Metroid Prime Hunters is a spinoff of the Metroid Prime series for the Nintendo DS. The game notably plays a lot closer to more traditional FPSes than its console siblings and the focus of development was more on the multiplayer. The game was developed by Nintendo Software Technology instead of Retro Studios and runs off of a completely different engine. The story of the single player campaign is that a message about an "Ultimate Power" residing in the Alimbic Cluster was sent out across the galaxy. Samus and 6 other hunters compete to be the first to get the 8 Octoliths in order to get the Ultimate Power.
The game takes place in 4 different areas that you typically visit a couple times each and 1 final area. Here are comments on each visit the TAS makes.
Celestial Archives First Visit
When I gain control, I shoot the door and jump as soon as I can. I then morph and start touch boosting as much as I can before I hit the ramp. Downwards speed accumulates when you spam boost and if you hit a ramp with a lot of downwards speed, it will transform into horizontal speeds greater than that of which you can obtain by simply boosting on the ground. This is done a fair amount throughout the TAS.
Most morph movement is done by starting out with a touch boost and then following up with r-boosts, using another touch boost if you need to make sharp turn or are otherwise forced to slow down.
I pause during loads to make them happen faster. I think the pause reduces lag. This was discovered by LuckyStarKid. You'll see me doing this whenever I don't have anything else I should be doing during a load.
In the next room I do a boost clip through the railing to save a little additional time.
In the room where I need to get a missile to unlock a door, I unmorph a little early. Charging your Power Beam first requires you to shoot off a couple of regular shots and I want to start charging as soon as I fire the shot that kills the enemy that gives the drop. The charge beam will drag pickups to you.
An unmorph clip in the beginning of Data Shrine 01 allows me to skip going around the outside of the room and instead just enter the center of the room from the door that you're supposed to use to leave. It would be faster to just go straight into the center section and not bother making it visible, but I figured that having too many invisible sections like that would detract from the entertainment. In that central area, I do another boost clip to get underneath the first artifact and grab it from below. Collision in this game is essentially 1 sided so you can pass through floors from underneath and the like.
I grab an etank because I'm going to be doing a lot of missile jumps and taking damage from other sources. Spending the time to get a health drop is frequently slow or otherwise unfeasible.
I kill the Ithrak by dropping two bombs next to it in quick succession. Bombs in this game explode immediately when they're close enough to an enemy, making this a very quick way to kill some enemies.
I do another unmorph clip in Data Shrine 02 and this allows me to accomplish two things.
The first is that it allows me to obtain Volt Driver (yellow electric weapon) early by grabbing it through the floor. You are supposed to come back to this area after obtaining the Battlehammer in Vesper Defense Outpost. This means I will not have to backtrack to this specific section later on.
Volt Driver is extremely overpowered in a TAS, it has a very short cooldown (4 frames at 30FPS, 8 frames in a 60FPS emulator) between regular shots and those regular shots do 14 damage each. Power Beam shots have a 3 frame cooldown but only deal 6 damage each. Volt Driver deals the second highest damage per second in the game, only beaten by Boost Ball, however Volt Driver works on a lot more targets than Boost does. However, certain enemies and bosses may have weaknesses to other weapons or resistances to certain weapons, and volt driver is a common resistance among later bosses. The developers didn't expect you to have volt driver this early so a lot of early-game bosses do not resist volt driver.
It is important to stay out of bounds while grabbing volt driver because there is currently no way to get out of the middle section without Battlehammer. I land on the edge of the floor after grabbing battlehammer making sure to not get pushed inbounds or fall off into the abyss. I then perform a bomb unmorph jump to allow me to do the second reason I did the clip: I skip going around the outside of the room, avoid triggering a cutscene with Kanden who is the first enemy hunter, and gets me a really quick missile expansion that I use to do more missile jumps and missile pushes.
The power beam charge shot has a slight homing effect to it that I use to hit the door to the center of data shrine 03.
Kanden gets absolutely demolished by boost. When you boost into an enemy that is vulnerable to it, you slow down enough to be able to touch boost again immediately, thus allowing for me to repeatedly chain touch boosts to destroy hunters and guardians.
I grab a blue health pickup right next to the second artifact to make sure I will have enough health for some upcoming missile jumps and for a damage intensive strategy against the boss.
Dann, an amazing glitch hunter for the game and real time runner came up with this strategy for the Cretaphid fights. You're supposed to circle around the boss shooting the targets on the side as they turn blue, and then shoot the exposed core. With clever boosting and bomb usage, you can hit the targets on all sides of the boss from the inside. The core of this Cretaphid doesn't resist Volt Driver so I spam uncharged shots whenever it's exposed.
