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Metroid Prime Hunters is a first-person adventure game for the Nintendo DS. It was developed by Nintendo Software Technology Corporation, a Redmond, Washington-based first-party developer for Nintendo. The game was preceded by Metroid Prime Hunters: First Hunt, a demo included as a pack-in (now discontinued) with the DS launch in all regions except Japan. The final version was released in North America in March 2006, in Europe and Australia in May 2006, and in Japan in June 2006. Metroid Prime Hunters supports the Nintendo DS Rumble Pak, which was bundled with Metroid Prime Pinball.
Beyond the bounds of the Galactic Federation's controlled universe lies the Tetra Galaxy, where the now-extinct Alimbics once ruled. The region under the Alimbics' reign was and is still known as the Alimbic Cluster. The Alimbics ruled with much force, but were also efficacious in their decisions. One day, however, all of the Alimbics suddenly disappeared without any warning or explanation, leaving behind many relics and ancient, valuable objects, some of which are quite powerful.
Now something in the Alimbic Cluster is eerily communicating with powerful bounty hunters and other intelligent animals, telepathically uploading a message. "The secret to ultimate power resides in the Alimbic Cluster" is the sentence that played back mysteriously in the minds of hunters Sylux, Spire, Noxus, Kanden, Weavel, and the feared Trace. The message is in various dialects, languages, and even slangs, but it always boils down to the above sentence. This simple message tempted many to make their way to the Alimbic Cluster, frantically and violently, to reach their own goal of obtaining an unknown source of ultimate power. Some want power for their own doings, others seek it for a more noble cause like saving their people. But it seems that all of them are willing to take each other out to gain this mysterious power. The Galactic Federation sends Samus Aran a Mission File, asking her to discover more about this mysterious message. Her mission: "Discover the truth about this mysterious message, to protect against a potential threat, and to keep the Alimbics' ultimate power from falling into the wrong hands."
Samus arrives at the Celestial Archives, a space station that holds a wealth of information regarding the Alimbics, most of it lost due to age and lack of upkeep. Samus first encounters Kanden here and fights him for one of the artifacts that will allow her to reach one of the guardian chambers.
After collecting the first three artifacts, she encounters her first Boss in the game, a bio-weapon named Cretaphid which resembles a totem pole with multiple cannons running down the shaft. After defeating it, she receives her first Octolith, a key to the "Ultimate Power." A timer kicks on and Samus is forced to backtrack through the entire station to her ship.
After escaping, her ship scans the Alimbic Cluster and allows her to explore three more worlds: Alinos, the homeworld of the Alimbics, Vesper Defense Outpost, a remote defense and weaponry station, and Arcterra, a frozen world. On each world there are two Octoliths and at least one "Affinity Weapon." Samus must find these weapons in order to open some special doors, which will allow her to find more Artifacts. For every Octolith, there are three keys to be found.
Once she has collected all of the Octoliths, she must return to Alinos to activate the Alimbic Cannon, which allows access to the Oubliette. This structure holds the long-dormant and extremely dangerous Gorea hinted at throughout past lookbook entries. When she gets to the Oubliette, she sees all of the Hunters firing their signature weapon at Gorea, only to be defeated and have their special abilities absorbed by the creature. Gorea then attacks Samus. Once defeated, it will enter a second form if Samus has shot the Colored Panels on the walls in the proper order with the correct weapons. If not, the station blows up before any of the Hunters, Samus included, have a chance to escape.
If she does activate the nodes, then a second battle with Gorea takes place in the Oubliette's main room, where Samus finds the only weapon capable of harming Gorea, the Omega Cannon. This is the Ultimate Power mentioned in the telepathic message. Upon defeating Gorea, the Oubliette begins to fall apart in a series of explosions. Samus and the other hunters are believed to have escaped the destruction of the Oubliette. After the final explosion, Samus, in her Zero Suit, is seen floating in a vision, encountering 3 Alimbic beings that present her with a wave of gratitude. When this vision is over, Samus is returned to her Gunship in her Varia Suit. The game concludes with Samus's Gunship flying off into space.
The events of Metroid Prime 2 follow.
- Samus Aran - The player controls Samus, the Galactic Federation's most valued bounty hunter, who has proved herself in various missions.
- Noxus - A Vhozon bounty hunter on the hunt for this mysterious power so that he may use it in his fight against wrong-doers and crime. He has walked a very virtuous path. The player encounters Noxus locked in an epic battle against Trace, on Arcterra.
