Metroid Prime Trilogy HD Emulation Guide

Last updated 15JUL2022

In this guide we’ll create our own “remaster” of Metroid Prime by upscaling the graphics, adding new textures, and implementing a modern control scheme thanks to a forked version of the Dolphin emulator called PrimeHack.

Getting started

This guide primarily (no pun intended) relies on a forked version of Dolphin called PrimeHack, which has all sorts of Metroid Prime related updates like dual analog (or mouse and keyboard) controls, an adjustable view modifier, and more. PrimeHack is only available on Windows and Linux distros via flatpak on the Discover store. This means that it will work on the Steam Deck (it’s also integrated into EmuDeck). Android-based devices like a phone or the AYN Odin won’t be able to run this program; this guide will focus on Windows PCs and handheld PCs like the AYANEO devices.

For this setup, we’re going to be running the Metroid Prime Trilogy, because it has a few features that will improve the overall game experience (like native support for widescreen without using any hacks) and then you can also play all three games without having to do this setup all over again. So make sure that you have a ROM of this game, either ISO or WBFS file formats are fine.

Download and set up PrimeHack

To start, head to this page. Install this Microsoft Visual C++ Redistributable (x64) if you don’t already have it on your PC, then grab the latest release of PrimeHack Updater. It is possible to just manually install PrimeHack but I prefer PrimeHack Updater because it updates your build (of course!) but also makes it easy to keep a portable version of the app, so that its settings don’t conflict with vanilla Dolphin if you also have that installed on your PC.

Once installed, place the PrimeHack.Updater.exe file in a folder, and also place your Metroid Prime Trilogy ROM file in that same folder. Run PrimeHack Updater, which will download PrimeHack. Click the “Browse” button to navigate to the ROM file. The game name will appear in some sort of Chozo script, don’t worry about it. Next, click the “Portable Mode” option so that it is checked, this will store all of the config and asset files in that same folder. Leave the “Run Game Immersively” option unchecked. Finally, set your Quick Start option (either “Yes” or “Never”); by selecting “Yes” that means every time your run PrimeHack Updater it will boot Metroid Prime Trilogy — choose whatever you prefer (I like “Yes”).

HD textures

There are two types of HD textures available for this game: one that updates the textures within the game, and another that updates the menus and interface. I recommend updating the menus and interface no matter what, and consider the in-game textures if you have space on your PC for it. All told, the entire package (game + all textures) will be about 25GB, but only about half that size if you don’t use the in-game textures.

HD Interface Textures: Head to this page and download the DDS files linked in the first post. Unzip the package and place the R3M folder in the User > Load > Textures folder. You can also take any of the folders found inside the “Extras” folder and place them in the R3M folder as well; these are optional extras like a smaller crosshair. There are readme files inside of each folder so you can read a bit more about each of them.

HD Textures: Head to this page and download the HD texture pack under Files (click “Show Spoiler”) > Trilogy. It will be over 5GB in size. Unzip the file and then place the contents in the User > Load > Textures > R3M folder.

Once you have the textures added, be sure to go into Graphics > Advances > Load Custom Textures > ON.

Controller setup

PrimeHack works with a keyboard and mouse by default, but it can also be configured to use dual analog stick controls. To do so, go into the Gamepad settings and adjust the settings to your liking. The screenshot above is what I have mine set to for the first Metroid Prime using an Xbox controller.

For the beams, I use a combination of R1 + the d-pad directions. Note that when making multi-button hotkeys with a controller in Dolphin, you can press both buttons when mapping the command, but it will register as the “|” key signifying either/or (like in the screenshot above), which means that pressing either of those buttons will active that hotkey. Instead, you want to right-click the hotkey button on screen, select “Edit”, and replace the “|” with “&” to have it behave as a proper “this button + that button” hotkey.

For additional information regarding controls, check out the information posted above, the PrimeHack wiki page concerning controls, or consider joining the PrimeHack discord server for a treasure trove of helpful information and community fun.


– updated Visual C++ package link
– updated Linux (and Steam Deck) information

– updated with new control information

– guide published

8 thoughts on “Metroid Prime Trilogy HD Emulation Guide

    1. I actually hadn’t mapped that one yet because I hadn’t the need for it at that part of the game! I will probably set up a multi-key hotkey for that one, or maybe L3.


  1. I’m trying to do this with a plugged-in Horipad mini for Switch, and despite following your instructions with the gamepad it absolutely refuses to pick it up – are you able to offer any insight as to why? Thanks for your time!


    1. Hi, are you able to use your gamepad with other emulators, like the regular Dolphin? Is there a button combination to put the controller in x-input mode? I often have this issue with 8bitdo controllers, since they can provide different input signals depending on what button combination you press when turning on the controller. The commands are usually nestled in the instruction manuals. Other than that I’m not sure, other than maybe getting one of those USB dongles that can help with compatibility (I reviewed the BIGBIG Won R90 a few months ago, it’s a wired dongle that works well).


  2. Thanks for the guide! I set it up on PC and it runs beautifully. I want to set it up on the Steam Deck with EmuDeck. Can I transfer the Primehackupdater and all the folders with the HD textures straight to EmuDeck? Or am I only able to transfer the rom? I know EmuDeck has its own emulators installed including Primehack already. So I’m not sure if I’m able to transfer over the HD custom textures (and saves while we’re at it). Would appreciate any feedback! Thanks


  3. This is really incredible what they’ve accomplished with PrimeHack! I’m playing now on my desktop PC with Linux and a Steam Controller. The mouse control is just amazing, like a modern FPS.


  4. Great info! I’ve looked around here and elsewhere and cannot find an answer to my question. The Metroid prime trilogy is expensive on disc, but the Wii u shop version is only $20 while the shop is still active. Because Primehacks is a fork of Dolphin, it should be able to recognize and play the .wad file you can dump if you buy the trilogy from Wii u e shop. Have you or anyone else tested this to see if it will run that file, and if it does how it performs on the steam deck? Thank you!


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