Nintendo's latest installment of its vaunted Metroid franchise, Metroid: Other M, certainly didn't measure up to the series' past incarnations. Gameplay was clunky due to the Wii-mote, and graphics suffered because of the Wii's limited hardware capabilities.
It left me yearning for the gems of the past, so I plugged in the GameCube, the predecessor to the Wii, and loaded up Metroid Prime, the game that launched the series into three dimensions.
That wasn't the only first for the series. Prime marked the first time that Nintendo truly handed the reins of the series to another company. There was concern at the time about what Retro Studios would do with the series, which hadn't appeared on the Nintendo 64, a system that pre-dated the GameCube. In fact, the series hadn't seen a release since 1994's Super Metroid, one of the best games on the Super Nintendo.
But Retro created a near-flawless gameplay style that blended first-person shooting with a third-person perspective when protagonist Samus Aran rolled into her morph ball to navigate tunnels. It's sometimes difficult to control the view because of the lack of a conventional camera, but the gameplay still works well.
Retro stuck to the Metroid formula of establishing large open-ended regions for exploration, all in the quest of acquiring weapons to combat the plans of the Space Pirates to harness life-draining Metroid creatures for their nefarious plans. The weapons stayed very much the same, too.
The defining factor that made Prime such an addictive game is its scanning feature. Players can use a scan visor to examine objects and creatures throughout the world of Tallon IV, and learn their history and purpose. If you want to get in-depth with the fascinating tale of the dying race of Chozos, then prepare to scan everything.
That kind of depth is lacking in Other M. .
It just reminds you how much you appreciate the classics.