Metroid Prime: Hunters (Nintendo DS) Preview

By Rory W. Renehan 15.08.2004 2

Now that the DS has reached completion it's time to focus on making the games as well designed as possible to maximise the features of this new revolutionary console, while still attaining the quality of gameplay we have grown accustomed to. Nintendo also has to use these games to set examples for every DS developer out there and show them what its new baby can do. These games help make the decision between whether the DS is a revolutionary, innovative piece of machinery or just a cheap dual-screened gadget. With only three months to go until the Nintendo DS' American launch, Karn Spydar Lee Bianco and Rory Renehan take a look at some of the Big N's in-house DS software projects.

Pushing the DS to its graphical limits it's the multiplayer Metroid we've all been waiting for. The game is based on the GameCube's 'Prime' series and as such delivers stunning visuals that bear more than a striking resemblance to original Metroid Prime. Whether good or bad the game so far is the DS version of the multiplayer Metroid Prime 2 will include. Ok we know what you're thinking, how will the game incorporate the touch screen into an FPS? So let us take a moment to explain the controls. Movement is done with the D-Pad: Strafing with left and right and movement with forward and backward, then the L button is used to lock onto a target, (here's the genius) aiming, rotation and shooting uses the touch screen and stylus. Dragging the stylus around the screen moves Samus to face in the respective direction, this "mouse look" in theory offers more accuracy but we will need to see how sensitive it is in play before passing judgment. Shooting is performed by tapping the screen, and as you tap faster your rate of fire increases. There is also a button on screen to be tapped to initiate morph ball mode.

Screenshot for Metroid Prime: Hunters on Nintendo DS

The game runs on a slightly lower frame rate then the GameCube game but doesn't suffer for it as the game doesn't feature any of the flash special effects of its big sister. Having said that, the game still looks marvellously impressive for a handheld title, especially a multiplayer one. The game will also make excellent use of the machines wireless capability for its multiplayer usage, especially since details of a single player are very sketchy so far. No doubt the game will have many multiplayer modes apart from the shown death match, and should contain a competent single player too.

Screenshot for Metroid Prime: Hunters on Nintendo DS

Apart from the opining sequence which shows a full body shot of Samus over 2 screens, the second top screen has only been used to contain a map. Frankly this is rather disappointing for a game that makes such good use of the touch screen and wireless capabilities. This also validates claims that the second screen will be used as a gimmick to hold a map or inventory screen. Nintendo have yet to release any information but we don't see them using the dual screen as much else to be honest. The inclusion of map will no doubt be helpful in a death match, but more ideas could be implemented. Our ideas for the map screen include the ability to make decoys which show up on opponents maps, or to have map blackout and distortion devices, power ups could be collected to turn you invisible to map detection. All things considered though, the game looks extremely slick and looks able to run surprisingly smoothly even with the polished GameCube like visuals, combine this with wireless 4 player Samus on Samus action and you have the makings of a multiplayer classic, that we cant wait to play.

Screenshot for Metroid Prime: Hunters on Nintendo DS

Use of dual Screen: 2/5
We were tempted to give this a 1 but a map screen should be useful especially against 3 other human opponents. A little disappointing at fist but we are sure the idea will be expanded.

Use of touch Screen: 4/5
Although we have yet to get a feel of the game, the opportunity for accuracy and freedom of movement is to good not to pay attention too. There are fears that holding the DS and using the stylus could be uncomfortable but we are sure these fears are unfounded.

Use of Microphone: N/A
Very few games so far have yet to use the microphone and apart from using it to communicate with other players it really doesn't have much use here.

Use of Wi Fi: 5/5
A necessity for this game. 4 player Samus battles at 200 meters is more than enough to make this game one of the best uses of the Wi Fi function yet.

Screenshot for Metroid Prime: Hunters on Nintendo DS

Final Thoughts

The Metroid series has always been one of Nintendo's best, just not as well recognised as the likes of Mario and Zelda. That was until the arrival of Metroid Prime on the Cube anyway, and this looks set to continue the stage of excellence that was provided by the original Prime!

Developer

Nintendo

Publisher

Nintendo

Genre

First Person Shooter

Players

4

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  10/10 (62 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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