- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 27, 2007

The greatest female bounty hunter in the gaming world brings her latest epic to a more-than-satisfying conclusion in the new first-person spectacle Metroid Prime 3: Corruption (from Nintendo, rated T for teen, $49.99), which will rock a Wii owner’s world.

In a story taking place six months after the events on planet Aether, Samus Aran returns to help the Galactic Federation as she is tasked to travel around the galaxy, defeat the Phazon-fueled Space Pirates and ultimately confront her evil doppelganger, Dark Samus.

What immediately stand out this time around are the best graphics yet seen on the Wii system. Highly textured, Halo-type interior environments and varying living alien landscapes use particle effects that drip, scatter and float; translucent, realistic design elements; cinematic presentations; and cut scenes to make the epic come to life.

Of course, the levels of immersion seen in this Prime are unprecedented, thanks to the Wii’s marvelous and responsive pair of motion-sensor controllers.

The Nunchuck eventually becomes a grapple hook to rip off the armor of an enemy or tear down a door. Use a motion to toss out the Nunchuck and pull in the Nunchuck like a fishing pole for the device to react on-screen. The Wiimote is now an extension of the hand. Draw the controller back to pull the handle, twisting the Wiimote to align the handle and push forward to reset and activate an airlock or open up an area.

This type of interactivity permeates the game. Although it might sound a bit gimmicky, it never becomes overused or obvious and is as instinctual as it is revolutionary.

Mission variety adds to the extensive story interaction and includes full-out assaults on a variety of alien beings and bosses, the need to retrieve objects in disparate and multilocation hunts, and the critical process of scanning nearly everything in a room to unlock help, gather information and archive resources.

Samus’ golden and heavily armored suit also continues to impress with a dazzling array of weapons and options. The standard arm cannon eventually is upgraded to shoot homing and ice missiles, while a multitude of easily accessible visors (tip the Wiimote a certain angle to access each) open a command interface to retrieve her ship and X-ray enemies to determine weaknesses.

Additionally, in a slick twist, the substance Phazon corrupts the hero’s genetic structure, and that leads to her ability to drop into a hypermode with help from energy tanks. For the average gamer, it means the ability to quickly eliminate screens of foes by tapping into a limited dose of heavy-duty firepower.

And who can forget that the blond warrior also can transform into a nearly impenetrable morph ball and roll around environments, get into tight areas and tackle tubed shortcuts?

Now add resources such as a galactic and area-specific map to move quickly around planets and navigate terrain, as well as an ever-expanding logbook loaded with information and unlockable content.

The whole package is manipulated easily via the wireless controllers, and it’s a very hands-on experience for the player.

The game unfortunately includes no multiplayer action, but warriors can find Friend vouchers to share online and unlock a feature to take screen shots of their current adventures.

The conclusion of the Metroid Prime saga not only offers an exhilarating interactive adventure but also clearly demonstrates that Nintendo’s Wii is the true next generation of video-game consoles.

Write to Joseph Szadkowski, The Washington Times, 3600 New York Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20002; or send e-mail (jszadkowski@washingtontimes.com).

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