons in the arenas, there are also power-ups such as the Death Ball that, when used, cause massive damage when colliding with another player. Alongside the Morphball features, the typical abilities that one would expect out of Samus are available. That means the grapple beam and various visors will be accessible. In multiplayer, the Scan Visor is updated with what is known as the Hacker Upgrade, which will allow you to send your opponents a virus that will infect their suit and affect something on their suit, whether it be disabling their beams, or forcing them into Morphball for a limited amount of time. There are many details still not out yet on multiplayer, though, so be on the lookout for information soon.

One area in which the original Metroid Prime didn't leave gamers desirous was in the graphical department. As expected, all of the shine and beauty that made the original such a beautiful game to look at are back, and more stunning than ever. Everything, from the environments (which are also rumored to be much larger than in the first Prime) to the enemy character models, down to the on-board helmet display, is even more than what anyone could have ever expected. The animations are just as fluid as the first game, as well. Rarely has a game ever looked this good.

As evil continues to spread, the bounty hunterís latest adventure is expected to reach its destination of both the divided planet of Aether and store shelves on November 15th.

Preview By: Matt Hack - 3537 Reads

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