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Metroid Prime Hunters

Hard as it is to believe now, Metroid's switch from side-scrolling corridor sprint to first person adventure freaked everyone out. Running and gunning, after all, was never the core of heroine Samus' purview. Today, though, the series is one of Nintendo's most successful, and the bounty hunter couldn't be in a better position to try new things. Case in point: Metroid Prime Hunters is a fast action shooter that plays down the series' deliberately paced gameplay. Forget searching for clues; you'll be rumbling with six other ruthless bounty hunters to snatch a legendary set of powerful artifacts. Each hunter, of course, has a reason for acquiring the treasure, from racial dominance to general do-goodery.

Wireless and online multiplay is expected to be a big part of the appeal. You and three friends can choose any of the six hunters and commence the killing. Each brings a certain type of ugly to the table, yet fits within the traditional Metroid mythos. For example, they all come armed with some form of collapsible locomotion, much like Samus' morph ball. It's refreshing to see new faces in this series. For 20 years it's been Samus chasing the same monsters around Zebes, Tallon IV or other remarkably similar planets. Finally we have some bizarre antiheroes and misbegotten rouges for our favorite bounty hunter to slay, and they've got back stories to boot.

The walking quartz chunk, Spire, is the last of his race and willing to kill for information on his cloudy past. The artifacts just might hold such information. Spire's immense bulk and bright colors make him an easy target, but aggressive players can put his superhuman strength to good use and bowl over weaker hunters. Conversely, Trace is a spindly, hive-minded creature that can't take much punishment and needs to consider a bit more strategy to win. You'll need to master all the hunters' areas of expertise when heading into a firefight, be they sniping or visor-to-weird-eyeball face smashing.

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