Pat your head, rub your tummy and jump on one leg!

User Rating: 8.3 | Metroid Prime: Hunters DS
"Metroid Prime. Hunters" is the first sci-fi shoot-em up to be offered by Nintendo for it's little two-headed monster. You'll get your kicks and a major dexterity test as a bonus. You start off by being treated to a short video introducing Samus' new bounty hunting competition. The 6 new hunters look great in this video, and the DS gets to flex some graphical muscle I didn't even know it had.

Afterwards, you create a new file and get to take over control of Samus. You'll enter a hangar bay where everything looks clean and sharp. But the controls are where the game hits it's first bump. The individual controls are smooth. The look controls are exceptionally smooth... after all Samus' visor copies the movement of your stylus so why shouldn't they be smooth? It's when you put shooting, jumping, and running together that things get difficult.

The standard control setup (there are four to choose from) has movement set to the D-pad, looking is set to the touch screen, firing Samus' gun is set to the left shoulder button and jumping can be done by double tapping the screen or pressing one of the lettered face buttons on the right side of the screen. So, try to picture your left hand curled around the DS with your stylus in your right, and youre trying to take down a room full of little security droids. They aren't difficult to destroy,(one or two hits will do it) but they come at you in large numbers. Trying to evade fire will sometimes put you against an obstacle that you just need to jump over. Since jumping/looking/aiming are all done with the stylus, a simple jump can become a big problem... unless you have a double jointed pinky finger that can snake out and hit one of the face buttons.

Enemy AI is good. The little cannon fodder droids are simple to dispatch and their bigger cousins will provide more of a challenge accordingly. I did encounter one little hiccup during the first boss fight. As I was chasing him around the room, he got stuck in the geometry at one end of the level and looked like he was having a seizure. It was only for a couple seconds and the fight went on without a hitch afterwards, so no biggie I guess.

I've already touched on grapics a bit, and for such a small unit, it does a great job of rendering 3d environments. The levels look detailed and large. The enemies float/run/crawl with surprisingly fluid motion. The DS' size, however, does hurt the game a bit. When chasing an enemy around a decent size room it's easy to lose track of what youre fighting. Still, for something so small it's easily putting out graphics on par or better than the N64 did. (think Perfect Dark)

As far as the fun factor, I'm really enjoying this game despite it's crazy control setup. It's Samus! Pocketsized of course, and she brings everthing a super futurisitc bounty hunter can offer. Add a WiFi multiplayer system that lets me blast my friends from 7 states away and this game is definately worth picking up.

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