Monday, May 08, 2006

VG REVIEW: Metroid Prime Hunters

Nintendo, for Nintendo DS
rated T for Teen (animated blood, vio­lence), $34.99.

When the Nintendo DS made its debut in 2004, it was bundled with a demo version of "Metroid Prime Hunters," a first-person shooter that showed off the touch-screen capabilities of the new handheld console.

Almost a year and a half later, the official version of "Hunters" has finally arrived in stores, a release that is sure to please the many hardcore "Metroid" fans.

Traditionally, most fps games are played with a PC keyboard and mouse or, more awkwardly, with a traditional console controller.

"Hunters" mixes things up by incorporating its unique touch-screen abilities into the controls.

You move your character, bounty hunter Samus Aran, with the D-pad and control the camera by moving the stylus across the touch screen. You fire your weapons by pressing the left trigger.

It is a bit awkward, but for the most part it works surprisingly well. The only time the controls become problematic is in tight firefights. I found it hard at times to get the drop on my opponents when they got up close and personal (you can alter the controls in the game).

In "Hunters," Samus again is on a quest to recover some mysterious object of undetermined power. This time there are several other superpowered bounty hunters with the same goal in mind. Getting your hands on this ultimate power means defeating each one of them in turn.

For a DS title, "Hunters" is a decidedly good-looking game.

Unfortunately, its prettiness cannot hide the fact that you’re still traveling down corridors and dull, boxy rooms that resemble countless other fps games.

In fact, a feeling of familiarity overrides a lot of the fun in "Hunters." It’s hard while immersed in the single-player version to avoid an overall feeling of "been there, done that," regardless of whether you’re talking about previous "Metroid" games or fps titles in general.

Fortunately, there’s a nice multiplayer mode that keeps things from getting too dull. Up to four people can be online in games such as Capture the Flag.

Your enjoyment of "Hunters" is almost entirely dependent upon your love for all things "Metroid" and your willingness to experiment with a unique control system. If you’re willing to look past its cookie-cutter design, "Hunters" will surely entertain.

Copyright The Patriot-News, 2006


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