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Review Diary: Metroid Prime 2

by TJ
WARNING: YES, there are SPOILERS here!

03.01.05

So I made it past the first boss and through the underground tunnel that connects the two islands, and after exploring the town, I headed north to the plains to try to find that Ur guy so I can find out what's going on with this mirror thing. So far I like the game a lot, it's beautifully old-school and reminds me of the great 16-bit CD RPGs of the early '90s for the SegaCD and PC-Engine CD, but I'm only a few hours into it and already I've had to stop and build levels twice and I'm still kinda getting my butt kicked around. Maybe if I...

...wait, what were we talking about? Oh crap, this is the Metroid Prime 2 diary, isn't it? I was talking about Ys: The Ark of Napishtim, which is what I'm playing right now.

Um yeah, MP2, right. Several people have written me since December 3, 2004, asking what happened to this diary thing. Did I give up? Was I still stuck? Did I eventually beat the game and just forget to write new entries? Apparently a few of you actually did read this diary and were at least amused by my befuddlement with the game.

That graphic I slapped up on the front page reads TJ vs. MP2. To put it bluntly, MP2 won.

I must confess that I have not played MP2 since 12/02/04. Yes, I am, in fact, still stuck. The point of the game at which I hurled a $30 controller was, as some of you correctly guessed, the Spider #&[email protected] Guardian. Oh sure, I've received bits of advice on dealing with this boss character, but in actuality, the thought of putting the game back in my Cube, trudging through about 10 minutes of Sanctuary area and then facing the Spider Guardian again kind of makes me throw up a little in my mouth.

I do feel kinda guilty -- I mean yeah, I'm the 'MDb guy' and I should be all about Metroid and everything, I guess -- but I really just was not having fun playing MP2 and made the decision that my time would be better spent playing games I actually enjoyed, at which point I did in fact start playing Snake Eater like I said I was gonna and never looked back (game of the year 2004 in my opinion, btw).

So am I ever gonna get back to MP2? Maybe. Is it gonna be the one Metroid game I never finish? Maybe. Meanwhile, there's no reason the MP2 section of the MDb can't continue to grow; I've asked Cap and Asaic to submit reviews of the game, and I'm sure they'll get to it when they get to it. I got the display stuff from EB and those photos will make it onto the site before too long. Someone eventually will put together some Tips & Tricks, and I'm sure I'll get a couple of walkthroughs submitted, so of course MP2 will be covered, regardless of whether or not I finish the game. So no big deal as far as I'm concerned.

My concern does lie, however, with the future of the Metroid franchise. With Hunters looming and no word on another 2D Metroid in the future (outside of this Pinball thing we're hearing about), I'm kind of worried that the Prime series may be all we're gonna get from now on. I personally don't want that to be the case, but if traditional 2D Metroid games are, in fact, a thing of the past, I'm not sure what the future holds for the MDb -- because I'll tell ya one thing, I'm not really looking forward to a Metroid Prime 3 all that much. Well, we'll cross that bridge when we get to it, I guess.

If I get back to the game, I'll letcha know. Sorry to disappoint.


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12.03.04

If you've ever seen my videogame collection, you know that much of it is in museum-quality condition. I take very good care of my gaming equipment. I've never been known to abuse it, and in return, my gear has remained in working order over the past two decades plus.

Yesterday, my Wavebird went skidding across the hardwood floor of the shop in anger and frustration.

I'm not having fun. I think I'm gonna play Metal Gear for a while and come back to MP2 another day.


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11.29.04

Puttering around in the Sanctuary area. Really sick-looking level, but lots of difficult enemies. I try to avoid them as much as I can. Not much progress to speak of, so nothing much to report.

I did, however, finally check out some multiplayer with my buddy David earlier tonight. Dave's a hell of a gamer and won most of our battles by only one victory, until we hit the underwater arena and he smoked me pretty bad. All in all the deathmatches are pretty fun, but it seems that these battles really just come down to who gets Invincibility or Massive Damage powerups first or who's lucky enough to grab an Annihilator Beam. They don't really make me excited for MP Hunters, however. Although, maybe it's more fun with 3 or 4 players -- we'll have to see.

More from the disco-techno city in the sky soon.


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11.27.04

Okay, admittedly, I took a few days off from MP2. (In the meantime, I actually went back and polished off the last bit of Silent Hill 4 that I hadn't gotten around to yet.) This morning I picked it up again for the first time since the 22nd or 23rd, because, as some of you know, I got really mad at Chykka. The Larva stage is not a big deal, but the Adult stage was a notch or two less fun than, say, sitting in the waiting area at the emergency room, holding my own eyeballs in their sockets because I decided to remove them with a melon baller out of nigh-Ninja-Gaiden-caliber frustration. Between the purple vomit, his ability to duck out of your lock-on, the time it takes to stun him with the power beam (since charged and Dark shots never seem to connect), the difficulty in telling which side was his back, the time it took to swing over to another platform only to find out that I was facing his front and then swinging to the next platform just in time for him to shake off his dizzy, and of course my all-time favorite one-two punch of toxic Dark Aether atmosphere and venomous purple water (like the boss isn't a big enough pain without the frickin' air hurting you), I couldn't get a single hit on him. My poor controller was hurled on multiple occasions due to his ass. Well, this morning, I picked it up with a fresh state of mind and a few days of thinking about the battle, and once I finally got the hang of it, I ended up victorious!

Huzzah, I guess. Whatever. On to the third temple...


