Posts Tagged ‘3rd person shooter’

System: Playstation 2 (also available for GameCube, Xbox, and Xbox 360)

Release Date: November 18th, 2003

Rarity: Unknown

Price/Location: $1.99/Gaming Warehouse (Grandville)

Sierra Entertainment is famous for publishing popular series of games such as Crash Bandicoot, Spyro the Dragon, and numerous adventure games dating back to the 80s and 90s. Chances are, if you have been playing games for a while, you have played a Sierra Entertainment game. However, it is extremely less likely that you’ve played a game by Metal Arms developer, Swingin’ Ape Studios. There’s a reason for that. Never heard of Swingin’ Ape Studios? There’s also a reason for that too. Metal Arms: Glitch In the System is the only game ever released by them.

One and done. Hit it and quit it.

The studio was made up of former Midway developers and was purchased by Blizzard sometime after releasing Metal Arms. The team members would move on to work on other Blizzard projects. When a friend pointed out this game to me, I was intrigued. This game was priced much lower than the games around it. Priced at just $1.99, could Metal Arms: Glitch In the System be Swingin’ Ape Studios’ magnum opus? Or is there a reason their portfolio includes just one game and I was able to get it for a scratch-off ticket?

Accurate representation of me and the guys at the game store.

Unlike the previous games I’ve covered, this one has a well-defined story spelled out for you at the beginning of the game. An evil robot General uses his army of evil robot soldiers to take over a planet of Droid robots. A rebellion forms and those captured are deactivated or destroyed. You play as Glitch. Glitch is a deactivated Droid found, still intact, by some members of the rebellion forces. You are caught up to speed on the rebellion in the guise of a 1950s-era instructional video. You then begin the first level, which is a tutorial level. This game is apparently a 3rd-person shooter. I thought it was a platformer. Ah, well. Two rebellion Droids give you the basic controls as you move through the level and the situation warrants you learning something new. At this point, I’m feeling good about this game. The voice-acting is really good, the story is engaging, if basic, and the controls work. What could go wrong? High five! Next game, please!

Whoa! Not so fast there Jaws and King Kong.

Enemies approach! Time to get out your kick-ass robot laser weapon and blow up some evil robots! This is why anyone bought this game, right?! Sweet robot-on-robot carnage!

How friggin’ disappointing is it that THIS is the worst part of the game? Where to begin with how badly the combat in Metal Arms fails? Let’s start with your weapon. Now, I understand that the starting weapon in any shooting game is going to be… less powerful than weapons you acquire further in the game. That holds true here, but your standard-issue mining laser sucks. Furthermore, when you use it, or any weapon for that matter, there is no real good on-screen indication that your shots are hitting. Yes, your aiming reticule turns red when aimed at an enemy, but there’s no clear visual cue that you’re doing damage.

Why won’t you die?! Are you close to death? Am I even doing damage to you? Not even a tingle?

At least you get grenades along the way in this level. Very effective, but you’re toast in one hit if you stand too close to the blast radius. So, after unloading a ridiculous amount of lasers into your enemies, the training level ends and you’re off to hopefully find a better weapon. Level 2 begins with you needing to get to the other side of a river of lava, but those damned Milbots blew up the bridge! You’ll need to cut some wires holding up some piping and create a makeshift bridge! How will you do it and where will you find the means?! Answers to both questions lie conveniently 5 feet to your right in a metal crate. A gun that shoots saw-like blades! Hooray! A better weapon! Problem solved, right?!

You guys once again are too quick to react.

The sawblade gun thing does get you across the river of lava via shooting the support wires for that piping and creating a makeshift bridge, but that’s about all it’s good for. It’s just as weak as your mining laser, but it’s got a slower firing rate, AND limited ammo! At least you still have grenades with plenty of ammo refills scattered about. Rescue some more of your rebellion friends and level 2 is complete! So level 3 is where I decided what my final assessment of the game would be. It had a mix of good and bad for me. Firstly, you get some actual great weapons in this level. Guns that can actually destroy your enemies in a reasonable amount of time.

I’m gonna start shooting you now. Can you be dead sometime before next month?

So the evil Milbots are invading Droid Town, the last stronghold for the rebellion! The firefight here is frantic and enemies are everywhere. Clear an area and you’re told to move onto the next. Waves of enemies are eating my bullets of justice! We’re swiftly moving onto the next area after the last! We’re on cruise control for a win! “Move onto the next area!” says the commander! Got it. So… where is it? The level design here runs flat into a brick wall. In the last two areas, it was pretty straightforward. Clear an area, giant tunnel on the opposite side of the map leads you to next area. In this 3rd area, where you think you’re supposed to go to progress, you run into a dead end in some kind of hangar. I ran frantically around the map trying to find where to go to progress but after a half-hour of searching, I gave up. I later looked up where to go on GameFAQs just out of curiosity.

The outpost for any gamer who’s ever shouted “What the F***?!” at a game.

There are a series of enclosed walkways raised above the ground in each section of the map housing some hidden items and whatnot. I walked around in these looking for ammo when I was running low. Apparently in one section of walkways is a small tunnel leading to the next area. I would never have guessed it would be found here. The camera while navigating these walkways is awful and you are combating the camera angle just as much as you are your enemies. I would have liked to continue the game after reading this, but I was burnt out from frustration.

Verdict: BARGAIN BIN

I’m disappointed that I bargain binned this one. Since booting the game up, it seems like when it starts to do something right, it does something to lose my trust I built in the game. The story started off good, then I found out about the combat, the combat got slightly less frustrating, then the level design completely hampered what goodwill the game had built up with me. I appreciate what the game did well. The story and the voice acting is really well done, but the boring and frustrating gameplay and level design didn’t engage me enough to make me feel compelled to move on.

That does it for Episode 5 of Five Dollar Gamer! If you want to leave comments, praise, criticisms, or suggestions you can leave them here, or on The Official Five Dollar Gamer Facebook Page!

Thanks for reading!