Metroid Prime

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Metroid Prime
Missing image
Metroid Prime box art

Developer(s) Retro Studios
Publisher(s) Nintendo
Release date(s) November 15, 2002 (NA)
February 28, 2003 (JP)
March 21, 2003 (EU)
Genre First person adventure
Mode(s) Single player
Rating(s) ESRB: Teen (T)
ELSPA: 11+
Platform(s) Nintendo GameCube

Metroid Prime is a first person adventure video game developed by Nintendo-owned Retro Studios and released by Nintendo in 2002 for the GameCube. It was the first 3D Metroid game and is officially classified by Nintendo as a first-person adventure rather than a first-person shooter due to the large exploration element in the game. It was also the first Metroid game to be released since Super Metroid, nearly eight years earlier. Metroid Prime is now available as a Player's Choice title.

The game has received much critical acclaim for its very realistic graphics, varied and often innovative gameplay, and excellent soundtrack. Many Metroid fans believe that Prime was a great transition into 3-D for the series; however, some question the choice on having it made as a first-person game. Also, many fans of more conventional first-person shooter games have questioned the unusual control scheme. For most players, however, Metroid Prime is an instant classic.



The version released in North America has several storyline differences with the one released in Europe. The European storyline, among other things, says that:

  • The Space Pirates never captured Metroid Prime.
  • The meteor that brought the radioactive substance Phazon did not come to Tallon IV twenty of someone's years before the game starts; it came at an indeterminable time before the game began.
  • The Chozo Lore entries paint a much different picture of the relationship between Samus and the Tallon IV Chozo.

The versions released in Japan, Europe, and the North American Player's Choice versions have also had a number of gameplay modifications implemented to prevent players from using certain tricks to play the game out of sequence. Certain aspects of difficulty have also been increased.


An important part of the Metroid Prime storyline is a highly mutagenic radioactive substance of unknown origin known as Phazon. Direct exposure to this electric blue-coloured substance results in either a violent death or the rapid addition of new abilities and/or organs. Another, more powerful, Phazon is bright orange and is only found in Tallon IV's core. It seems to exist naturally as a solid and sometimes as a liquid, but its solid form may be considered more common---and possibly a metal---as many Space Pirate log entries call for mining of Phazon ore.

Phazon was spread throughout Tallon IV when a meteorite containing it crashed into the planetís surface. The Phazon immediately began negatively influencing the indigenous flora and fauna – it either killed them or severely mutated them. A group of Chozo colonists tried to seal away the Phazon source with a mystic seal called the Cipher, which was an enormous temple linked to twelve artifacts, which they then spread across the planet. Some Chozo lore texts suggest that Chozo who were exposed to Phazon became violent and destructive wraiths. A long time after the Chozo contained the source of the Phazon, the Zebesian Space Pirates picked up on an unknown and powerful energy signature. After their first defeat on Zebes at the hands of bounty hunter Samus Aran, they were eager to find a powerful energy source to rebuild their army, and so tracked the energy signature back to Tallon IV. The Space Pirates tried to use the substance, now dubbed Phazon, to mutate various species for use as biological weapons, including some of their own people and even some native materials. Scans of Space Pirate computer terminals verified a high death rate in many subjects, especially when the descendants of the original Phazon-exposed creatures were exposed to the substance.

In the North American version of the game, the Space Pirates also discovered a powerful creature fed upon the Phazon. They named it Metroid Prime. While Metroid Prime exists in the European version of the game, the Space Pirates never actually discovered it. See also: Metroid Prime (creature).


Related article: Items in the Metroid series

Most of the items from previous Metroid games make appearances here; however, the functions of many of them have been altered.

Glitches can allow knowledgeable players to receive items much earlier than intended, or to bypass collecting them altogether. The current world record for lowest item pickup percentage at the end of the game is 22%.


Power Suit

This is Samus' basic suit. Perhaps the most notable feature of this suit is the lack of the large shoulder ornaments present in all of her other suits.

Varia Suit

An upgrade to the Power Suit, this upgrades the suit's shielding and allows Samus to survive in extreme temperatures. Collecting this also returns the large shoulder ornaments seen in other games.

Gravity Suit

Further reduces damage taken from enemies, and allows Samus to move in liquid environments unhindered. Modifications to the visor allow her to see properly underwater.

Phazon Suit

Reduces damage taken from enemies even more, and renders Samus immune to damage from blue Phazon. This upgrade comes coupled with the Phazon Beam.


Combat Visor

This is the default visor. The major things that this visor has that the others lack are a crude radar system that allows her to see where enemies are around her and a map of the room she is in. Samus has this visor from the start.

Scan Visor

Allows Samus to scan certain creatures and objects and get information on them. This is the only visor that Samus cannot fight in; pressing the attack button will cause her to revert back to the Combat Visor. Samus also has this visor from the start. The scan visor is often used solving puzzles, and it can be used to activate certain machines.

Thermal Visor

It allows Samus to see in the infra-red spectrum, letting her see enemies and power conduits that she cannot see in normal human vision. This is extremely useful on invisible enemies, or in areas of exeptionally poor light.

X-Ray Visor

It gives Samus the ability to see in the X-ray spectrum, allowing her to see otherwise invisible creatures and platforms. It should be noted that not all invisible enemies can be detected with this visor.


Unlike Super Metroid, Metroid Prime does not allow the player to combine separate beams into one, due to the fact that each of the four main beams has a unique use. Also, each beam has a Charge Combo that can be acquired that utilizes Missiles to perform a more powerful attack.

Charge Beam

The charge beam is an add-on for all of Samus' primary beams; holding down the A button causes Samus to build up energy which is fired when the button is released, creating a much more powerful attack than would normally result. It also allows access to the various Charge Combos.

