Players: 1 Player Game | Release Date: 07/30/02 | Genre: Shooter
Rage and Majesco have teamed up to bring Xboxers a taste of huge mecha action with their latest title, Gun Metal. Just as you'd expect, Gun Metal features a lot of big guns and a ton of metal objects. The game drops you into the middle of the action almost immediately, and doesn't let up until it's all said and done.
The game opens with a brief overview of your first mission, and then you're on your own. Luckily, you have some pretty powerful weapons at your disposal, and the initial onslaught of enemies is easily taken care of. However, don't think you're all bad just because you blew through the first mission without breaking a sweat; the game's difficulty ramps dramatically at certain points, and you'll find yourself flying back for repairs often... Well, either that or your mech becomes a million or so Coke cans.
Your objective in the game is simple: blow the crap out of all things incoming and evil. Since the enemy forces attack in swarms, you can easily be overwhelmed in battle, but your mech, called a Havoc Suit, has the ability to transform into a jet and fly to safety. When you're on the ground, you can run around and blow up your enemies with an ever-increasing array of weapons; the farther you get in the game, the more weapons your mech can use. You can also launch devastating missiles with the L trigger, but be careful, these are available in limited quantities; you may want to save them for when you really need them. Pressing the Y button turns your Havoc Suit into a jet which also fires missiles and a primary weapon. While in jet form, you can move much faster, but it is rather difficult to control.
In either form, the game features a handy auto-aim mode that is activated by pressing B. The auto-aim will make your job a tad easier, and it's fairly sensitive to where you're looking. This makes it easier to disengage weaker enemies so that you can take out the biggest threats first.
The graphics in the game are adequate, but they're certainly nothing to write home about. At first, all the shiny objects on screen may grab your attention, but soon you'll realize just how bland the environments are. The cities and robots look alright, but the land and background could use a major facelift. To the game's credit though, the explosions are quite impressive.
The music in the game is pretty lame, but the sound effects are actually pretty darn good. The mech stomps the ground as it moves, the primary machine guns have a satisfying rattle and the sounds of combat really come alive and help to absorb the player. The voice acting could have been better, but it's not bad, and honestly, it's hardly noticeable when you're concentrating on making scrap metal out of the opposition.
By the far the worst offenses in the game are the low frame rates and the overly complex controls. While fighting off the enemy, you'll often experience a drop in frame rate that immediately pulls you out of the action and puts you in frustration mode. Add to that the fact that the controls are more difficult than they ought to be, and you have a pretty severe problem on your hands (literally). It's not just the awkward button settings that make things difficult, but the response time seems to be off as well. Maneuvering the jet with skill takes some practice, and at first you may find yourself flying into all manner of objects as you struggle to get things down. Another problem with the game is that most of the missions are repetitive and they get old quickly. Ultimately, these problems are a major issue and severely detract from the overall experience.
Gun Metal isn't an awful game. Some parts of it are really well done and the action will draw you in at first. Mech fans will especially enjoy all the carnage to be found, but for those of you looking for something more, this game just doesn't make the cut. If you're curious, I'd suggest renting it before making a purchase; more than likely, you'll be glad you did.