- Spire - The one remaining Diamont, who hunts the ultimate power so that he may discover more information about the fate or location of the rest of the Diamont people. Spire attacks the player in a courtyard on Alinos.
- Kanden - An Enoema experiment for the most powerful super-soldier gone horribly wrong. He wants this power solely so that he can continue hunting and become more powerful. Kanden is pursued by the player onto another floor, where the fight begins.
- Sylux - A deadly and powerful bounty hunter who hates, and constantly attacks, the Galactic Federation, and is also a rival of Samus by association and has been tracking her for some time. His deadly electric attack heals himself, making him very assassin-like. Samus fights Sylux in the VDO, and he also calls in his ship, the Delano 7.
- Trace - A swift, relentless bounty hunter from the Kriken race, Trace is currently on a rite of passage and is searching the galaxy for new planets for his people to invade and conquer. He is very feared and has deadly accuracy. He hopes the Ultimate Power will further empower him and the Kriken Empire. Trace is seen fighting Noxus on Arcterra, but goes missing. He reappears again later, sniping and shooting a Guardian when Samus tries to leave with the Octolith.
- Weavel - The Space Pirate bounty hunter was badly damaged by Samus, and his shattered body is now supported by a cybernetic life-support suit. His Half-turret can serve as very good defense. He wants the Ultimate power to get revenge on Samus. Weavel tries to stop Samus from leaving Alinos with an Octolith.
Metroid Prime Hunters was developed by Nintendo's Redmond-based subsidiary Nintendo Software Technology (NST). It was led by the game's director, Masamichi Abe and the lead technical engineer, Colin Reed. The team for Hunters was composed of thirty people, which Abe noted was larger than the development team of most other games for the Nintendo DS. Metroid Prime series producer Kensuke Tanabe came up with the original idea for the game. Retro Studios, which developed main Prime games, was unable to develop Metroid Prime Hunters because it was already working on a game. Therefore, Tanabe contacted NST with the idea, and let them develop it instead. NST developed the game instead of Nintendo themselves because they wanted the division to influence Hunters with western ideals, styles, and presentation.
While developing the game, most of NST's efforts were focused on its multiplayer aspect because of its first-person shooter gameplay, and to take advantage of the Wi-Fi and voice chat capabilities of the Nintendo DS. One of the game's designers, Richard Vorodi, noted that "the hardware kinda dictated [their focus onto the game's multiplayer mode]." Wanting to introduce a new element to the Metroid series, Abe created several new bounty hunters after he realized that the game's multiplayer mode and the new bounty hunters could both be implemented seamlessly into the game: "We had this idea early on and thought that would be a good way to introduce [Hunters] and [the new bounty hunters] to the gameplay and take advantage of that in the multiplayer." Metroid Prime Hunters includes several references to previous games in the Metroid Prime series: Samus' ship is from Metroid Prime, while her Varia Suit is from Metroid Prime 2: Echoes. The developers decided to add them because they wanted to show that the technology has evolved, and they also wanted to include something that was instantly recognizable to those who had played previous games in the series.
The game was first revealed at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) convention in 2004. An early demo, titled Metroid Prime Hunters: First Hunt, was included as a pack-in game with the Nintendo DS when it launched in 2004. After the demo was released, the game's controls shifted from a control stick method to stylus aiming. When Nintendo received negative feedback at E3 2005 about the game's lack of an online feature, the company announced in August 2005 that the game's release would be delayed to give the developers time to implement Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection support. After the game's release was delayed to give NST time to implement the multiplayer feature, the developers took the time to make more changes. The game's framerate was reduced to make the graphics move more smoothly. The game's visuals were improved; a developer added reflections to the Morph Ball — other developers admired the effect, and added it to other parts of the game. NST collaborated with Retro Studios to design the game's art and characters to make sure that they fit into the overall Metroid series. When asked why Metroid Prime Hunters was placed between Prime and Echoes chronologically, Reed noted that the game was not influenced by the story of either game, so there were no continuity issues. He described Hunters as a side story to the Metroid Prime series.
Metroid Prime Hunters plays similarly to the past Metroid Prime games in that it also focuses on exploration and upgrading abilities, but also has a stronger focus on shooting. The major upgrades Samus can get in single player are all weaponry, most already wielded by the other Hunters. In multiplayer, these weapons serve some traditional purposes similar to the weapon selections of other FPS titles; in single player, they are more often used to solve puzzles as find the weakness of various beasts that the player has to eliminate.
