Metroid Prime Trilogy Unlockables Dust Off Nintendo History, DetoursS

PS3 Slims. World of Warcraft expansions. Is there any news for the Wii gamer these days? A copy of Metroid Prime: Trilogy arrived in the office this week. I've had little time to investigate it, but did discover this.

The unlocks screen for this compilation of the three Metroid Prime games released across the GameCube and Wii doesn't appear to offer anything that the series hasn't offered before. I couldn't find a way to unlock, say a new trailer for Metroid Other M or a documentary about the long lost Metroid Dread. Such things not only don't seem to be on this disc; perhaps they don't exist.

But what is on the disc, in addition to the three games, is some unlockable content that recalls some important history. As you see in the shot above, Trilogy adopts the currency-based unlock system introduced in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption. The system involves the player earning credits for completing various activities while playing the games and then cashing them in on the unlocks (In an innovative twist I haven't seen other games try since Corruption, you can send your credits to other players so they can use them.)

What I found interesting about Trilogy's unlock menu is how it offers a bit of history.

One unlockable offered is the ability to get Samus to wear a special Fusion Suit in the first Metroid Prime. While credits may be needed for that in Trilogy, the incentive was activated in the original 2002 release of the first Prime only when players connected a GameCube with a Game Boy Advance that contained a copy of Metroid Fusion. That was part of Nintendo's push for "connectivity," a linkage of games from handheld device to home console that for years was the publisher's answer to its limited support of online play. Connectivity is what Nintendo wanted to promote during the GameCube era, possibly hoping that linking the hot-selling GBA to the tepid-selling GameCube would lift the latter's fortunes. Seven years later, connectivity is dabbled with on Sony platforms, the DS seldom connects to the Wii, the Fusion suit is now a fake-money-based unlockable and Nintendo's thriving without emphasizing connectivity.

There are no unlockable, as far as I could tell, associated with 2004's Metroid Prime 2: Echoes. I don't recall the original having any. Instead, it offered split-screen multiplayer, which is available in Trilogy as well. That's another sign of what Nintendo was experimenting with and what, given the lack of multiplayer in Metroid Prime 3, what it abandoned.

For the third game, the 2007 Wii edition Corruption, there are a batch of unlockables. One of them puts a Mii bobblehead in Samus' spaceship. That was one of the first implementations on the Wii of a Mii in a game that wasn't rendered in the cheerful Wii Sports/Play/Fit style. It is an implementation that is now slowly but surely cropping up over on the Xbox 360 with the integration of Avatars into all kinds of games, but Nintendo has kept its Miis out of other games that have more of the T-rated adventure/action style.

Also unlockable from Corruption is a screenshot tool. I never understood why Nintendo kept this feature so hidden. Why force players to excel at a game before allowing them to snap a screenshot of it, manipulate he shot in the Wii's photo channel and then send it to a friend? I remember beating Corruption, snapping a shot of my victory and sending it to my brother-in-law, victoriously. That's back when Nintendo seemed to be experimenting more with integrating some of the Wii channels to its games, something I haven't seen much more of since 2007.

There are unlockable character art sets and dioramas unlockable in Trilogy as well.

Maybe, if we're lucky, there are more deeply hidden treasures. But the ones that are evident from the start in Trilogy, while not offering anything new, present a suitably archival take on some of the developments at Nintendo in the past nine years.