Genre: 3rd Person Action
Publisher: Sierra / Vivendi
Developer: Swingin’ Ape Studios
Release Date: November 18, 2003
Every once in a while a game comes out of the blue and smacks you across the face with a solid plot, flowing gameplay, and a polished feel overall that many games tend to lack. Metal Arms: Glitch in the System hasn’t garnered a whole lot of attention lately, which is a real shame since it looks to be one of the year’s most promising titles. Swingin’ Ape Studios doesn’t have much of a following, but expect that to change once Metal Arms hits the streets.
Combining a cartoonish simplicity with offbeat humor and you get a feel for what Metal Arms brings to the table in terms of its plot and characters. Metal Arms takes place on a world called Iron Star, which is called home by millions of droids who work tirelessly to mine the mineral-rich planet. Long story short, a maniacal robot named General Corrosive has gathered an evil legion of droids to do his bidding and plans to use them to conquer Iron Star for himself. Leading the good guys is General Alloy, who has been waging a losing battle and now finds him and his army down to one last foothold, Droid Town. While on patrol, a group of droids finds a strange damaged droid under some rubble. After a patch job by a foul-mouthed mechanic the droid, Glitch, is employed by General Alloy to wage war against Corrosive’s army.
During the course of the game you control Glitch, who has a large array of weapons, power-ups, and vehicles to help him destroy his foes. Destroying the enemy isn’t limited to simply the standard “shoot until dead” fare though, as both the game and AI have a nice damage system. When a droid is shot in the arm, the arm can either be blown off entirely or simply be disabled and hang limp. If there is a gun in the droid hand and it tries to fire it’ll spray it’s fire all over the place. Shoot an enemy in the head and its targeting ability will be wiped out, causing it to frantically run around without a clue as to where anything is. A droid can fix itself over time, so unless a part is completely blown off your enemy isn’t completely harmless. Still, it’s funnier than hell to fire a shot at an enemy’s head and watch it then blindly fire into a group of it’s friends.
There are four planned vehicles in the game, two of which are a tank and a strange hovering contraption. The tank is much like any other, with its primary weapon consisting of a dazzling energy slug and its secondary weapon is a machine gun. The hovercraft has two weapons, a machine gun and a gripper. The gripper itself doesn’t hurt but can be used to pick up and hold enemies, allowing you to shoot them while they are unable to get away or simply drop them into a not-so-safe place such as a pool of water or a lava pit. In addition to the vehicles you can also control other robots by using a control gun and shooting them in a specific point. A controlled robot is hardly ever stronger than Glitch, but why put yourself in harms way when you can control a dual minigun-wielding monster for a while?
The graphics in Metal Arms are nice even when compared to other Xbox games. The framerate, animations, and pretty much everything else bears a silky smoothness that puts many console games to shame. The character models look just like the futuristic robots they are supposed to represent, and look even better when running around sparking, leaking oil, and exploding into a shower of scrap metal. In dark tunnels Glitch’s light will illuminate nearly walls and objects, as will objects such as strange glowing crystals.
Metal Arms audio department isn’t quite as top notch, but still shines in some areas. The games music sets Metal Arms distinct mode quite well, and the soft zaps of mining lasers, the scream of a miniguns, and the thunderous explosion of a tunneling charge all underscore the action. Even the voice acting fits the bill, with every character sounding not only unique but also genuine.
Lets face it, any game that starts you off in a team with a couple of droids called Screwed and Hosed has to have it’s own special brand of humor. It’s Metal Arms blend of that humor plus solid gameplay that makes it a very promising title. It even has solid multiplayer, though lacks bots or Live support. Even in its current state it is easy to recommend Metal Arms to anyone who enjoys a spot of humor along with their gameplay, and with a couple months left on the development schedule Metal Arms looks to be a shining example of how a relatively unknown development studio can make a great game.
More articles about Metal Arms: Glitch in the System