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North America Details
Release Date: March 20, 2006
Genre: First-Person Action
Players: Single Player, Up to 4 players
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Dec 10 2012 11:02 PM
Metroid Prime: Hunters takes place between the games Metroid Prime and Metroid Prime 2. The Galactic Federation receives a telepathic message saying that the key to "ultimate power" resides in the Alimbic solar system. They transmit this signal to Samus Aran and ask her to investigate the matter, however, 6 other bounty hunters intercepted this signal and want to claim this key for themselves. Some wish to protect it from falling into evil hands while others want it for their own selfish desires.
The graphics in Metroid Prime Hunters are obviously not quite as good as the Gamecube duality that came before it. Things are a little bit pixelated, but overall this is a great looking game. The effects are still very much present, such as fogging of the visor. It's certainly just as immersive as the others in the series, even if it is handicapped by a handheld.
In the story mode of Hunters, you may freely travel between 6 different planets and stations. The goal is to find all the octoliths, which are the keys spoken of in the telepathic message. The problem is that the other hunters are also looking for them. If you encounter another hunter, which can happen almost any time after the initial discovery battle with that hunter, you must fight them off before continuing. Occasionally, you will have to fight them in order to take an octolith they have found. Overall, the system works, but it can become a bit annoying. This game is also much more action oriented than previous Prime games. You will still do plenty of exploration and item collecting, however.
This game can be a bit daunting to control at first, but you will get used to it eventually. Either shoulder button made be used to fire, while you aim using the stylus by moving it on the radar of the touch screen HUD. This means you will be holding your DS with a single hand. All of the controls for changing to morph ball, switching weapons, etc, are located on your touch screen HUD. At first, your hands will become tired, but they will grow used to this system over time.
The main draw to Hunters is multiplayer. I know that may be shocking, as Metroid has long been a solo experience (with the exception of Prime 2's minimal multiplayer mode). The multiplayer in Hunters actually surprised me! Nintendo made a very in depth system. You may change your screen name, keep track of your stats, and add friends (via friend code) or enemies (via request after matches). There are a plethora of match types, from standard death match, team death match, capture the flag (or octolith, rather) and many more. You can even chat with other players, but this can only be done while in the lobby and only if you have them added by friend code. I understand the friend code part, but why no in game chatter? Unless you're playing with your buddies in the same room, you cannot communicate during the match to tell your team mates where enemies are or share strategies. It really would have added to the game, I think.
In multiplayer, you may be any of the 7 hunters. Each Hunter has his or her own personalized HUD and visor as well as a special weapon. While any character can pick up and use any weapon, the weapon will only has its special effect if used by the appropriate hunter. For example, any player may use the Tesla Coil as a great distance weapon to keep enemies at bay, but when used by Sylux it also steals their health and adds it to your own. Each hunter also has their own unique morph mode, and a few have other special talents. For example, Spire can walk through lava without taking damage.
With multiple game modes, 7 different characters, and 26 maps this game rivals console shooters such as Halo. Even now, in 2012, the game has an active online community and it is easy to find a match. But be warned, you may want to find a dedicated community on the internet and just play with them. If you don't, you're likely to encounter a whole heaping helping of people cheating with action replay devices.
Metroid Prime: Hunters is a great example of what Nintendo can do when they really put their minds to something. I hope that Nintendo makes a game with this much online content again sometime in the future. They also did a wonderful job of translating an established console series into a portable form. With an active online community, and a cheap price tag, it's hard not to recommend this game to anyone with a DS system who is looking for a great multiplayer experience. It's hard to recommend it for the single player, however, as you are unlikely to come back to it once you have beaten it and unlocked all stages and characters for multiplayer use.