Unforeseen by the Chozo who had colonized Tallon IV, a meteor descended upon the planet and brought with it a Great Poison. The Artifact Temple was built around the Impact Crater in an effort to contain the spread of its poison, and was sealed with the Cipher, a mystical lock made up of twelve sacred relics called Chozo Artifacts. Sealing the crater worked to some extent, severely slowing Phazon corruption throughout the planet, but the spread could not be completely stopped.
The main chamber of the Artifact Temple is the location of the twelve mystical pillars requiring twelve Chozo Artifacts, known collectively as the Cipher, to open a path to the meteor impact site. These Artifacts were scattered throughout Tallon IV to prevent access to the source of the poison from falling into the wrong hands. Clues regarding their location were left in the original Chozo language to guide the one who would be worthy of recovering them. When Space Pirates came to Tallon IV in search of Phazon, they attempted to rupture the seal held in place by the Artifact Temple and enter the Impact Crater. Though the Space Pirates managed to acquire some Artifacts and discover their function, the vast majority of the relic remained hidden, much to their aggravation. They eventually discovered that they key to recovering the Artifacts was translating the messages carved into the twelve pillars in the temple, but their language databases were inadequate to the task and they ultimately failed.
Once Samus arrives on Tallon IV and finds all twelve keys, she brings them to the Artifact Temple to enter the Impact Crater and destroy the source of the poison. Before the passage can be opened, however, Meta Ridley attacks Samus and destroys the twelve totems. A battle ensues and Samus defeats him with the help of the Artifact Temple's defense system, which manifests itself with a red glowing in the eyes and etchings of the Chozo Statues of the temple, and he presumably dies. This, however, is proven untrue in later games.
After the defeat of Meta Ridley, there appears to be no way to activate the transport in light of the destruction of the pillars. Unexpectedly, twelve Chozo Ghosts appear and take the place of the totems, causing them to reappear ethereally, and they activate the transport to the Impact Crater.
After Samus has infiltrated the Impact Crater and destroyed Metroid Prime, the Crater begins to collapse and the Artifact Temple is destroyed by a number of explosions.
Samus removes her helmet and surveys the destruction from her ship, and then flys away.
The Artifact Temple consists of a security station that connects it to the Overworld, a long hallway, and the main chamber. The main chamber branches left and right with a horizontal window overlooking the courtyard directly before the entrance, but the right hallway is obstructed by rubble. The Chozo Lore entries "Contain" and "Prophecy of Light" can be found here, one in each direction, and where the hallways would've converged but for the obstruction opens up into the courtyard where the Cipher lies. The Artifact of Truth rests in the center of the courtyard and the research entries for the other eleven Artifacts can be scanned here.
After the confrontation with Ridley, the totems are missing and are replaced by a single, blue beam of light that acts as the transport to the Impact Crater.
