Samus on the Wii

Metroid Prime 3: Corruption was one of the more developed games that Nintendo had on display in the Wii demonstration area.  I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to run through the first part of the demo twice, which equaled about 10 minutes of playing time.  MyGamer was able to get some gameplay footage of me playing the demo and you can see that here.

I will start with the controls as that is the major component in the revolutionary Wii.  Corruption utilized the motion sensor remote and the nunchuck peripheral.  I held the remote in my right hand and the nunchuck in my left.  The attendant monitoring the game said it could be switched for both right and left handed people.  The remote has a big A button right where your thumb rests on top.  The directional pad is right above that and there is a B button trigger underneath the remote.  These were the main buttons used on the remote for the demo.  The nunchuck has the analog stick and two trigger buttons on the front of the unit.  If I remember correctly, the top button was the C button and the bottom button was the Z button.

The analog stick on the nunchuck controls Samus's forward, back, and strafing movements.  The motion sensor remote essentially moves Samus's arm cannon which functions as the look controls.  The A button fires the arm cannon and the B trigger button jumps.  The Down direction on the D-pad shoots missiles and the other directions switches Samus's visor to the Scan visor.  On the nunchuck, the Z button provides the Lock On feature that carries over from previous Metroid Prime games.  The C button transforms Samus into Morph Ball mode.

For the demo and as in previous Metroid Prime games, Samus already had some of her suit upgrades available to her.  As far as I could tell, she had the Charge Beam, Missiles, Morph Ball, bombs, Space Jump, and the Grappling Beam.  Furthermore, you already have two energy tanks.

The gameplay for the demo was a little shaky, but I think that is totally a result of the radically new control scheme.  The demo begins with a little intro scene of Samus's newly designed gunship arriving on a planet amidst Federation troops similar to those in Echoes.  The first few corridors she goes through have locking mechanisms on the doors similar to the intro in Metroid Prime.  You have to shoot all of the locks before the door will open.  This task gave the player an initial feel for using the remote for the look controls.  I originally tried "shooting from the hip" with the remote, but I found my movements to be a little erratic.  As I progressed through the demo, I held my arm out a little bit more as if I was aiming the controller.  This approach gave me a little better handle on things.

The first application of the new motion sensing remote, besides the look of course, comes very early in the demo.  You reach a locked door, and after scanning the panel, there is a handle that you must manipulate to open the door.  You walk over to the handle, press A, and Samus's left hand reaches out and grabs the handle.  Using the remote, you have to pull the handle back, rotate it, and push it back in.  Samus's arm mimics the movements you make with the arm holding the remote.  While this action is incredible simple, it was very cool to physically perform the task and see it matched onscreen.

After destroying a few enemies that only offer minimal resistance, the player reaches another locked door that introduces a new element of functionality to the Grappling Beam.  The door is covered with a metal plate.  The idea is that Samus will whip the Grappling Beam out, attach it to the plate, and then rip the plate out of the doorway.  To do this control wise, you lock onto the door and quickly press the analog stick forward.  Once the beam catches on the door, you pull the analog stick back until Samus rips the door apart.  If you watch me in the video, you will notice that I whip my left arm both forward and backwards as I try to get the Grappling beam to work.  As I watched other people play the demo, everyone did this as well, so I just assumed that the arm movement was the key aspect of the control.  After playing the demo again, I am fairly certain that the control is entirely in the manipulation of the analog stick and not in any exaggerated arm movements.  But again, it felt cool to think that the physical movements were affecting the controls.

Samus next enters a large hall that contains a number of floating, circular robots.  These enemies don't offer much resistance either.  But they are spread out all across the screen, so you are forced to test your skills with the remote.  The lock on feature helps you zero in on a target after you get the crosshairs close enough.  At the end of the hall, some fallen debris is blocking the path and you must use the Grappling Beam again to remove it.  This is where the gameplay video ends.  I was cut short for time when we were able to get the footage.

On Friday, however, I was able to play the entire first portion of the demo.  After removing the debris, Samus must turn into Morph Ball form and make her way through a short little passage using bombs to help her.  There are a few more passages where you must blow away debris with Charge beam blasts.

Then you travel through a doorway and onto an open-air platform.  There is a brief cutscene showing Samus walk down the steps to the platform and in the next instance you are surrounded by space pirates.  The pirates looked a little different and I did not take the time to get a very close look at them as they fought back very aggressively.  However, I did take the time to scan one so I know they were space pirates.  It was very exciting to test the controls in the heat of battle.  They seemed to be extremely responsive.  The final few space pirates have these energy shields that they use to block Samus's attacks.  You could use the Grappling beam to take the shield away from them with the same control commands as the earlier removing of the metallic panels.  After killing all the pirates, one of their transports comes onto the scene and starts attacking you.  Hitting the ship on its weak spot with missiles and charge shots brings it down without too much difficulty.  Another cutscene occurs where more transports arrive, and it seems like Samus may get overwhelmed.  At the last moment, beams of ice strike the transports, and they explode.  Noxus, one of the hunters from Metroid Prime: Hunters, has come to Samus's rescue armed with the Judicator beam.  They exchange pleasantries and then Noxus flies away.  This is where the first part of the demo ends and was as far as I got to play.

The graphics looked very good, but they did not seem to be a significant upgrade from previous games.  The enemy character models looked a little better as did the particle effects.  However, I have always thought that Echoes had some of the best graphics of the previous console generation.  Therefore, even though the graphics did not appear to have changed drastically, they were still very good.

Unfortunately, I did not pay very close attention to the sound.  The constant rumble of the mob in the booth as well as my focus on the controls caused the game music to recede way into the background.  I could hear some of the game sound effects like the missile and Power beam blasts.  They sounded like they have in previous games as well.

Being the Metroid fanatic that I am, simply getting a chance to play Corruption was enough to make attending E3 worth it.  While not too much has changed visually, the control scheme is radically different.  Though I think it may take some getting used to, I believe it will prove to be an immensely enjoyable addition.  Furthermore, it could provide some very interesting gameplay opportunities like the Grappling beam whip and panel manipulation.  With this demo, I am extremely excited to see where one of Nintendo's flagship franchises is going in the next generation.  The Wii can't come to stores soon enough.

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