After the events on Tallon IV, the Galactic Federation hired Samus Aran to locate a missing squad of Federation soldiers on planet Aether. A severe lightning storm caused Samus to crash her Gunship into a crater. When exploring her immediate surroundings, she quickly finds the missing soldiers – they’re all dead, killed by strange creatures shrouded in dark energy. Samus discovers a portal which transports her into a dark and hostile version of the same place she had just been in. While trying to find her way back, she witnesses a bizarre doppelganger version of herself: Dark Samus – feeding on Phazon!
After finding her way back to Light Aether, Samus encounters U-Mos, a Luminoth native to planet Aether. He tells her about the meteor that struck Aether and split it into two dimensions. The Ing, vile creatures from Dark Aether, have crossed over to the Light Aether and stolen the Light Crystals that are the planet’s energy source, creating an imbalance that threatens to destroy the planet. Samus agrees to fight the Ing and restore balance to Aether to save the planet from destruction. But what about that doppelganger, Dark Samus? Another dangerous mission awaits…
METROID PRIME 2: ECHOES, released in 2004 for the Nintendo GameCube, directly built on the foundations laid by the first game. Its core gameplay foundation was so strong that the team felt confident enough to introduce a twist in the way players navigate the world. Taking inspirations from The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Samus can travel between two parallel worlds, with one affecting the other. The Dark Aether’s health-draining atmosphere meant that each journey to the other side would fill the player with dread and create tension in the hunt for safety spots. The ability to deal greater damage with Dark and Light Beams in the opposite worlds meant that ammo became a scarce and valuable resource. This duality and interplay between both sides created a wholly unique adventure for Samus in which the ultimate goal is not destruction but restoration.
This was also the first METROID game to feature a multiplayer mode. Up to four players could face off locally via splitscreen in six arenas to fight for domination in Deathmatch or battle for coins in Bounty Mode.
METROID PRIME 2: ECHOES was developed by Retro Studios under the supervision from Nintendo. Mark Pacini was the game director, with the engineering team now led by Frank Lafuente. The music was again composed by Kenji Yamamoto. Kensuke Tanabe and Kenji Miki served as producers for Nintendo.