Metroid Prime: Hunters DSi and DS Lite
DSi and DS Lite
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Metroid Prime: Hunters Product Details
Released on 05/05/2006
Today, for the first time in centuries, the long-dormant Alimbic System is stirring, delivering strange tidings. A telepathic communiqué, originating in Alimbic Cluster, has downloaded into the brains of some of the most exceptional beings in our galaxy. The message translates into a thousand different languages on a thousand different worlds. But the message always is the same: The secret to ultimate power resides in the Alimbic Cluster.
This message has intrigued and enticed some of the most formidable bounty hunters in the galaxy to make the long journey to the Alimbic Cluster, each of these great warriors motivated by a different reason. Some desire power for themselves, or for their planet or people, while others simply have a relentless desire to hunt, or to kill, along with a fierce determination to prove themselves the best bounty hunter in the galaxy. Now, it's a race against time to see which bounty hunter will triumph over the others, who will discover the secret behind this promise of ultimate power.
The Galactic Federation has heeded this strange, suspicious communication as well, and has called for the help of Samus Aran. Her mission: to discover the truth about this mysterious message, to protect against a potential threat, and to keep the Alimbics' ultimate power from falling into the wrong hands.
- Compete in a series of action-packed arenas.
- Try out at least three modes of play, with game-play features similar to Deathmatch and King of the Hill.
- Link wirelessly with up to three friends.
- Six new bounty hunters, including Noxus, Spire and Kanden, fight against Samus in both single-player and multiplayer modes.
- All hunters have their own unique back stories, weapons (from sniper beam to mortar to shotgun) and fighting styles (i.e. stealth, melee, sniper, etc.).
Deep-space exploration as Samus hits DS
It's been a long wait for Metroid Prime on DS. When Nintendo first announced its new dual screen console, Hunters was at the forefront of the publicity wave; Samus Aran's GameCube-style first-person viewpoint being pushed heavily as the game to sell the system's potential. And then we had the hardware release, with its free bundled demo of the game's work-in-progress playable build. First Hunt gave a decent indication of what to expect from the series on the new handheld and let early DS adopters get their hands around a stylus-controlled FPS interface for the first-time, but was still just a small sample of Nintendo's over-arching ambition.
Well, now it's finally here. The final product. The finished article. And it's good. Very good - although not without its fair share of compromises from its bigger GameCube brothers.
First, that control system. Ostensibly, there's two ways of moving Samus. Of these, Stylus Mode is going to be the widely preferred option, allowing for speediest head movement and thus more precise aiming, while Dual Mode puts the ability to look up, down and turn left and right on the facia buttons. In both modes the D-Pad is used for movement - forward and back, plus stepping side to side - and the triggers employed to fire.
Dual Mode is the more comfortable of the two variants, but will only really appeal to those who can't get their head around using the touch screen. And for those that like the stylus but find supporting the DS with just one hand to be problematic (or just downright painful), there's always the thumbstrap option, which is perhaps the fine medium between the two control schemes.
This new Metroid feels a lot more like a first-person shooter than either of its more adventuring GameCube relations.
The effect of the DS controls is that this new Metroid feels a lot more like a first-person shooter than either of its more adventuring GameCube relations. There's no lock-on, and typical FPS principles like circle-strafing and duck-and-cover gameplay are all enabled once the intricacies of the controls have been mastered - although that's not to say Stylus Mode users won't still have the odd problem. The fact that inventory management is also housed in small panels on the touch screen make it an unavoidable fact that even the most skilled Hunters player will occasionally switch weapons when they don't mean to. This can be not a little annoying in the middle of a firefight, but given the way a first-person Metroid control scheme has been made to work on the much smaller machine, it's an acceptable evil.
In truth, the same could be said about the game's visuals. Nintendo have always been quick to downplay the DS's 3-D capabilities, perhaps aware the PSP's superior power could make them look slightly silly if they began boasting the dual screen console's N64 quality graphics - but that only makes Metroid Prime an even more surprising technical feat.
We're honestly hard-pushed to remember an N64 game that looked this good while still playing so well; running at 30 frames per second and throwing in lighting effects from time to time that we'd never have expected to see on the DS. Admittedly, the frame-rate can slow in busier instances, and areas are more angular than similar ones on GameCube, but then that's to be expected, and rarely renders proceedings less than perfectly playable.
Hi-tech Billy the Kid
The game's story is mostly incidental as an ongoing narrative, but does serve to set the scene for the adventure at hand. Samus finds herself tasked with exploring a set of planets and space stations in an area of space known as the Alimbic Cluster, and tracking down eight Octoliths which hold the key to unearthing a cryptically-referenced Ultimate Power. Honestly, it's your usual Nintendo Sci Fi nonsense that soon gives way to typical Metroid conventions; scanning areas using your visor, solving puzzles, making ridiculous jumps, curling up into a morph ball ever so often, and fighting gun battles like a hi-tech Billy the Kid.
