We all know the feeling: you’ve played a game and loved it dearly, and then the sequel is announced! The release date is given; you go pre-order, and may even spring for the limited edition. You count the days until the midnight release, and come said release date you’re waiting in line eagerly. You get home, pop it in, begin playing and… it’s not really that good. So you give it a while longer and you still don’t really like where it’s going. You begin to pine for the original, the one that you loved so much and got you hooked. You start comparing. You become resentful and then angry. You throw controllers.
Okay, so maybe not quite that extreme. But the sequel that most disappointed me did indeed have me throwing a controller at the wall. It’s not my proudest gaming moment, but I think it speaks volumes about just how much I did. Not. Like. This. Game.
I’ve played games that were just okay, or that I didn’t like and just didn’t care for (see my apathy toward Dead Space). But the sequel that most disappointed me was Metroid Prime 2: Echoes for the Game Cube.
Before my extreme Dragon Age love, there was Metroid. When I came back to gaming after a long apostasy, it was because I decided I wanted to play Metroid again. I got involved in a large Metroid community and played every Metroid game I could get my eager hands on. I played through Metroid Prime at least four or five times, so my glee was great when Nintendo announced Metroid Prime 2: Echoes. The forum community I moderated exploded in a flurry of discussion. What would the plot be? With each new bit Nintendo teased us with we speculated. We wondered if they’d block attempts at sequence breaks and secret worlds. Who and what were the Luminoth? What was the Ing? Was the Metroid Prime’s real form inside of Dark Samus? So many questions awaiting answers!
I pre-ordered at my local GameStop and proudly wore my prize: an olive-green retro-style Samus the Bounty Hunter t-shirt. Then I waited until release day. I don’t remember if they did a midnight release; probably not. But the day it came out I went straight from work and picked up my shiny copy, got home, and popped it into my Game Cube and started playing.
The disappointment wasn’t immediate. My love of all things Metroid pushed aside any objectivity I may have had. I worked my way through the Agon Wastes and the Temple Grounds; I talked to the Luminoth and found my way through Dark Aether. I got my first suit upgrade. Great. But as I started trying to navigate more of Light vs. Dark Aether, and got more into the game, the more redundant the game felt. I tried to tell myself “Hey, it’s early on. Give it a chance. You’re only in Torvus Bog!” And the Metroid community was very helpful toward a poor sot like me who needed assistance figuring out the puzzle of the Light vs. Dark worlds.
Then I hit the Boost Guardian. Metroid Prime 2 continued on with Prime’s formula of having a guardian of sorts for major upgrades. Prime’s guardians were challenging, and did frustrate me from time to time. But they were manageable. But this one? I asked for help; I got kind replies giving me tips. I watched videos (I think). But no matter what I did I could not beat the damned Boost Ball Guardian. I watched for its cues that it was going to boost; I fired all the light ammo I could at it when it was in blob form. I exploited the tiny ledge on a pillar to stand on that the developers hadn’t taken out. And I just couldn’t beat the thing!
I spent hours one night trying to defeat it. I took deep breaths and did relaxation techniques. And finally after about 53 tries it beat me again. So I made a “Aaargh!” of defiance and threw the controller at the wall and flopped back in defeat.
I did eventually beat the Boost Guardian, but then I had to go on to the Spider Guardian and the Power Bomb Guardian and do all the back and forth through the light and dark worlds and then go collect the stupid keys… by then I was just done. The game was so repetitive and needlessly difficult that I just threw in the towel when I threw that controller. To this day I’ve never finished Prime 2, and I really don’t have any interest in it. Every time I think “Maybe I could give it another whirl” I just don’t, because I don’t feel like putting myself back there. I loved the music and atmospheres, but the game play and everything just turned me off. If I remember right I’m on the second to last boss (Emporer Ing? Or was it Dark Samus? See, I can’t even remember). But oddly, that doesn’t bother me at all.
I’ve played and finished Prime 3: Corruption, and I LOVED that game. It was Metroid the way it was meant to be, in my opinion. In my opinion we could also play Prime and Corruption and call it a day without the interruption of Echoes.
Tomorrow: Day 23, Game with Best Graphics and/or Art Style. Or, JayRain goes way out of her element…