Review by wolverinefan
"What could have been a halfway decent title is ruined by bad controls."
My first introduction to Samus and the Metroids was way back on the SNES. I don't think she had an N64 game. She finally came back on the Gamecube with two titles in the Metroid Prime series. I only played the first of those and I wasn't very impressed and is the reason I skipped its sequel, Echoes. I also wasn't overly impressed with the demo for Metroid Prime Hunters but I signed up with a through the mail game rental service and needed a game to go with Star Fox Command. I picked Metroid Prime Hunters for some odd reason. While I am happy that I got to play the game and decide for myself if it's worth owning or not I am glad that I didn't buy it....
Samus arrives on X planet for whatever reason. New Hunters are after whatever she is. She must get the stuff before the other Hunters. There might be more but I really don't remember. Nintendo seems to forget that these days some people prefer a hint of a plot and maybe some character development. I know the others ones didn't have much of a plot but come on this game not only forces you to revisit some planets 3 times but even some of the non-Hunter bosses come back in Version 2 forms and yes it does say that after their name...
Graphic wise the game looks nice. Everything is 3D and while the rooms all feel dead and empty they look alright. I did find the game to be slightly grainy in look though. The cut scenes would have looked a lot nicer if it wasn't for the fact that they are very grainy. If you can't do, then don't do it because obviously the DS can't handle 3d cut scenes without making them grainy. Graphics aren't everything and the game looks good enough in game wise but good lord I pray someone learns how to do some good non-grainy CGI, I'm looking at you Final Fantasy 3!!!
Sound wise I wasn't impressed either. Music is alright and reminded me of any Metroid game. There is no voice acting and the sound effects are what you'd expect. Really, it doesn't do anything exciting and it didn't want me to put my headphones on. It's not terrible though, just not all that grand either.
Ah, control. Perhaps the biggest downfall of this title. I will admit that I start the game using the D-Pad and A/B/X/Y buttons to move and aim. I didn't want to try the stylus. However, this setting is limited with aiming and feels more grid based than anything else. This makes it harder to hit those smaller enemies and even get headshots. I then tried the stylus and while it gave me much better aim my hand locked up after just a few minutes of play. It also has an odd stuttering effect when using the stylus to aim. The game also offers switched around controls for those left handed people. I just felt like the game really didn't have the perfect control setup that worked. Jumping ad shooting is on with the X/Y/A/B setting but I found it to be a total pain when using the stylus. I don't think I've played a game yet on the DS that caused me almost instant pain with its control layout. It's hard to turn with the stylus and try and hit A to jump and having someone firing at you. The hand cramping didn't help either.
Prime Hunters plays out like the 3D titles on the Gamecube. Samus runs through empty corridors to end up in a room, open a door, go through a corridor, enter room and wash and repeat for 4 hours. I realize why the game needs to have you go into the corridors but it grows tiresome. The worlds are fairly large but thank god Nintendo forces you to revisit the planets 2-3 times in the game. Seriously, why make us replay areas instead of just giving us something new. Oh wait, this is Nintendo and they don't know what the word "new" is without ruining an entire series, look at Star Fox Command.... This game actually makes me want to go back and replay Super Metroid and makes me wonder if it's out on the GBA or something or if I should just buy the SNES cart. Either way I haven't enjoyed this empty corridor Metroid at all.
The game has a few moments of platforming but nothing to hard. I found the enemies to be rather generic, even the bosses excluding the Hunters. It just wasn't exciting to kill slow witted and bland looking enemies. To be honest there isn't much else to the game. You do need to switch visors via the bottom screen. Your other visor allows you to scan items which you need to do to most doors to find out how to open them. You can also scan all enemies, computers and other small items that might be in a room. Not that it changes or anything, the items are always in the same place but everything is so barren that it isn't hard to miss something. I did have trouble figuring out a few stupid things, like how to save. How did I know I was supposed to scan my ship?
While we're on this matter let me just say that it kind of blows that the enemies don't come back after killing them and the rooms and hallways remain empty. It's a bad thing because you have to travel all the way back to the ship to heal, if you didn't grab any health drops. Of course you can use a warp if you find one and that saves time but it all seems kind of silly having to go back to your ship to save and heal. Oh and back to those health drops, what is up with a boss dropping some or a random enemy dropping some and by the time you reach it its vanished from the room. Seriously, health drops shouldn't vanish they should just linger. This caused me many problems early in the game.
The game also has power ups hidden. Carry more missiles. Get more health. The odd thing is that I was suppose to get 100 more units of life but it didn't seem that way and I seemed to die just like normal. Of course I must be doing something wrong or read it wrong or something. Oh and I may have forgotten to mention this before but besides your gun, you can charge it by the way, but you also get missiles which are a pain to aim and Samus can roll into a ball to fit into small holes and she can drop bombs in that form.
Metroid isn't a long game either. Between 4 and 5 hours long. There is a good amount of stuff to find and collect but the rewards don't make it worth it. The game also features online play which is the reason everyone loves the game but I can't use it so oh well. Besides that the game doesn't offer much else so if you can't play online I guess it isn't worth playing the game. From what I understand though about the online play is that it offers the same basic modes that most first person shooter titles offer but the Hunters all have their own traits and Its only 4 players at a time but when doing local battles it can all be done with one cart. Online also features microphone use and I believe offers 7 different types of modes and what not. So it seems like everything was glanced over in favor of online multiplayer which seems to be another trend currently.
Rent or Buy? I guess buy if you like the series and can play online. I wasn't thrilled with the end results and would say a rental, maybe if you're interested but from what I can gather it's worth picking up if you're into the whole online thing. I like when a game has more attention put into its offline mode instead of the online. I also found the control to be unsatisfactory with all setups. The game isn't terrible, but it isn't all that great either as a game. It's just like any other random FPS. I have yet to play a better than average FPS on a handheld system. Coded Arms was decent enough on the PSP and I had no control issues but it lacked any and all substance and replay value. I think I could have gotten a lot more enjoyment out of Metroid Prime Hunters if the control had been even a little bit more acceptable but it isn't and this is a game that will never be added to my collection.
Story - 2/10
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 5/10
Control - 6/10
Game Play - 6/10
Replay Value - 9/10
Final Score - 6/10
Reviewer's Score: 6/10 | Originally Posted: 09/15/06
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