When you begin a new game of Metroid Prime Remastered, you’ll be given the opportunity to turn on the Hint System, which directs you towards your next objective if you haven’t made progress for a while. If you slammed that feature on immediately, this article isn’t for you. This is for all the stubborn people out there that think any kind of hint is tantamount to surrender.
If you’re the kind of person that would rather bash your head against the wall for hours than ask for help, I’m writing this for you. When the time comes and you truly don’t know where to go next, the Hint System will fix the problem. It is not some kind of personal failing to use it. You don’t have anything to prove. If getting lost is causing you to have a bad time, it’s okay to ask for help. Take this as general life advice too, especially for all my fellow gamers out there.
You may have forgotten that the Hint System is always there in the settings menu, waiting for when you need it, so if you’re stuck right now and unsure of where to go, this message is for you too. The fact is that, eventually, you will run into a dead end. At some point you’re going to get an upgrade and have no idea what you’re supposed to do with it. The Varia Suit, the Boost Ball, the Plasma Beam, and virtually every other upgrade you find in Metroid Prime will unlock new areas for you to explore, and at least one of them is guaranteed to throw you for a loop.
I promise it’s not your fault. I’ve played Metroid Prime at least ten times in my life (I was 12 when it came out and I consequently had very few responsibilities) and I still get turned around sometimes. As exceptional as Metroid Prime is, it isn’t a perfect game. Some of the pathing can be fairly obtuse, and sometimes what it expects you to do contradicts the lessons it already taught you. Getting stuck means you’re overlooking the next objective, but it could be just as much the game’s fault as it is yours.
One of the early upgrades is a common choke point for new players. After defeating Flaahgra and collecting the Varia Suit, you’re meant to exit the arena and take the elevator to Magmoor Caverns. But, if you’ve been paying attention, the Chozo Ruins have a lava path that you couldn’t explore before. If you backtrack there you’ll immediately be rewarded with a dead end, since you can’t access the room without the Grapple Beam. Hopefully you remember your way back to the elevator at that point, because you’ve got a long way to go until your next upgrade, and Prime just wasted a bunch of your time.
The Magmoor Caverns is one continuous linear path that you’ll travel back and forth between many, many times. Contrary to everything Prime has taught you so far, however, there’s no upgrades to find anywhere in this zone right now. You need to continue to the next zone, Phendrana Drifts. Here you’ll immediately find a big open hub area called the Phendrana Shorelines, where you’ll find a bunch of doors that are out of reach. It seems like you can’t continue without the Space Boots. With nowhere to go, you’re likely to head back down the Magmoor Caverns to find an upgrade you missed, but this is wrong. Instead, you have to shoot a missile at a nondescript blast shield – something you’ve never been asked to do before – in order to break through a gate and continue to the Boost Ball. It’s a frustratingly elusive part of the game, and it’s far from the only one.
If you’re like me, you’re probably heavily opposed to asking for a hint. Metroid is a game about exploration after all, and if you’re simply told where to go, there’s not really a need to explore. But exploring isn’t the same thing as wandering around lost and confused. Metroid is at its best when you’re quickly making new discoveries, progressing – albeit in a non-linear way – and hitting that dopamine switch over and over as you collect new upgrades. Searching fruitlessly through already explored areas is not very rewarding, and it can make you feel stupid. If you can’t figure out where you’re supposed to go, it’s better to blame the game, not yourself.
As Tallon IV opens up, it only gets harder to find your way. The linear path through the Magmoor Caverns eventually becomes a bit of a nuisance as you’re required to trek back and forth along it anytime you want to explore a new zone. The Tallon Overworld is Metroid Prime’s hub, but only the Magmoor Caverns connect to all five zones, which means lots of trudging through the same lava-filled rooms back and forth. Even when you know exactly where to go this route can become tedious. If you’re wandering from map to map just looking for your next upgrade, the cavern path can become downright maddening. Don’t suffer throughout, ask for help.
The hint system isn’t even a dead giveaway necessarily. If your goal is somewhere you haven’t been, it will only give you a vague idea of which map you need to be on and which direction to go. Figuring out how to get there is still up to you, and often there’s a puzzle in the way that you simply didn’t see. Even if the thing you’re missing is as simple as a Spider Ball track, it’s okay that you overlooked it. You probably walked past it a hundred times already, it’s understandable that you haven’t noticed it.
If asking for help feels like giving up, I would argue that you might be giving the game too much credit. Metroid Prime is exceptional, one of the best games ever made and one of my personal favorites, but there are parts of it that are confusing and unfair. Don’t suffer just to prove you can do it, life’s hard enough already, isn’t it?
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