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Metroid Prime 2: Echoes (GameCube) Review

Review for Metroid Prime 2: Echoes on GameCube - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Metroid Prime is considered to be easily in the Top 5 GameCube games of all time, if not No.1. Therefore, there was always going to be a high amount of anticipation surrounding the production of its sequel, aptly title Metroid Prime 2. But with so many problems regarding the release of the first outing, can Retro Studios pull off a second miracle? Read on and all will be revealed...

Once more Samus Aran is on a galactic mission of major importance. She has travelled to the Planet Aether in the hope of lending support to Federation Troopers who managed to get trapped on the world whilst chasing a gang of evil Space Pirates. However, passing through an electrical storm causes Ms Aran's vessel to malfunction when struck by a charge and she subsequently has to crash-land. Deciding to find out what happened to the Troopers, Samus comes across a dark version of herself quickly heading through a strange portal. Upon following, she is transported to another dimension, where she is immediately ambushed, having all her gear stolen by a race called the Ing. Managing to escape, just, her adventure begins once more without her full array and she eventually teams up with the Luminoth of the planet, whilst also discovering more horrors in the logs of her dead comrades' log entries.

Metroid Prime was amazing, a true graphical masterpiece on the GameCube and a standard to which developers have desperately strived to match over the past two years, yet never quite surpassed. Therefore, who better than to one-up Retro, than Retro itself? Indeed, Echoes is a superior title on many levels, visuals included, with the dark overtones of the Metroid legacy being present in full effect. But, as most know by now, this is no 2D side-scroller like the past editions, pre-Prime, this is full-on 3D environments with breath-taking effects dripping from the jam-packed GameCube disc. An ultra-fast frame rate, no collision or clipping problems, rich, dark colours all around and eye-popping character models and locations that would have PC owners crying - Doom 3, never heard of it! Echoes is that...damn...good...

Screenshot for Metroid Prime 2: Echoes on GameCube - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

This really is no slouch at all. We have all seen what pains Nintendo goes to include tiny little details that not many will really notice without looking that little bit closer than normal, but the fact that Retro has emulated this approach is highly commendable. The weapon effects are as spectacular as ever, Samus looks amazing (yes, even with her suit on) and the Dark World will give you the creeps, definitely. There is nothing twee here, it is all about the moodiness of the whole adventure series and Retro thankfully does not look like lifting that gloomy feeling. Go on, rub your eyes all you want - this is no dream, this is Nintendo Reality.

Sure, there are hundreds, if not thousands of games in the world that have memorable soundtracks, most stay with you because they are extremely catchy, whilst some stick in your mind for all the wrong reasons. Yet if you alter the search option here to 'soundtracks that scare the wits out of you', then you will see that figure quickly whittled down to a select few, the entire Metroid series included. Now Retro has succeeded in reproducing that feeling of dread all over again, with torturing silences, bass-trembling humming, frantic, fast-paced tunes and a pleasing variety of extra music that suits the mood of each location you visit. Sitting with the title's menu screen music on very loud through my stereo used to stop me from diving straight into the game in the first GC version and there are instances here that have me doing just that all over again - captivating music, the sort of stuff that really taps into your nervous system and filters all round your body. Shiver-inducing work from Kenji Yamamoto...

But music is not everything, especially in a game such as this. Without the proper sound effects then everything would seem rather lifeless and dull. Thankfully Retro has not skimped on this factor and delivers booming fire power, squelching enemies, terrifying screeches from those in the throes of death, computerised speech that passes on information to you and much more. There is nothing more ominous that the eerie silence that descends upon you at times, because it gets your adrenaline pumping automatically as you just know there is something little noise going to slip out somewhere soon, then all hell will let loose. Atmospheric? Echoes goes beyond that to a place that cannot be described! Heck, there is even the odd bout of human speech in the cut-scenes...

Screenshot for Metroid Prime 2: Echoes on GameCube - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Why criticise a game for being like its predecessor when the majority of the Industry deemed its prequel to be Game of the Year 2002? That would just be crazy, right? Exactly, hence you will not see any of that here. It is like telling folk to ignore Majora's Mask as it uses the same engine as Ocarina of Time. See what I mean? Now Metroid Prime 2: Echoes is clearly an evolution of the Prime world, rather than a revolution, but Retro has done wonders with what was a technically excellent game and what some would say a miracle production considering its development circumstances. What more can you ask for really, if an already excellent game is improved upon? Well, let us see if we can work that answer out...

