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Metal Arms: Glitch in the System

Developer: Swingin' Ape | Publisher: VU Games
Players: 1 Player Game | Release Date: 11/18/03 | Genre: Shooter

In the middle of a season where a slew of big titles came out, the action title from Swinging Ape Studios and Sierra got lost in the shuffle. That game is Metal Arms: Glitch in the System and offers a single player mode and several gameplay modes for up to four players. But is it worthy of a purchase?

A big feature developers try to put in their titles is multiplayer modes. These days, players expect to find a way to play with up to four players. Since Metal Arms: Glitch in the System has been released on all three platforms, how does it measure up on each console? Obviously, with the power of the Xbox, the system performs much better than the other two versions. However, the developer has done a great job in keeping the GCN's frame rate high and the textures and lighting effects very close to the Xbox version. But the PlayStation 2 version comes up as the worst looking version mainly due to the fact that Sony didn't design the system to handle more than two players.

Metal Arms looks very cartoony and you may not take the game seriously because of this. Players control Glitch who is a robot built from scrap metal and leads a group of renegade robots to a big war over an evil group of bots. Okay, so the story won't win any big awards but it does include a lot of humor into the mix without the use of a big story. The focus here is on action. But for some reason the developers didn't really include much sound into the game. Were they concentrating so much on the gameplay end of things they forgot to include music?

The gameplay within Metal Arms is a third person shooter. You run around and shoot anything and everything. However, you can replace the right arm of Glitch with a variety of weapons including a shotgun, rocket launcher, machine gun, a basic laser, and more As you progress through the game, players will have the opportunity to upgrade these weapons to make them much more powerful. In addition to the primary weapons I have already listed, you can gain secondary weapons like grenades.

While the characters in this game are all robots, that does not mean the title is not violent. When you destroy the opposition, an enemies head, arm, or other parts will fly through the air and land on the grand. Sometimes a death blow will cause the entire body to explode and leave the feet running around the ground. Because this game uses robots, the developers can get away with violence like this. I have, in recent reviews, looked down upon titles that have over-used violence. A recent example of this is Manhunt. However, while some may call this a double-standard, I can overlook robot parts blowing up without getting offended.

Besides the mindless shooting action found in Metal Arms: Glitch in the System, the game can become very repetitive. In order to defeat a level on the normal setting, a player might have to replay a level ten, fifteen, or more times so they can plan a strategy to destroy every enemy where they are at. To me, this takes away a lot of the fun and charm of the title. The game is setup to be a lot of mindless shooting fun but tries to throw in a strategy where it doesn't fit. If you have the patience to plan out your killing path, you will probably be satisfied. I personally was usually just happy to see the level end.

Overall, Metal Arms: Glitch in the System is a title that action fans may want to take a look at. It loses some big points in my big for the repetition of replaying levels a multitude of times to get through them. However, you may find that the mix of action and strategy is worth a look.

By Kaleb Rutherford - 02/10/04
ESRB Details: Strong Language, Violence
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Screenshots for Metal Arms: Glitch in the System

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