impresses with their FPS DS title, but would you expect
anything less? by Cole
24, 2006 - Metroid
Prime: Hunters is an impressive first-person shooter
for the DS. It's takes you to far away worlds where
the search for the eight octolith artifacts will pit
you against some of the most dangerous bounty hunters
in the universe.
Prime: Hunters has been a long time coming. It was
definitely worth the wait because this is one solid
game that is not only packed with action, but also
loaded with features. It's got a great single-player
mode in addition to local and online multi-player
modes such as King of the Hill, Capture the Flag,
Deathmatch and Prime Hunter, in which one person tries
to hold on to the title of Prime Hunter while the
other players track him or her down in an effort to
take the title.
Aran is the main playable character. She's a skillful
but viscous bounty hunter clad in an armored space
suit which obscures the fact that she's a girl. This
is important to some gamers out there that have a
difficult time assuming the role of a chick. She's
hot on the trail of collecting powerful artifacts
known as octoliths. There is one on each planet that
she visits but she's not the only one after these
prized treasures. Other bounty hunters are eager to
get their hands on these artifacts which hold the
secret powers of the universe. Samus will do battle
with these rival bounty hunters using various futuristic
weapons. If she wins the fight she wins the artifact
and must vacate the planet within a given time limit,
for some reason which is never fully explained. If
Samus loses the fight she has to relinquish her collection
to the victor. She can only recover her lost artifacts
when she encounters and defeats this bounty hunter
later in the game.
far as the controls are concerned, they do take some
getting used to but they do provide a great deal of
flexibility and precision. There is no lock-on targeting
system but the targeting reticle remains relatively
stable while you're gunning and running. It's fairly
large so you can usually retain some part of the enemy's
body in its scope. The stylus can be used for aiming
your weapons and while it may seem awkward at first
and you may be tempted to change it to the D-pad,
it's really the way to go. You will most likely want
to map your movements to the D-pad as opposed to the
face buttons which is what you'll have to use if you
don't go with the stylus. The shoulder buttons fire
the weapons and double tapping on the touch screen
allows your character to jump. Once you get used to
this system you will probably prefer it to dual analog
sticks because it brings you in closer to the action.
The feel is tighter as the interaction is immediate
of the action takes place on the top screen, with
the exception of the cutscenes which use all available
screen space. During actual play the bottom screen
will display a directional radar, stats and a weapon
interface, leaving the top screen clear of clutter.
Taking your eyes off the top screen to check your
position or change weapons can cause you to take some
hits. Even when using the stylus you can accidentally
change weapons by moving it over an unintended icon.
Each planet sports different terrain. There is an
ice planet, a lava planet, one with an abandoned research
facility and one that features ancient ruins. These
planets aren't exactly rich in detail and they tend
to be similar in construction. For the most part the
graphics are low-res and the further away you are,
the worse they look. There are elements of Doom where
you will travel down corridors where you will encounter
enemies, puzzles and locked doors. Some of these doors
you won't be able to open with your present weapons
so you'll have to do some backtracking until you locate
more advanced ones. There's not much chance of getting
lost in this game. Even though you're on a huge planet,
you are forced down linear paths that take you directly
to your fate. With only the occasional path branch
there's very little freedom of choice for exploration.
weapons use different energy systems that include
lasers, beams and plasma. Along with bombs you'll
also have deadly missiles at your disposal. You can
find new weapons, upgrades to existing ones and energy
tanks along the path. You also have the ability to
morph into an armored ball which will come in handy
for navigating some mazes. Alternative forms such
as the morph ball allow you different abilities both
offensive and defensive.
are a variety of multi-player modes that can be accessed
locally or online. If you're looking for a fast, random
online game the only mode available is Deathmatch.
More multi-player modes are available online but you
have to input your friends' codes to access them.
It's a bit of a hassle in many ways, but when the
stars align, it can be very, very good. The game will
keep track of stats such as kills, favorite weapons
and favorite characters and alternate forms. You can
communicate with friends online through voice chat
or text messaging but it's confined to the lobby.
Once the game is underway all communication is ceased.
All of the multi-player modes can be played locally
with the wireless system. You can play as any of the
hunters featured in the single-player game but you've
got to unlock them in that mode first. The online
gameplay is tight with only the slightest hint of
slowdown. Otherwise, like the single-player mode,
it's extremely solid.
Prime: Hunters is a welcome addition to the DS. This
is one system that is kicking ass as far as support
goes. The online multi-player component is just the
icing on an already deliciously rich cake. A must-purchase
for shooter fans.
your skills against a slew of enemies in single-player
training modes like Regulator, Survival and Morph
up to four friends in the wireless multiplayer mode,
featuring three elaborate battle arenas.
control schemes take full advantage of the DS touch
screen, giving all gamers an ideal way to play.
the power of Samus Aran's high-tech weaponry, including
the Missile Launcher and Lob Gun.