January 19, 2003

Metroid Prime vs. Baldur's Gate

I've been a video game junky this month. Just after Christmas I went out and bought two new titles for the GameCube, Metroid Prime and Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance. The former is a first person shooter; you're a bounty hunter in a really neat suit of powered armor, and you're up against the Space Pirates. No, really! The latter is a Dungeon's and Dragons (TM) game, the latest in the Baldur's Gate series. I've been playing them alternately.

Baldur's Gate is a traditional hack-and-slash dungeon crawl with really nifty graphics. Playing it was a lot like playing the other D&D-style games I've been playing for years (notably Angband); and if the graphics are better the game model is considerably less sophisticated. But it was fun; I finished it this afternoon, killing the last nasty monster with much less trouble than I expected.

Metroid Prime shows considerably more effort and imagination, and it's a lot of fun. In your powered suit you've got (ultimately) four different kinds of ray gun, plus missiles. In addition, you can turn yourself into a small metal ball and roll through tight spaces. It's a kick. There is but one thing I really dislike about Metroid Prime--they don't give you nearly enough opportunities to save your game, which is annoying in several different ways. I've been stuck in the same spot for almost a week; every time I play I do a little better, and get a little bit farther...and then die before getting to the next save station. Ugh. Game designers, take note--if there's more than twenty minutes of game play between save stations, you're doing something seriously wrong.

Posted by Will Duquette at January 19, 2003 07:16 PM