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The Late Review: Metroid Corruption

Sorry for now update tonight, my computer charger cable stopped working and thus my laptop wouldn't work at work and the computers at work are first generation imacs (you know the mulit-colored ones) and thus going to Destructoid makes them explode! So I couldn't keep up on all the wonderful writings today. FTL. But I did beat Metroid Corruption last night so here is my review which I will use to spring board into an interesting discussion on games since you've all read a million reviews of the game already. Also I will right the review assuming you know a little about the game as it has been out for a while and lots of people have played it. Apologies for those who have not. I think I am going to do all my reviews a bit like this since I usually finish games way after they come out. Aren't you all excited? Oh and spoiler alert.

To start off let us all get the fanboy firmly out of us. It is Metroid and I would love this game and defend it to the death even if it was nothing more than a sharp kick to the balls. I have found it is impossible to really give a fair review if you don't recognize the fanboy inside yourself and let him scream out in joy a little. So there my Nintendo fanboy has shouted out and now I can get down to business.

Let's begin with the obvious: the controls. They make this game; playing Corruption without the aiming, the precise aiming, of the Wii remote and motion controls in the nunchuck would make it possibly one of the most uninteresting FPS (FPA as Nintendo dubs it) ever. Take the first time you confront Ridley (worse name of a big dragon thing ever). You are plummeting down a pit with him/her/it a la Gandalf and the Balrog in Lord of the Rings and shooting at each other. It is absolutely amazing and exciting, indeed one of the most innovative bosses in gaming, but truthfully at its core you're playing Duck Hunt. Aim and shoot.

Without the Wii remote this boss would be half the fun and blindingly stupid, with it you find yourself standing up almost feeling the wind on your orange armor as you fall. Or take the shield ripping and general use of your beam. What could have been a stupid gimmick actually adds challenge and gameplay beyond what can be done on any other system. It could not have worked with the Wii controller.
This is why Metroid Corruption is so important to the Wii. It demonstrates that innovative control along with innovative game design can take something as mundane as Duck Hunt (Ok Duck Hunt rocks too) and turn it into an action packed visceral joy ride. It is clear that Retro understood this, designing the game around the controllerís strengths instead of forcing it into game play modes that fit more comfortably into traditional FPS forms and even the previous Metroid Prime games.

This brings us to the next not so obvious point: the feel of Metroid. Many reviewers and players have criticized the game for not advancing the gameplay mechanics (outside of the new controls) very much. This is true. You have basically all the same moves and while the PED suit is new and adds a great little twist to how you play the last part of the game it really isn't that revolutionary. However in our clamor for "something new" or "the next big step" in gameplay we overlook that Corruption completely redefines how a Metroid game feels. Hell it completely redefines the Metroid universe. Previously Metroid games had an almost depressing sense of isolation. It was you against an alien world and bug/lizard like space pirates. Even then the space pirates didn't rear their ugly head that often and much of your time was spent exploring alone. Previous games gave the wonderful sense that you were exploring an entire planet and unlocking its every secret. You were completely alone in a world of aliens.
With the addition of Samus' ship, multiple planets and actual interaction with the Galactic federation this sense is completely annihilated. Suddenly Samus is an actual person in an actual universe with governing bodies, other people to think about and worlds that are far from alien. While previous games like Fusion, Prime 2 and Hunters had expanded on Samus' world, the view we had of it was still trapped firmly inside her helmet. With Corruption we take a step outside the suit, possibly signified by the fact that Samus does not have it on in the beginning cut scene of the game. Samus now exists in a world that is not just her own. It is a massive step forward for the silent bounty hunter and an even bigger one for the games themselves. Samus' weapons and general gameplay (again excluding the controls) may not have changed much but that doesn't mean the game isn't completely different from its predecessors. Whether this is good or not is really up to how you like your Metroid, but I for one welcome a Metroid with a bit more universe behind it. It blew me away when Samus actually showed remorse and guilt for killing one of her fellow bounty hunters, simply because before this she seemed so stoic, so that the slightest hint of emotion (in this case the clenching of her fist) was insanely powerful.