Power Beam

This is the default beam that Samus begins the game with. It has the highest rate of fire of all the beams. While notably weaker than any other weapon, it is the only beam which can damage certain enemies. Its Charge Combo, Super Missiles, fires more powerful Missiles.

Wave Beam

This beam fires three blasts of electricity that can home in on enemies to a certain extent. Its charged shot usually stuns stronger enemies for a short period of time. It can also re-energize power conduits (required to open many doors) and open purple doors. Its Charge Combo, Wave Buster, automatically locks on to enemies but requires the largest number of Missiles to activate and continue using.

Ice Beam

This beam fires slow-moving blasts of ice that can freeze enemies. Its individual blasts are notably more powerful than the Wave Beam's, but its slow rate of fire makes it somewhat unwieldy. Frozen enemies can be shattered with a single Missile. It also opens white doors. The Ice Beam's Charge Combo, the Ice Spreader, spreads ice over a wide area where it hits and is somewhat limited against aerial and fast targets.

Plasma Beam

This is the most powerful beam in terms of raw offensive power. It fires blasts of intense heat, which either kill instantly or set enemies aflame until they die. It cannot home in on targets and it has a short range. It can also open red doors and melt thick ice. Its Charge Combo, Flamethrower, shoots a stream of flame.

Phazon Beam

This beam can only be used during the final boss battle. Samus receives this item along with the Phazon Suit.


A Metroid series mainstay, Missiles fire homing concussive blasts that cause more damage than most beam attacks. Missiles can break certain door locks and other obstacles. Each Missile expansion increases Samus' missile holding capacity by five.

Morph Ball

Morph Ball

The Morph Ball is another Metroid trademark. After finding this item Samus can roll into a ball and access narrow passages that she could not otherwise access. There are a number of upgrades Samus finds for the Morph Ball.


Allows Samus to break certain objects, activate some devices, and damage enemies. The force from the bomb can also catapult her up a short distance in Morph Ball form. Samus has an infinite number of these, but can only use three every few seconds.

Boost Ball

Replacing Super Metroid's Speed Booster to a certain extent, this item allows Samus to build up energy and release it in Morph Ball form, resulting in a burst of speed that can, when applied correctly, allow her to travel up half-pipe structures and activate certain machines.

Spider Ball

Metroid Prime is the second game to use this item (the first being Metroid II: Return of Samus); however, where Metroid II's spider ball allowed Samus to go up any wall, Prime's spider ball can only travel up designated magnetic rails.

Power Bomb

These are a more powerful version of Samus' normal Bombs. While she only gets a finite number of these and must replace them as she does with Missiles, Power Bombs have a much greater destructive ability.

Other items

Space Jump

The Space Jump is another returning item with a different purpose. As opposed to allowing Samus to jump infinitely, this item allows Samus to double-jump.

Grapple Beam

Allows Samus to latch on to certain objects and swing on them as if the beam were a rope.

Energy Tank

Increases Samus' shielding's energy (health) capacity by 100 units.

12 Artifacts

The artifacts of Truth, Strength, Elder, Wild, Lifegiver, Warrior, Chozo, Nature, Sun, World, Spirit, and Newborn are spread throughout the planet, and must be collected in order for Samus to gain entry to the final area.


Space Pirate Frigate

Orbiting the planet Tallon IV, this is where Samus begins the game. The frigate's name is Orpheon. Later this crashes into Tallon IV and Samus then explores in it after acquiring the Gravity Suit.

Tallon Overworld

A rainforest-like area, this is where Samus initially makes planetfall and is where Samus' Gunship stays for the duration of the game. Tallon Overworld also encompasses the sunken Orpheon.

Chozo Ruins

This ancient structure was once a center of the thriving Chozo civilization on Tallon IV that was brought to an end by the meteor that hit many years ago.

Magmoor Caverns

A kind of subway system for the game – its magma-filled tunnels connect all the areas together with the exception of the Impact Crater. The Space Pirates use the caverns as a source of geothermal power.

Missing image
View overlooking the Phendrana Shorelines, located in the Phendrana Drifts.
Phendrana Drifts

This cold, mountainous location consists of three main parts: an ancient Chozo ruin, some Space Pirate research labs, and the ice caves and valleys at the edge aptly called Phendrana's Edge.

Phazon Mines

The Phazon Mines are the center of the Space Pirates' Tallon IV operations. The scenery here alternates between the Space Pirates' mining and research facilities and dark caves illuminated only by the glowing Phazon. Also home to the different beam troopers and omega pirate, and phazon elite as well.

Impact Crater

This is the final area of the game. This location is completely corrupted by Phazon radiation. Samus finds Fission Metroids, and phazon strong enough to damage her even through the Phazon Suit.

Speed running

Unlike its predecessors, Metroid Prime is not designed to be run quickly, as evidenced by the fact that the ending one gets is determined solely by the percentage logbook scans one gets, not how quickly one finishes the game. A person who knew precisely where to go would likely still take seven to ten hours to finish the game; however, the current world record is one hour and four minutes, done using the first NTSC version of the game. Speed runs are possible by taking shortcuts that allow the player to collect items in a different – and faster – order from the one intended (known as sequence breaking). Speed running is popular among hardcore fans of Metroid Prime and can significantly increase the replayability of the game.

(Please note that as the game was released later in the PAL territories, it was greatly cleaned up, and thus the PAL version and the Player's Choice versions are not as good for speed running as the original NTSC version.)


  • Metroid Prime: Hunters is a similar game to Metroid Prime and Metroid Prime 2: Echoes to be released for the Nintendo DS. A demo of the game was released with purchase of a Nintendo DS titled, Metroid Prime: Hunters - First Hunt.

See also

External links

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