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Game Over Online ~ Metroid Prime 2: Echoes (c) Nintendo

Metroid Prime 2: Echoes (c) Nintendo

Published: Tuesday, August 31st, 2004 at 04:14 PM
Written By: Jeff 'Linkphreak' Haynes

Samus fans, rejoice: your favorite hunter is coming back to your Gamecube very soon. It’s been almost two years since the intergalactic hero’s last adventure on a console, with fans and critics alike eagerly waiting for any information on her return. Well, thanks to the demo disc included in the newly announced Nintendo Metroid Bonus Bundle, players will get a sneak peek at the upcoming Metroid Prime 2: Echoes. We got our hands on the bonus disc, and with the features included, it looks like Echoes will be even better than Metroid Prime. (I know, sounds hard to believe, but it’s true…)

The menu screen shows off a number of features for the disc. There’s a History of Metroid feature that hosts every title in the series, along with video clips and plot synopses. The art gallery shows concept art for Samus, the space pirates and indigenous life found in Echoes. There are also two separate media sections: the first is a trailer that showed off sections of gameplay, along with clips of multiplayer action with up to four players battling it out. The other significant section was a video preview that establishes the plot for echoes. Captured via a soldier’s helmet camera and suggesting Starship Troopers, the plot behind Echoes starts off as a simple rescue mission. Federation Squad Bravo has been reported missing for a month, apparently having their position overtaken by a swarm of insect-like creatures. Samus is sent to their last known coordinates, a planet known as Aether in the Dasha region of space, to discover what happened to the soldiers and save any survivors.

As Samus approaches the surface of the planet, an electrical storm damages her ship, forcing her to crash. However, like other Metroid games, she’s not defenseless at the start. First, she has both the Morph Ball and bomb powerups, giving her access to other areas. She can also double jump across large distances, a skill that you’ll need to get over some of the larger gaps throughout the planet. She’s also packing a compliment of missiles and her trusty power beam, which she can use to break crates, charge up her shots for more powerful attacks and attract powerups from fallen enemies. However, the demo also gives Samus two new weapons, a light beam and a dark beam, which fires (you guessed it) light and dark energy attacks, both of which can be charged up.

The light and dark energy attacks figure in prominently to the game world in a number of ways: As you’ll discover by scanning a number of Space Pirate terminals, Aether is a planet that seems to be comprised of both a light world and an alternate dark world in the same dimensional space. What’s more, creatures from one world are completely vulnerable to attacks from the opposite world’s energy. There are also areas that you’ll need to use the beams to progress through the world. Some doors in the light world will only disappear by being shot with dark energy. In turn, some areas in the dark world can only be safely traversed by powering up crystals with light beams. There also seems to be a sense of conservation tied into these weapons, as the demo didn’t host any rechargeable stations or powerups for these two guns. This implies that you’ll need to be careful with your shots, because you might not be able to continue through areas if you run out of this special ammo.

While there didn’t seem to be a lot of native life forms on the planet in the demo, Samus’ sworn enemies, the space pirates, were definitely all over Aether. In a few instances, they teleported into an open cavern, firing energy blasts and rolling to avoid incoming fire. Some even managed to man large turrets to rain laser blasts from higher positions. Luckily, Samus will be able to get the drop on them in a number of ways, even using the Morph Ball to silently infiltrate a control room under the feet of unaware pirates. This time around, it seems like the Space Pirates seem to be actively mining both Aether worlds to mine Phazon, a precious mineral. However, they seem to be running into two problems: first, the dark world, which is rich in the mineral, seems to host creatures that are incredibly strong and effective at repelling their advances. Second, a “dark hunter” seems to subsist on the stockpiles they have acquired, forcing the pirates to breed Metroids for power and protection. “Dark Hunter?” Well, it looks like Samus, runs and leaps like her, and seems to be comprised of dark energy. Seems like players will have more than just a simple rescue mission to complete when Metroid Prime 2: Echoes morphs onto shelves this November. Check back here for updated previews and reviews soon!

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