Specific battles in the game are what give it the subtitle Hunters. Samus isn't the only one after this Ultimate Power, and if you meet and face defeat at the hands of a rival hunter, you'll be tasked with tracking them down later in the adventure in order to retrieve the Octolith they'll take from you.
DS owners should be excited; Metroid Prime: Hunters offers a one-of-a-kind first-person handheld experience.
These battles with rival Hunters do serve to break up play and add variation to what is, by the series' standards, a fairly linear adventure. Hunters has only a small amount of the backtracking present in the GC titles, which streamlines the play and prevents frustration, while still managing to weigh in at an impressive 15-hour adventure. However, Samus' abilities are all present and correct from the beginning of the game, meaning that slow build of augmentations and the novelty of new skills in an ongoing capacity is sadly absent.
Because of this, the game feels less exploratory and more one-dimensional; a feeling only emphasised by the boss battles, which tend to repeat one of two forms multiple times. Moreover, once a boss is defeated you'll get the typical Metroid race-against-time run to safety - except, in Hunters, the area doesn't explode afterwards; you'll find there's really little reason to have hurried so fervently back to your ship.
Another proud entry
Thankfully, the multiplayer mode does what the singleplayer mode doesn't and actually improves on the GameCube version. Be it online through a Wi Fi broadband hotspot, or using the wireless linkup play, Metroid Prime Hunters presents a comprehensive array of modes, arenas characters with which to do battle. From variants on capture the flag and king of the hill, to straight-up deathmatches and the juggernaut-style Prime Hunter mode, it's an enjoyable shooter package that will certainly give gamers an incentive to master the stylus control scheme - and for those with skint mates, there's even four-player download deathmatch play.
In summing up, then: Despite a few negative aspects to the singleplayer story, DS owners should be excited; Metroid Prime: Hunters offers a one-of-a-kind first-person handheld experience. It looks great, controls smoothly and boasts an incredible level of attention to detail, while a slight repetition of design doesn't offset the sheer technical feat of a playable handheld Metroid, or its monumental first-person multiplayer offering. It's an altogether excellent all-around first-person title, and yet another proud entry in the console's growing library of must-play portable classics.
- Two intuitive and tight control methods
- Involving, authentic Metroid Prime singleplayer experience
- Excellent four-player online or wireless multiplayer offering
- More linear than the GameCube Metroids
- Samus' ever-present abilities make the game's pacing a little off
- Unintentionally changing weapons with the stylus in the middle of a firefight
Metroid 3DS on the way?
If you've already finished Metroid: Other M, the brilliant Wii-exclusive sci-fi action game, and you're itching for further adventures of intergalactic bounty hunted Samus Aran, help is potentially on the way. A very unlikely source has suggested that there's a new Metroid game planned for Nintendo's forthcoming 3DS handheld.
Eurogamer's reporting that the story started with TV legend Jonathan Ross, who was replying to a Twitter follower who said that he was hoping for a Metroid game to be announced at Nintendo's 3DS press conference that's scheduled for this Wednesday.
Ross, who's expected to host the event, said, "I think you're going to be pleased then..." Hmm. If there is a new game in the works, the smart money's on Metroid Dread, which is a project that's apparently been in development for a long time, with Advance Wars creators Intelligent Systems, and Metroid daddy Yoshio Sakamoto behind it.
You can count on us to bring you any news of Metroid - and all other 3DS reveals - following this Wednesday's big news splurge. In the meantime, though, it's worth remembering that Jonathan Ross has been right before. He is, after all, the man who accidentally announced the existence of Fable III on Twitter a while ago.
When we finally get our grubby mitts on Bioshock Infinite in 2012, you can thank a certain caped crusader for some of the game's structure. That's because Ken Levine, head honcho of developer Irrational Games and Bioshock creator, has admitted that 2009 blockbuster hit Batman: Arkham Asylum tickled his creative reflexes and made him reconsider some of the choices he made in the original game.
Talking to Eurogamer, the man responsible for seminal PC game System Shock confessed that he was impressed with the way Arkham Asylum changed things around whenever the story took the player back through a previously explored location.
ne of the things that's great about Arkham Asylum is that it's similarly structured to BioShock in some ways but also one of their great innovations is when you come back through an area they establish an entirely different narrative he said.
"I think we're very much inspired by that. In BioShock 1 we just had respawning when you came back through an area, so I think when we put you back through an area we want to do it in a way that feels different and meaningful."
A true Bioshock sequel with a Metroid-style gameworld that evolves as you move through it? Next year can't come soon enough.
Metroid Prime: Hunters (27/04/2006)
Deep-space exploration as Samus hits DS
It's been a long wait for Metroid Prime on DS. When Nintendo first announced its new dual screen console, Hunters was at the fo…
A very unlikely source has suggested that there's a new Metroid game planned for Nintendo's forthcoming 3DS handheld.…
When we finally get our grubby mitts on Bioshock Infinite in 2012, you can thank a certain caped crusader for some of the game's structure. That's because Ken Levine, head honcho of developer Irration…
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