Review – Metroid Prime Hunters (DS)

Developer: Nintendo Software Technology Corporation
Publisher: Nintendo
Year: 2006
Fun fact: from the developers of the platformers Bionic Commando: Elite Forces (GBC) and Mario vs. Donkey Kong (GBA).

All right, here’s the same disclaimer I provided when I reviewed Metroid Prime 2: perhaps Metroid Prime Hunters isn’t truly a platformer but it descends from a fine platforming dynasty and there’s definitely a lot of platforming going on. With that out of the way, it should be noted that Hunters is much more of a platformer than the other Prime entries. In fact, it has one classic platformer element that, if memory serves, has never been in another Metroid game: bottomless pits that instantly kill you!

If you expect Hunters to be somewhat dumbed down compared to the other Prime entries, give yourself a cookie. The exploration elements are much simpler (I figured most of them out for myself for a change). The total explorable area in the game is much smaller than in other games in the series. Additionally, the game is basically level-based and there is a low variety of bosses.

Fortunately, it turns out that sometimes being dumb ain’t so bad. Really, does every Metroid installment have to be the same? The level-based aspect is actually a refreshing change. The main negative aspect of this feature is that there’s definitely a formula in EACH level that goes like this: wander around, fight a rival bounty hunter, find three artifacts that activate a boss portal, fight a boss, and then race back to your ship under tight time constraints. There are really only two boss types between the levels, meaning you repeatedly fight a variation of a spinning pillar and a tentacled eyeball.

In spite of the formulaity, there is a lot to enjoy in the action-heavy design. Unlike many claims, the game is NOT merely a first person shooter in a Metroid setting – there are still many puzzles to unravel and atmospheric areas that don’t have any enemies at all. Speaking of atmosphere, it’s just what you’d hope for in a Metroid adventure. The graphics and audio are great and in line with the template established by the GameCube Prime games.

Finally, the controls – you use the d-pad or buttons to move side-to-side or back-and-forth, a shoulder button to fire, and the stylus to do everything else, at least in the standard control setup. This is somewhat awkward as you basically have to hold the DS unit with one hand and constantly use the stylus with the other. I got used to it fairly quickly but during long play stretches I felt mild annoyance in my hands.

Play the GameCube Metroid Primes first and then check out this high-quality diversion for a different take.

Grade: B+
Personal conclusion: Who knew Samus had rival bounty hunters?


Review – Metroid Prime 2: Echoes (GameCube)

Developer: Retro Studios
Publisher: Nintendo
Year: 2004
Fun Fact: the 7th game in the Metroid series

I know what you’re (possibly) thinking: “Wait. Is this really a platformer game?” I’m going to have to say “yes”. It’s true that the Metroid Prime games are primarily first-person shooters that have very heavy adventure elements but MP2E also has a lot of jumpin’ around.  You’ll jump as often as you shoot so, having justified my position (maybe), onto the game . . . Continue reading

A Top 10 After My Own Heart

Gaming forum GameFAQs has daily top ten lists that are submitted by users and carefully sifted through to find lists suitable for the site. Today’s top 10? The Top 10 2D platformers.

Will you agree with the list? Check after the jump to see.

Continue reading

Metroid II gets a fan remake 3 years in the making

You know you are devoted to a game when you spend 3 years of your life painstakingly recreating a game from scratch. Well DoctorM64 did this using Game Maker 7, and has now released this nice trailer to showcase his hard work. It is not 100% done yet (As seen on his blog) he still has a lot to work on such as music and sound effects, but based on this footage it is a beautiful little fanwork that could easily pass as a Nintendo DS remake. Now what would ruin DoctorM64’s day is when he finally releases his full project Nintendo announces that a remake to Metroid II will be coming soon to the DS.