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Erm, hold up a second. Actually there are some issues that may cause you to have doubts. Firstly, boss battles. When you start a new single-player game of MP:P, you can choose to play a single table or to kick off a multi-mission adventure. Choose the latter, and you’ll find that hitting certain targets in order gives you the option to – in true Metroid style – fly off to another world. On these worlds the tables are simpler, but they’re centred around a larger boss baddie who needs to be hit many times to finish him off. Dispense with him and you’ve cracked the table, at which point you can choose to do it as a single ball time trial in single-table mode. This is all well and good, but you can’t help thinking that the boss tables simply aren’t as entertaining as the regular tables. And while I’m moaning, I really ought to mention the wall-jump bonus stages, where you get Samus leaping from wall to wall for points by timing alternate presses of the shoulder buttons. Sorry, Samus, but your vertical hopping antics are nothing more than an unwelcome distraction from the pinball fun.
Most worrying, however, is the content, or rather the lack of it. Ignoring the boss battle tables, MP:P only gives you a grand total of two proper, fully-featured tables. That’s about two less than we expect from a full-priced pinball game, particularly when the themes and play-styles don’t actually differ much between the two. There is a third available, but only in the multiplayer mode, and this itself is a little unusual. Up to eight players can compete using just one cartridge, but rather than a traditional three-ball, high-score mode, the multiplayer game is all about getting to 100,000 points first. As the table itself isn’t as well-designed or feature-packed as the single-player efforts, it’s unlikely to keep a group entertained for more than a few hours.
Now, you could argue that MP:P has enough single-player rewards to keep the cartridge in your DS for weeks. Complete every table, collect 12 ‘chozo artefacts’ and defeat every boss in multi-mission mode, and you unlock an additional boss battle. Finish this, and there’s an expert difficulty mode. However, given the fact that the boss battles are the least entertaining part of the game and the regular tables the most, you can’t help thinking that the whole balance of the game is off. In fact, I’d even go so far as to suggest that playing the single-table mode is a more enjoyable way to play the game.
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