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Metal Arms: Glitch In The System

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I dont know about everyone else here but I love this game. You get to play as a little yellow robot named Glitch.


Here is a game review by IGN.


November 7, 2003 - From the maker of Hydro Thunder comes Metal Arms: Glitch in the System, a third-person action-shooter that centers on a storyline involving small droids, big guns and huge battles. This title, complete with an arcade-quick play style, was developed to be intuitive from the start -- the type of offering that anybody could pick up and play with little practice, and for the most part it succeeds in that lofty goal. Players will have fun as they blast their way through the wealth of environments in Glitch's extraterrestrial robot world, and there's enough variety in weapons and gadgets to keep the carnage fresh and exciting, if not downright strategic. But too-loose controls and an overall unforgiving difficulty definitely put a kink or two in the machine hero's otherwise shiny armor.


The Facts

Play as Glitch, a droid with a mysterious past, and fight against a robot army on an alien planet

Battle through more than 40 missions while sniping, sneaking, puzzle solving and more

Hack into and take control of enemy robots with Glitch's control tether device

Blow the opposition to pieces -- literally -- using 17 unique and deadly weapons that can be powered up

Hijack vehicles and use them to destroy the enemy

Take part in seven different multiplayer modes

Game runs in progressive scan

Dolby Pro Logic II Surround Sound


The gaming industry has created an unfortunate misconception that twitch-finger action titles are doomed to shallowness; that they are good for a one-night stand but lack the depth for a long lasting play relationship. This is not the case with developer Swingin' Ape Studios' surprisingly well made Metal Arms, which smartly and satisfyingly combines fast-action shooting with environmental puzzle solving, sniping and stealth, and yes, even a light-hearted story.


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A stylish and cinematic intro introduces gamers to the main character. Two tiny droids -- Hosed and Screwed -- explore a dark, shadowy hallway inside of an old, decrepit building, and they come upon a dusty, archaic robot that players later discover is Glitch. There is some mystery to Glitch's past, a truth learned through a particularly amusing cut-scene that also details the history of the strange robot planet called Iron Star. It's here players discover that many years before a scientific experiment gone wrong accidentally gave birth to General Corrosive, an evil robot with a passion for destruction. A war has been brewing between the good and the bad ever since, and soon after Glitch is reactivated he finds himself directly in the middle of it.

Metal Arms has a welcomed style and color to it. There are some genuinely funny lines in the cinematics, some of which are littered with unexpected, bleeped profanity. This character carries over into the play scenarios too. Glitch encounters robots that sell him weapons and gadgets along his quest and they're always full of comic one-liners. After completing an intermediate level, Glitch seems proud of himself until his commander comments, "Let's not break out the joy lube just yet." Meanwhile, when the hero shoots at enemy droids they will run around as if on fire and scream in sheer terror. The delivery is well done.


The game has many play elements to it, but the core revolves around fast and furious gunfights. Glitch can carry an impressive arsenal of different weapons from laser fire to automatics, shotguns and rockets, slingshots and grenades, sniper rifles and more, and all of them are entertaining and serve their purpose in battle. (He can also arm either hand with these weapons and use R and L to shoot/throw/sling them simultaneously, which just feels fantastic.) So Glitch explores the large, open 3D environments the game dishes out, enemies run out, and mini-wars ensue. And this is the meat and potatoes of the experience.


It's solid and refreshingly fun. Each of the game's 40 areas is presented with different goals and objectives in mind and there are a wide variety of scripted events that bring the sequences together. Glitch is usually accompanied by friendly droids in his infantry, who fight and die -- in canned, but nonetheless dazzling routines -- all around him. The geography of levels is saturated with realistic physics, semi-dynamic and constantly changing -- it crumbles, explodes and can occasionally be blown apart by Glitch's weapons. The world has a tangible layer of interactivity to it, which is a feat that few competing developers can claim to have also achieved. And because structures fall apart and explode as droids are blasted to bits and bombs erupting, the levels are convincingly intense.


Control could be tighter. Even with assisted aiming switched on, it can sometimes be difficult to precisely target enemies or objects, especially in the heat of battle where the framerate may take an occasional hit. This is one of the game's bigger drawbacks. That noted, an on-screen crosshair which glows red or green depending on whether or not an enemy is correctly in its sights is highly helpful and with some practice players will become more than competent with the slightly-too-laggy aim and it suddenly becomes far less of a concern. Glitch can easily switch between weapons with the face buttons and D-pad -- a process that thankfully pauses the action so that no enemies can sneak in unfair attacks -- and the hero can jump or double jump with the A button. All of this works very well and feels very intuitive during intense battle scenarios.


