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by Ethos

Games where the Sun Don’t Shine – #5: Metroid Prime 2

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

If you haven’t noticed, we’re celebrating the season of Spring here at Riddlethos.com. Perhaps a tad irrelevant to those of you who don’t reside in the Western hemisphere, but unfortunately for you guys, both myself and Ethos do.

Here in Murfreesboro, the icy cold grip of winter is slowly relenting, giving way to… really freaking hot weather, actually. I guess we’re skipping Spring this year, which generally consists of pleasant, 60-80 degree (Farenheit) temperatures. Damn global warming. I wasn’t READY for an 88 degree day.

But anyway. Tennessee’s schizophrenic weather aside, I’ve come up with what’s clearly the BEST way to commemorate the sunny weather and hopeful freshness of the Spring season: Oliver Motok’s List of Dark, Oppressive, and Otherwise Depressing Videogames. Or, as the title says, Games where the Sun Don’t Shine. First up…?

Metroid Prime 2: Echoes

If I recall, the original Metroid Prime found a spot on my last super-vague-seasonal-theme-week-list-tie-in. And now, Prime 2 has found a way on to this one. Let’s hear it for the versatility of this franchise!

Ahem. You can ignore the above paragraph if you’d like. The reason Prime 2 makes this list is because it’s probably one of the more oppressive Nintendo games you could ever hope to play. And, I say that with a bit of a dual-meaning. On one hand, Metroid Prime 2 is a showcase for atmosphere. Like the original game, the stunning feeling of solitude and the ambient sci-fi locales make this one of the more haunting experiences that can be had on the GameCube.

The other reason Prime 2 garners this mention is because, for a vast portion of the game, the sun quite literally does not shine. In fact, it doesn’t even exist. Like A Link to the Past before it, Prime 2 makes use of a “light world, dark world” mechanic – in order to advance, Samus must frequently jump through portals that transport her to one side or the other. Neat mechanic, if not terribly original.

In fact, it could almost be said that Prime 2 is a bit too oppressive. A matter of taste, obviously, but I frankly felt that a little too much time in the Dark World was required – and you haven’t seen a “dark world” quite as dark as this one, let me assure you. I love fighting Dark Grenchlers in the middle of a deadly purple haze that drains your life force as much as the next guy, but… not that often.

But I digress. Metroid Prime 2 is a solid, atmospheric, and uncommonly challenging sci-fi adventure. And one thing’s for sure: start playing it and you’ll quickly forget about that pretty spring weather outside.