Classic RPG finally hits the Amiga

Metal Mutant logo

Publisher: Empire Software Price: £24.99

Throughout the years many films have been made depicting large robots allowed to grow too clever for their own, and mankind's good. Invariably, before anyone could do anything, it would always become too late to stop these machines taking over. Of course no one really believed that such a catastrophe could really happen. It was nothing more than a film maker's storyline.

Nevertheless the years passed and machines carried on developing, doing more and more complex jobs, and then a major breakthrough that would be our doom arrived. Artificial Intelligence was taken to a new dimension and robots were given a new type of independence in the human society. People even began to accept them for friends and neighbours.

Suddenly, overnight, everything went wrong. Millions of helpless humans were slaughtered by neighbouring robots. Work ceased to be done and the droids began to do jobs that suited their own ends. Within the space of just a few weeks the human race was reduced to a minute fraction of what they had been, and all of this devastation was caused because of one robot - Arod 7.

Even with this surprise attack, the humans still had some technology tucked up their sleeve. Plans for revenge were formulated, but it was soon realized that the only hope mankind stood of overthrowing the robots was to use their own kind to defeat them.

Mankind devised a new creature. Sure, it was combat robot, but this time controlled by a human brain. It was time to put the record straight - the reign of Arod 7 would be put to an end by the Metal Mutant.

You control the Metal Mutant as it strives to locate Arod 7 and destroy him once and for all. The droids has a number of different weapons to use as he fights his way to his final objective, and there are also a number of slots available for any extra weapons or abilities that might be found on the way.

The most effective power the droid has is the ability to mutate into three different forms in order to combat the various opponents and obstacles that lie ahead.

The first form is that of a normal humanoid. The shape can jump and climb as well as using quite a few hefty melee weapons. He's rough, tough and ready for anything. The second is the guise of a prehistoric dinosaur. Fiery breath and jaws that can bite through solid titanium make this form deadly in combat.

Lastly is the combat model. Equipped with just a gun and a torpedo tube this little chap makes up for his lack of speed and size with a fire power so awesome that even the largest monsters in the game will be hard pushed to withstand more than a few seconds of his firepower.

Metal Mutant isn't all blasting and punching. The game contains a lot of puzzles and objects that need to be interacted with if you are to reach your main objective and kill Arod 7. Levers will need to be pulled to open doors, and computer terminals interfaced with for extra equipment.

Although most of the monsters just appear to be cannon fodder at the beginning of the game, they soon become a lot more cunning killing them required a good deal of strategy, and generally causes much damage.

Skill and timing will be needed if you're going to complete this game, but get your fire button finger (or thumb) ready to do some blasting as well.

Rost hoch drei...

Metal Mutant logo

Selten war sie wertlos wie heute - die Vorgeschichte, mit der uns Silmarils auf dieses Game einstimmen will. Von ausgeflippten Roboter-armeen ist da die Rede, vom dräuenden Weltuntergang und von anderen Dingen, die mit dem Rest des Spiels nicht das Geringste zu tun haben.

Auf dem real existierenden Monitor entpuppt sich Metal Mutant nämlich schnell als simples Schieß- und Prügelgame mit 'nem Robbi als Held. Der Blechkamerad weist zugegebenermaßen interessante Verwandlungsmöglichkeiten auf: Drückt man den Joystick nach unten, kommt dabei abwechselnd ein "normaler" Robbi, ein Robo-Panzer oder ein Stahl-Dinosaurier heraus.

Je nach Outfit kann man schießen, springen, mit einer riesigen Hi Techn Axt herumfuchteln oder die Gegner totbeißen bzw. mit Feueratem rösten.

Ab und an sind auch mal kompliziertere Aufgaben zu lösen (man muß z.B. einen Gegenstand aufklauben, den man zwei Screens später zur Überwindung eines Hindernisses braucht...), aber meist läuft man einfach von links nach rechts und killt die regelmäßig auftauchenden Monster.

Der dreigestaltige Held sieht in jedem seiner Gewänder ziemlich blechern aus, die Hintergrundlandschaften sind im kleidsamen Gallengrün gehalten. Gescrollt wird nicht, dafür recht flott umgeschaltet zwischen den Screens.

Der Titelsoundtrack und die Geräusche während des Spiels hören sich so an, wie die Gegner aussehen: als wären sie gerade dem Reptilienhaus im städtischen Tierpark entsprungen. Zu allem Überfluß ist auch noch die Steuerung ausgesprochen gewöhnungsbedürftig.

