Wed. Nov 30th, 2022
Metroid Prime Locations
Image: Nintendo Life

Note: The embedded YouTube content in this article will naturally contain encounter footage of some of the bosses in Metroid Prime, including the final boss. If you’ve never played the game, please take this as a spoiler alert!

(Besides, have you ever played Metroid Prime!? *shakes head for a few minutes*)

Metroid The series is well known for its incredible locations, including the likes of Norfair, Ataria, and Kraid’s Lair. When the series moved into the 3D realm with Retro Studios’ Metroid Prime, it introduced some of the franchise’s most iconic locations that fans adore to this day.

As the game celebrates its 20th anniversary, we thought it would be interesting to take a look at all of the major locations in Metroid Prime and rank them from worst to best. We have them all except for a few minor locations like the Sunken Frigate. Don’t forget to vote for your favorite in the poll at the bottom of the page and share your favorite memories of the game (and your thoughts on our personal rankings) in the comments section.

But enough talk, let’s set our visors to scan and inspect every spot in the masterpiece that is Metroid Prime…

9: Magmoor Caves

Ah, Magmoor Caverns… probably the only area in Metroid Prime that we actively dislike.

It looks absolutely great, but the major downside of taking damage whenever you touch lava is a lot of pain in the back. There are also no boss encounters in Magmoor Caverns; instead we just get a whole boatload of Magmoor creatures squirming and shooting fire. Although, having said that, the explosion of a stalactite from the ceiling that will land on their heads is pretty damn funny. Also, the music is very cool.

8: Artifact Temple

The Temple of the Artifacts is one of the smaller locations in Metroid Prime, though one of the most important, if not particularly memorable.

Visually, it’s a cross between the naturalistic elements of Tallon Overworld and the architecture found in Chozo ruins. This is where Samus fights the legendary Meta Ridley after collecting all 12 Chozo Artifacts, and it’s one of the coolest boss fights in the entire game.

It’s a pity that the area as a whole was so small, because we would really like to spend more time exploring it. In its current form, it is disappointingly limited.

7: Glacier One (Phendrana Drifts)

Like the Temple of the Artifacts, Glacier One is more of a location within a location. Location-perceptionif you will be. [Nah, you’re alright, ta. – Ed]

It is located in the Phendran Drifts and serves as a research facility for the Space Pirates. This is where you will face the legendary Metroid enemies for the first time, as well as some truly brutal space pirates.

It’s a great little place, but it’s pretty low on our list due to the fact that it relies on action rather than exploration; it’s basically one big fight after another, with little room for respite in between. That’s not exactly what Metroid is about!

6: Tallon Overworld

The Tallon Overworld is the first “main” area in Metroid Prime, and naturally it’s also one of the prettiest, showcasing the GameCube’s superb visuals (at the time, at least). It is essentially a gateway to other locations in the game and serves as a good tutorial to introduce Samus to smaller and more docile enemies.

Unfortunately, there aren’t any major boss encounters in Tallon Overworld, short of the plate beetle, which is more of a minor sub-boss to be honest. Points deducted!

5: Impact crater

The Impact Crater is the last main area in Metroid Prime, and another relatively small one, but it contains an incredible final boss, so we especially remember it. There’s a whole bunch of Phazon here, a radioactive substance that plays a key role in the entire Prime trilogy, and its presence makes for some truly beautiful views.

You will also encounter many mutated Metroids known as “Fissioning Metroids” and your skills will be put to the test. This is a strong end to a great game.

4: Phazon shafts

The Phazon Mines have the same visual style as the aforementioned Impact Crater, but are naturally a much larger area with three main levels to explore. It is overrun with space pirates, including elite pirates and omega pirates, making this area one of the hardest areas in the game by a wide margin.

However, once you’re here, Samus will power up pretty much, so it makes exploring both fun and challenging in equal measure.

3: Chozo Ruins

The Chozo ruins have a bit of a desert theme, with lots of sand lying around and a whole swarm of giant beetles. It’s a densely populated area filled with secrets to discover and tunnels to roll through like an ever-delightful morph ball.

The standout boss in the Chozo Ruins is undoubtedly the intimidating Flaagra, although the HiveMech proved to be more frustrating than fun.

Speaking of fun, here’s a fun fact: The Chozo Ruins, especially the main square, was the first major playground built for the game. It is also the largest, with 63 rooms in total. We really like this one!

2: Space Pirate Frigate “Orpheon”

As the starting location for Metroid Prime, the Space Pirate Frigate remains one of the most memorable locations in the entire trilogy.

Taking control of Samus after she jumped off her ship is a revelation, not to mention the graceful handling of the Morph Ball. As a location, it pairs with visual narrative cues, from broken doors to the rotting corpses of Space Pirates.

He doesn’t overdo his hospitality either, ending on a high note with a great boss encounter against the Vermin Queen and a race against the clock to escape when Frigate falls apart. What a great first place.

1: Phendrana Drifts

Phendrana Drifts is without a doubt the best location in Metroid Prime. It’s rare that we consider a snow theme to be our absolute favourite, but how good it is!

Just like the opening Space Frigate area, the first step in Phendrana Drifts is unforgettable. Music, snow, lighting; it’s simple beautiful. There are also some great creatures and boss encounters here, including Shegoth and Tardus, as well as some really outstanding morphoball puzzles.

To be honest, we could live quite happily here if not for the fact that we would probably die in a few short moments. There is always a catch.