This is the game, apparently, that Nintendo just didn't want me to preview. You see, Retro were kind enough to give the E3 punters a demo which was, roughly, twenty-five minutes long. A serious investment of time. Nintendo, or at least the floor monkeys, didn't seem to know that, so the first day the lines were so long, and so static, that it was a waste of time. Day 2, of course, they've got a plan in mind. They'll limit everyone to about 10 minutes. Which means that by the middle of the demo, roughly, you're kicked off. So, therefore, I need to wait in line about 6 times, ensuring I time it right half the time so I can play it from the middle onwards (continuing someone else's game) to ensure I get all the way through it.
This was a nightmare. I honestly thought I had it cracked when I managed to bamboozle someone from what I assume was Nintendo Germany into telling me I could have a full game of it, if I sat in this weird rotating platform which had three demo units. Of course, roughly halfway through the level he changed his mind.
And then the next time I managed to get a go, I was instantly kicked off by the requirement that a VIP be allowed to play. But I mean, honestly. Who is the bigger VIP? Some random jerk? Or all the faithful Eurogamer readers, who are waiting on finding out exactly what I think of Metroid Prime: Corruption? Which I can't tell them unless I get to play the game? Eh?
Well, let me promise you that eventually I did get to play the entire demo. Um, well, almost all of it. I got all the way to the boss, who, shockingly, is Ridley. Which means Samus has fought, and killed, Ridley loads more times than you'd expect to be able to kill someone. Even if that someone is a gigantic evil space pterodactyl.
Not that I managed to kill him. I, uh, got kicked off again.
I doubt anything happened if you did manage, though. Probably a screen that said something like 'Thank you for playing the E3 demo.' Which I'm pretty sure won't be in the final version, so that's okay that I missed it.
But of what I did play, what did I learn? Well, it most definitely is a Metroid Prime game. The interface, of course, is where the real difference lies. While movement is controlled using the nunchuck, the other controller acts as, essentially, a laser pointer that you point at the screen to aim, and you point at the edges of the screen to turn left and right or look up and down. This makes aiming feel incredibly natural, but has the interesting effect of making of turning around or looking left and right terrifically un-natural, which means you'll be strafing about everywhere. Of course, Metroid Prime's trump card when it comes to rotation has always been the ability to lock on to opponents, and it doesn't disappoint here, as using the lock-on makes battles superbly intuitive. Despite that, however, I'd expect, and greatly prefer, that that moving the pointer around on the screen also moved the viewpoint (a system more akin to the stylus input in Metroid Prime: Hunters, for example).
The demo features Samus arriving in a spiffy looking (new?) variation on her ship at a base under attack by Space Pirates. Instructed to go and get some generator working for some reason or another (base defenses, probably) she heads off, full of optimism, to face a level which features just about every interaction that you could expect demanded of her (handily!) Merely opening doors requires such a wide range of interactions it's practically thrilling. By far, by far the best feeling has to be opening the doors that use a twist turn locking mechanism. To open them, you twist the lock (twist the controller) pull the lock (pull the controller) and push it back in again (push the controller). It feels great. Exactly like opening a door!
Which, when we think about it, should really be less fun than playing golf, or tennis, or something. But it's a revelation, somehow.
Even though in Metroid Prime: Corruption you're doing all of these things and interacting with the world in what is ostensibly a new way, it's exactly the same Metroid Prime we've come to know on Gamecube. Particularly, say, when using the morph ball, as that is entirely the same as on the Gamecube, for example. She doesn't appear to have any new, Wii specific abilities (at least not in this version, which we are told is very early and not, in any way, representative of the final product, but it's so polished it must at least slightly) and neither does anything about the game appear to be particularly new. It's just a Metroid Prime game on the Wii.
What is of interest to fans of the series is the appearance of another bounty hunter mid way through the level, a rather icy fellow who appears, in the style of Iceman, flying on a trail of ice to rather depressingly save Samus from a overwhelming Space Pirate attack (I mean, she's Samus. She can take care of herself, damn it!) I initially assumed this was Noxus, the ice themed enemy from Metroid Prime: Hunters, but now I'm just not so sure, as not only does he look different, he also appears to be an ally. What this means for the plot of the mysteriously subtitled Metroid Prime: Corruption I just don't know, and neither was anyone else at Nintendo talking.
Metroid Prime: Corruption is the kind of game that seems nice, good, even, but it's has really gained nothing from the translation to Wii (simply a matter of being an FPS, I suppose). It was probably the most uninteresting game on the entire stand. But in the overwhelming sensory overload that is E3, I'm still not sure if that means anything.
Metroid Prime: Corruption is due on Nintendo Wii at some point in the future. Gosh darned tight-lipped Nintendo!