This being said I did miss the feeling of exploring only one planet and the isolation that entailed. Still the multiple planets really gave the game designers a chance to branch out to drastically different looks for each world and while planets like Brryo and the pirate home world could have probably had entire games devoted to them the quirkier Sky Town, which was my favorite, and dull and drab Norion probably couldn't have sustained an entire game so it is great that you got them here because of how the game played out. The level designs of all the worlds are of course fantastic even though it is a bit odd that the pirates would design mechanisms that function with their arch rivalís power suit.

This raises another great point about Metroid though. With all the discussion about games as art, and realistic level design and character interaction here is a highly polished, highly promoted, top of the line game completely, totally and unapologetically designed around gameplay. Enemies respawn in the same room after you have left, boxes and cartons too. Power ups and bonuses are hidden in completely illogical places that have nothing to do with story but entirely to do with challenging the player. The worlds, while beautiful and striking are based around solving puzzles and fighting, not telling a story. There is absolutely now effort to ground this game outside of the world of video games. Of course enemies respwan, they've always done that, it is simple video game logic. Each room has a purpose, every trigger needs to be hit, there no useless gizmos or gadgets (well except that damn Metroid Dread hint). In fact any deep background story is left completely up to the player to read about and collect. It won't hurt the game if you don't have this background and it won't hurt the gameplay. Compared to games like Bioshock and Halo, the supposed future of gaming, Corruption's level design is downright primitive. But this isn't a bad thing that the story isn't at the fore front of the game designers mind; it reminds us that games need to be designed with gameplay as the all mighty leveler. Doesn't matter how great a games story is if it isn't any fun to play. And with such intricately working details and designs how could anyone argue that something crafted so finely isn't a work of art?

Finally, and although I loved every other boss and I would tell anyone anywhere to rush out and buy this game, I was a bit disappointed by the final boss. I have fond, sweaty palmed, dry mouthed, white knuckled, epic battle memories of every Metroid boss up to this one. Dark Samus and the Aurora unit just weren't that challenging (I was playing on normal). I blasted threw them easily on my first try. I remember fighting Metroid Prime in the first one and desperately hanging on for life, my jaw hitting the floor when I found I had another boss to fight after I killed off its shell. Here I finished all three iterations of Dark Samus without breaking a sweat and while the fight was fun it wasn't epic in any way. It is just a shame since boss battles are something the Prime series has always blown me away with and here in its conclusion I'm left a little unsatisfied.

What I can't deny though is that getting there was some of the most fun and challenging gameplay I've had with a video game controller in a long time. At this stage in my gaming career, and I would have to assume most people on this sites, you don't get many "Holy Fuck, never done that before" moments and Corruption is just jammed pack with them. And yes one of them is the pure joy of finally hearing someone speak to Samus...see that's the fanboy coming back. MISSION COMPLETE.
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About Cowzilla3one of us since 9:42 AM on 07.12.2007

Names Matt Razak and I'm just a gamer with a Wii and a 360 and PS3. I'm also really, really, really, ridiculously good looking and a ninja...and humble. I'm the Editor and Chief at Flixist.

Things I've Done or Am Doing

Front Paged
Music In Gaming
What is a Hero?: Sonic
Good Idea, Bad Idea: Casual Gaming
What No More Heroes Really Means
Social Activism in Gaming
Educate Yourself - Castlevania
Start of the Affair
What is a Hero?: Lara Croft
Wii Fit Review

Recognizing Your Gaming Journalist
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Drinks Ron Workman Can't Handle
Metroid Mojito
Mario Mudslide, The Super Punch Out, Princess Peach Schnapps
Pikachu Punch, Triforce Triple
DK Daquiri, Yoshi Jager, Mother Brain Drain (MBD)
Rocks on the Scotch, Bowser Bad Ass

Interviews With Famous People
Nick Frost, Simon Pegg, Edgar Wright
Richard Shepard
Michael Davis
Jason Schwartzman

What Happened?
The First
My Favorite One
To be continued...?
Obviously there are tons more, but I'm not linking them all.

Interesting Walls of Text
Gaming Journalsim
How do we discuss games as art?
My Great Concern

What is a Hero?
Solid Snake
Master Chief

Educate Yourself
Kid Icarus
Kid Icarus Final Impressions
Splatterhouse Final Impressions
Fall Out

Xbox LIVE:Cowzilla3
Mii code:4283 6222 8765 8660


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