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Metroid Prime: Hunters
A person in a powered exoskeleton aims a weapon toward the viewer.
North American box art
Developer(s) Nintendo Software Technology
Publisher(s) Nintendo
Director(s) Masamichi Abe
Producer(s) Kensuke Tanabe
Shigeki Yamashiro
Robert Champagne
Designer(s) Richard Vorodi
Wing S. Cho
Jonathan Johnson
Michael Harrington
Chris Donovan
Writer(s) Richard Vorodi
Composer(s) Lawrence Schwedler
James Phillipsen
Series Metroid
Platform(s) Nintendo DS
Release date(s)
  • NA March 20, 2006
  • CA March 21, 2006
  • EU May 5, 2006
  • AUS May 25, 2006
  • JP June 1, 2006
Genre(s) First-person action-adventure
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer
Rating(s)

Metroid Prime Hunters (also known as MPH) is a first-person shooter and adventure game for the Nintendo DS developed by NST, a Redmond-based first-party developer for Nintendo, and released on March 20, 2006.

Plot and Characters

Plot

Chronologically, Metroid Prime Hunters takes place in the Metroid series after Metroid Prime and before Metroid Prime 2: Echoes. In the adventure mode, one plays as the primary bounty hunter Samus Aran. In the introduction to the game, Galactic Federation empaths receive a strange telepathic message stating that the key to the "ultimate power" resides in the Alimbic solar system. The Federation commissions Samus Aran, the renowned bounty hunter, to investigate and retrieve (or neutralize) this power. Despite the efforts of the Galactic Federation to encrypt the message, six other bounty hunters picked up the broadcast, proceeding to the system to claim the power as their own.

Upon arrival to the system, Samus finds that the Alimbic society has long since been destroyed. Investigating the two planets and two space stations orbiting the Alimbic sun, she gradually pieces together the history of the race.

The Alimbics were a peaceful, spiritual, highly evolved society. Eventually, the Alimbic utopia was shattered when a meteor struck, and out of it emerged a monstrous creature that they would name Gorea. Gorea copied the cellular structure of the Alimbics, physically mimicking them and their weapons, and destroyed their civilization.

The dying act of the Alimbics was to seal Gorea away until another could destroy it. The entire race transformed themselves into focused telepathic energy, then confined Gorea into a "Seal Sphere" which they placed in a Starship called the Oubliette. The ship was launched into a dimensional rift called the Infinity Void, to be released only when eight keys called "Octoliths" were assembled.

Warding off the competing bounty hunters, Samus retrieves the eight Octoliths from the powerful automated defenses (Cretaphid & Slench) in the Alimbic Cluster, and opens the Infinity Void. Here, she and the other six hunters confront Gorea, who originated the telepathic message in an attempt to free itself. The beast absorbs the powers of all of Samus' rivals. If Samus fulfills a prophecy by shooting switches in a specific order with specific weapons that match their color, Gorea's true form is revealed. Samus manages to defeat Gorea in the final showdown by using the Alimbic weapon called the "Omega Cannon." The Omega Cannon is the true "Ultimate Power" talked about throughout the whole game,not the Alimbuic Cannon. As she along with the other hunters evacuate the exploding Oubliette on their ships, three Alimbic spirits appear before a suitless Samus and honor her with a salute. However, if Samus fails to fulfill the prophecy, Oubliette will explode, but none of the hunters, including Samus, are seen escaping with their ships, most likely meaning that they were killed.

