A Small Taste
To increase the hype of the sequel to the GC hit Metroid Prime, Nintendo has created a demo disc for Metroid Prime 2 Echoes.
There are three ways to receive this free disc. First, subscribe or re-subscribe to Nintendo’s official magazine Nintendo Power. When you order a 12-month subscription, you can choose the demo disc as a free gift. Second, buy the limited edition Metroid Prime GC Bundle. Look for a Metroid GC box on store shelves right now. Inside, buyers will obtain the GC system, a controller, the full version of Metroid Prime, and the Metroid Prime 2 Echoes Bonus Disc. Finally, register five Nintendo games on Nintendo’s website. Any classic NES classic game released for GBA will qualify along with other big named games like Mario Kart Double Dash!!, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles, and Wario Ware. When you buy one of these games, look for a registration code instead the game case packaged with the instruction booklet. See www.nintendo.com for more details.
After booting up this disc in your GC, the player has five options to choose from. The Metroid Chronicles is a summary of past Metroid games. This easy to read screen clearly explains the timeline of the Metroid saga as they are placed in the order in which they occurs. The list of games in order in which they occurred is as follows: Metroid (NES), Metroid Zero Mission (GBA), Metroid Prime (GC), Metroid Prime 2 Echoes (GC), Metroid II Return of Samus (GB), Super Metroid (SNES), and Metroid Fusion (GBA). More about each game will pop up if chosen. A movie clip showing game play, music, and a scrolling summary about the game will be displayed. This is a great way to learn all about the past Metroid games quickly. Even though showing the games in this way is very informative, I would have liked it more if the movie clip, music, and scrolling text were all synced up. It just makes the presentation a little sloppy.
Next is the Trailer. If this option is chosen, a non-interactive movie will play of Metroid Prime 2 Echoes. This clip simply shows what the game will have to offer. At the end is a short clip of a two-player multiplayer death match mode.
The demo starts with the cursor placed over the option to play the Demo. Before you actually start playing, an intro consisting of text will lead the viewer to the main Start page. The way the text moves and transitions into other words is very cool and noteworthy. After the player presses Start to begin the demo, an opening movie shows Samus’ spaceship entering a new planet called Aether. This planet is made of two worlds: Light and Dark. Upon entering the planet’s atmosphere, Samus’ spaceship is caught in a nasty storm. A lightning bolt damages her ship and she makes a rough landing of the planet’s surface.
The demo starts with Samus armed with a few of the games items and weapons. Samus starts with her Varia Suit along with 30 missiles, the morph ball and its bombs, Scan and Combat Visors, and the Light, Dark, and Charge Beam. Just like in the first Metroid Prime, many parts of the environment can be scanned to gather more information. The new planet Aether is just as detailed as the one in the first Metroid Prime.
In my opinion, the demo is too short but it will depict what the main game will have to offer. Once Samus has gone through a few doors, she will come across her first elevator room. In this room is a noteworthy effect they may go overlooked. If the player walked too close to the edge of the screen, he will notice a very long fall ahead. The game warns the player about this “Terminal Fall” through the use of text. However, off in the distance is another cliff made of rock. If this distant piece of stone is shot with Samus’ standard gun, it will leave a bullet mark. What is the big deal? That same effect happens all the time to any other wall. Yes. It does. But in most games, distant objects are nothing but a 2D picture. Not only does this save on file size, but the developers do not have to model and code another piece of solid object. It is wonderful to see that the developers took the extra time to make a truly interactive game.
There are a couple main battles in this demo. First, is the battle against two turret guns. Space Pirates will man these large-scale guns and shoot big laser beams at Samus. They can be easily defeated with the use of missiles or warming up the Charge Beam. It should be noted that next to each turret gun is a spot to use the SpiderBall. This feature was obviously taken out of the demo. Also if players look hard, they can find a Missile Expansion hidden in the spot when the player must use the Morph Ball.
After traveling through a science lab and the Dark part of Aether, Samus will be faced against two Warrior Ings. These are the evil creatures that rule the Dark part of the planet. They can be defeated with a several blasts from the Light Cannon. After this simple fight, the demo ends. The demo at E3 allowed Samus got to face off against the evil dark version of herself. While I think the E3 demo was better in the area of content, I still think that players will appreciate this one.
The fourth option of this bonus disc is the Preview. Like the Trailer, the Preview is a non-interactive movie. While the trailer is more based on showing game play, the Preview delivers much more story. This movie clip starts with the viewer looking through the visor a solider in combat. Many screens of text also pop up to help explain what is going on and to further the story. Towards the end of the clip, four-player split screen death match is shown as well as the Screw Attack. This special move was in every Metroid game except for the first Metroid Prime of GC. Since the Screw Attack is performed when you jump, it just would not work from a first person view. However, the developers decided to put it into the sequel but through the use of a third person perspective similar to when the player enters the Morph Ball.
Finally, the player can see the Art Gallery. This option is like an automatic Power Point presentation. A screen or picture will pop up followed by a transition (slide right, zoom, etc.) into another picture. Being an artist myself, I must give tons of the credit to the makers of this art. All of the pictures display a wealth of detail in the coloring, form, and presentation. A wonder classic Metroid tune will play in the background while the pictures appear. The player will even see Samus’ face in 3D from multiple angles. A few pictures of Ridley are also in this slide show meaning that he will probably somewhere in the game. This art galley is very cool, but I would have preferred it if I was in control of the show. I wish I had the ability to zoom in and out, scroll, and go to the next picture when I wanted. Having a self-executable slide show just seems a little forced especially when the work is very well done.
One of the biggest upsets about this free demo disc is the lack of a DVD game case. Since I received my copy of this disc from registering five Nintendo games on their website, I was mailed the game in a small, flimsy plastic case. The label on the game is not even in color. I can see why Nintendo did not want to put forth the extra money and time to make a game case, but not having one just feels like this disc is not as collectable. But hey, it is free.
While the demo is short and lacks multiplayer mode, it will get its point across. Fans will definitely appreciate it because it will hold them over until the full game is released.