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Metroid Prime Hunters - Hands On

Other than a roster of all new, alien bounty hunters and an emphasis on touch screen, multiplayer deathmatching, all we could say about Metroid Prime Hunters before today was that we'd jump into the shadiest fight club around to get our hands on it. Now, after spending some quality time torching, bombing and bashing three other players in Wi-Fi match ups, we can safely say the wait will be worth it.

The first aspect to zero in on is how non-traditional the fragging is. The six hunters and armored babe Samus aren't just hoofing it - tapping an icon on the touch screen turns the hunter into a compact, zippier version. Samus rolls into her bomb-toting morph ball, while rock-monster Spire packs himself into a spiky, boulder-flailing orb. Just when you've got someone cornered, they transform and slink away through a crack you didn't notice. Keeping tabs on who's sniping who, not to mention where the hell that little rolling thing just swept away to, will keep your hands soldered to the DS.

There are several ways to stomp your friends in multiplayer. Most are variations of capture the flag or free-for-all, but Prime Hunter and Bounty show some spark. The latter plays like a game of interstellar football, where everyone's scrambling for a crystal and trying to run it across a line somewhere on the battle map. In Prime Hunter, the first to kill becomes ... guess what. As the prime hunter, you seriously bust some skulls but are constantly losing health. The only way to stay alive is to keep piling up bodies, but if you're taken down, your killer is the new prime hunter.

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