Thursday, 2 January 2014

Chapter VI: Metal Mutant

Kids these days have it easy. Yes, I could be talking about anything but I’m really talking about porn. Yes, porn. Many of you probably could remember how hard could it be get access to titillating material in your early teens. Even a page of some magazine or newspaper with exposed breasts was enough for it to be treasured like some sort of limited edition Optimus Prime action figure.

In one impressive show of entrepreneurship at such young age, one colleague of mine in fifth grade, let’s call him Tom The Apple, stole porn magazines from newsstands and then offered to show to his classmates for a fee. Tom was also very rigid with his rules, as each ten cents only allowed you to look at the magazine for one minute, and after that he would unceremoniously close the magazine ignoring the other kids pleads. I don’t know where is Tom nowadays. I’m sure that he’s either a very rich and successful man or is in jail.

This quest for any kind of erotic material was always a priority over other endeavours, and Tom’s magazines showed us that there was much more than what some old filthy calendar we had hidden on our rooms showed us.

There was one small store on my hometown that had some porn games in its catalogue, and we had to find a way to get access to it. One afternoon after classes, me and my friend Magellan Joe went there for a general browse, but on arrival noticed that the shop owner left his young son, which had the same age as us, in charge of it. Obviously, we took this opportunity to convince the kid to make us some copies of the porn games, but to our surprise, it proved much harder than we thought. This kid, that we’ll call Andrew WM from now on, wasn’t easily manipulated, and he feared much more his father than he feared us. We tried the best we could to convince him that his father would never know, but it was no use.

Andrew started to steer the conversation to some awesome new games that had arrived. One of these, that he was very keen to convince us that was great, was Metal Mutant. ‘You can turn your robot panther into a robot dinosaur’ he said. That was the most excited we could have got without any mention of porn, so we had to admit defeat and buy the game. One thing that I remember clearly was his wrong pronunciation of the name, with “Metal” being said in proper English, while “Mutant” with the pronunciation of some drunken Russian in an eighties dumb action movie. After that incident, I also could never say the name of the game correctly ever again.

"Feature:.....Unforgettable". Agree!
Right after loading the game I realized that maybe my memory isn’t as good as I thought. There are no robot panthers in the game, at least judging from what I got to see of it. Either I was mixing up with the ones from Saint Dragon or Andrew WM is a big liar. Anyway, a Robot Dino is good enough, even though it certainly cannot replace porn.

Not as good as a Robot Panther, obviously
The visuals in the game can be summed up by one word: Green. Seriously, it looks like a leprechaun pissed all over the screen, and if that wasn’t enough, proceeded to smear his vomit all over it afterwards. Even metallic objects, which are quite prevalent (as if the name of the game didn’t gave that away), are green! At least the game has a distinct art style, which is something that can’t be said from many recent “AAA” games. After the initial shock, the graphics kind of grew on me and they seem perfectly adequate to represent the atmosphere of this alien, mossy planet. I can almost smell the chlorophyll from the screen.

While the graphics are ok, the same can’t be said for the general gameplay. The idea itself is laudable, since controlling three characters with distinct abilities can serve as a solid ground for a good game, as The Lost Vikings so clearly demonstrated. The problem is that the robots move so slowly that is very hard to avoid damage from the various foes the game throws away at us. The result is a plodding and unexciting action adventure, and while the exploration aspect of it seems interesting, it doesn’t make up for the game’s glaring flaws.

Bees are awful. Honey doesn't make up for it
There’s no in-game music, which in itself isn’t necessarily a bad idea since the silence can work quite well when the main theme of the game exploring an alien planet, specially accompanied by the sounds of insects, frogs and other fauna. Still, the atmosphere wouldn’t suffer if some nice ambient tunes were used. There’s a nice jolly tune on the main menu, that bizarrely doesn’t always plays, but it sounds as Amiga as it can get, which is one of the best compliments I can give.

Yoga isn't a good idea when being fireballed
I was expecting a crap game, and I got one game that isn’t entirely crap which is something I’m grateful for. I love the art style of old sci-fi book covers, and this game visuals are clearly influenced by them, even though that isn’t enough to make this game worth it to play nowadays. I can’t fault Andrew WM for selling us this game, since we could have got much worse, and everyone knows that shit games can leave an even bigger impression on our memories that good ones. I should have known better when I started this blog.

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