Note: The YouTube embeds featured in this article will naturally contain footage of some of the boss encounters in Metroid Prime, including the final boss. If you’ve never played the game, consider this your spoiler warning!
(Plus, you’ve never played Metroid Prime!? *kills and shakes head for several minutes*)
The metroid is well known for its amazing locations including Norfair, Ataria and Kraid’s Lair. When the series moved into 3D with Retro Studios Metroid Primeit featured some of the franchise’s most iconic locations, beloved by fans to this day.
With the game celebrating its 20th anniversary, we thought it would be fun to look at all of the main locations in Metroid Prime and rank them from worst to best. We have them all here except for a few minor places like the Sunken Frigate. Be sure to vote for your favorite in the poll at the bottom of the page, and share your favorite memories from the game (and your thoughts on our personal rankings) in the comments section.
But enough talk, let’s set our visors to scan and check every location of the masterpiece that is Metroid Prime…
9: Magmoor Caverns
Urgh, Magmoor Caverns…maybe the only area of Metroid Prime that we actively dislike.
It looks absolutely stunning, but the serious downside of taking damage every time you hit the lava is huge pain in the back. There are also no boss encounters to speak of in the Magmoor Caverns; instead, we just get a shipload of writhing Magmoor creatures firing a charge of fire. Although, that said, blasting a icicle from the ceiling to land on their heads is pretty darn funny. Also, the music is pretty awesome.
8: Temple of Artifacts
The Artifact Temple is one of the smaller locations featured in Metroid Prime, though it is one of the most important, if not particularly memorable.
Visually, it’s a bit of a cross between the naturalistic elements of Tallon Overworld and the architecture found in the ruins of Chozo. It’s here that Samus faces off against the iconic Meta Ridley after collecting all 12 Chozo Artifacts, and it makes for one of the coolest boss encounters in the entire game.
Too bad the area as a whole is so small, as we would have liked to spend more time exploring it. As it stands, it is unfortunately limited.
7: Glacier One (Phendrana Drifts)
Like the Artifact Temple, Glacier One is more of a place within a place. Location-receptionIf you want. [Nah, you’re alright, ta. – Ed]
It is found in Phendrana Drifts and acts as a research center for Space Pirates. Here you encounter iconic Metroid enemies for the first time, as well as some truly brutal Space Pirate enemies.
It’s a great little place, but it comes pretty low on our list due to its reliance on action rather than exploration; it’s essentially one major fight after another, with little room to breathe in between. That’s not exactly what Metroid is!
6: Tallon Overworld
Tallon Overworld is Metroid Prime’s first “main” area, and as such it’s understandably one of the prettiest too, showcasing the GameCube’s excellent visuals (at the time, at least). It’s essentially the gateway to the other locations in the game and serves as a good tutorial area, introducing Samus to smaller, more docile enemies.
Unfortunately, there are no major boss encounters in Tallon Overworld, unless you count the Plated Beetle, which to be honest is more of a minor sub-boss. Points deducted!
5: Impact crater
Impact Crater is the final main area in Metroid Prime, and it’s another relatively small area, but it’s home to the titular incredible final boss, so it’s a particularly memorable area for us. There’s a whole bunch of Phazon here, the radioactive substance that plays a central role in the entire Prime trilogy, and its presence makes for some pretty great sights.
You will also encounter many mutated Metroids known as “Fission Metroids”, and your skills will be well and truly put to the test. It’s a strong end to a magnificent match.
4: Phazon Mines
Phazon Mines shares much of the same visual style as the aforementioned impact crater, but naturally it’s a much larger area, with three main levels to explore. It’s teeming with Space PIrates, including Elite Pirates and Omega Pirates, making this area one of the toughest in the game by far.
Once you’re here, however, Samus will have grown significantly, making exploration both enjoyable and challenging in equal measure.
3: Ruins of Chozo
Chozo Ruins has a bit of a desert theme, with lots of sand lying around and a whole bunch of giant beetles. It’s a dense area, filled with secrets to uncover and tunnels to traverse like the ever-delicious morph ball.
The standout boss encounter at the Ruins of Chozo is undoubtedly the fearsome Flaahgra, though the Hive Mecha proved more frustrating than fun.
Speaking of fun, here’s a fun fact: the Chozo Ruins, specifically the main plaza, was the first large area to be built for the game. It’s also the largest, with a total of 63 rooms. We really like this one!
2: Space Pirate Frigate “Orpheon”
As the opening location of Metroid Prime, the Space Pirate Frigate remains one of the most memorable areas in the entire trilogy.
Taking control of Samus after she jumps from her ship is nothing short of eye-opening, not to mention the awesome morph ball controls. As a location, it associates itself with visual narrative clues, from broken doors to the rotting corpses of Space Pirates.
It doesn’t overstay its welcome either, ending on a high note with a gorgeous boss encounter against the Parasite Queen and a race against time to escape as the frigate falls apart. What a great first location.
1: Phendrana’s Drifts
Phendrana Drifts is undoubtedly the best place in Metroid Prime. It’s rare that we consider a snow-themed area our absolute favorite, but that’s how good it is!
Much like the Space Frigate opening area, entering Phendrana Drifts for the first time is nothing short of unforgettable. The music, the snow, the lighting; it’s just beautiful. It’s also home to some excellent creature and boss encounters, including Sheegoth and Thardus, and some truly exceptional morph ball puzzles.
We could very well live here, to be honest, if it weren’t for the fact that we’d probably die within moments. There is always a catch.