You begin by your crash-landed ship, all your abilities intact and ready for usage. Therefore, you can space jump by pressing jump twice, morph into a ball with a quick ‘Y’ tap, then power boost as you roll and drop bombs to bounce yourself upwards and blow things up. However, very early on you are mugged and must survive with just the basic charge beam, morph ball ability and weakened power suit. By this point you have only been given a glimpse of the Dark World that awaits you later on. To tell you the truth, flicking to the scanning mode and looking round, you would not be criticised for thinking the only thing to change is the actual way you scan items! But that is only the beginning of the fine tuning. Forget all the talk of dual-analogue control, it really is not needed as you will be strafing, taking quick glances all over, rolling and jumping your way around with the greatest of ease thanks to the layout of controls – you would think the GC controller was Retro’s best friend it knows it so well!

The first basic task is to locate your stolen equipment as soon as possible, or else face annihilation at the hands of the enemy. Therefore you head off and everything is dead around you – life just is part of the equation, which goes on for such a while that you fall into complacency (all helped along by the music tone running in the background) and then BANG you get the shock of your life as the dead troopers around you spring to life and begin attacking you. And that goes on until the end of the game – surprise after surprise, shock after shock; Echoes never disappoints be it with the re-introduction of the wall jumping taught to Samus in Super Metroid, the heavy slant on puzzles of the Morph ball variety or even the return of the Grapple Beam that gives you that wonderful sense of freedom as you are flung through the air to heights once unreachable. That last point is why this is not a First-Person Shooter, folks. Retro never took the stalwart adventure series and changed its genre, it merely placed the ‘go fetch’ idea into the three-dimensional field. A new depth has been brought to the series, a depth that is emphasised even more in Echoes than ever before, with secrets a-plenty to be discovered, uncovered and then recovered!

Screenshot for Metroid Prime 2: Echoes on GameCube - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

‘Go fetch’, meaning find and retread your steps. Please refrain from groaning as this is no boring linear experience, it is a test of the gameplaying mind. Stay sharp and you will not go wrong; just like in many great games over the years, you wander past something and think how annoying it is you cannot reach it or get through. Then all of a sudden you complete one of the Light/Dark World puzzles (which, for those not familiar with any of the Zelda games’ duo-world systems can lead to something being changed in one world and it directly affecting the other) or acquire the Light/Dark Beams (just think vice versa as much as you can and you will figure things out perfectly – Light kills Dark…) and something triggers in your head. Yes, finally you can uncover the secrets of that door! And to help you on your way are new functions like the Dark Visor (allows you to see creatures and objects in the other dimension), Echo Visor (changing sound waves into visuals, DareDevil-style) and others that you will take great pleasure in finding and more than make up for the exclusion of the Wave and Ice Beams. By the way, have you worked out the answer to the original question? The answer is quite obviously: nothing.

Metroid Prime lasted around fourteen-fifteen hours and that was without getting the full 100% of what was available, so people were quite happy considering the Metroid experience usually ends after about five hours. Retro really had managed to not only capture the feeling of the series and help it with the transition to 3D, but actually extended its lifespan far beyond people’s expectations. Guess what, though? Echoes takes this newly risen bar and lifts it even higher to the point of craziness. Even if you want to complete just the main adventure without doing anything to side-track your playtime, you will probably be looking at close to twenty five hours. No joking at all here, none in the slightest.

You see, everything is much more difficult overall. You heard me. Therefore, those who cried whilst facing some of the latter stages in Prime are going to be tearing their hair out in frustration and cowering behind their big fluffy cushions in the hope that the next big boss will just disappear if ignored for long enough. But there is no chance of that. Then, for the perfectionists out there, there is even more scanning to be done, with practically everything around you holding a tasty morsel of data (if anybody manages to not even miss one object they deserve a medal) and the collection of items to unlock extras is equally immense. But that is all on top of the extravagant puzzles, switching between Light and Dark worlds and, oh yeah, the multi-player side of things, where four of you can blast away at each other in what proves to be an enjoyable, if somewhat rudimentary addition. Variety? It sure is Retro’s spice of choice!

Screenshot for Metroid Prime 2: Echoes on GameCube- on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Gameplay

Just like Prime all over again, with some removals and a few new additions, plus a little bit of refinement to make what was brilliance even better. The multi-player was not necessary at all...

Graphics

The GC was squeezed so much for Metroid Prime that many thought it impossible to out-perform it, but Retro has proven us all wrong. The only games to that will come close to this are Resident Evil 4 and The Legend of Zelda - that is how good this looks!

Sound

Music and sound effects go hand-in-hand to create the perfect atmosphere, or at least they do here in Echoes. Retro has given us a 'stellar' soundtrack with cracking sound effects and you cannot ask for much more than that.

Value

Increased difficulty levels, even more scanning, puzzles and moves to master plus the incentive of extra art if you collect everything and a four-player mode for if you tire of the main action mean value-for-money is written all over this!

Cubed3 Rating

9/10
Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

About this score
Rated 9 out of 10

It is surprisingly difficult to criticise Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, which comes as quite a shock considering I was in the minority who felt its predecessor was slightly over-rated...Echoes still does not manage to touch the SNES' Super Metroid, but Retro has done a damn fine job in getting closer to the Nintendo classic than anyone ever has done before. Better than the original Prime? Yes. Worth getting even if you have the original? Definitely. Should you still be reading this? No, go get yourself a copy now...!