Metroid Prime Hunters is the first game in the Metroid Series to feature in-game uses of Samus's gunship besides saving and restoration purposes, which is later expanded on in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption. The game was also the first to have Samus explore multiple territories across the reaches of space, and it introduced sub-weapons to the Metroid series.
Metroid Prime Hunters is the second game in the Metroid series to have multiplayer and the first to ever have online multiplayer. In multiplayer, the player can choose between all of the Hunters seen in single player, though most are locked until that particular Hunter is defeated in a multiplayer match or single player for the first time.
Metroid Prime Hunters is also somewhat more simplistic and linear than the main Prime games. Samus only has two visors, the Scan Visor and the Combat Visor, and there are no suit upgrades other than Energy Tanks, Missile Expansions, Universal Ammunition Expansions, and the weapons of the other Hunters. As the gameplay requires using the touchscreen to aim and the L or R-trigger to shoot, the controls are more akin to a PC FPS rather than the old Metroid Prime control scheme.
In a multiplayer game, there are twenty-six maps that can be played, most of them based on areas of the single player game. There are several game types, including the typical death-match mode, dubbed "Battle", a Capture the Flag style game aptly named "Capture", two King of the Hill type modes called "Nodes" and "Defender", and a mode with limited lives available called "Survival". There is also "Bounty", where all the players are hunting after a single Octolith, and "Prime Hunter", a Juggernaut-styled game mode. Multiplayer is limited to two to four players. Two teams of two can fight each other in most game types, or there can be a two on one handicap game. Not all maps are available for every game type and some become slightly altered depending on which mode is played. Multiplayer mode can also be played single-player by adding bots (AI-controlled opponents). Multiplayer is only possible locally since the shutdown of the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection service. The multiplayer mode is absent in the Wii U Virtual Console version of the game.
All of the Hunters seen in single player are playable in multiplayer, and each gains special attributes for their Affinity Weapon -- for example: Samus's Missiles have a homing ability while the other Hunters' do not; Sylux's Shock Coil restores the user's health, etc.
The creatures in Metroid Prime Hunters are a mix of traditional Metroid and Metroid Prime enemies, like the Zoomers and a more challenging variety of new enemies like the Guardians. Strangely, there are no Metroids in the game; instead, there are creatures known as Quadtroids, which, while similar in appearance and attack, are not genetically related. On closer inspection, one will notice that there are only a select few types of creatures, and most of the creatures that appear in different environments are variants of others. There is an obvious recurring theme of interstellar creatures such as Blastcaps and Ithraks who are able to migrate from planet to planet and even inhabit artificial space stations. Most creatures in the Alimbic Cluster, both biological and artificial, are not native to their current environments; they are mainly migratory entities who stowed away on space vessels which later visited these places.
- Hunters is the first Metroid game to use pre-rendered CG cutscenes. Metroid: Other M was the second.
- The Trocra was originally intended to be a Power Bomb, as evidenced by its file name "PowerBomb_Model", although this idea was scrapped for unknown reasons.
- Hunters has the most Countdowns out of any Metroid game.
- Hunters is the only Metroid game where Samus constantly remains in her Varia Suit and never finds any additional suits.
- Hunters and Super Metroid are the only games in the entire Metroid series where a special ending is unlocked by doing something other than completing the game within a set time-limit or by getting 100%. In this case, it is unlocked by shooting a series of panels in the final level to fight Gorea's true form, fulfilling the Alimbic Prophecy.
- Hunters is the first Metroid game to allow the player to control characters other than Samus (albeit only in multiplayer mode).
- Hunters is the only game in the Prime series that allows the player to scan objects or creatures in another room or area without entering it first. It's likely a bug due to DS's system limitations.
- Unlike other Metroid Prime games, the sub-weapons in Hunters do not change the shape of the Arm Cannon when they are active, though the coloring changes for each. Also, the new weapons do not have the word "beam" in their names, and they cannot fire any Charge Combos.
- Some music in Hunters appears to be based on existing themes from Metroid Prime: the theme of Alinos is a remix of the Chozo Ruins theme, the Arcterra depths theme is based on the Phendrana Drifts theme, and the theme of Gorea's second form is a remix of Metroid Prime Battle. It is worth mentioning that Kenji Yamamoto had no participation in the music creation department, which was led by Lawrence Schwedler and James Phillipsen from NSTC.
- Hunters has the most interchangeable weapons of any other game in the series.
- Despite the lack of Spinners or Half-pipes, Samus has the Boost Ball upgrade in this game.
