Fans of Nintendo's "Metroid Prime" can find more of the same in "Metroid Prime 2: Echoes." Though the location is different and the enemy is more menacing, life as Samus Aran is same old.
Much like in the first "Metroid Prime," bounty hunter Samus Aran has crash landed on a strange planet and, once again, has all her suit's powers stolen. The planet is Aether, a world split between a Light world and Dark world. Samus must navigate both while armed only with her power beam to recover her suit's power and destroy the Dark side and restore peace to the Light.
Even the graphics and music are the same, although they each show slight improvements. Regardless, the game is still almost as much fun as the original, especially in fighting Samus' new foes. Even the minor enemies are sometimes difficult to get through and each has a more difficult and creepier version waiting in Dark Aether. The boss fights are each unique in the ways you have to fight and defeat them and are sometimes tricky to figure out. The final rival in the game goes through several forms, each more seemingly impossible than the last.
The only vastly noticeable difference about the way "Echoes" plays is the overwhelming difficulty of the game. While there is a hint system to point players in the right direction if they've gotten lost, sometimes it's impossible to know where to go next. By the time you finish the game, you may have smashed several controllers against the wall.
"Echoes" brings something new to the "Metroid" franchise: multi-player. It's an unnecessary feature to add to a 20-hour, first-person shooter, but it's not that bad. Players are equipped with all the powers Samus has in one-player mode and they can get several power-ups to attack their buddies with. It capitalizes on an age-old truth that game developers have known for years: It's fun to shoot your friends.
Kate Fine is the Reporter Assistant Variety Editor