Throwback Tuesday 6/10: Metroid Prime Hunters

Metroid Prime Hunters is a 3D platformer for the Nintendo DS that involves finding upgrades, shooting down aliens, and not dying (of course). Admittedly, this is the first Metroid Prime game I have ever played, and I’ve only ever played two (the second being Metroid Prime 3: Corruption), so I cannot compare this game to any of its prior installments.

Before the official release of Metroid Prime Hunters, there was a “demo” version of the game known as Metroid Prime Hunters: First Hunt. This demo version consists of three types of games: Regulator, Survivor, and Morph Ball. Regulator consists of earning as many points as possible (you earn points by shooting enemies) in ten minutes or until your health runs out. Survivor consists of getting as many kills as possible before dying. Morph Ball consists of rolling around in Morph Ball mode and collecting tokens in a sequence until time runs out. This prototype, which had wireless multiplayer capabilities, merely scratched the surface of the game’s overall potential.

In the actual game Metroid Prime Hunters, there is a solo and a multiplayer mode. The multiplayer is what really got me into the game; you can play as Samus or one of the six other bounty hunters featured in the game (Sylux, Trace, Noxus, Spire, Kanden, Weavel) and there are numerous multiplayer options (although the free-for-all was the only one that appealed to me at all). Unlike First Hunt, which is exclusively wireless in multiplayer, the real deal allows you the option of fighting bots (that is, AI-controlled players) or anyone online. The online play was quite a charm until people started hacking DeathAlts out of nowhere. (A DeathAlt is a power-up that locks your character in alt form, grants invulnerability, and allows you to kill anything you touch.) Before then, it was basically a Team Fortress 2 before I had Team Fortress 2.

The charm of online play was being able to toy with the bounty hunters, their weapon repertoires, and, best of all, their alt forms. The types of weapons available (besides the Power Beam, of course) are missiles (Samus’ main weapon), Battlehammers (Weavel’s), Judicator (Noxus’), Volt Driver (Kanden’s), Magmaul (Spire’s), Shock Coil (Sylux’s), and Imperialist (Trace’s). Missiles fire straight at blinding speed and home if charged, Battlehammers travel in an arc and don’t charge, Judicator rounds bounce off of surfaces and freeze targets if charged, Volt Driver obscures target’s vision when charged, Magmaul sets targets on fire when charged, Shock Coil drains HP at close range, and Imperialist is the de facto Sniper Rifle of Metroid Prime Hunters.

As for their alt forms, Samus turns into the famous Morph Ball that drops timed bombs, Weavel separates from his pelvis (creating a Sentry Gun with his legs) and walks around on his arms, attacking with jump slashes, Noxus turns into a spinning top and can extend his arm until it hits an enemy, Kanden turns into a worm-like form that drops bombs similar to those of Samus but with the ability to home in on targets that get too close, Spire turns into a jagged rock form that can climb up walls and separate its rocky body into pseudo-fists to attack enemies, Sylux turns into a speedier Morph Ball that can create snares with its first two bombs, and Trace turns into a red spider-like form that charges into enemies for massive damage. Back in the day, the alt form was my only form of attack, and I grew on Noxus because his alt form does not require aim, only movement, and does quite a lot of damage.

The solo mode follows the adventures of Samus and her experiences in exploring alien planets, finding upgrades, and encountering many enemies and the aforementioned fellow bounty hunters along the way. Nothing too complicated, outside of a few odd puzzles here and there, not to mention unlocking the secret final boss by hitting colored objects in a certain order.

Rating: 9/10. I do enjoy platformers and upgrade-based games, but what sets me back from rating it 10 is that it’s a shooter (not really my cup of tea) and that getting 100% requires using the Scan Visor on everything (which is inconvenient if you defeat a boss without having scanned it, meaning you’ll have to start a new game to get 100%).

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