Indiana Daily Student

Hunting with a stylus

One of the longest awaited Nintendo DS titles, "Metroid Prime: Hunters" dates back to an early tech demo shown when the DS handheld debuted in 2004. Improved substantially from that early version, the game still serves to demonstrate the capacity of the DS, boasting some of the best 3-D graphics and online capabilities of any title on the system. \n"Hunters" utilizes the DS touch screen to ape the popular and precise mouse aiming control configuration of PC first-person shooters, as opposed to the more sluggish "dual analog" controls most console shooters employ. While this precision aiming signifies a departure from the classic "Metroid" recipe, it truly works well in "Hunters'" fast paced multiplayer bouts, which feel more in the vein of "Quake 3: Arena" or "Unreal Tournament" than anything "Metroid" related. \nIt should be noted that getting a handle on the touch screen-based aiming takes practice and can really cramp hands during extended sessions. Seven playable "hunters," each with unique abilities and an alternative form, prevent the multiplayer from growing stale. Up to four DS owners can compete with only one cartridge between them, but this restricts character selection to Samus and limits gameplay modes to death-match only. With multi-cartridge play, players can compete in a variety of modes with any unlocked character, and allows the addition of AI bots to fill in missing player slots. \nWhen played online, Hunters features stat tracking, friends and rivals lists, a match making system for finding similarly skilled opponents and even voice chat. Unfortunately, the voice communication can only be activated before the start of games created by players on your friends list. Allowing more than four players to compete at once would have also helped bolster the action. \nFor fans of the Nintendo GameCube "Metroid Prime" series, Hunters includes a lengthy single player campaign. While far from feeling "tacked on," the level and puzzle design falls short of the outstanding GameCube predecessors. All in all, however, the single player is fulfilling. \nWith a combination of traditional "Metroid Prime" feel and blood pumping multiplayer, wrapped up with some polished production values, "Metroid Prime: Hunters" is easy to recommend to fans of the GameCube series and first-person shooter deathmatch fans alike.

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