At first glance, Metal Arms’ premise sounds a little clichéd.
Oh, a world inhabited by robots. Wait, not only that, but a world
inhabited by robots in the middle of a war. And as usual, the good
guys are completely outnumbered, being forced into hiding and having
to conduct their little rebellion from there. Wow, loads of fun.
But now let’s look closer. The planet Iron Star, far far away, is
inhabited by a race of robots called Droids. The planet and its
inhabitants were created many centuries ago by the mysterious Morbots,
a race of robots who live in the core of the planet supplying energy
to those above. So everything is peaceful until an accident occurs at
a laboratory of the intelligent science Droids. In an
experiment-gone-wrong, the evil General Corrosive was born, determined
to take over Iron Star. In Corrosive’s reign of terror, evil Mil bots
were released upon the world with the purpose of destroying Droid life
and taking any captives as slave labor. It’s up to Colonel Alloy and
his small band of rebels, stationed in the hidden Droid Town, to
defeat Corrosive’s army. Things are looking bleak until a strange
Droid named Glitch is found, bearing an odd symbol on his head. And
thus, the adventure begins…
is an adventure game through a third person shooter perspective.
Actually, because the camera always hovers close behind Glitch’s head,
and the fact that you do aim through crosshairs, the game has a
first-person feel attached. Also, a radar screen is located at the
top right of the screen. Glitch will run, punch, jump, and of course
shoot his way through hoards of Mil guards and other evil robots
throughout the adventure.
Glitch has a giant arsenal to choose from. Primary weapons are
gun-based equipment used with R. These range in uniqueness from the
weak mining laser, to the automatic S.P.E.W. (Small Projectile Emitter
Weapon,) to even a rocket launcher. Secondary weapons are objects to
be thrown with L, such as explosive coring charges and even an EMP
grenade to freeze mechanical enemies in their tracks. But there’s so
much more in Glitch’s offensive cache: Recruiter Grenades to make any
affected enemies into allies instantly, a Slingshot to launch
projectiles, and even Cleaner smart bombs that, well, “clean out” up
to three enemies, if you know what I mean.
One of the most unique weapons comes later on in the game. The
rebels’ foul-mouthed engineer, Krunk, designs a Control Tether for
Glitch. This device allows the hero to connect to and command any
enemy robot that comes near. You just get behind a bot, lock on to
its interface, and fire. The enemy will now be under your control
until destroyed! But of course, the catch is that it’s not always
easy to get an enemy still, let alone lock onto its interface. Hmm,
And to add to Glitch’s artillery, all primary weapons can be
upgraded. Defeating enemy bots can bring him washers, which are the
currency of Iron Star. Two odd Droids named Shady and Mr. Pockets
will occasional set up a shop around the levels and sell Glitch goods,
like health and weapon upgrades, all for a price. Although it’s wise
to save washers for this reason, some upgrades can be found just lying
around the terrains of the planet.
Oh yes, terrain. Now that Glitch is fully equipped, he is ready to
take on the many different areas of Iron Star. Metal Arms
takes you to a variety of places. For example, the game’s first
mission takes place in mines. From here you’ll go to a Mil lab, Droid
Town, wastelands full of freaky and violent ZombieBots, and many other
distinctive locales to complete over 40 missions. But don’t think
that Glitch will be on foot for all of his exploring. There are any
vehicles to control, like the all-terrain Mil RAT (Rapid Armored
Transport,) and Mil hovercrafts (all with their own weapon systems,
mind you.) Also to spice up the adventure, sub-games like controlling
another characters or playing sniper and shooting down approaching
Mils pop up every now and then. Always something new!
Weapons, vehicles, what could go wrong? The controls. Although they
aren’t horrible, Metal Arms takes a while to get used to
control-wise. First of all, you must simultaneously control the
walking direction with the control stick as well as Glitch’s face (the
position of the crosshairs) with the C stick. Although this gives you
more control, it takes a good time to coordinate yourself correctly.
Selecting weaponry is awkward at first too; X opens the primary
inventory while B opens the secondary. Also, driving controls are
poor. Vehicles work in the dual-control mode as well, making it
almost impossible to go into reverse and get off a wall. But after
the first few missions, the controls will come as a second nature and
there will be no problem at all.
uses voice acting, and it truly enhances the experience. Each major
character has a distinctive voice fitting the personality. Colonel
Alley has the stereotypical military leader sound, Krunk is brash and
vulgar (the bleeps over his profanity add to humor,) and Glitch talks
like the cool teenage hero who finds out that he has to save the
world. The script is also realistic, with cut-offs, random
interjections, occasional dirty robot jokes, and other realistic
conversation elements. Mils and enemies also talk. They’ll alert
partners when Glitch is spotted (There he is!), scream when an injured
Mil shoots out of control (Not me! The Droid!), yell and howl when a
coring charge is launched, and even bathe in the victory of destroying
Glitch when his life (called battery power) runs out, causing him to
explode (I hope they send more like that!) The voices definitely add
to the fun factor.
Oh yeah. The enemy bots are smart, and I don’t mean only with their
reactions. This game has a crazy AI. If you’re doing a James Bond
sniper style attack and shoot from a concealed small ledge, don’t
expect the Mils to just run and scream in agony below; expect fire.
These guys know and will remember where you’re hiding. They are also
trained to follow others when they see a brawl. And as for sound?
They can hear too. Don’t think that an agile and dangerous Guard bot
will ignore you on the other side of the room while you destroy some
standard Mils. Guards, and even giant Titans, aren’t that dumb. And
with excellent accuracy and extremely powerful weapons, you’d better
run and cover.
And that brings me to my next point. Metal Arms is no walk in
the park. This game is HARD. First you have to conquer the controls,
which will take you the first few missions. You have to do that, PLUS
fight off hordes of Mils with the weak Mining Laser (which really only
stuns and can’t really hurt a thing,) while you try to survive with
one small battery of energy. But as weapons get better and the
battery quantity gets larger, enemies just get harder. They come
stronger and in bigger groups, and poor Glitch will probably be
exploding a lot. Luckily for us, each stage has checkpoints where
status will be saved as long as you don’t reset. Glitch will restart
from these points of he dies, but what’s the difference if you can’t
walk two steps without being blown to smithereens? Word of advice:
Don’t get upset if you can’t complete a mission in under an hour.
Heck, under an hour and a half.
The musical score is standard videogame music for a game of this
type. The background music is mostly made up of beats, with an
occasional secret agent-ish theme. If anything it’s there for effect
and not for your undivided listening pleasure. Sound effects, on the
other hand, are great, from explosions to Mil screams and complaints.
Visually, Metal Arms is excellent. The game, especially
the FMVs, is smooth and crisp. There is loads of detail too. For
example, Glitch will pull the weapon from his pack when switching
between them, he’ll actually reload, and the enemy bots will be
reduced to a pair of lost legs if their tops are blown off. However,
things start to lag a little when a big explosion occurs or when
Glitch explodes himself. Also, I happened to stumble upon an awful
glitch (not Glitch) where I fell through the solid ground randomly.
It made things feel a little sloppy, but it was nothing too horrible.