As the boss is dying I head to the center of the arena where the Octolith will spawn. Normally 3 cutscenes play: 2 can be skipped, the other cannot. Normally heading to the center will overlap the two cutscenes that can be skipped and play out the unskippable cutscene. However by pausing the game for long enough after the first skipped cutscene, I force the second skippable cutscene to play at the same time as the unskippable cutscene, allowing for me to skip the otherwise unskippable cutscene.
Instead of escaping from CA the way the game intends me to, I take the Volt Driver door leading to what is normally visited after going to Vesper Defense Outpost to obtain Battlehammer. I have to go through this area regardless, and there is a portal I can use to get to my ship without going back through the rooms I already visited. Portals leading back to the ship tend to only work if they're meant to be used for a different visit and if you have only activated them during the escape of a different visit. So by taking the Volt Driver door, I make progress towards reaching the boss of CA2 while escaping CA1.
The scan trick with Transfer Lock was found by Dann and allows you to skip going around to these various switches. This room is really laggy so it's good to be able to leave it as soon as possible.
I'm at low ammo at this point but thankfully getting shock coil (blue lightning weapon) gave me enough unniversal ammo to continue until the next Universal Ammo Expansion which is the last expansion I collect.
The route through the destroyed looking room that is exposed to space I took inspiration from LuckyStarKid's TAS of the game.
I could reach the other boss of CA during this visit, however, I wouldn't be able to damage it without a weapon that I don't have, therefore preventing a 1 trip CA.
Alinos 1st Visit
This is one of my favorite segments of the TAS.
In real time people enter the morph ball maze but then skip it with a clip involving a bomb jump. In TAS I use a missile push to go out of bounds and then balance along the tunnel that you're supposed to use to exit during the escape.
I then use a boost clip that Dann found to go out of bounds near the door. This allows me to skip the outdoor Spire (another hunter) encounters. I abuse the property of bombs to immediately explode when an enemy of sorts is in close proximity to instantly perform bomb jumps.
I scan the portal to this section of Alinos now because the last escape of Alinos works differently from the other escapes, and is a bit of a version difference.
Dann discovered that morphing in certain sloped corners like that will allow you to go out of bounds. I use this to skip the indoor Spire encounter, preventing him from appearing in the rotation of potential random hunter encounters.
Slenches are only vulnerable to damage after their tentacles are destroyed and they float off the wall. v1.0 resists both of the weapons you're supposed to have by this point, but not volt driver. I 2 cycle Slench 1 by landing a charged and an uncharged Volt Driver shot on the same frame when Slench's health was low enough.
On the US version I could use the portal back to the ship during this escape thus skipping Weavel, but it renders the game unwinnable.
Weavel is the only other Hunter fought, and if he makes it out of the escape tunnel he will get more health. By finishing off him before he leaves the tunnel, you skip a phase of the fight.
The jump clip at the start of Sic Transit is really weird and precise. It allows you to skip the Noxus fight. The bomb jump over the corridor was to make it so that the right sections were active.
The bomb jump over the loading hallway was done while I was waiting for a load anyways. The time lost from the additional lag is greatly outweighed by the time it takes to get to the other side of the hallway beforehand.
Judicator is the ice based weapon and bounces off of walls. This allows for a bunch of trick shots.
I forgot to shoot the door to the exit before skipping the key in Frost Labyrinth, and by the time I realized I should have shot the door, it was past the point of no return. Probably a second at most was lost.
I use the portal now because this particular portal won't work in the escape for the other boss for some reason and I want to collect an item from another area before starting the escape for this section of Arcterra.
I manipulated a guardian/hunter encounter to not occur in the room after the portal.
You can also clip through the gate in thermal vast but it's slower.
Fire Spawn takes more damage from Judicator and judicator is a fast firing weapon. You leave alinos after collecting Magmaul and two artifacts because you will have to make 3 trips regardless due to the Alimbic Cannon Control Room, the place where you use the Octoliths to access the final area, is located on Alinos.
While Slench 2's tentacles are only vulnerable to Judicator. The exposed Slench can be hurt by anything, but is weak to Judicator, therefore Volt Driver is slower here. All Slench's after this point resist VD however.
By going out of bounds in sic transit I'm able to skip both the Trace fight and a Guardian fight that is at the bottom of Arcterra Gateway during the first escape, which is why I needed to grab Magmaul.
Arctic Spawn isn't actually specifically weak to magmaul so shock coil is better.
