If you’ve played Metroid Prime for the Nintendo GameCube, you’ve invariably run across some harmless looking patch of flowers only to have it explode violently in your face.

In fact, the astute player might have noticed that practically everything on the planet in question has a tendency to explode when threatened.For instance, there is one species of plant on the planet called the Sap Sac, which was, to paraphrase the game’s description of it, so delicious that it actually developed explosive capabilities.

Well, that got me thinking about how on earth a tendency like that could evolve. I know that some plants here on Earth, in response to being eaten too much by predators, develop foul tastes or poisons or some such to discourage consumption, but as far as my biology education went, the self-defense mechanism of exploding didn’t seem to come up.

The problem with exploding is, you don’t get to stick around afterward. It kind of defeats the purpose of being a defense, evolutionarily, because you don’t get to pass on your exploding genes to your children.

I remember the days of Super Mario Brothers, where mushrooms did magical things, and no questions were asked, because it was just a crazy video game. Metroid Prime, on the other hand, begs this kind of analysis, because it tries to explain all this craziness with real science.

And to top that all off, everything on the planet explodes. This must have been the most delicious planet in the universe before every species developed the ability to become shrapnel.

The game is fantastic, don’t get me wrong, but why bother with a psuedoscience explanation for anything, when the main character in the game, a 5-6 foot tall woman, can shapeshift into a 1-2 foot diameter ball of metal and light. I mean, haven’t we already thrown science out the window?

This is not to mention the near infinite supply of missiles she can store in her dainty arms.

Now, the game itself is wonderful. It’s hard, like any Metroid game should be, but not so hard as to be discouraging.

The game is a first person shooter, unlike previous Metroid games, but it manages to keep the overall feel of a Metroid game. You are bounty hunter Samus Aran, out to destroy all but one metroid — there has to be room for another sequel.

You wander around a huge planet trying to find nifty weapons so that you can fight bad-ass bosses and after about 30-35 hours of gameplay, you have healed an entire planet.

The game is frustrating at times, and often I had to fight the urge to chuck my controller at the TV, but no game is without its moments of frustration.

On the whole, the gameplay is good, and the storyline is intriguing, making it one of the best games available for the GameCube to date.If you loved the first three Metroid games, you’re sure to love Metroid Prime. Besides, it’ll give you something to do until the new Zelda game comes out in March.

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