`Metroid' offers prime adventure for the senses

December 09, 2004

The legendary bounty hunter Samus Aran is back and on a new mission: to locate the missing Galactic Federation Trooper Squad Bravo and render assistance - without getting eradicated in the process.

For those unfamiliar with the character, Samus first appeared in the 1986 NES release Metroid.

The orange, blocky character for the original NES game has come a long way since then to the present-day Nintendo GameCube version. So have the overall graphics and story line.

In the recent first-person, behind-the-visor adventure Metroid Prime 2 Echoes, gamers play Samus, the famous bounty hunter who finds herself on a search-and-rescue mission on the rogue planet of Aether. But in the process, Samus gets caught in a journey to help save a species living in a world caught between dimensions of light and darkness.

That's when the hunter becomes the hunted.

Samus' ship ends up incapacitated by an electrical problem and crashes into the planet's surface. She finds herself fighting for her life against the Ing Horde from the Dark Aether who have traveled into the Light Aether to take over the native Luminoth.

During the mission to defeat the Ing and restore peace, players get to enjoy fantastic sci-fi landscapes while battling enemies and gaining power-ups.

The game is filled with gadgets such as light beams, missiles and bombs. The most important is you're the scan visor that helps collect information, identify foreign objects and communicate with computer systems - opening doors, gates and other machinery.

But the best part is morphing Samus into a ball in order to move through tight and hidden tunnels, which provides a seconds-long intense light show.

The game is tough overall (I had to get a strategy guide to get through some parts). The story line has some twists and turns, along with some tough puzzles to solve.

And in multiplayer mode, gamers can take on up to three friends in classic, first-person shooter death matches.

Metroid Prime 2 Echoes offers a great sensory overload that enables players to get lost in a different world in which they never know what may lurk in front of or behind them.

Michael Felberbaum/ Associated Press

Metroid Prime 2 Echoes

Price: $50

Rating: T for Teen, ages 13 and older; game depicts animated violence, blood.

Platform: GameCube

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