Metal Head


Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 5

Sound: 6

Gameplay: 5

Overall: 5


Not many games had the chance to show off what the 32X could do. You could count the number of texture-mapped games using, well, one finger (Darxide doesn't count; wasn't a US release). That game is Metal Head. Though certainly primitive now, the texture mapping was a nice change of pace from the flat polygons 32X owners were usually treated to. Of course, that doesn't mean it was a great game.

Metal Head puts players in control of, well, a Metal Head, a huge hulking mechanical beast created by the government. Seems some terrorist group also managed to snag a few of these from the assembly and it running them through downtown US cities. It's up to you to stop their advance and save the country.

Played from a first-person perspective with a few other camera views that are used only for assistance, you'll fire off a various array of weapons at the opposition. Completing a stage (or dying) will allow you to purchase extra weaponry and other upgrades for your mech. Almost all of the stages are of the "kill 'em all" variety, though a few offer other objectives.

The games critical flaw is that the battles are just flat out dull. There is little excitement to be had by simply standing and shooting. Sure you can strafe, switch weapons, and dodge bullets, but the rather slow speed of the game makes everything tedious and hardly fun. Even worse are some of the enemies. Whoever thought destroying stationary jeeps would be fun needs a game design lesson. Also, the time limit imposed in some of the stages is brutal and has nothing to do with the mission objective.

The graphics are some of the best on the console (which really doesn't say a lot), but the extreme pop-up and large clunks of pixels are hardly satisfying. The enemy mechs are well designed, especially some of the larger models, but up close you'll hardly be able to make them out. The explosions are laughable are resemble a simple spark than a full-on fiery death. The occasionally choppy frame rate is the final straw.

To go along with the muddy graphics is an inane soundtrack, constantly looping about every 30 seconds. It's listed on the box as great metal sounding music, but it's more along the lines of chalkboard scratching. The sound effects are limited with hardly even a sound when your mech is hit. It relies on visual cues to tell you when you've been hit. The games sound highlight is the exceptional amount of voice work. From the games intro to the mission objectives, everything is voiced over in surprisingly good quality.

This actually might have been a great game a few years back, but when we now have games like Mech Assault, it's too hard to go back. This is a decent showcase simply for the texture-mapped polygons the system can produce, just make sure the game isn't in motion when showing it off. Also, a 6-button controller is practically a requirement as all of the features are not accessible with a 3-button. This can still prove to somewhat enjoyable, but only if you can truly appreciate it's archaic style.


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Last updated: Tuesday, September 20, 2005 04:38 PM