Available Logbook Entries
- Artifact of Truth
- Artifact of Chozo
- Artifact of Wild
- Artifact of World
- Artifact of Lifegiver
- Artifact of Strength
- Artifact of Nature
- Artifact of Sun
- Artifact of Elder
- Artifact of Spirit
- Artifact of Warrior
- Artifact of Newborn
- Chozo Lore (Binding) (NTSC)
- Chozo Lore (Statuary) (NTSC)
- Chozo Lore (Contain) (PAL/Trilogy)
- Chozo Lore (Prophecy of Light) (PAL/Trilogy)
- Meta Ridley
The Artifact Temple hovering over the Impact Crater
- "None know if our temple, the Cradle, will prove powerful enough to contain this evil forever. How can we Chozo hope for it to remain intact when that which it guards writhes in the darkness, growing always stronger? The fate of this world rests with the gathering of Artifacts we call Cipher, but even it is not all-powerful. It is strong, yes: an enchanted whole made of twelve links. Still, it is finite in its reach, and we who guard it are slowly succumbing. When our vigilance crumbles away into madness, the Cipher will be exposed and the fate of Tallon IV will be beyond our influence." —Chozo Lore "Cradle" - PAL version (Metroid Prime)
- "Unforeseen by sages, a meteor came as if from nowhere, casting a dark shadow of debris over the land with the violence of its impact. Its destructive force spent, the fallen star burned itself out rapidly, and the incident should have faded into memory...but the meteor brought with it corruption. A Great Poison burst forth into the land, a strange energy that clawed at natural life with a ferocity that seemed almost sentient. Bound by our ignorance of this phenomenon, we Chozo could only watch in horror as this dark force slowly began to spread across the surface of Tallon IV." —Chozo Lore "Meteor Strike" - PAL version (Metroid Prime)
- "The containment of the Great Poison... This task has fallen to the Chozo, and we will not flee from our duty, even as we suffer with the land and its creatures. We will pour our will into the Twelve - the Artifacts that, when brought together, form the lock that holds this great evil at bay in the depths of the planet. This lock must stand up to all who might come to assault it. To preserve the power of the seal, and to protect it from those who would meddle for their own designs, we will spread the Artifacts across the land, hiding them from prying eyes. The lock must never open until the day comes when this disaster can finally be put right." —Chozo Lore "Contain" - PAL version (Metroid Prime)
- "The power of our temple has been enough to halt the spread of the poison on Tallon IV, but whether the evil can ever be truly destroyed is not for our eyes to see." —Chozo Lore "Shining One" - PAL version (Metroid Prime)
- "We have come to another dead end. It is clear now that we will never discover the locations of the Chozo's artifacts until we can decipher the messages carved into the statues in this abominable temple. Our language databases are woefully inadequate, and our linguistic analysts can come up with little more than vague theories. The best hypothesis we can offer is that finding the artifacts will require items spiritually linked to the Chozo civilization. However, without these items, we are lost, and Command grows more impatient by the day. Results must be produced soon." —Space Pirate Data "Artifact" - PAL version (Metroid Prime)
- "Field team reports are in on an aged structure of alien design built on the surface of Tallon IV. Studies show this structure projects a containment field. This field bars access to a prime source of energy within a deep crater. Science Team believes the field is powered by a number of strange Chozo artifacts. Studies for possible resting places for these talisman have begun. As the field could hinder future energy production operations on Tallon IV, we must dismantle it as soon as possible. If this means the destruction of the Chozo Artifacts, it will be done." —Space Pirate Data "Artifact Site" (Metroid Prime)
- "Although we are no closer to finding the artifacts of the Chozo, we have at least produced a viable hypothesis for their function. It appears that each of the artifacts corresponds to one of the statues on the temple platform, and that each one acts as a small key to a huge lock. Judging by the number of statues, we assume there must be twelve artifacts. Once we find the resting spots of all twelve, we can bring them here, unite them with their statues, and open the gate system at long last. Once we do, the impact crater - and whatever creature it shelters - will be ours for the taking." —Space Pirate Data "The Key" - PAL version (Metroid Prime)
- "Analysis continues on these cursed ruins and the Chozo temple that hovers near them. We are now completely certain that the containment field denying us access to the impact crater is linked to strange artifacts that belong in the temple... but we are no closer to finding them or deciphering the riddles that seem to cover every wall of this ruined place. Command grows increasingly anxious for a resolution to this matter, so we must redouble our efforts. X-ray squads will begin terrain sweeps within days - until they begin, patrols are instructed to report any and all architectural anomalies to their commanders." —Space Pirate Data "Gate System" - PAL version (Metroid Prime)
- "We have come to believe that a time may never come when we can once again open the door and banish the darkness we've contained. Even so, our vigilance will forever remain. We believe that on some far-off day, a savior will come and continue what we have begun. For that savior, we will leave our ancient weapons and armor - the soul who can gather them will be the Entrusted One, the only being who can reverse the evil that grows here." —Chozo Lore "Entrusted One" - PAL version (Metroid Prime)
- "Artifact of Truth" —Scan Data (Metroid Prime)