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April 25, 2006

Filed under: gaming»software»metroid_hunters

Hunter/Hunted

So there's this Spring Tournament of Bloggers thing, where a bunch of people (read: 6) will compete over the Internets in Metroid Prime: Hunters. And I'm signed up.

Granted, I can only see statistics for Brin and Seth, but it looks like I've easily got the most online experience of the group. I hope to parlay this into THE CRUSHING DEFEAT OF MY OPPONENTS. With that said, I'm not above jotting down a few observations that might help even the playing field.

  • Keep your options open: Every hunter has an affinity weapon, which gets special abilities and availability. Learning to exploit the affinity is important, especially since you'll be carrying it a lot. But note that at least half of my kills come from non-affinity sources. If you only learn to use that one weapon, you'll create a psychological barrier to the others, and then you'll be cornered by someone who can control the map better than you can. Also, just because it's your affinity doesn't mean it's perfect for all situations.
  • Deathalt: The deathalt is an item that locks you into the alternate form, but grants one-hit kills. It is obscenely overpowered. If you play on Ice Hive or Headshot, be prepared to race for this item, or to defend against faster players. Luckily for the tournament, in 2-player games it only spawns once or twice, and so it hopefully won't unbalance matches too much.
  • Ice Hive bites: That reminds me: because of the deathalt and the ridiculous spawn design for Ice Hive (i.e., all four are located right next to each other), it is the worst map ever. No fun to play. Please don't pick it.
  • Alt game: Alt abuse is one of those strategies that seems like a good idea at the time. In the lower levels of play, I've seen a lot of Kanden and Trace reliance, and the former is especially annoying. But strategies evolve pretty quickly to counter them, and it's hard to control the map as easily in an alt-form (although it's not impossible). The alts are also extremely individual from hunter to hunter. Some of them are offensive, and some are defensive, and they all have different movement speeds. What works for Samus will not work for Spire. Learn when and how to exploit your character's alt.
  • Secondary fire: Not just the charged shot, but also the different firing characteristics of each weapon, whether or not it's your affinity. For example, the Judicator and Magmaul bounce off level surfaces. Surprisingly, this makes them useful for not aiming at opponents. In the Judicator's case, you can even use it to frag out-of-sight enemies. In maps like Combat Hall, sending Judicator shots bouncing down the side tunnel can finish off a fleeing victim. Likewise, it's not immediately obvious that the Volt Driver is fully semi-automatic--I don't know that there's a top limit to its firing speed. The Shock Coil won't target alt forms. Knowing these quirks lets you fully exploit--or avoid--each weapon.
  • Headshots: Most weapons do anywhere from 150% to 200% normal damage with a headshot. A full burst (three automatic and one charge) from the power beam will do 70 damage as headshots. It is worth the effort, with beam weapons, to aim for the head.
  • Might as well jump (jump!): I'm not saying that you should spend the whole match bunny-hopping around--this isn't Counterstrike. But keep in mind that jumping can play a couple of important roles in this game. The jump pads scattered around can be used to reach unconventional areas using mid-air control, like the rock archway in Alinos Perch. Some levels also boast low-gravity zones, which can be exploited. Just be careful, because low-gravity jumping also makes you an easier target.

It may make newcomers feel better to know that Nintendo's ranking system is pretty easily manipulated. The overall ranking at Nintendowifi.com is basically a measure of your time spent online, and doesn't decrease with losses (although it may with disconnects). So while I'm ranked in the top 3000, that just means that I've played online more than most. Playing against friends and rivals still counts for points--so being better than your friends list is a good way to rank high on the consecutive kills or win percentages. Basically, as with just about everything in this hobby, it's biased towards spoiled 12-year-olds. We should probably be used to that by now.

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