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''Metroid Prime 3'' shoots, scores

It’s about time! Thoroughly engaging, incredibly immersive, and thoughtfully designed, ‘Metroid Prime 3: Corruption’ is the first truly great adventure-shooter for the Nintendo Wii.

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”Metroid Prime 3” shoots, scores


All hail the Wii! Nintendo, which not so many months ago seemed threatened to be overrun by the game-making might of Sony and Microsoft, has reaped much praise (and financial reward) for the way their little $249 console has expanded the video game audience — even infiltrating retirement communities and cruise ships. Still, while mass-appeal Wii titles like Wii Sports and Wario Ware have hordes of newbies flailing their arms like overcaffeinated go-go dancers, hardcore gamers feel like they’ve been abandoned or ignored.

Of course, developing games for the Wii’s unique motion-sensitive controllers has been challenging. First-person shooters and action/adventure titles (the favorite of many a gaming vet) demand a certain ”tightness” in the control scheme — and many game developers are struggling to recreate the kind of that level of precision on the Wii.

Metroid Prime 3: Corruption stands as the game that sets a new benchmark for the kind of experience you can expect on Wii — capping off a best-selling trilogy about adventures of space-faring bounty hunter Samus Aran. This game’s plot is sci-fi boilerplate: Samus must help the Galactic Federation purge a biological computer virus that leaves their defenses vulnerable to attack by space pirates. The cut scenes, sweeping score, and crafty level design do make you feel like you’re in the middle of an epic space adventure and the inclusion of voice acting, long absent from titles Nintendo’s marquee characters, helps to make you feel like part of an embattled cast of characters.

The action takes a while to ramp up and your patience will be tested if you’re new to the franchise’s unique control scheme. Even more so than the last game, Samus’ visor displays information necessary for progressing to the next levels — players must vigilantly monitor the environment for important clues. Yes, this constant scanning gets to feel tedious, but think of the game’s terrific combat system as your reward. With it’s elegant and wholly intuitive point-and-move controls, Corruption makes a convincing argument for developing more first-person-shooters for the Wii. A new — and wholly welcome — wrinkle in combat comes when Samus acquires a cybersuit that allows her to go into the truly devastating Hyper Mode. (Using it requires some strategy: Stay in this mode too long, and you’ll overload the suit and hurt our girl.) Corruption makes excellent overall use of the Wii’s gestural controls: employing a twist-pull-push sequence for unlocking doors, a throwing motion to reel in enemies with Samus’s grapple lasso, and an upwards flick of the Wii remote to jump while in Morphball mode. Gaming’s core constituents will undoubtedly embrace Corruption‘s epic plot and immersive structure. It might be too much for Gramps and Aunt Esther, but they can always go back to Wii bowling. A-