Metroid Prime Hunters: First Hunt
Metroid Prime Hunters: First Hunt is the demo version of the Nintendo DS game Metroid Prime Hunters. Originally released on November 21, 2004, it was bundled with the Nintendo DS console with an ESRB rating of RP. The game has three single player modes, and a Multi-Card Play multiplayer mode, surprisingly without the new DS Download Play. Few aspects of this demo, other than the overall control scheme, are used in the final game.
Single Player Modes
Regulator is a timed race-to-the-finish type of mode, where Samus must eliminate all the enemies in a room before being able to move on. The area seems to resemble the Celestial Archives from the completed version of Metroid Prime Hunters. The main enemies are strange, green creatures called Xenomorphs that seem to resemble Metroids, but Metroids themselves are also found, along with Zoomers. At the end of the path, another Samus waits in a circular room, and defeating her results in victory. This simulates the multiplayer mode. Unlike most Metroid games, Samus cannot charge her Power Beam, yet her Missile Launcher can be charged instead, causing them to home in on enemies within a close enough range. Her Power Beam also requires ammunition, which led to the ammo based weapon system used in the final version of Hunters. The conclusion of Regulator mode reveals that this was simply a simulation.
Survivor is a mode where Samus continuously fights an onslaught of the Xenomorphs until she dies. The enemies get progressively stronger. It closely resembles the stage Harvester in the final version of Hunters. Ammo can be obtained in the side areas, missiles can be obtained in the upper room. Only standard Xenomorphs will initially appear, eventually being replaced by Zoomers, then Metroids.
Morph Ball mode, as the name implies, is a mode where Samus is limited to her Morph Ball and cannot become biped. Her Boost Ball and Bomb functions are usable, though. The object of this mode is to collect all of the “modules,” holographic Morph Ball icons, before the time runs out. Skipping just one module will result in a loss of combo, causing a significantly lower score at the end. Similar to Survivor’s stage, the area here seems to be a primitive version of the stage Data Shrine in the final version of Hunters.
Once each mode is completed successfully, a special movie is unlocked from the title screen by pushing a glowing dot. It shows Samus in a room, with a pirate clinging to the ceiling. It is destroyed by a shot from behind her, and she turns to see three silhouettes, presumably the Hunters suggested by the game’s title, the one in the center looking misleadingly like Dark Samus. The music in the video, a remix of the Space Pirate theme from Metroid Prime, also creates the assumption of Space Pirates playing a role in the game, which is false as well.
First Hunt utilizes the Multi-Card Play feature of the DS, but not DS Download Play. Two to four players can face off in a death match in three different stages: Trooper Module, later the stage Data Shrine, Assault Cradle, later Weapons Complex, and Ancient Vestige, later Combat Hall. Unlike the finished version, bots cannot be added as additional fighters. The demo version cannot connect to the finalized version in any way.