Quality Control – Metal Storm


Get Metal Storm from eBay
Get Metal Storm from eBay

Well, I’m going to go back to the text reviews for the time being, as the audio reviews don’t carry over well to Facebook (as my reviews are also syndicated there. Plus, frankly, I’m just not getting a lot of listeners for them. If you do want the audio reviews back, please let me know, and I’ll start doing them again in the future.

Anyway, my game for review this week is the mecha action game Metal Storm for the NES, from Irem (the people who brought you R-Type). Let’s see how it turns out.

The Premise: An alien intelligence has taken over the research station on Titan. You, in the M-308 Gunner Mobile Suit must infiltrate the facility, get through its defenses, and destroy the base before it can destroy Earth!

The Good: The game’s main gimmick, the ability to cling to the roof as well as the floor, is executed very well. The game’s control is very precise. Mega Man level precise (which is important, as there are some very precise jumps in this game, particularly with the sixth boss, who I’ll get to in a bit. Further, you can fire in four directions (which is nice, as even Contra had problems with shooting down). While the power-up selection is sparse, it still works out very well in the game. Also, I really liked the game’s ending. It’s very different. I don’t want to spoil it, because this is a good game and I hope people buy the game and make it to the ending. I don’t think I’ve seen an ending quite like that, before this point.

The Bad: R-Type, their previous big game, had a broad selection of gameplay environments in it, the level environments in Metal Storm are much less varied. There are industrial space station interiors and large voids, and that’s it. Also, there isn’t particularly a big final (and possibly multi-form) boss. You get a boss rush in the last level, and a very brief (and easy) timed sequence where you have to destroy a series of targets. After that you can go through the game again at a harder difficulty (which you get a password for after beating it on normal), but that’s about it.

The Ugly: First, one-hit kill deaths, which is a bloody nuisance (unless you have the armor power up, which allows you to take two hits). Second, while most weapons work most of the time, there are some occasions where you need one specific power up, and if you don’t have it, you’re going to die and have to start the section over. Additionally, the harder difficulty can best be described as “more enemies in harder to reach places” which entails a lot of cheap hits. All and all, the harder difficulty isn’t quite worth beating.

The Verdict: This is a very good shooter, and one which, I’ve found, is pretty under-rated. I’d definitely recommend picking the game up and giving it a try.

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