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29.11.2004

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Developer

Retro

Publisher

Nintendo

Genre

Adventure

Players

4

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10 (125 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Reader comments - add yours today Comments on this Review

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A really excellent review Raz for what is a simply phenomenal game - trust this great guys words, Echoes is really damn special and not to be missed - really it isn't. Go on, rush out tomorrow and get it, you NEED to :D

The graphics are simply the best around, on any console.

The atmoshere is much better than the first, which says something.

The feeling of dispair is tremendous. Actually seeing Samus in dispair is a thing that cuts into your very own soul!

The gameplay in one player is astounding, even scanning is great and improved.

Damn this is one good game.

I have only just scratched the surface, playing only a few hours, and how things have been going (better and better) I'm in for some serious treats for the next 90% of the game!

I wasn't drawn in immediately by MP, but MP2E is simply just amazing.

God I'm in love.

*runs off, hugs GC and plays MP2E some more*

Smilie Smilie

< Edited by nin10do On 2004/11/27 0:07 >

Barry Lewis < nin10do :: General Writer :: Feature Writer :: Fountain of Industry Statistics >
"We're mentalist psychic Scots, which means we can read your mind. If you're lying, your head explodes and we laugh."
Senior ModeratorStaff Member

I've just read through the main build of the review and the closing comments; another excellent article Adam! :-D

I too was a fan of Super Metroid on the Snes. Granted, I didn't get too far into the game due to my absolutely pitiful nature at games in general but a style I definitely enjoyed. Perhaps MP2's a game I'll try for this Christmas.

Hopefully with a high calibre title like Echoes arriving at this point in time there should be some substancial GC sales toward the end of 2004.

Great stuff :-D

Cubed3 Admin/Founder & Designer

I think we should start a Sweepstakes, as to where MP2:E will enter into the multiformat charts; in fact, I'm off to do that now.

As for the review, tis a fine piece for a fine game. I'll be picking it up/reviews it perhaps at some point (C3-2-1) as I really enjoyed it when I played the E3 build back in July and then again in September. Nintendo showing off their more mature side can only be a good thing, but we shall see :Smilie

Trying to think of a witty signature after 'Hacker-gate'...
Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Well hey, what can I say - you guys managed to make me so speechless that I decided to go take a load of pictures of the DS... Smilie

Thanks a bunch you three - lovely words indeed :-D

Tis a bloody good game and once you get further into it you realise that yeah, it might be Prime 1.5...but that really is no bad thing at all since MP was a masterstroke from Retro, managing to somehow capture most of what makes the 2D games so special.

My only qualm is with the multiplayer, which grows tiresome a bit too quickly when compared to some of the other experiences offered up over the past few years. But hey, who cares about multiplayer in this case - we all know it was only really added to attract more casual gamers!!

Smilie

This has to go Top 5 on Monday. I'll go with in at No.3...

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter
Image for


Maybe it's just me, but the face behind that visor looks like a guy's!
(I'm assuming this is Dark Samus?)

TAG: That American Guy

"If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone." Romans 12:18

Excellent review. Was a great fan of the 1st one, Prime and i can't wait to get this.

Yet another game I want....thanks Smilie

you're right, tag, it looks like a black guy with a big nose :-D

you should have commented on the multiplayer, I can't believe you didn't! could you please give some details, opinions of it?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Duffman ~~~~~~~~~
"If you make yourself really small, you can externalize virtually everything", Daniel Dennett
Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Sorry Duffman, I didn't think it fair to comment too much on the multiplayer side, since I gave it a whirl and really wasn't too taken by it...so focused on the main adventure.

Being a veteran Metroid fan anyway, I think the multiplayer shouldn't have been tacked on.

But never fear, tempo is apparently going to do a C3-2-1 on this and will no doubt cover the multiplayer aspect in more detail (right tempo??) :Smilie

It's good, but we're not talking anything special enough to keep you from the main game for long (in my opinion).

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

Will do, expect a slightly different spin on this game as soon as I get round to reviewing it...

Trying to think of a witty signature after 'Hacker-gate'...

sorry TAG, thats samus in the dark suit... I think

In such a short space of time, we get Halo 2, GTA:SA, Half Life 2 and now Metroid Prime 2.
That's four of the most important sequels in gaming history - and all four have turned out to be incredible games. It certainly is a fine time to be a gamer. :Smilie

MP2 presumably now takes on the role of Best Gamecube Game (a title that previously belonged to the original), and as such, I shall be purchasing it very soon (doubt I can wait for Xmas). I am eager to know more about the Multi-Player, though - it may not be a decisive factor for me personally, but it's an important step for the series, in terms of attracting new gamers who might not previously have considered the game. For that reason, more multi-player coverage please! :Smilie

I loved the multiplayer, but that may be partly due to me thrashing 3 other people (including our very own Sharpshot!) in front of a small crowd at GSL. :-D

Selected by Samus herself, ah yes that was a fine day! :tongue:

Lovely review Raz, just read the one in NGC yesterday as well, you both gave it the same score, but I preffered your review, they sort of faffed about with theirs, started talking to much about specific in-game events for my liking!