Hunters

  • Samus Aran, the renowned bounty hunter, is the protagonist of the Metroid series. Samus was orphaned as a child, and bequeathed her Power Suit by her adoptive Chozo parents. A favored agent of the Galactic Federation, Samus is often called upon to complete missions that would otherwise be impossible. Samus' exploits include her clashes with the Space Pirates over their weapon of choice, the deadly Metroids. Samus can change into the Morph Ball, a compact sphere capable of dropping energy bombs. Her weapon of choice is the Missile Launcher, which can be made to home in on enemy hunters during combat.
  • A lab experiment gone awry, Kanden is an insane and power-hungry alien of unclear origin. He searches for the secrets of the Alimbics to prove himself the strongest bounty hunter. Kanden can morph into the Stinglarva, a slug-like creature with the ability to drop a part of its tail behind, acting as a missile. His weapon of choice is the Volt Driver, an electrical weapon that is able to disrupt the enemy hunters' visors and distort their vision.
  • Spire is the last of the Diamonts, a silicon based species. He believes finding the power of the Alimbics will help him solve the mystery of what happened to his own race, who have mysteriously died out. Because of his body's rocky composition, he takes no damage from lava. Spire morphs into the Dialanche, a slow boulder-like form covered in spikes, with the ability to climb walls and extend a pair of titanium battering rams. His weapon of choice is the Magmaul, which launches chunks of superheated magma. These latch on to enemies and burn them, causing prolonged damage.
  • A Kriken of the despised Kriken Empire, Trace is undergoing his rite of passage into adulthood, during which he searches for a planet that the Krikens can invade, and ultimately conquer. He can transform into the Triskelion, a three-legged insectoid creature that attacks viciously by lunging forward and slashing anyone in his path with his razor sharp claws. Also, he cloaks in this form when he stays still. His weapon of choice is the Imperialist, a powerful sniper rifle with a scope. He turns nearly invisible using this item while standing still.
  • Noxus is a Vhozon bounty hunter and something of an overzealous "law enforcer". He seeks the Alimbics' ultimate power in service of justice, and intends to keep it safe from evil hands and the unworthy. His alternate form is the Vhoscythe, a spinning top with an extendable blade that can be used to damage adversaries. Noxus' weapon of choice is the Judicator, which is a weapon somewhat similar to Samus's own Ice Beam, except that it is able to bounce off of walls. When charged, it freezes enemies for a brief amount of time.
  • Little is known about Sylux except that he hates the Federation, and Samus Aran by association. His armor, equipment, and ship are all stolen Galactic Federation technology. He transforms into the Lockjaw, a small hovercraft that deploys bombs with electric tripwires. His weapon of choice is the Shock Coil, which rapidly drains energy from enemy hunters. In the 100% ending of Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, a ship which is possibly the Delano 7, Sylux's ship, follows after Samus.
  • Weavel, a Space Pirate general, was once left for dead by Samus after a battle on Brinstar. Only his brain and spinal cord remained intact, which the Space Pirates effectively attached to a mobile life support system and Weavel was reborn as a cyborg. It is unknown where his loyalties lie, though he remains with the Space Pirates as long as it suits his interests. Weavel changes into the Halfturret, in which his body splits in half. The upper body moves freely on its hands, attacking with a jumping, slashing move. The lower body remains stationary, acting as a self-sufficient gun turret. His health is shared between both halves of his body, leaving him very vulnerable in this state. His weapon of choice is the Battlehammer, a crude but effective rapid-fire weapon said to be quite popular among Space Pirates.

Gameplay

[[Image:MetroidPrimeHunters screen.jpg|thumb|right|Screenshot of ''Metroid Prime Hunters'']] The Metroid Prime series is often grouped into the first person shooter (FPS) genre, although Nintendo prefers to describe these games in the more specific sub-genre "first person adventure", to illustrate the uncommon focus on navigation and discovery. Metroid Prime Hunters made this distinction much narrower with the removal of assisted aiming, more action-oriented gameplay, and the inclusion of multiplayer modes which are popular in FPS games. Many players favor Metroid Prime Hunters' controls over the controls of Metroid Prime or Metroid Prime 2.[citation needed] This is because while most other console FPS games use the left analog stick to move and the right analog stick to aim, Metroid Prime 1 and 2 use the left analog stick for both. However, Hunters uses the stylus for aiming. This gives the players more of a sense of freedom while playing.

The top screen displays the view from the character's visor, including ammo for the current weapon and health. The bottom touch screen displays the radar. Using the default control scheme, movement over land is controlled using the D-pad, and aiming is controlled by dragging the stylus along the touch screen. The L button fires the weapon, and double-tapping the touch screen executes a jump as does pressing A, B, X or Y. Buttons on the touch screen are used to switch between weapons, visors and alt-modes. In most Metroid games, the functions of Samus' Power Suit must be obtained one at a time over the course of the game, but most such functions in Hunters are available from the start (including the Morph Ball and Missile Launcher) with the exception of the alternate beam weapons. The game is also compatible with the DS Rumble Pak.

Locations

Celestial Archives

The Celestial Archives is a partially ruined data archive space station in orbit directly above Alinos, housing the combined knowledge of Alimbic scholars, scientists, and historians. The Celestial Archives contains the Volt Driver and the Shock Coil.

Alinos

A once-beautiful planet home to Alimbic Elders, the planet's core exploded and all of the surface was drenched with lava, but all of the buildings remain and are mostly undamaged. Most of its surface is covered with lava, with cities dotted around it. This planet houses the Alimbic Cannon (not an actual weapon, it opens the alternate dimension holding the Oubliette) and the Magmaul.

