Metal Arms – Glitch in the System GameCube Review

“Get your F****NG Assembly in Gear Soldier!”

Ever wanted to play with your very own robot? Come on, we all have at some point in our lives! Well if you have this title may be of interest to you. Metal Arms: Glitch in the system is a third person shooter based around robots blowing the nuts and bolts out of each other. You play as Glitch, a mining droid recently rebooted after being blown up, and stuck in the middle of a war. You side with the droids, a race of short yellow robots being oppressed by the evil General Corrosive and his Milbot army. The Mil’s are substantially stronger than the Droids, however they are a little bit on the stupid side. Thus the battle ensues…

The game plays like a third person Halo with robots – you have a wide array of weapons at your disposal (some will cause mass carnage like the Rocket launcher while others will be more subtle such as the Ripper). However that’s not where the fun lies, the great thing about this game is based around the ability to ‘jack in’ to enemy robots bodies and control them. Another brilliant feature is the ability to ‘recruit’ enemy robots via a specialised grenade known as the ‘Recruiter grenade’. This allows you to go into battle in another robot’s body. With a whole army of your newly acquired friends it becomes much fun.

Graphics

The graphics in this game are nothing special, mainly because it is a multi-platform game. The levels (although very well designed) aren’t very detailed, which strangely works in the games favour by giving them a rough feel. So for the first time in gaming history the imperfect graphics actually make it better! The character models on the other hand are brilliantly designed – limbs will be torn off, bots will shatter into a hundred pieces and it will all look gorgeous. Glitch even picks up a few battle scars himself.

Unfortunately the game does have a few frame rate problems – with all the many bullets and explosions it does slow the game down at times. Not a major problem for some but perfectionists will notice it every time and it could drag the game down for them.

Gameplay

The controls for the game are fairly simple; holding ‘B’ will open up a Metal Gear Solid style weapon menu (these weapons are mainly grenades or a scope for your weapons). Holding ‘X’ has a similar effect opening a menu for what weapon your right hand will use (this is mainly the guns). ‘Y’ is your action button and this can be used to open doors or fiddle around with computer consoles etc. The game uses both control sticks, the left analogue controls movement whilst the C-stick controls viewpoint. ‘L’ uses your left hand and ‘R’ uses your right. So all in all fairly simple controls that you should get used to quite quickly.

Now earlier I made a comparison between Metal Arms and Halo – another game which compares well is Metal Gear Solid. Glitch is only one robot and in many cases just cannot take out hordes of robots all at one time. Strangely the game does not point out anything about stealth but the levels fully accommodate sneaking. This in fact is really the only way to ‘jack in’ to other robots as the weapon you need to control them only works when used from behind! It is brilliant how the two drastically different styles of “all out shooter” and “stealth” work hand in hand with each other not hindering the gameplay for a moment. This all works because of the third person viewpoint which also makes jumping from platform to platform or running and hiding much easier.

Sound

Surprisingly good voice acting in the cut scenes; the characters are all very likeable and could easily fit in on a Saturday morning cartoon show. Characters swear yet it does not sound forced, it sounds completely natural (minus the bleep which unfortunately can’t be turned off). In game this quality continues with enemy grunts chatting and farting, to huge sentinels threatening you in deep booming voices. However some of this quality is lost in game as it can go unheard due to the loud explosions or overlapping of other voices.

The music in this game is quite good with an upbeat techno feel, but it’s too quiet! At many times it simply fades out and goes unheard, which is a shame as it really can enhance the feel of a battle.

The sound effects are also top notch with the only problem being they can be too loud, especially when coming out of the pause menu. This will either leave you adjusting your volume every time you pause or you will have your parents screaming at you to stop blowing things up.

Lifespan

This is one of those games that lends itself to short bouts of play. An hour with a few mates is superb fun, particularly after a few drinks when people aren’t afriad to look stupid. It’s not a game you’ll play for long sessions on your own, though, so if that’s your kind of gaming, look elsewhere.

Having said all that, you will still find yourself getting this game out on occasion, many months after you have bought it. Like you did with Samba de Amigo on the Dreamcast… remember?

Overall

The game really comes in to a league of its own here boasting over forty large levels each loaded with angry Mil’s. The game rewards you for finishing the levels quickly by awarding chips for fast times. There are also additional chips hidden throughout the level. These chips are worth getting as they unlock extra levels, characters and modes for the multi-player which alone will have you playing for a long time after you finish the single player mode.

The multi-player sees you and up to four friends scrapping it out for supremacy. You can run around and shoot each other if you wish or you can play it smart and hunt down deactivated Mil bots and wreak havoc on your friends without harming your actual character.

9.5 out of 10

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