It seems that tanks are the 'in thing' as far as games are concerned. After a series of Battlezone lookalikes being released,US Gold have come up with a game that simulates not one, not wo, but three armoured transport systems.
Heavy Metal places you as a cadet in the US Officer Training School, where you will learn how to control an M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tank (MBT), an Air Defence Anti Tank (ADAT) and a Fast Attack Vehicle (FAV) as well as tactical forces in a battle scenario.
Only Second Lieutenants and above can enter the tactical stage, so your first step on the ladder is to qualify for promotion by proving your worth in combat simulations using all three vehicles. Once you have been promoted you can select the tactical section, where you have the three units under your control as well as a fourth support unit, which can be any of the vehicles.
You must deploy your forces and engage enemy troops in an attempt to stop them reaching your HQ. Once all your forces have been defeated or immobilised you are taken to the debriefing room, where the General gives an appraisal of your performance.
New recruits usually find themselves receiving the hard edge of his tongue, but eventually you may be promoted to Five-Star General and outrank him, which should soften the General's approach!
GRAPHICS AND SOUND
The presentation of Heavy Metal is very good, with an effective animated introduction and some extremely tough-
There is a solid option, but this only works for the scenery, not for enemy vehicles. The sound doesn't really make much use of the Amiga's capabilities, sounding more like that old 8-bit warhorse the Commodore 64.
The three simulators are in essence three different games, requiring a completely individual approach and use of tactics. Even if you manage to beat the three individual sections, there is the tactical game which takes more thought and planning before you can overcome the odds and beat the enemy forces, no matter how skilful your driving and shooting may be.
Despite some rough edges in the audio-visual department and some annoying delays while playing the game, Heavy Metal isn't a bad combat simulation. The three sections are tough to master and present a fair challenge when combined in the strategic element of the game, especially when you're outnumbered almost two to one!
The feel is more 'arcade' like than straight wargaming, making the game easier to get into than some of the more complex simulations available - a fact that may repel strategists but will be welcomed by blast fans. But both these groups may find Heavy Metal