Vesper Defense Outpost (a.k.a. VDO)

This small base far off in the Alimbic Cluster once operated as a refueling station. Subzero temperatures were used to prevent overheating, but structural failure left the station frozen with toxic fuel and was abandoned. The outpost was the Alimbics' defense and weapons facility, and contains many inactive bioweaponry mechanisms. The Battlehammer weapon is located here.

Arcterra

This frozen planet is located at the farthest reaches of the Tetra Galaxy. A barren Arctic world with caves and underground catacombs, it contains the Imperialist and Judicator weapons.

Stronghold Void

Each planet/space station has access to two Stronghold Voids, which hold the valuable Octolith artifacts along with biomechanical guardian bosses Cretaphid and Slench. These areas can only be reached by opening Stronghold Portals with three Alimbic artifacts found in the level.

Oubliette

The spaceship Oubliette was made by the Alimbics to hold the Seal Sphere with the creature Gorea inside it. The Oubliette was sealed in an alternate dimension to prevent Gorea from escaping. Oubliette contains the Omega Cannon.

Multiplayer

MPH Multiplayer

In this screenshot, Spire fights against Noxus (left), Samus (right), and Kanden (top, on ledge) in one of the game's many arenas.

For up to four players, Metroid Prime Hunters features single-card play, multi-card play and Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection online play. Metroid Prime Hunters is the fifth game to feature online play. Wi-Fi play shows numerous improvements over prior Nintendo Wi-Fi games, including voice chat with friends (being the first DS game to feature voice chat) and online stat tracking. The voice chat and text chat is used in the game lobby with only friends registered in each others friend's list.

Unlike Mario Kart DS, Hunters online mode does not have any restrictions on maps, modes, or options when playing against friends and rivals. Many game styles are available: Battle, Survival, 2 Flag CTF (Capture), King of the Hill (Defender), Nodes, Prime Hunter, and Bounty. Only Battle mode is available for the Find Game option, which automatically searches for a game in the local region or the world. If players have friends registered into their friend lists, and they battle with these friends, they can use the DS's mic to talk to other players. This also only works in friend mode. Players can also type to other players. All of the bounty hunters are selectable for multiplayer (The first time in the series where players can control a character other than Samus), but only Samus, Spire, and Kanden are available at the beginning. To unlock other characters, they must be defeated in single-player or multi-player mode. In a single-card multiplayer game, the player with the card can choose from any hunter, while the others can only play as Samus. In a multi-card multiplayer game, any player can choose any hunter. In addition to this, hosts may also add bots to play, even without other human players, allowing for single player deathmatch.

A passive link function called "Rival Radar" is available, similar to "Bark Mode" in Nintendogs, "Tag Mode" ("Contact" in European versions) in Animal Crossing: Wild World, and "Unknown Dungeon" in Pokémon Mystery Dungeon Blue Rescue Team. A player can set his/her copy of Hunters to Rival Radar, then shut the DS, and carry it with him/her as he/she goes about his day. If he passes near another player with Rival Radar activated, both players will automatically be registered in each other's multiplayer rival lists. Only three rivals may be added at a time.

The "Hunter's License" is the score card for play in multiplayer mode. The License displays a player's ranking (in stars), most used character, Wi-Fi win record, wireless win record, connection history, play time, win ratio, longest win streak, lucky arena (which is the arena they last played in), most used weapon, favorite mode, and longest kill streak, as well as the number of biped, alt-form and headshot kills. On the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection website anyone can view a leader board of the top ten scores in many different categories. Tracked stats include most used weapon, favorite character, mode, arena, wins, losses, win percentage, total games played, biped, alt-form, and headshot kills, shots fired, and rank (US only), as well as the number of times the player has prematurely disconnected from a game. A premature disconnect results in the connection history statistic decreasing, and a loss of "ranking points," certain numbers of which will put the player at different star ranks.

Production

The first details of the game emerged at the annual Electronics Entertainment Expo (E3) show in 2004. In August 2005, Nintendo announced that Metroid Prime Hunters would be delayed, to implement WiFi support. [8] Just before launch, an updated demo version, derived from the final version of the game, was released for in-store demo units. In it, players can play through adventure mode until they encounter rival hunter "Kanden."[citation needed]

Metroid Prime Hunters: [First Hunt]

A highly prototypical demo, titled Metroid Prime Hunters: [First Hunt], was included as a pack-in (now discontinued) with the DS launch on November 21, 2004 in North America. Australia and Europe also received the demo on their respective release dates. This demo was not released in Japan.

