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Metal Head

Genre: Action Developer: Bizarre Creations Publisher: Psygnosis Players: 1-2 Released: 1995

Mechs are really cool, and this has long been known. Mech games, however, not so much. I was once looking through a small box of some old 32X games, and saw this pretty little game right in front of me, and as the box art shows, it looked damn awesome! I looked on the back of the case, and as Mech games go, I found that Metal Head looked pretty playable and hardcore, and that nothing on the 32X resembled it. I knew I had to buy it! I went home and played it on that cold, cold night, and much to my dismay, that night got colder and colder.

HOLY CRAP, will you look at these graphics! We have FULLY TEXTURED POLYGONS on the 32X. I mean these are great, even though there were not very many polygons to begin with, (although draw-in comes into play very often) it still looked damn awesome (the pictures of humans talking was very laughable)! The voice work is okay – for the 32X – too! Unfortunately, that is all that is good about this game, and overall it all is a waste of time and money!

There is nothing in Metal Head that is impressive besides the graphics, and you will find that between the very slow pace of the game and the visual glitches (clipping, draw-in, and the works) that Metal Head has, there is nothing at all worth playing here. There are problems with the way that this game is presented, right from the start and it’s sad, but it gets much worse! The story line is lame, and even though it takes place the same time as “the great war,” there is nothing “great” about that “war,” because nothing was destroyed, or even damaged apparently. Piloting Metal Head (the ultimate cyborg warrior), you must rampage through city after city – after city, and take out whatever comes off as being evil (even dumpsters!). Throughout your battles, you will be able to use different moves and speed through the targets while taking indescribably huge amounts of damage from cheap shots. Once you have accepted that, then you’ll find that the game has control problems up the wazoo.

It plays fairly simple and is not very hard to understand. All you have to do is get through several long and boring stages of enemy shooting action. At your command is Metal Head, and it has some impressive weaponry – as long as you can get past the terrible control – but you will soon find out that the game does little more than treat you to a cheap death due to the ridiculous difficulty level. Coming off of that, you’ll find that all of the missions consist of nothing more than just simply blowing things up and moving onto the next stage with no real rewards to obtain and nothing to look forward to later on… gee, exciting huh?

I usually like to have the ability to CONTROL my character, but obviously this was something far from the programmer’s minds entirely, with the layout of the six-button controller putting all of the different functions of your mech on different buttons that have no correlation to one another. This adds to the difficulty of trying to get through the stages, but unless you’ve had some experience with other mech games, then you will have a VERY hard time just getting through the first stage. So all the while this makes playing through the game even MORE of a chore.

Like I said before, the audio is okay, but it’s so bland, and the game just doesn’t have the music to go along with this genre. Most of the time you’ll only hear the confusing and lame digitized voices. However, with the lack of originality in the music and the HEAVY spacing in between the voices, you will still find that the game just doesn’t have too much to work with.

Metal Head is a slightly interesting, yet dated game (mechanically-speaking). The control is off and will take plenty of practice and patience to get used to, and gameplay that requires you to think less and shoot more it does not help. While I am here I might as well mention that anybody who thought that shooting parked cars was fun has to be dragged out to the street and shot himself! I wanted to give this game a chance, and as it stands this is one of the reasons the 32X died in it’s infant years, and also one of the reasons Sega no longer has a console of it’s own. Since it offers nothing new, original, interesting, or EVEN fun; I have no choice, but to give it a VERY GENEROUS two out of ten.

SCORE: 2 out of 10

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2 Comments

  1. goldenband says:

    Wow, 2/10 is WAY too harsh. Of course, it’s hardly a perfect game, and Metal Head’s biggest flaw is that “dash” mode should’ve been the default, with C used to walk slowly. Otherwise, it’s actually a decent enough game that moves at a good pace (once “dash” is on). The talking-head campiness is no worse, and a good deal funnier (“Later, chump!”), than your average anime.

    Also, some of the mission objectives aren’t explained well, and that’s a legitimate knock on the game — it took me a couple playthroughs to figure out what I was supposed to do in certain stages. Once you learn to focus on achieving mission objectives instead of blowing everything up, the game starts to hum along harmoniously. Kudos for making use of the MODE button — the overhead view is critical, and helps to keep you from getting disoriented. If anything the game is a bit on the easy side, but better too easy than too frustrating. I’d give it 6/10.

  2. b.tokin says:

    Gees… The reviews on this website are
    pretty harsh towards 32x games… =/

    The major down fall of Metal Head was the controls.
    I’d assume unless someone had a manual, they’d have no idea
    what they are. I use scheme “E”… (A – accelerate, B – fire,
    and C – strafe) Y changes weapons, and Mode changes the
    camera angle. X and Z are completely useless.

    If I could’ve programed Metal Head’s controls,
    they’d have been a lot more doom like.
    (a – strafe left, b – fire, c – strafe right, x – primary/cycle weapons,
    y – accelerate or accept/open in doom’s case, z – secondary/cycle weapons)

    The graphics were ok, but the first camera angle is
    a little hard to use, so I prefer the third & fourth
    positions (3 – third person, 4 – top-down) for a
    better view of the environment and enemies.

    The music was alright in my opinion, and there is
    a tempo control in the main options for it’s speed…
    Nothing wrong with a little old school midi metal.

    Over all i think this game deserves a 4 out of 10
    as a general rating or 5 of 10 against other 32x games.
    Controls make up about 40% of total game play in my opinion,
    so i can understand a low rating… but 2 out of 10 is more
    like hating. =/

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