Review by andymancan1

"A good game, but it doesn't live up to the hype"

PROS: Good variety of enemy hunters; new story; authentic Metroid feel; graphics are great for the DS; good selection of ammo; online play

CONS: Controls are hard to get used to; level design isn't the greatest; boss battles are recycled; not as much fun as it could be

The DS harbors the latest port to the Metroid series. Metroid Prime: Hunters is not as good as its GameCube counterparts, but it's still good enough to be playable- if you can get used to the controls.

That's the main problem with this title. You use the stylus on the bottom touch screen to look around on the top screen, but you can change it to the ABXY buttons. You can either jump by tapping the screen twice quickly or with the ABXY buttons. You fire with the L button and move with the D-pad. As you can see, the controls will give anyone a headache, especially since you need to use the touch screen to change into a ball or change your gun. There's just too much going on in the touch screen, and the aiming isn't very easy. Luckily, you can change the resistance to fit your style. It's quite weird because the touch screen is underused in other DS titles.

Now, this game is has a different plot than the other Metroid Prime games. Samus doesn't lose all of her abilities in the beginning, so you don't have to kill things to get them back. You do get to kill things in this game, but there really isn't much variety of things to kill. You see, there was some strange signal from a galaxy where life really isn't known to exist, and Samus is sent to retrieve some “special power” for the federation. Of course, she's not the only one after it. Six other bounty hunters are after it as well, and none of them take kindly to Samus. You'll be fighting these six a lot- Kanden, Weavil, Spire, Noxus, Trace, and Sylux. Each has their own abilities and weapons, adding great variety into the game. However, all of the enemies that you'll encounter in this game use these same weapons, and you can use all six once you get them. Basically, more depth in the enemies column could be added, because there isn't much depth to the rest of them, and you'll be fighting the same type of creatures over an over again. The plus about it is that you can have eight different weapons, which adds more depth to the fighting. You can easily do a 1-shot KO if you can find each enemy's weakness and use a charge beam. All of these six weapons use the same kind of ammo, and your total capacity can be expanded, as can your missile inventory.

Samus can still transform into a ball and lay bombs. You have to tap an icon on the touch screen to turn into the ball, and then press L in order drop a bomb. You'll be using the L button a lot because the controls are so awkward. The morph ball form is only used in certain instances, but it controls pretty well. This makes the Metroid feel authentic. And that's a plus.

Since you'll encounter the same six thugs a lot, the game also throws in boss battles- two in every level. You see, each boss holds a special “octolith”, a key to the treasure. Every time you die by the hands of another bounty hunter, they'll take an octolith from you. You'll have to kill them again in order to get it back. The only way to obtain an octolith in the first place is to kill a boss. For some odd reason, only you can kill these bosses. The other hunters won't do it. That makes little sense. And these boss battles aren't what they could be. There are only two different bosses, and you'll just fight a higher-level version of the one you fought earlier. That blows. One thing that was good about Metroid Prime 1 and 2 was that there was incredible depth to the boss fights. That plant thing early in Prime 1 still gives me headaches. The bosses here will, too, maybe just out of boredom because you're thinking, didn't I already kill this thing? You did, but it's back.

Now, there are four different planets here. The level design is so you can get back to your ship after retrieving an octolith in a certain amount of time. There are warp devices that only work when you're not transporting a freshly-obtained octolith back to your ship. Since the levels are quite small, this eliminates the backtracking that caused issues in Prime 1 and 2. This is good. However, the level design isn't built as well as it could be because it's built around this.

There are plenty of upgrades for you to find here, and they're not as well-hidden as on Prime 1 and 2. It's because the levels are quite small. You'll still have to use your head and your scan visor (which is accessed through the touch screen, too) to figure out how to kill something or lower a shield.

A really good thing here is the online play. With the DS' Wi-Fi capabilities, you can go online and play as any of the 7 hunters featured in this game- a major plus. This adds quite the variety to the game. If only they could've let you play as one of the other six in the 1-player.

This is a pretty good game; it just isn't what it could've been. I recommend renting it first to see if you like it. Don't bother paying $35 if you don't think you'll like it. Since the touch screen is overused, it can cause serious head pains at first. But once you've gotten beyond the controls, there's a pretty good game in there, worth going through all the way at least once. It just doesn't live up to the hype. Metroid Prime: Hunters gets a 7 out of 10.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 07/31/06

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