First Hunt had a different layout to the lower screen, and a slightly different weapon system. There was a different default control method, in which the screens were transposed, and targets could be fired upon by tapping them with the stylus regardless of whether they were centered in view. The control schemes found in the final version were also available. The Power Beam had no charge function, and it had an ammo system. When Power Beam ammo was exhausted, the rate of fire slowed greatly. There was also a "Double Damage" pickup that caused Samus to cause twice as much damage with each shot (which reappeared in the multiplayer battles of the final version of the game) and only two sub-weapons, missiles and the "Electro Lob" (similar to the Volt Driver and Battlehammer, it lobs and explodes on impact but also can impair vision). Three training scenarios were present, as well as a multi-card multiplayer mode. Some of the multiplayer levels from Hunters were included in the demo.

The single-player game consists of training scenarios, with no specific plot. Only four types of enemies appear: traditional Metroids and Zoomers, smaller less aggressive "Xenomorphs," and a green Samus doppelgänger. After obtaining a high score in each single-player scenario, a video is unlocked. In this video, Samus is about to be ambushed by a Space Pirate hanging above her, but someone else shoots it first. In slow motion and accompanied by the Space Pirate theme from Metroid Prime, Samus spins to see the silhouettes of three other hunters, none of which match the cast of the final version of the game (though one has a forearm scythe like Weavel and other Space Pirates, and one appears to resemble the bulky Spire). Another hunter's "visor" resembles Dark Samus . The camera then zooms in down the barrel of Samus' arm cannon as she fires. The video finishes with the tagline "The Real Hunt Begins", and the URL http://www.metroidhunters.com/ (http://ds.nintendo-europe.com in the UK) In later versions of the demo cartridge, the three armored figures and the URL do not appear. Instead, Samus herself destroys the Space Pirate.[citation needed] After being unlocked, the video can be watched any time by tapping a glowing dot on the main screen.

Reception

Reviews and awards
Publication Score Comment
IGN 9 out of 10[1] Editor's Choice;
Best DS Action Game of 2006[2]
GameSpot 8.6 out of 10[3]
Nintendo Power 8.5 out of 10
(8.0 in an alternate review)
NP Awards 2006 - Best WiFi Functionality
NP Awards Reader's Pick 2006: Best Graphics (DS),
Best Shooter/Action Game
Game Informer 9.5 out of 10
GamePro 4.5 out of 5
Official Nintendo Magazine 93%
X-Play 3/5 [4] Best Nintendo Wi-fi game of 2006
PAL Gaming Network 7 out of 10[5]
Hyper Magazine 91 out of 100 4th- Top 10 Handheld games of 2006
Compilations of multiple reviews
Game Rankings 87% average[6]
Metacritic 86% average[7]

Metroid Prime Hunters received generally positive reviews, with the multiplayer mode (and Wi-Fi play) receiving frequent praise, and most criticism leveled against the single-player adventure mode. The game was criticized, especially from Metroid veterans, [8] for having a relatively easy and linear single-player campaign with little variety in enemies and bosses. It is noted to be significantly different from other games in the Metroid series, with relatively simple, infrequent puzzles and secrets, and an increased focus on combat skills over exploration.[9]

The awkward play control scheme was also an object of complaint for many long-time fans of the series, even those long-time fans who enjoyed the console Prime games. Game review show X-Play gave the game an average three-out-of-five score.

The game debuted at fourth in the Japan charts, with over 32,000 copies sold[10] and sold over 410,000 units in North America. [11]

Hacks and Glitches

There are many glitches and hacks that are frequently exploited over Wi-fi and multiplayer, some of the most famous being the ability to enter the walls of Combat Hall, flying far outside of Harvester, the Ice beam glitch (Commonly referred to as the "Shadow Freeze"), and more. Action Replay, a popular hacking device that allows users to gain near unrestricted access into the game code, has gained wide-spread use to find and exploit such glitches, as well as provide services such as unlimited ammo, health, super speed,and deathalt (a power up for the alternate forms thats allows them to kill anything on contact, similar to the Deathball in Metroid Prime 2: Echoes), and more.[citation needed]

References

External links

Metroid series:
By chronology: Metroid (Zero Mission) | Prime (Prime Pinball) | Prime 2: Echoes | Return of Samus | Super | Fusion
By release order: Metroid | Return of Samus | Super | Prime | Fusion | Zero Mission | Prime 2: Echoes | Prime Pinball
Upcoming: Hunters | Prime 3 | Dread
Universe: Samus Aran | Characters | Chozo | Gunship | Items | Kraid | Locations | Metroid species | Mother Brain | Ridley | Space Pirates | Luminoth | Ing | Dark Samus


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