MDb E3 2001 Report

After Super Metroid's release, there was a seven year drought in which we had not received any news or screenshots for an upcoming sequel. With the death of the Nintendo 64 and no promise of a Metroid sequel, hope became dismal as it seemed Nintendo didn't care about Metroid anymore. TJ was fortunate enough to attend E3 2001 and witness what would essentially become the 'reawakening' of Metroid: The first unveiling of Metroid Prime and Metroid Fusion. While this write-up is outdated and not particularly exciting nowadays, this was hot shit back then. For this reason we decided to preserve this article as a part of MDb's history.

-Jesse D

Welcome to a new mission -- THREE new missions!

by TJ, MDb Webmonster

E3 could very well have been called "S3" for Metroid fans -- the amazing Nintendo area showed us that Samus Aran will be returning in no less than THREE new games for the two upcoming new Nintendo systems: Metroid IV for the Game Boy Advance and Metroid Prime and Super Smash Brothers Melee for the Gamecube. Sure, the info leaked a few days early, but finally, after seven years of waiting, it came straight from Nintendo to the rabid Metroid-loving public.

Unfortunately, footage of Metroid Prime was not so easy to come by for the average E3 attendee, but Metroid IV was shown on video and SSBM was playable. How does the future look for Metroid fans? Your MDb webmonster TJ was at the show and I will give you my own opinions, without having looked at any other news sites' E3 coverage first. Read through my thoughts and check out a few photos I took myself. As far as I'm concerned, the seven-year wait may very well be worth it.

Metroid Prime

At a media gathering on Wednesday, May 16, Nintendo showed off a demo video of several Gamecube titles, including Metroid Prime. Unfortunately, this video was not shown to the general attendees at E3 in the Nintendo area. Why? The direct-feed video, downloadable at e3.nintendo.com uses the in-game models, and while it's very cool and rather impressive, no actual gameplay is shown. Could Metroid Prime be in such an early stage of completion -- or perhaps so lackluster -- that Nintendo opted not to show it to the public? Show-goers without a Media pass such as myself were teased with the name Metroid Prime but shown nothing except a single screenshot in their brochure, Nintendo Power's Guide to E3 2001, where it simply states: "Some of the most rabid speculation in the gaming community has surrounded the development of Metroid Prime. As you can see, the results are breathtaking. Metroid Prime uses a first-person perspective but manages to preserve the thrilling action of the original Metroid games." Well, since they didn't show it to the rest of us, we'll have to take their word for it.

Metroid IV

Funnily enough, though Nintendo's literature hand-outs at E3 didn't mention Metroid IV outside of a couple "upcoming titles" lists, there was plenty of video footage shown of this direct sequel to Super Metroid. No plotline was uncovered by watching the video, but a few things could be gleaned by the observer:

  • Samus -- or at least her armor -- will be fused with a metroid.
  • Samus' armor has a new look.
  • Part of the adventure takes place in a large spacecraft which looks similar to the medical frigate at the end of The Empire Strikes Back.
  • At least one "escape" sequence.
  • Plenty of new weapons and possibly communication devices.
  • For those who wanted the Spider Ball to return, they went one better -- Samus will be able to run on walls and ceilings. Or perhaps there is a gravity-switching trick to some areas?
  • Brief CG cutscenes will be included.
  • Funky Metroid IV logo!

The demo definitely looked like it was pretty early in development, as many of the backgrounds lacked the rich detail found in many other GBA games. However, it the gameplay looks fast and furious with plenty of great tricks and gimmicks added to the classic Metroid formula. See exclusive MDb photos below!

Super Smash Bros. Melee

Samus will return along with all the other characters from Smash Brothers (and a few new ones) in this sequel to Nintendo's all-star 3D fighter. SSBM was actually playable at the show, and in the short time I spent with it I found it to be superior to the original. Not only were the graphics and gameplay improved, but the Gamecube controller is much more comfortable to use than the N64's for this type of game. Zebes will again serve as one of the battlegrounds and its appearance is fairly similar to the way it looked in the original SB. See exclusive MDb photos below!

All in all, it appears that Nintendo is finally getting behind the Metroid franchise once again and realizes the hardcore demand for more Samus adventures. I might also add that the entire Nintendo area at E3 was amazing -- easily the best "booth" (if you can even call it a booth) at the show. Packed with eager fans and press from the opening of the show to closing time each day, it's clear that enthusiasm for the Gamecube is running high, especially after playing the games. Luigi's Mansion, Wave Race Blue Storm and Super Smash Brothers were definite standouts, while Starfox Adventures, Eternal Darkness and Star Wars looked to be solid additions to the GCN library and Pikmin showed that Nintendo is still thinking of new ways to entertain. Meanwhile, the Game Boy Advance was very impressive as well -- in fact, most of the games actually looked better on the small GBA screens than they did blown-up on the tubes above each station! Nintendo gave away nifty foam GBAs and GCNs and even some actual GBA units as prizes. And I can't end a report on Nintendo at E3 without mentioning the "booth babes" -- although not scantily-clad or costumed like you may expect, all of the women at Nintendo's demo stations were gorgeous! Even Shigeru Miyamoto walked right past me with a small entourage as I was chilling near the entrance of the Nintendo area -- if that's not the capper to a great Nintendo experience at E3, I dunno what is.

For exclusive MDb photos of Metroid IV from E3 2001, please see the Metroid IV section.
For exclusive MDb photos of Super Smash Bros. Melee from E3 2001, please see the Super Smash Bros. Melee section.