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11.21.04

If nothing else, the MP2 review diary will at least amuse and entertain you with tales of my Prime-related ineptitude for quite some time to come.

I'm not even halfway through the game. I've only gotten in about 2 hours of Metroiding per day. For real, I have 2 out of 3 keys in Torvus Bog. That's where I'm at. Torvus freakin' Bog! Cap over there has already finished the game, as have a number of people on the MDb Message Board, and I'm stumbling around like a moron, getting lost and rotating my map screen around like someone gave the controller to a chimpanzee. It's been five days -- I mean, five days after Zero Mission came out, I had already been forward and backward through that game like three times. Fusion too.

Maladroit Prime 2, as it were.

Of course, I could play it off like I'm just trying to extend my enjoyment of Prime 2 for as long as possible, studying the bosses' behavioral patterns, dilligently developing radical new strategies, and savoring the exploration of every nook and cranny. But I'm an honest man, and I will honestly tell you that I am not only lazy, but a little bit of a first-person bumbling nitwit as well. I'll admit it: I'm not good at the Prime games. Gimme Metroid 0 through 4 and I'll hold my own, but I have enough on my plate with one Aether, let alone two.

So this is gonna take a while. At least the Grapple Guardian was easy...


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11.17.04

Amorbis is a jerk.

Not much going on at work today, so I bring my Cube and spend most of the afternoon playing Echoes. Actually, I made some progress after last night's diary entry, and today I do the whole thing with the three keys, get to Amorbis, and between him and the adverse effects of Dark Aether's atmosphere upon Samus' person, am handed a silver platter with my own ass sitting right on it.

I hate Dark Aether. Your energy is sucked away in the dark much faster than it's recovered in the light, which leads to lots of time wasted hanging out in the light bubbles waiting for your health to refill just to so you can be on the safe side and not come too close to death when venturing back out into the purpleness. My coworkers, who were interested in watching me play the game, get as bored as I do watching me sit near a Luminoth crystal and wait for a couple of energy tanks to refill, so they leave to find something more interesting to do. I can't wait until I get the Dark Suit so I can stop dicking around like this.

Anyway, I'll tackle Amorbis again sometime tomorrow night. I don't really wanna keep taking my Cube to work.

On the way home, I stop at EB and pick up my copy of MGS3. Although I'm almost as big a Metal Gear fan as I am a Metroid fan, I think I'm gonna leave the shrinkwrap on Snake Eater until I finish Echoes. It'll keep me focused. Now that's discipline.


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11.16.04

First, a story about the near-travesty that was obtaining my copy of Metroid Prime 2. I promise most of my entries won't be this long.

Unlike last time, and unlike they do with some major titles, my favorite game shop did not manage to get Prime 2 in on the ship date of the 15th. Not a huge deal; I could wait until the following morning. I usually enjoy getting up and leaving the house to make it to the game store by the time they open, seeing if I can be the first to snag a copy of my latest gaming fix out of the shipping carton. It's kind of a ritual.

So I'm at EB at 10 am sharp this morning, a fast-food sausage/egg/cheese/pamcake sammich trying to nestle itself into my anxious stomach, and they ain't got the goods yet. No sweat, I have an hour to wait before I have to split for work. 10:30...no Metroid. My buddy the manager spends a half hour making phone calls, and it turns out the delivery guy had showed up at 8-frickin'-45 in the morning with the shipment and wasn't gonna be back until afternoon. I won't mention any names or companies, but he's in big trouble. hee hee. Anyway, I get the call on my cell around 12:30 pm that the shipment had arrived, so I get the OK from the boss to run over and pick it up (luckily, he's a gamer too -- he understands). While at the shop, I get to try out the Nintendo DS demo unit that they received, and rocked a little bit of the Metroid Prime Hunters demo. Looks nice, sounds awesome (the DS speakers are gonna surprise you), but the whole aiming with the touchpad thing is gonna take some getting used to. Anyway, I only have enough time to pick up my game and spend 3 minutes with the DS while hearing about how much trouble the delivery guy is in, and it's back to work. Unfortunately, there's no Gamecube there -- I have to wait until evening to play. Curses! That brand-spankin'-new copy of Prime 2 in the plastic EB bag mocks me all day!

Yes, the packaging is all shiny/prismy/rainbowy. It's rad, and a nice surprise.

Upon booting up, I appreciate the gorgeous title screen and notice that the gameplay scenes they chose have changed from the preview demo that was released a few months ago. Starting the game throws you headlong into the space-age 3D rotating menu system, which I played with momentarily before beginning my actual mission.

After the realtime intro, Samus and I trudged forth, confident that I knew exactly what I was doing, having played the demo numerous times. So through the door I went, and -- was greeted with an environment wholly other than that which I was expecting. Nice. Throwin' curves right outta the gate. I can dig it!

Ack -- batteries in my Wavebird died in mid-play. No spares?! Switch to tethered control. Now I get rumble.

Graphics are nice as hell. Great effects, and detailed. Noticed that in one area, the juxtaposition of a certain door mechanism and certain decorative elements on the walls seem to be such that you may think you're about to come face-to-face with a certain character from Prime 1 whose initials are MR. Am I right in assuming this was 110% intentional? It cracked me up. Awesome awesome awesome.

Anyway, I only got a couple hours into it and I can tell I'm nowhere. So far, I'm just following the path that the environment seems to be pushing me down, and I feel a little lost and out of control of the situation. But hey, that's Metroid, innit? I've survived the first "boss" battle, I guess, gotten some missiles and extra energy, but no powerups yet. More later...


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