Note: Of course, the YouTube embeds in this article 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 alert!
(Besides, you’ve never played Metroid Prime!? *tuts and shakes head for minutes*)
The Metroid series is known for its incredible locations, including Norfair, Ataria, and Kraid’s Lair. When the series entered the 3D realm with Retro Studios’ Metroid Prime, it introduced some of the franchise’s most iconic locations, which are adored by fans to this day.
With the game now celebrating its 20th anniversary, we thought it would be fun to take a look at each of the main locations in Metroid Prime and rank them from worst to best. We have them all here, except for a few minor locations 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 of the game (and your opinion on our personal ranking) in the comments section.
But enough talk, let’s set our sights to scan and view every location in the masterpiece that is Metroid Prime…
9: Magmoor Caves
Urgh, Magmoor Caverns… perhaps the one area of Metroid Prime that we dislike.
It looks absolutely gorgeous, but the serious downside of taking damage when you touch the lava is a massive pain in the back. There are also no significant boss encounters in Magmoor Caverns; instead we just get a boatload of Magmoor creatures lying around and shooting a load of fire. Although, having said that, shooting a stalactite out of the ceiling to land on their head is pretty funny. Plus the music is pretty good.
8: Artifact Temple
The Artifact Temple is one of the smaller locations in Metroid Prime, though it’s 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 in Chozo Ruins. Here, Samus takes on the iconic Meta Ridley after collecting all 12 Chozo artifacts, and it makes for one of the coolest boss encounters in the entire game.
It’s a shame the area as a whole was so small as we would have loved to spend more time exploring it. As it stands, it’s disappointingly limited.
7: Glacier One (Phendrana Drifts)
Like the Artifact Temple, Glacier One is more of a location within a location. Location receptionif you want. [Nah, you’re alright, ta. – Ed]
It is found in Phendrana Drifts and acts as a research facility for the Space Pirates. This is where you’ll encounter the iconic Metroid enemies for the first time, along with some truly brutal Space Pirate enemies.
It’s a great little venue, but is pretty low on our list due to its reliance on action over exploration; it’s essentially one big fight after another, with little room to breathe in between. Not exactly what Metroid is all about!
6: Tallon Overworld
Tallon Overworld is the first ‘main’ area within Metroid Prime, and as such it’s naturally one of the best looking too, with 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 practice area, introducing Samus to smaller, more docile foes.
Disappointingly, there are no big boss encounters in Tallon Overworld unless you count the Plated Beetle, which is honestly more of a minor sub-boss. Points deducted!
5: Impact crater
Impact Crater is the final main area within Metroid Prime, and it’s still a relatively small area, but it does house the incredible titular final boss, so it’s a particularly memorable area for us. There’s a whole heap of Phazon here, the radioactive substance that plays a central role in the entire Prime trilogy, and its presence makes for some truly beautiful views.
You’ll also encounter plenty of mutated Metroids known as ‘Fission Metroids’, and your skills will really be put to the test. It’s a strong ending to a magnificent game.
4: Phazon Mines
Phazon Mines shares much of the same visual style as the aforementioned Impact Crater, but of course it’s a much larger area, with three main levels to explore. It’s full of Space PIrates everywhere, including Elite Pirates and Omega Pirates, making this area one of the hardest in the game by a fair margin.
However, once you get here, Samus will have become significantly stronger, so it makes exploration both fun and challenging in equal measure.
3: Chozo Ruins
Chozo Ruins has a bit of a desert theme, with lots of sand lying around and lots of giant beetles. It’s a dense area full of secrets to discover and tunnels to roll through as the ever-delightful morph ball.
The standout boss encounter of the Chozo Ruins is undoubtedly the terrifying Flaahgra, though the Hive Mecha proved to be more frustrating than fun.
Speaking of fun, here’s a fun fact: the Chozo Ruins, specifically the Main Plaza, was the first major area built for the game. It is also the largest, with a total of 63 rooms. We like this one very much!
2: Space Pirate Frigate “Orpheon”
As the opening location of Metroid Prime, the Space Pirate Frigate remains one of the most memorable parts of the entire trilogy.
Taking control of Samus after she jumps off her ship is simply revealing, not to mention the superb morph ball controls. As a location, it works with visual narrative clues, from broken doors to the decaying corpses of Space Pirates.
It doesn’t stay welcome for long either, ending on a high note with a magnificent boss encounter against the Parasite Queen and a race against time to escape as the frigate falls to pieces. What a great first location.
1: Phendrana Anomalies
Phendrana Drifts is hands down the best location in Metroid Prime. It’s rare that we think of a snow-themed area as our absolute favourite, but this is how good it is!
Like the opening area of Space Frigate, stepping into Phendrana Drifts for the first time is unforgettable. The music, the snow, the lighting; it is normal pretty. It’s also home to some excellent creatures and boss encounters, including Sheegoth and Thardus, and some really standout morph ball puzzles.
Frankly, we could live very happily here were it not for the fact that we would probably die in a matter of moments. There is always a catch.