Reviewed by Jimmy| 08.17.06
Metroid has come along way since its North American release in 1987. Nintendo's leading lady Samus Aran has been in some great adventures over all of Nintendo's game systems, to her latest endangerment on the Nintendo DS. Influenced by Metroid Prime on the Gamecube; Hunters is a portable version of the big boy which should subtend nicely until Samus Wii debut.
Samus Arans adventure in Metroid Prime: Hunters revolves around a lost civilization of the Alimbics. The gameplay should be familiar to Metroid veterans as it blends the typical Metroid exploitation with blasting on the way. Both elements are present in Hunters, but there is a slight tilt towards the shooting aspect this time around. The background story on Metroid Prime: Hunters is fairly complex and is heavy into its own Sci-Fi lore. You can play through the game without being too concerned or involved in the story, click and shoot right? This could be considered a downside, but in the end it's the gameplay that is the main factor and you'll be happy to know it is spot on.
Whats a Alimbic?
If you're really interested in the plot here is the general rundown on the story behind Metroid Prime: Hunters. The Alimbics where a highly evolved society which was destroyed by a meteor which carried an evil creature named Gorea. This Gorea creature crushed the Alimbics except for a few who transformed themselves into telepathic energy and sealed the best in a magical Sphere. The keys to this Sphere are lost and as a bounty hunter Samus is on a search for the keys and the guardians who guard the Gorea incased Sphere. Yea, it's all a bit crazy, and totally confusing, but if you want to nerd out there is a chance. For followers of the game series Metroid Prime: Hunters falls after Metroid Prime and before its sequel Metroid Prime: Echoes.
Controlling Samus will take a few moments to get used to, and maybe a few more if you're new to the Nintendo DS. Moving around is done using the touch screen along with the D-Pad. Along with controlling the vertical and horizontal viewing with the bottom touch screen is a radar and buttons to switch modes. I think the buttons could have been mapped out a little better, but once you get used to it, the default scheme works. You will probably have to give yourself a few minutes to get the ins and outs of controlling Samus before you jump into battle.
There are six areas in Metroid that you will cover started off by a space station then you cross over to various locals in the Metroid galaxy. The environments are really nothing too special and have that same old Metroid feeling to them. Really, who would have expected anything else from this portable version. Along with levels, weapons are a strong point to the Metroid series and in Hunters you will can find and use nine weapons. Starting with standard Power Beam and Shock Coil and working up to the dangerously insane Omega Cannon. Everything is in good balance and delivers the standard levels and weapons you would expect.
The Multiplayer features in Metroid Prime: Hunters step into new territory with the Nintendo DS because it's the first game to enable the voice chat feature. The VOIP is very cool and just another neat element that adds a more internet Live feeling to the portable. Also in the cool category is the Hunter's License score card which breaks down your stats and displaces how you've been fairing online with rundown on thing like head shots, kills and favorite weapon.
For Multiplayer modes we have the basic modes like Battle (deathmatch) and Survival and the capture the flag-esq Bounty. There is also a King of the Hill type game called Defender, Nodes an exploring type game, and a way point capture mode simply called Capture. Lastly and most interesting is the Prime Hunter mode in multiplayer where you have to eliminate the player who has the enhanced powers of Prime Hunter, and the winner is the person who stayed alive the longest. As you can tell the multiplayer has highly focused upon by Nintendo. The modes rival any console game and it is good to see the multiplayer section wasn't an after thought added to the main game. The multiplayer really shines in Metroid Prime: Hunters with great game modes and some cool extra features.
A little Frustration
So what's bad about Metroid Prime Hunters? Well, the game can be a little over frustrating because objectives aren't always clearly laid out and the controls can add to the frustration. Also, I've never been a fan of regenerating enemies and in Metroid Prime they all have nine lives. I say; unless it is a special character built around a story, ditch the regeneration part next time.
Metroid Prime: Hunters is a good game all around although the single player mode can get very repetitive. It's understandable given it's just a shooter, but I think a little more creativity would helped in the level design area. Other then that Metroid Prime is solid and offers up a good adventure, and for those who are getting a little bored with the mission, hop on the multiplayer and frag some friends.
Metroid Prime: Hunters is a nice expansion to the console version of Metroid. Nintendo DS fans along with Metroid fans will be happy with the expansive multiplayer side of Metroid along with a solid FPS experience in the adventure mode. You really can't go wrong with Metroid Prime: Hunters it's a must have for DS owners.
Gameplay: 8, Graphics/Sound: 7.5, Innovation: 8, Mojo: 8.5. Final: 8 / 10