Cubed3 Staff < Retro Editor :: Previews Editor >
Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Yeah, I've been getting quite narked with some of the reviews for certain games I've been reading lately. People are far too eager to reveal everything in the game than be concise with their views. :roll:

Thanks spydar - perhaps I should give the multiplayer another chance...hmm...but I've just got Mario Tennis, Paper Mario 2, Baten Kaitos and my DS (of course) - so my time is stretched to the max! :eek:

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

raindog

For that reason, more multi-player coverage please! :Smilie

E3 2004 Multiplayer Impressions: http://www.cubed-3.co.uk/modules/sections/index.php?op=viewarticle&artid=599

Post E3 Tour Impressions: http://www.cubed-3.co.uk/modules/sections/index.php?op=viewarticle&artid=659

As I say, review from me soon...or Karn, depends :-D

Trying to think of a witty signature after 'Hacker-gate'...

We await the review with baited breath

Got the game. First thing i noticed taking the game disk out was the little leaflet with the games on it but what made this one diffrent was it had MP hunters with the DS on the back!
Any way the game is cool.

And nope tag that aint Dark Samus

< Edited by Blade2t3 On 2004/11/28 14:33 >

XBL Gamertag: James2t3
Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Oh yeah, sorry I wasn't ignoring you TAG! It's Samus getting dirtier and grittier as she travels between the light and dark worlds...A subtle effect, but a really nice one to see included.

Prime Hunters is being hyped-up so much - Nintendo had better get it out ASAP! I don't particular like the demo that comes with the DS, though, so I'm a little hesitant of the final game...

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

:-D

I can't WAIT for dec.2nd!!!! :-D

Would you say it is as good as Halo 2 .

Don't worry about Killzone! I know it's WAY betta than that piece of SONY crap!! :-P

FINAL FANTASY VII
Most probably the best story in any RPG ever made.
FINAL FANTASY VII: ADVENT CHILDREN is out on APRIL 24th!

Seeing as i started playing this after completing Halo 2 - ive grown to love it. After GSL (inwhich i had a good few goes on the multiplayer - tho was also distracted by the SP with Minish cap behind me - poor planning) i needed this game and pre-ordered it that afternoon. But after playing Halo2, ive found that i enjoy the adventure a lot more than the first. I still get the hump at tracking back and forth and the endless scanning (why) but its a good game - a very good game actually.

This has to go Top 5 on Monday. I'll go with in at No.3...

I hope so to Raz. It would be a liberty if it doesnt. Hopefully enough people brought it straight away, rather than wait till xmas.

Don't worry about Killzone

Now the hype has calmed down i dont think many people are! A far off third from Halo 2 and Prime 2 me thinks! At least in standard! :lol:

Hmm, I'm afraid I'm not sure as to how well MP2 will do. I would guess Top 10, hope for top 5 and without doubt say it deserves #1! But the UK charts are full of 'casual' sales and many top class 'N' games stutter and slip into obscurity - hopefully not the case with the stunning MP2.

I'll optimistically hope for #3.

Barry Lewis < nin10do :: General Writer :: Feature Writer :: Fountain of Industry Statistics >
"We're mentalist psychic Scots, which means we can read your mind. If you're lying, your head explodes and we laugh."
Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Thing with Minish Cap - it wasn't 1st Party, so got no push. Mario Ball's been receiving bad reviews, so again no push. Paper Mario 2 & Tales of Symphonia, niche RPG games = no push.

Metroid Prime 2, though, sequel to GotY 2002 = major push, bundles, adverts, promotionals, competitions, etc...So fingers crossed! Only a couple of hours until we find out in this week's charts!

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

I loved the multiplayer, but that may be partly due to me thrashing 3 other people (including our very own Sharpshot!) in front of a small crowd at GSL.

Excuse me Mr Lee, but I think you'll find I was in second place and that was the second time I had played the game in a long while...and remember you do pwn at gaming a bit...and...shut up! :-D And Samus picked me first remember! I am the chosen one!

Got my copy off Amazon last weekend, a shame the wave and ice beams are gone, I thought the Drifts was the best level in MP, but I'm sure the Light world/Dark world aspect will suffice.

How is the backtracking looking? Too much? Too little...too little is good. :-D

< Edited by Sharpshot On 2004/11/29 19:03 >

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