Note: The YouTube embeds shown in this article will contain footage of some of the boss encounters within Metroid Prime, including the final boss. If you’ve never played the game, take this as your spoiler warning!
(Also, you’ve never played Metroid Prime!? *Shuts mouth and shakes head for several minutes*)
the metroid The series is well known for its incredible locations, including Norfair, Ataria, and Kraid’s Lair. When the series moved into the 3D realm with Retro Studios’ Metroid Prime, it featured some of the franchise’s most iconic locations, adored by fans to this day.
With the game celebrating its 20th anniversary, we thought it would be fun to look at each major location in Metroid Prime and rank them from worst to best. We have them all here, except for some 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 of the game (and your thoughts on our personal ranking) in the comments section.
But enough talk, let’s set up our viewers to scan and review every location in the masterpiece that is Metroid Prime…
9: Magmoor Caverns
Urgh, Magmoor Caverns… perhaps the only area within Metroid Prime that we actively dislike.
It looks absolutely gorgeous, but the big downside to taking damage every time you hit the lava is massive pain in the rear end. There are also no boss encounters to speak of within Magmoor Caverns; instead we just have a boatload of Magmoor creatures moving around and shooting a huge amount of fire. Although, with that being said, popping a stalactite from the ceiling so that it falls on their heads is pretty fun. Also, the music is pretty good.
8: Temple of the Artifact
The Artifact Temple is one of the smaller locations featured in Metroid Prime, though it stands out as one of the most important, if not particularly memorable.
Visually, it’s a bit of a cross between the naturalistic elements of Tallon Overworld with the architecture found in Chozo Ruins. It’s here that Samus takes on the iconic Meta Ridley after collecting all 12 Chozo artifacts, and makes for one of the coolest boss encounters in the entire game.
It’s a shame that the area as a whole was so small, because we would have loved to spend more time exploring it. As it is, it’s disappointingly limited.
7: Glacier One (Phendrana Drifts)
Like the Temple of the Artifact, Glacier One is more of a location within a location. location-ceptionIf you want. [Nah, you’re alright, ta. – Ed]
It is located within the Phendrana Drifts and acts as a research facility for the Space Pirates. Here you meet iconic Metroid enemies for the first time, along with some truly brutal space pirate enemies.
It’s a great little location, but it ranks 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 about!
6: Tallon’s Overworld
Tallon Overworld is the first “main” area within Metroid Prime, and as such is also naturally one of the most beautiful, showcasing the excellent GameCube visuals (at least at the time). It’s essentially the gateway to the game’s other locations and serves as a good tutorial area, introducing Samus to smaller, tamer enemies.
Unfortunately, there are no major boss encounters within Tallon Overworld, unless you count the Plated Beetle, which to be honest, is more of a minor sub-boss. Discounted points!
5: Impact crater
Impact Crater is the final main area within Metroid Prime, and it’s another relatively small one, but it’s home to the incredible titular final boss, so it’s particularly memorable for us. There’s a lot of Phazon located here, the radioactive substance that plays a central role throughout the Prime trilogy, and its presence makes for some seriously beautiful sights.
You’ll also encounter a bunch of mutated Metroids known as ‘Fission Metroids’, and your skills will 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 naturally it’s a much larger area, with three main levels to explore. It’s teeming with Space Pirates everywhere, including Elite Pirates and Omega Pirates, making this area one of the toughest in the game by a wide margin.
However, once she’s here, Samus will have been strengthened to a considerable degree, so she makes exploring enjoyable and challenging in equal measure.
3: Chozo Ruins
Chozo Ruins has a bit of a desert theme, with lots of sand and lots of giant beetles. It’s a dense area, full of secrets to discover and tunnels to roll through like the always delicious morph ball.
Chozo Ruins’ standout boss encounter is undoubtedly the fearsome Flaahgra, though Hive Mecha turned out 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 to be built for the game. It is 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, Space Pirate Frigate remains one of the most memorable areas of the entire trilogy.
Taking control of Samus after she jumps from her ship is simply eye-opening, not to mention the exquisite morph ball controls. As a location, it’s paired with visual narrative clues, from broken doors to the rotting corpses of space pirates.
He doesn’t stay too long on his welcome, 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 apart. What a great first location.
1: Phendrana Drift
Phendrana Drifts is the best location in Metroid Prime, hands down. It’s rare that we consider a snow-themed area our absolute favorite, but that’s how good it is!
Just like the Space Frigate starting area, walking into Phendrana Drifts for the first time is simply unforgettable. The music, the snow, the lighting; it’s just handsome. It’s also home to some great creature and boss encounters, including Sheegoth and Thardus, and some really standout morph ball puzzles.
We could live very happily here, to be honest, if it weren’t for the fact that we would probably die in a few short moments. There is always a catch.