It is a proud day for all of us here at the Galactic Federation, mostly because I've just completed Metroid Prime 3: Corruption. Yes, my friends, the Phazon scourge that has plagued us lo these many years is finally a thing of the past, as I finished the game with a 100% rating in just under nineteen-and-a-half hours of actual playing time. For this I was rewarded not just with the game's basic ending, not just with the special ending awarded at the 75% mark, but the really special curious ending offered up only to those of us who collected every last item, are skilled with a morph ball, and who had plenty of free time over the past week or so.
Corruption has already impressed me, as you'll recall. The first half of the game was spent learning the ins-and-outs of the new motion controls, but the last half of the adventure was all about putting those skills to the test. I've been waiting a long time for a console-based first-person-adventure (or shooter, whatever) to control this well. Environmental puzzles really stepped up once I'd reached a certain homeworld, too. Infiltrating an enemy compound alongside a team of troopers has never been so fun.
Before I stop talking in generalities and get down to the spoilers, let me just thank everyone who sent over Friend Vouchers, especially Guy Perfect for sending a ton of the l'il green tickets and MTV's Stephen Totilo for giving me the idea to set up the voucher swap in the first place.
Now, let's talk about the game's final world...
I made sure I'd collected every last missile expansion, energy tank, and item before I took the one-way trip via wormhole to Phaaze, the living Phazon planet (the last expansion to find was, of course, buried in a morph ball maze aboard the G.F.S. Valhalla). Phaaze's art design is truly something to see. Metroid's environments always have either a mechanical or an organic flow, but Phaaze's glowing blues and crystal reds are something very different. In fact, I'd even go so far to say that Phaaze appears to be the most peaceful place I've ever seen in a Metroid game (if you don't count the many monsters attacking from all sides, of course).
I was so tied up in exploring the environment that I was surprised when the inevitable boss fight started. Dark Samus turned up again, and while I was expecting that to happen, I had forgotten all about that stolen Aurora Unit that turned up as the actual final boss. Mutated into a monstrous proto-Mother Brain, for being such a massive foe I never really had the feeling that the encounter was a "her or me" battle. After the unit's flashy entrance I simply went to work blasting its weak points and that was that. Maybe I'm just not that easy to impress these days (compare this encounter with the end of Super Metroid in which a supposedly dead Mother Brain surprises us all by standing up and actively fighting back).
The ending cinematic tied up the Prime trilogy nicely enough: all the Phazon has been destroyed, the Space Pirates are on the run, and everything is set up for the next chronological game in the series, Metroid 2: The Return of Samus. As I did with The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, it's time for Corruption to go back on the shelf for a while until I forget how to solve most of the puzzles. Then I'll take on the "second quest" in the form of the Hyper level of difficulty.
Oh yeah, and what's the deal with that mysterious ship that follows Samus at the end of the 100% special curious ending?