Nö Leute, dieses Blech ist wirklich Blech - und wer will für Blech schon blechen? (C. Borgmeier)

Metal Mutant logo

Computers are a rum old bunch. No sooner you spent a billion dollars developing them and sending them out into the big, wide world, then they cock up on you. Just like that. It's a bummer. Hal did it in 2001, closer to home Cybercon III did it in, erm, Cybercon III, and now Arod 7's sniffing up the same tree - he started off okay, looking after lots of colonies like he was told to, but then all the power got to his circuit boards, he did a bit of a Maggie, and now he's pitching for universal domination and all that.

So something's got to be done. Cue Mr Mutant, who's a much nicer chap. Except he's not actually just one chap, but three. One minute he's a cyborg, the next moment - ping! - he's turned into a dinosaur, and the next moment after that double ping! - he's a tank. It's a bloody good trick with the chicks...

Armed with different weapons, limbs, body armours, varying levels of intelligence, you-name-it-this-guy's-got-it, Metal Mutant. Seems like the complete solution, and completely rust-free to boot.

Silmarils' latest title is a kick-blaster arcade puzzler, set on a green planet called Kronox. There are three levels, kicking off on the surface, then moving through a sort of factory level into a space complex. Arod's sitting at the end of 130 screens. On each of these you'll have specific tasks to attend to - killing baddies, picking up weapons, and squidging your grey matter around a trillion indy-dinky puzzles (basically).

It's a simple concept, but it works well. After the first few screens (each with its own reptilian monster), you're wondering if it's ever going to pick up, when it does exactly that, and you suddenly realise you've actually just learnt quite a bit about which of the three 'mutants' to use in which situation, and how to juggle their skills.

The learning curve reaches its dizzy peak at the end when you're up against Rod - he has access to any one of 27 weapons, which you must answer quickly. Playability-wise, Metal Mutant comes up trumps. It's also helped by some excellent presentation. The baddies are given enough space to really come alive and take on their own identities.

But overall, its charm is its simplicity. Structurally, it's dead straightforward. But it's so jam-packed with good ideas, that it becomes terribly hard to resist.

Metal Mutant logo

No, this isn't a game about R2D2 wandering too close to Chernobyl. Instead it involves one super-robot liberating the human race from the despotic robotic masters.

Set in the far future, the human race has spread out and colonised most of the galaxy. With advances in robotics and plenty of new-found wealth mankind has become ultra-decadent, spending most of its time stoned at wild orgies. In protest at their serf-like lifestyle the robots stage a rebellion and wipe out most of Earth-s carbon-based descendants. Foreseeing the uprising, a group of seriously unhip scientists create a multi-faceted war droid, armed to the teeth, to crush the robot revolt.

Enter the Metal Mutant, the robot equivalent of the Swiss Army knife. First he's a cyborg armed with a rather savage blade, then a quick jab on the joystick transforms him into Dino, a Tyrannosaurus Rex lookalike armed with twin flame throwers and a nasty bite. Finally he can turn into a battle robot which is both well protected and equipped with awesome firepower.

Each shape has advantages and drawbacks. The cyborg is the only robot who can jump, but has limited firepower. Dino isn't very well armoured, but he's useful for attacking the smaller creatures in the game. The battle robot steers like a brick, but is the only character capable of destroying some of the larger bad guys.

The game itself is a shoot 'em up cum arcade adventure with loads of puzzles. Some screens require a certain number of robots or animals to be destroyed, which isn't easy as a certain number of creatures are immune to particular weapons. Other screens tax your joystick skills with difficult jumps and dangerous obstacles.

The real problems are caused by puzzles. There's a musical one where the computer plays a sequence of notes which then have to be reproduced exactly or he'll receive a nasty electric shock. There's also a cone of the Mutant which is equally well-armed and difficult to destroy.

Extra weapons and abilities are littered throughout the game (usually just before they're needed) which the Mutant can collect to become even tougher. All the robot's features can be accessed through the joystick. At times this can become a little confusing, but that's a minor niggle.

Some of the back and foreground graphics are very elaborate although sometimes they're a bit too detailed, making some screens look very cluttered. The graphics for the badguys are generally very good, though I get the impression that a bit more could have been done with them such as better death sequences and more animation frames.

Metal Mutant is a very absorbing game, but it lacks a few touches which would have made it excellent. By adding more armaments to the bad guys and the occasional sit-back-and-watch sequence, the overall feel of the game would be vastly improved.