I was 10 or 11 years old when I found in my house a cd full of emulators and gba roms. I was playing some games when I discovered Metroid fusion. I didn’t advance too much, but that experience and a great sensation of fear and fascination about extraterrestrials made me write this after ten years.
It has been a while since I played Metroid Fusion and I buyed Metroid Prime. At that short age I barely understood the background of the game, I simply moved through the levels without stopping too much in the story. And I must say that perhaps that is one of the clearest signs of my maturity in relation to video games in the last decade. Weeks before E3 of 2017 I decided to replay the entire Prime saga in an attempt to re-feel what a young Mutt felt the first time he went through those endless corridors at the age of fourteen. The fear and uncertainty of not knowing if in the next room you would be ambushed or simply find a deafening silence, in the middle of ruins devastated by decades of conflict.
SILENCE, DARKNESS AND MAYBE SOME MORE..
Halls have a key role in the creation of suspense. This, accompanied by different minimalistic music themes, create the perfect atmosphere to keep you on alert. The first time you enter the space pirate lab in Phendrana you are attacked by a pirate who carries an invisibility device, this attack comes by surprise and gives you the message that they will not give you a truce. There is no time for distractions, you are at the base of the enemy and they’ll use any method at their disposal to kill you. Later in that same level a blackout leaves out of order the lights of the facilities and you have to survive blindly.
It is in this section where the influence of Ridley Scott’s film is most latent. The quantity of details of each room favors the immersion. Prime 1’st intro almost resembles a horror movie, with corpses everywhere without a clear reason that it had happened in that lab in orbit, (Just like Dead Space 1, game which I think was highly influenced by Metroid Prime) something that we would later feel in Prime 2: Echoes, when we arrive at the improvised base of the federation marines minutes before Dark Samus had exterminated them all. This brings us to the next point in this analysis.
SILENCE AND SCREAMS, INTUITION.
Much talk has taken part saying that Samus Aran is an insustantial character, with no thoughts of her own and no personality and I consider that this judgment is absolutely wrong and undeserved. The saga and in particular the protagonist is mute precisely to be YOURSELF the one who feels what happens, the first person view tries to make you feel like Samus, not to control it, but to be her. So what you experience on an emotional level is the same as what she perceives (Or at least is the intention I think). On certain occasions the game tells us what to feel. In the NFG OLIMPO when Samus speaks with Admiral Castor Dane, she appreciates this man in, in Samus’s farewell to U-mos and the luminaries with a hand gesture when she leaves behind the Temple of Light or perhaps the most significant, when you face Ridley in Prime I, the first time through a cinematic, which is based on the most logical chronology for me, that the Prime saga happens between Metroid I and Metroid II: Return of Samus(Samus Returns for 3DS) and it was a short time between Samus kills Ridley and her second encounter with him in the orbit of Tallon IV. Samus felt between rage and impression when she re-discovered her archenemy was alive again, shortly after killing him.
Why Ridley always come back to life?
IS RIDLEY THE PAST THAT SAMUS DOESN’T WANT TO LEAVE?
He killed her parents, leads the pirate armies and returns in almost all games of the saga to make the adventure more difficult. But why does this happen? Why has Nintendo decided that we have to face over and over again? Many will say that it is simply marketing, because we already have associated the dragon with Metroid, but it could be that this character symbolizes the traumas of the protagonist in relation with her parents death. Samus is a woman who suffer post-traumatic stress disorder, with few friends and who seeks to survive in a ruthless universe that destroys the weak.
Leaving behind everything that could work as a family, because she may not know how to relate in a healthy way with the rest of the people around her. At the end of Prime 3, Samus returns to Elysia, the place that symbolizes the Chozo in this game and remembers the friends that made in her journey and how Dark Samus (Maybe another symbol of her traumas) corrupted them, forcing her to kill them all . She feels tremendously alone. Keeping distance with people who appreciate and admire her because she doesn’t know how to react after a life of war and misery.
When you talk to the soldiers of the federation, everyone asks you about if it is true that you killed all the pirates of Zebes, but no one asks you why, nobody is interested in knowing that Zebes was your second home and that those guys murdered your parents.
METROID PRIME AND THE WAR.
One of the greatest differences between these three games is the way they deal with conflict. In Prime 1 you arrive at Tallon IV, long time after the Chozo have disappeared, the planet belongs entirely to the space pirates to extract the Phazon. We know that something happened on this planet but nobody is alive to tell, only the Chozo murals with stories about that age.
Prime 2: Echoes introduces U-mos, the luminoth priest who guides you and tells the story of the tragedy that his people have suffered in the war against the Ing horde, and something that I find quite significant, are the luminary bodies scattered throughout the game . I know, it is just another scans with information about the area or your objectives, but it brings some realism. The conflict in Aether is ending, the Ing horde is winning and the lifeless bodies of people with family and friends who had to go to fight the most horrible hell to save everything they loved can be found all over the paths. I think it is one of those things that I didn’t appreciate at the time and now seen from another perspective I love the most.
Prime 3: Corruption, and by looking back we could get an idea of what happened with this game. Metroid was never a saga that sold much, barely touching the 4 million copies between the first two titles of Prime. I guess that once reached the point of developing the third game of the saga, Nintendo imposed a new approach to Corruption seeking to increase it’s sales. Having to compete with Mass Effect, this game had to show more action and dialogues. On the other side Prime 3 applied certain aspects of Dead Space (which had aspects of Metroid) in the arc of the NFG Valhalla, an abandoned and raided spaceship that we explored at the end of the game) I think the solution that took Retro Studios was “disguise” the title through a plot with many characters and planets, but maintaining the essence of the previous ones. All of this to try to revive the saga and compete with other games that came out that year introducing new narrative elements.
Is it a bad game? No, and this change coped well with what the game wants to tell but is not comparable to the previous two.
METROID PRIME 4?
Many things have changed in the industry and the franchise itself. Hype and fear comes to me every time I think about it. Metroid Prime 4…
The 14-year-old boy inside me awaits this game, the 24 year old man is scared thinking which Retro Studios is not developing it. The possibility is that this game will probably follow the path of Breath of the Wild, as to what could be an open world. Will they be able to capture the essence of exploration, fear and fascination? How will they guide the story? Will we know more about Chozo?
No matter what happens with the game, in the end all I hope is it can make me feel like the child who walked with extreme caution through the ruins of Tallon IV. And in the end, that’s all that matters.