Year of release: 2004
Developer: Retro Studios & Nintendo
The recent release of Metroid Dread on the Nintendo Switch has given me cause to replay (most of) the games in the Metroid series, a series that Nintendo hasn't known what to do with at times. Super Metroid was one of The Great Video Games of Our Time, but it didn't sell particularly well and the series was blessed with no more children. That was, of course, until Samus Aran, the series' lead character, was featured in Super Smash Bros., which did sell well and led to a resurgence in the public's curiosity with the series; this would lead to Metroid Prime, another one of The Great Games of Our Time and the first iteration of the Metroid Prime trilogy (quadrology, if one includes Metroid Prime: Hunters, which I don't) (quintology, if one includes Metroid Prime Pinball, which I do). This trilogy (including the featured game in this retrospective piece) was very well-received, but there were dark times on the horizon. Cue a disastrous Team Ninja Project that completely missed the point of the series and a worthless handheld game that didn't even feature the lead character and it appeared as though the series had been abandoned in an oubliette. It took a passionate fan remake of the third-worst game in the series to get Nintendo to realize that people actually care about these games and that revisiting the series would be the worth the company's time (whereupon The Plumber promptly slapped the hands of the fan programmer away and pushed out a far less-interesting version to middling reviews).
My journey through the series has led to occasionally surprising conclusions: I have newfound respect for the original Metroid, I no longer have the patience for Metroid II: Samus Returns, and I've found it to be worth owning a Nintendo Wii even if its only function is as a dedicated Metroid Prime 3: Corruption machine. I've also found Metroid Prime 2: Echoes to be something of the middle child of the Metroid Prime trilogy; specifically, it's the Wakko Warner of the trilogy, often providing some of the best moments but never quite living up to the impact of its siblings.