Drunken Thoughts – Blizzard Games

No, not games made by Blizzard, but games I used to play during blizzards or similar snowstorms. The most recent actual blizzard reminded me of the older days when I was younger and had a snow day from school. Sure there was usually lots of shoveling to do, but having snow everywhere, shutting down the town meant after the work was done I was free to do whatever I wanted, provided it was in the house.

Most times this meant I’d have a few uninterrupted hours to play whatever game I was currently working on at the time. One that pops into my head every time I’m out shoveling is Metroid Prime, particularly the area called Phendrana Drifts. As you probably guessed, it’s a snow/ice area. The music, embedded above, is pretty awesome and captures the area pretty well. It’s a fairly wide open area full of snow, and the only shelter from the storm outside is inside an icy labrynth.

Metroid Prime as a whole was a bit of an anomaly, with Retro Studios taking one of Nintendo’s franchises and taking it in a radically different direction than its predecessors. But that wasn’t really why it was an anomaly, I call it that because the game was incredible. Metroid, a 2D sidescroller moving to a full 3D first-person shooter, it sounded like a bad joke. Then it released and the world rejoiced.

The combat worked well, the graphics for the time were solid, the exploration aspect was even better thanks to the 3D and first-person perspective, and the soundtrack fit the entire time. New aspects like being able to scan various objects in the world gave lore about the surrounding area or a hint as to how to open the next area or solve the current puzzle. You grew addicted to looking for more things to scan, after blowing up all the enemies in the area first of course.

I remember the scene where Samus first enters the Phendrana Drifts: she walks in and just takes in the scenery, how big the area was and how oddly peaceful it seemed thanks to the snow. Once the scene ended and the game returned to first-person mode, you got to take it all in yourself and explore to your hearts content. The music topped all that off with a song that sounded vaguely christmas-like, very winterish, and just alien enough to keep you from relaxing too much.

Sure it sounds a bit strange to enjoy an area like that so much after shoveling snow in the freezing cold for a few hours, but hey, I had the day off from school. You bet your ass I was taking advantage of it.

Also this blizzard gave me an excuse to talk about Metroid Prime, so thanks Juno.

– Jimizzle

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