Metroid Prime Hunters was just about the first game early Nintendo DS adopters played, in the form of a ‘First Hunt’ demo that was a teaser of what was to come. Since then, we have heard nothing but ecstatic rampage for this game to be hurried and completed – well it has been a year after the initial demo, after all. Now Samus Aran is back on your handheld, and in 3D form too, rejoice! Has the wait and the hype been all worth it in the end?
We would answer with a huge resounding ‘hell yeah!’ right now, but that would be telling all too early. The point is, you know Metroid Prime Hunters is going to be good, simply because it’s been touted as the console’s first-generation killer-app title. Better late than never, but the accolade still stands. The story takes place around the Alimbic Cluster, in the Tetra Galaxy. The extinct race that once lived there (called the Alimbics funnily enough – hyuck!) were known as powerful and knowledgeable beings, of which said power had been long sought after by bounty hunters around the universe.
These hunters don’t apparently have very far to start looking, as a mysterious telepathic message from the Cluster has told them that the secret to ultimate power lies within the region. Fearing the worst, the Galactic Federation (probably borrowing a Star Trek outpost by Rigil 4) calls the help of heroine Samus to find out what all the fuss is about.
And you can fuss in style. There are various control methods that can make your shooting life easier – two different modes designed for either left and right handed players. You can either use the face buttons to move around and look about, or use the d-pad/face buttons to move and the touch screen to aim. The shoulder buttons make you jump or fire, depending on configuration, and you can easily switch between standard mode and morph ball modes by tapping a little icon in the corner of the bottom screen.
The scan visor remains and is an interesting addition to understand weak points on enemies and the background to the game’s storyline. Aside from that, there are no real visors to speak of compared to the GameCube Metroid outings, but then again the DS is already faithfully recreating so much from its home console big brother, right down to the splendid graphics.
The presentation within the game, both in terms of looks and sound, is simply gorgeous. Aside from a case of un-anti-aliasing, you would be mistaken for thinking this could be a GCN title. Background music accompanies the levels and gives an atmospheric feel to the game. As with all DS games, this is best played with headphones if you want the full aural experience. Multiple enemies can start attacking you all at once, and we only experienced the tiniest of slowdowns when the console is trying to handle a hefty duel between several opponents. If any game proved the hidden power and strengths of a Nintendo DS, then surely this is it.