- Hunters is the first Metroid game that does not let Samus upgrade her suit aside from Universal Ammunition Expansions, Missile Expansions, Energy Tanks, and all of the sub-weapons.
- Hunters is one of the three Metroid games that does not have Ridley in it, along with Metroid II: Return of Samus and Metroid Prime 2: Echoes. Apart from a Pirate Trooper in the introduction and Weavel, this game also has no Space Pirates, and is the only game to lack any Metroids (though the Quadtroid can be considered a similar enemy).
- Hunters is also the only Metroid game to have a (non-canon) ending where Samus dies.
- Hunters is the first Metroid game to have a menu that displays a player's records, including: Gorea Phase 1 Time, Gorea Phase 2 Time and Total Game Time. It is also the first to keep track of how many enemies a player has killed during the single player game, which is seen again in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption in the data records.
- Hunters is one of two Metroid games to allow players to access any cutscene from the single player mode without having to replay the game. Metroid: Other M has this feature once again, under the name "Theater Mode".
- Hunters is the only Prime series game that has no direct indication of Phazon's presence.
- Hunters and Metroid Prime Hunters: First Hunt are the only Metroid games to have lobbing weapons: the Magmaul/Battlehammer and the Electro Lob.
- Metroid Prime Hunters is the only game in the Prime series that does not feature a hint system.
- Tetra is the Greek word for the number 4. The Tetra Cluster has 4 locations (not counting the Oubliette).
- Hunters may have originally been intended to take place after Metroid Prime 2: Echoes as evidenced by scanning a War Wasp, the scan reads "The royal jelly of the War Wasp queen is so highly valued that hives continue to be harvested on Aether in spite of a shocking death toll." which is chronologically inconsistent with the official timeline. However this could mean that Aether is a dangerous planet as seeing that the Alimbic have been hinted to trade with the Luminoth.
- To market the game, Jones Soda sold a bottle with the label featuring Samus as she appears in Hunters.
- The game was playable in 2005 during the Nintendo Fusion Tour.
- Hunters has the least to do with the Metroid series' main plots of any of the games, especially the Prime series - it has no Metroids[mention above already], few familiar enemies, and features very little continuity between the Prime series. This makes it questionable as to why Hunters is even in the Prime series, as the only similar thing is a first-person perspective and minor elements of the plot including the implied mentions of the Chozo and Luminoth and the direct mentions of Tallon IV and Aether.
- Lee Phemister was the lead animator and artist for the game.
- Hunters's demo, Metroid Prime Hunters: First Hunt, features a survival game mode that contains holographic renderings of Metroids.
- Retro Studios, Massive Black, and Polyassets all outsourced elements for this game, with NST leading development.
- Max Szlagor was involved in the game's Enemy Programming.
- List of Rooms in Metroid Prime Hunters
- List of items in Metroid Prime Hunters
- Metroid Prime Hunters/Credits
- Gallery of merchandise
- ^ Wii U バーチャルコンソール - メトロイドプライム ハンターズ (Japanese). Nintendo. Archived from the original on 2015-09-19. Retrieved on 2015-09-19.
- ^ Error on call to template:cite web: Parameters archiveurl and archivedate must be both specified or both omittedMetroid Prime Hunters blasts onto the Wii U Virtual Console tomorrow (English). Nintendo Inquirer. Archived from the original on 2016-06-02. Retrieved on 2016-06-02.
- ^ Harris, Craig (September 21, 2004). Metroid a DS Pack-in. IGN. Retrieved on November 24, 2012.
- ^ Metroid Prime Hunters Release Summary. GameSpot. Retrieved on November 24, 2012.
- ^ a b c d e NST Discusses Metroid Prime: Hunters. Nintendo World Report (2006-03-02). Retrieved on 2008-12-30.
- ^ a b Harris, Craig (2005-05-18). E3 2005: Metroid Prime Hunters Creator Interview. IGN. Retrieved on 2009-01-28.
- ^ Metroid Prime: Hunters Developer Interview. GameSpot (2005-11-07). Retrieved on 2008-12-30.
- ^ Harris, Craig (2004-05-11). E3 2004: Hands-on: Metroid Prime: Hunters. IGN. Retrieved on 2008-12-30.
- ^ Harris, Craig (2004-09-21). Metroid a DS Pack-in. IGN. Retrieved on 2008-12-30.
- ^ Harris, Craig. IGN: Metroid Goes Wi-Fi. IGN. Retrieved on 2008-11-18.