Metroid Prime overview

Metroid Prime title screen.
Metroid Prime title screen.

Launching the Metroid series into fully 3D realms (and doing a darn good job at that), Metroid Prime is the GameCube's first Metroid title to chronicle Samus Aran's adventures in the Phazon story arc.

Viewed from the eyes of Samus, you'll explore the vast reaches of the planet Tallon IV in an attempt to stop the Space Pirate's latest mad scheme and to fulfill the legacy of a long-dead Chozo race.

With the glorious 3D worlds of Metroid Prime comes a price however, as this adventure's going to be a lot tougher than Samus' past battles. Don't be discouraged though, as the journey through Tallon IV's trials and tribulations is certainly not one to miss. Of course this game is one experience you should try and get through yourself, but if there's one point where you're really stuck and can't find the odd Wave Beam or Space Jump Boots, you'll find all the answers and more here.

Controller overview (GameCube version)

The Nintendo GameCube controller.
The Nintendo GameCube controller.

Prepare for an adventure like no other. You'll be experiencing the game from Samus' point of view while exploring the insanely detailed regions of Tallon IV, uncovering mysteries and beating bad guys. Although it uses a first person view, this game certainly isn't your standard FPS fare. If you're used to the control structures of many FPS games like Goldeneye or even Halo, you'll probably be a little confused with this game's setup at first. Don't worry though, after a few minutes you'll master the controls and won't be able to picture playing the game without this setup.

Mastering the controls is vital, as many boss battles especially are going to be tough, (just try fighting Meta Ridley on Hard Mode!) so quick reflexes are a must. The Control Stick moves Samus around, remember to hold down the L button to strafe left or right and hold the R button for precision aiming.

Another new feature for this game is the encyclopedic Log Book, where records of various objects and enemies in the game scannable via the Scan Visor are kept. Check the game manual for more information on scanning.

Button Operation
A Press this to fire Samus' arm cannon. Press repeatedly to fire rapid shots, or hold down (once you have the Charge Beam) to fire a stronger blast. Also use A to lay a bomb while in Morph Ball mode.
B This will make Samus jump straight up. Once you find the Space Jump boots, press B again after jumping up once to propel Samus higher, allowing her to reach distant areas.
X Press this to activate Morph Ball mode, changing Samus' form to a metallic sphere. While active, Samus can lay bombs and roll through narrow areas.
Y Press this to fire a missile. Once you find each beam's missile combo attack, pressing Y after holding down A to charge up the beam will fire the combo attack. Also use Y to lay a Power Bomb (once you find one) while Morph Ball mode is active.
Z Hit Z to bring up a 3D map of the area Samus is currently exploring. All the controls for manipulating the map will be shown on-screen. Press Z again to return to the game.
L Hold down L and use the Control Stick to strafe left or right. You can also lock onto enemies or other targets with L, but you'll have to hold it down to remain locked on.
R Hold R down to aim Samus' arm cannon around freely. If you need to move while aiming, hold down L before releasing R so that Samus remains aiming at the same spot. Once you locate the Spider Ball, also hold down R while in Morph Ball mode to attach and move along special rail tracks.
Start Bring up the sub-screen to change game options, view the Log Book or read up on Samus' abilities.
D-Pad Up Switch back to the Combat Visor whenever another visor's active.
D-Pad Down Switch to the Thermal Visor.
D-Pad Left Switch to the Scan Visor, then use L to lock on and scan objects/enemies when a red or orange target appears above them.
D-Pad Right Switch to the X-Ray Visor.
C-Stick Up Switch Samus' arm cannon back to the Power Beam when another beam's active.
C-Stick Down Switch the arm cannon to the Ice Beam.
C-Stick Left Switch to the Plasma Beam.
C-Stick Right Switch to the Wave Beam.

Controller overview (Wii version)

The Nintendo Wii remote.
The Nintendo Wii Remote.

Borrowing the same control system from Metroid Prime 3, both the Metroid Prime Trilogy version of this game and its stand-alone Japanese release offer a precision-aiming mechanism, greatly deviating from the original GameCube setup.

The premise is simple - just point and aim the Wii Remote at your screen to aim in any direction fluidly.

Movement is handled via the Nunchuk's control stick, while all other functions available in the original game have been mapped appropriately.

Button Operation
A Press A to fire Samus' arm cannon. Press rapidly for continuous shots, or hold down and release for a stronger Charge Beam blast. While in Morph Ball mode, press A to lay up to three bombs at a time.
B Press this to jump. Press a second time while in mid-air to perform a Space Jump to propel Samus higher. While in Morph Ball mode, hold B and release to use the Boost Ball ability.
D-Pad Down Press Down on the D-Pad to fire a missile. Lock onto a target before firing to release a homing missile. Once you collect Charge Beam Combos, first hold A to engage the Charge Beam, then press Down to use the Charge Combo. Once Power Bombs are equipped press Down while in Morph Ball mode to lay the explosive.
Minus Press and hold Minus to summon a selection of available visor modes. Initially you'll begin the game with the Combat Visor and Scan Visor. While holding Minus, point at one of the three regions on the screen to select a visor, or point at the center to return to the Combat Visor.
Plus Press and hold Plus to display a selection of available beam weapons. Point to any available weapon on-screen to activate, and return to the Power Beam quickly by briefly pressing Plus.
C Press C to enter Morph Ball mode. From here, direct Samus with the control stick, lay bombs with A, hold B to use the Boost Ball ability, hold Z to attach to magnetic rails with the Spider Ball and perform a Spring Ball jump by flicking the Wii Remote up vertically. Lay Power Bombs with Down on the D-Pad.
Z Hold Z to lock onto any nearby enemies. Depending on your Lock On/Free Aim settings, your target reticule will either latch onto the selected target or simply act as a guide while the reticule remains freely moveable. See below for more details.
1 Press 1 to view a 3D map of your current position. Follow the on-screen legend to manipulate the map.
2 Press 2 to view the inventory, Log Book and options screens.

Wii controller settings

Option Effect
Sensitivity Select the Wii Remote's pointer speed with this option. Beginner players can set the speed to Basic if having difficulty aiming correctly, while most players should find the Standard setting just right. Veterans of PC mouse-and-keyboard configurations may find the Advanced setting suitable, just keep in mind that it's very sensitive.
Lock On / Free Aim When switched on, if you lock onto an enemy target with Z, Samus will remain facing the target to keep it in view. Your aiming reticule will remain freely moveable, allowing you to fire at anything while keeping the enemy in view. Switching this off will render the lock-on exactly as it was in the GameCube version, keeping your aiming reticule firmly attached to the target.
Swap Jump and Fire This option allows you to swap the functions of the A and B buttons (default A to fire, B to jump).
Swap Beam and Visor This option allows you to swap the functions of the Minus and Plus buttons (default Minus to select visor, Plus to select beam weapons).

Difficulty settings

GameCube version: Initially the game will default to Normal mode as the only available selection. Complete the game on Normal mode to unlock access to Hard mode, a significantly tougher challenge where foes boast more health and Samus' defense level is lowered.

Wii version: The Wii version gives you initial choices of Normal mode and Veteran mode. The Normal mode is ideally meant for beginners, while Veteran mode is roughly the equivalent of the original GameCube title's Normal mode. Complete the game on Normal or Veteran to unlock Hypermode, the toughest option available.

With a different number of difficulty settings between the two versions, the table below shows how they appear to compare between each other:

Console Difficulty settings
GameCube:   Normal Hard
Wii: Normal Veteran Hypermode