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Metal Masters

ElectroBrain 1993

Game Boy


Obscure giant robot fighting game for the old school game boy. One would think that a game about 40 foot robots fighting each other would be an instant classic. One would be wrong.

There's some kind of story going on here that takes place in the future, where all of society revolves around said robot battles for some reason. There's also some kind of evil Baron person trying to take over who you have to kill at the end. Not that you would ever get that far, since the game is filled to the brim with SUCK.

You start out with your basic model robot, and no money. There are several enhancements such as rocket punches, drill hands, and the like. The enhancements don't look too expensive - thirty five dollars, fifty dollars, etc. However since you have no cash at all to begin with you must jump straight into the first match.

This is when things start going bad. First off there's no music. Second, the prevailing sound effect is the "whizzz" of your robot arms which gets old real quick. Third is the number of seconds it takes for you to realize this game blows.

Each body part has it's own life meter - left arm, right arm, legs, etc. Deplete a specific life meter and that part of the robot is disabled. For instance, destroy the left arm and your robot can no longer attack with that arm. Sounds pretty good, right?

Your robot can punch straight, up, and down while crouching. However the area isn't just a straight up 2-D plane, you can walk slightly up and down on the Z axis a bit (like Final Fight or Double Dragon, although comparing this game to those is a crime.) What this does is effectively remove your ability to attack low while on the high plane, as you can only crouch while on the low plane. Thus all the enemy robot has to do to avoid you is move up.

And therein lies the problem. It's very easy to destroy the left and right arms of the opponent, so it cannot attack you. However because the arena has depth, you can only crouch while at the bottom, and the enemy robot simply has to move to the top to avoid you, then it is nearly impossible to destroy the legs of said robot. So what ends up happening is you coming out quick, destroying both arms and the body of the enemy but not the legs, and you chasing him around for the remaining time to the match. At this point you might as well stop and go get a sandwich because since he has no arms left he can't attack you. But he's programmed to run away, and since you can't kill him without killing his legs... argh. My head hurts now.

I did manage to corner one and made it blow up, but that was a fluke. I think it was probably a bug actually because I could not repeat it. I also found out your robot has a projectile weapon, that the opponent easily dodges unless you fire at point blank range. Score another uselessness point here.

Anyway, so after agonizing minutes of chasing the stupid enemy around who can't even fight back, the time finally expires and the round ends. "Good," you may think. "Now I've got some money, and I can buy some of those chainsaw hands I saw before."

But then you get to the shop to show the first round gave you A SINLGE DOLLAR. So let me get this straight, you're the captain of your own gladiator robot in a violent bloodsport that all of human society revolves around, and your victory prize for putting your life on the line is ONE MEASLY DOLLAR? Then you notice those buzz saw hands cost $50. How many damn rounds are there in this game?

After this point I quickly lost interest in completing the game (and this was only the second round.) Screw the evil baron person, he can stay in charge of Metal Masters land, I have too many other evil villains to dispose of in games that don't suck. This may be one of those cases where one's experience with a game improves as one progresses, but I wouldn't know that because I'm not wasting any more time here.

Apparently this is a port of an Atari ST game that looks, sounds, and undoubtably plays much better. By contrast, you can see what the Game Boy version looks like here. Ugh.

Graphics: Not terrible, but they defiantly look dated, like something you'd see on a pre-IBM computer.

Sound: No music, the incessant "Whizz" of your robot arms helplessly flailing about, the occasional "clank!"

Gameplay: Look Ma! I be having no robot arms! Can't catch me!

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