Were Metal Arms to have stopped there, we would have recommended it. But it features several other gameplay elements that impress, too. The most publicized is Glitch's ability to -- using a device called a tether control -- shoot out a wire that attaches to the backs of most enemy bots whereby the hero can jack into and take them over. A virtual scroll of play options are opened because of this seemingly simple addition as gamers can all of a sudden manipulate a plethora of different bots with unique and alternatively useful abilities. This function also allows for some measure of strategy and planning. When these bots are deactivated (if they go out of range or are manually disconnected by Glitch) they become active threats again so naturally it's also best to destroy them -- and this can be a deviously entertaining process in of itself.


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In addition, Glitch can also man turrets and shoot down droids, or he can take over craft and fly or speed them into motion against the opposition. And there are even full levels based around the craft. In one, Glitch must race a tank-like-vehicle through a desert while another droid mans its guns and shoots at foes. This is one of the weaker scenarios in the game mostly because the control, which is mapped to both analog sticks and nothing else, feels wrong and the physics too loose. But the variety is still commendable.

On top of everything else, the title features a full four-player mode where gamers can take part in seven different game types including Death Match. The multiplayer mode has been received differently by many of the IGN editors -- there are those who complain they can't properly see the play field because the droids take up too much space and those who really enjoy the experience. We're part of the latter.


Metal Arms delivers a long, engrossing helping of twitch-trigger shooting action and a number of play variations. The challenge can be too much at points. Many missions seem to revolve around try-die-and-try-again game design, which can be frustrating, but players who want an arcade-like shooter with depth, style and wit will still not find many better.



Love it or hate it, Glitch has its own style. The title has a slick presentation, from the defined menus to the pretty cut-scenes. But we like the look, too. The designs of the characters work. They're cute -- small and loveable -- and yet gritty enough to be taken seriously at the same time. Animation is strong and the variety of the motion is remarkable -- each model moves differently, some funnier than others. Meanwhile, the environments, from the dark caverns that the character explores to the overly colorful industrial wastelands that he does battle in, are big and mostly fantastic.


The game in our opinion suffers mostly in pure geometry and texture application. The buildings and objects lack polygons and as a result they may appear hard and edgy. We understand that some sacrifices have to be made in order to include other, more important attributes, but this is the case all the same. The title also suffers from underwhelming textures at points. Up close, they can sometimes appear blurry, even in the GameCube and Xbox builds of the game.


On the other hand, Swingin' Ape has created truly animated, fluid environments. Physics directly influence the visuals so that if Glitch shoots a missile at a bridge, it will first cause an explosion and then the gateway itself will crumble and collapse realistically. Signs take gunfire and fall apart. Structures explode. It all looks great.


A long list of technical feats can also be seen. Real-time lighting effects that temporarily illuminate hallways in flashes. Reflections, refraction and transparencies that form shimmering, beautiful water and metallic surfaces. A highly advanced particle system that makes enemies look as if they've been strapped from head-to-toe with dynamite every time they are shot apart as parts are ripped and thrust apart in hugely satisfying explosions. It all impresses.



The GameCube version of Glitch looks better than the PlayStation 2 one and the Xbox build looks better still. The differences are marginal. PS2 does not run in progressive scan, but the others do. PS2 also features slightly less geometry in certain situations and runs at a lesser framerate. GameCube and Xbox are very similar minus a few extra effects in the Microsoft build, and a slightly better fluidity. None of the versions run, unfortunately, run with an uninterrupted framerate -- it dips and drops here and there -- but the motion is never poor either.



Excellent. The title first runs in full surround sound so that players will be able to hear the echoes of bullets as they whiz by Glitch's head. More, though, it features superior voice acting from star talent and the dialogue is crisp, clean and usually humorous. Sound effects boom out -- gamers with proper subwoofers will feel the bass kick in and envelop them during deep in-play explosions. And to top everything off, the music is outstanding. It really is. It thumps with a beat and goes perfectly with the action. A kickin' drumbeat will even triumphantly signal when gamers have successfully completed a mission. Nice work.


Closing Comments

Metal Arms has unfortunately not received the attention it deserves of gamers. But if you're reading this review still, take notice because this is a surprisingly well-made action-shooter with a lot of heart. The game successfully merges a light-hearted storyline with some seriously intense combat, a good measure of strategy and a fun multiplayer mode. Oh, and the weapons in this title are downright awesome, especially the tether control device.


There are some notable drawbacks, yes. The control may be too loose for its own good and the game sometimes runs on the frustrating try-die-and-try-again design philosophy. But overall the experience is very entertaining and satisfying.


So with that in mind if you're looking for a smart, funny and unexpectedly deep action title with destruction and carnage at every corner, Metal Arms has got it in spades.



If you do not have this game I suggest it.

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