Imperialist is a sniper weapon that does a lot of damage when it hits, especially headshots but it has a really long cooldown. It does more damage when you use the scope to zoom in so I frequently use quickscopes when I'm using it in combat.
The game won't allow you to use the stronghold portal during this escape for some reason so I collect one artifact before leaving.
Vesper Defense Outpost
This area got extremely broken since my rough draft.
In the first room I go out of bounds to collect what is typically the second VDO1 artifact first without fighting Sylux and before obtaining battlehammer. The route is pretty linear as a result.
Battlehammer is a terrible weapon. Its damage output is low for its firing rate and it has no charged shot. However, some bosses are weak to battlehammer (the Cretaphids in particular) and it's also useful for manipulating encounters: for whatever reason I find that one of the best ways to manipulate luck is to hit yourself with explosives.
The cretaphid here, despite being weak to battlehammer, is faster to use Volt Driver on because it doesn't resist Volt Driver.
This is the one area you can do in a single trip (aside from the final area). There is a force field that will appear in the hallway leading to far VDO during the escape of VDO 1. It is avoidable through out of bounds.
The event in fuel stack cancels out the escape timer, but certain rooms are still in an "escape" state, therefore that force field will still be there during the true escape.
When grabbing the artifact from out of bounds, I didn't need to make that section visible and would probably be slightly faster to not make visible, but entertainment.
Unloading Fuel Stack before stopping the countdown sequence causes the countdown to just disappear.
Once you destroy Slench 4's tentacles, it will do a series of figure 8's which are incredibly easy to avoid. During the downtime I playaround a bit.
Because of the weird state of VDO at the moment, I can't use any portals to get back to the ship, but it's not a particularly long trip anyways. I needed to go out of bounds again to get around the force field though.
There is typically an autoscrolling section in drip moat, but it's very easy to jump over the trigger and boost along the edge.
For whatever reason on Japanese you don't need to shoot a bunch of Imperialist targets before activating the elevator in Subterranean.
I make it back to the elevator just before it heads back up to the upper floor.
There is a hole in the collision that I use to go out of bounds on the return trip through drip moat.
Cretaphid 4 is resistant to volt driver so it's faster to use Battlehammer.
Celestial Archives 2
Unfortunately the platform cycles here are pretty slow.
Slench 3 is weak to Battlehammer, but interestingly it takes normal damage from missiles, leading it to be best to lead with a charged missile and then follow up with Battlehammer.
There is a maze full of instant death crushers that you normally need to go through to get to the last artifact. It is skipped however.
Because this is the last Octolith, I can just go to the Alimbic Cannon Control Room during the Alinos escape. In the Japanese version I am able to use the teleporter after placing the Octoliths. In the US version you cannot use it.
This contains the last time/entertainment tradeoff. Technically I don't know if it is faster or slower to clip out of bounds in combat hall, but if it is different, it's not by much. I didn't time it because I HAD to show off what happens when you play a pre-rendered cutscene in a room that's invisible.
The area itself is very straightforward.
Gorea resists Volt Driver, takes normal damage from Battlehammer, and takes more damage from Imperialist. I had to manipulate color switches to occur at the right points.
I don't do the true final boss and get the true ending because of the community definition for any%. Also the fight is pretty slow and boring.
I have some inputs at the end of my temporary encode to show off the ingame time. Feel free to leave them out of the official encode: the ingame timer is completely broken through pausing the game.
Apparently PAL is identical to JP aside from text. I wish I knew this when I started the TAS so I could have english text. Oh well.
I had previously uploaded to my youtube a rough draft of sorts that beats the game in 53 minutes. This TAS does it in 47.
Thanks to Amhite for bringing this game back from the grave, LuckyStarKid for making a TAS which I used for inspiration for certain rooms and who discovered what I like to call "the Samus Shuffle", Mr_Shasta for running the game as much as he has and for restreaming my rough draft.
And a very special thank you for Dann who was absolutely critical to helping me break this game as much as possible. On multiple occasions I would say "If there was a way out of bounds here I could skip x" and like within 30 minutes he would have a new clip. He's absolutely amazing and was really helpful to bounce ideas off of. Thank you so much.
: Nice and entertaining run with plenty of out-of-bounds glitching. Very action-packed in general. Accepting to Moons.
Update: Sorry on the delay. This should've been published by now but there's an issue with the Modern HQ (10bit) downloadable
as the video track is playing back at about half the speed (the audio track is playing fine). The source of the issue is in the Encoding stages as previewing it in VirtualDub shows that it should be fine.