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'Metroid Prime 3' brings control innovations to first-person shooters

3 1/2 stars out of four

Action heroine Samus gets to face her evil twin in 'Metroid Prime 3: Corruption,' the final game in the science-fiction trilogy and the first for Nintendo's Wii.

The Wii's focus on casual games has meant a bounty of simple titles for the whole family.

But there's been a dearth of action for the hardcore gaming set. 'Corruption' finally provides Wii owners something meatier than bowling or tennis.

This T-rated title pushes the Wii to its limits.

The graphics - while not up to Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 standards - surpass anything else available for the Wii, which lacks high-definition output.

Most importantly, the wireless controls actually work. The game makes full use of the Wii's remote and Nunchuk attachment for looking and moving around, shooting and jumping.

The controls are perhaps the biggest obstacle players will initially face. I found myself wrestling with them instead of the enemies.

But like anything new, you just have to give it some time. It took me several hours, but I eventually came to appreciate how motion-sensitive controls can enliven a first-person shooter. The controls become an extension of your arms.

The tactile sensation of flicking the Nunchuk to throw a grapple beam and yank something off a wall is unlike anything I've experienced before in a video game. Instead of tapping a button to pull a lever, simply twist and move your hand around to pull it, like you would in the real world.

And then there's the satisfying rumble of a fully charged Power Beam blast.

Fans will appreciate how 'Corruption' wraps up the story of armor-clad bounty hunter Samus and her evil twin, Dark Samus.

There's no multiplayer, but the deep single-player saga includes a cast of fellow Galactic Federation pals in a continuing battle against evil Space Pirates. It's not as corny as it sounds, and the enemies, ranging from packs of crawling bugs to oversized fire-tossing dragons, are quite scary and devious.

There's more than just running and gunning, too. Sometimes you'll have to solve puzzles, while other levels are more of a carnival shooting gallery. The overall experience is one of exploration, puzzle-solving and action that kept me wanting to push farther.