Metal Arms - Glitch in the System


One to two players, infinite savegames, requires 181K, vibration, analog and digital pressure-sensitive control.

No widescreen support.

Rated T for strong language and violence.


Metal Arms is a third-person shooter that features robots instead of people. It is probably the must fun I've had with a shooter, including Half-Life. You mainly play as Glitch, a bot found in a junk heap who is fighting against the evil Mil armies, but also get a couple missions as other bots. Once you get the control tether, you also get to take over many Mil bots, provided you can sneak up on their back.

The game features the standard variety of weaponry, your lowly infinite-ammunition laser blaster, an inaccurate rapid-fire S.P.E.W., a rivet gun for sniping, the shotgun-like scatter blaster, a flamethrower, and a rocket launcher. More unique to the game are the ripper, which allows you to separate your enemies from their weapons (and limbs and legs), a slingshot for accurately lobbing grenades long distances, and the control tether, which lets you take them over and control them.

There are also a variety of grenades, including the standard "core charge", an EMP grenade that shuts down your enemies to make hacking them much, much easier, a recruiter grenade that converts enemies to assist you, a magma (napalm) grenade, and a homing missile grenade. The last goody is the scope, which is used in place of a grenade and works with the rivet gun, S.P.E.W., rocket launcher, and ripper.

The campaign mode features a large variety of mission types, including the simple kill-em'-all missions, driving missions, sneaking missions, and sniping missions. The missions types vary constantly, and are set in different locations keeping the action fun.

There are three different vehicles to drive, a car with a gun turret, which is used mostly in driving missions, a tank with cannon and machine gun, and a hovercraft with a grabber and a cannon. Presumably you can grab mil bots with the grabber, but I've never sucessfully done so.

Keeping with the T target rating, there aren't any complex puzzles in the game. In the cut scenes, "naughty" words are bleeped while "less-naughty" words make it through, the dirty language is very rare, and the bleeping makes the scenes highly ammusing.

The weapons in the game have three upgrade levels, and upgrades can be found hidden in the levels, or bought from Shady and Mr. Pockets, two bots who show up in the strangest of places. Upgrades not only make weapons more powerful, they also add new capabilities and hold more ammunition.

At any time you can re-play completed levels to look for additional secret chips which unlock multiplayer levels, or to get a speed chip by finishing the level in a certain amount of time. (As of this writing, I'm three secret chips and two speed chips short of a perfect campaign.)

The best part of the game is taking over your enemies. You get infinite ammunition and in some cases infinite bots to use, since they come fresh out of the bot-machine each time! This is carried over into multi-player, where bots are waiting for you to take them over. While playing as another bot, you get the benefit of being disassembled, keeping you from being killed while you can't watch your back.