View Full Version : Metal Dungeon Hands-On

10-08-2002, 10:09 AM
Metal Dungeon Hands-On
Xbox is desperate for RPGs, well a new one's coming this winter.

October 07, 2002 - As with all good RPGs, Metal Dungeon takes place during dark times, when things appear to be at their worst. It's up to a small band of heroes to save the world, of course, one plunged into darkness by chaotic cyborgs. Mankind has retreated into metal fortresses, locking themselves from the sun in hopes of surviving another day. But there is evil within the ground of the planet Aransas, and as the humans nest in the darker corners of the world, magic and terrible creatures from a far gone past begin to emerge. The future of mankind resides within the Metal Dungeon, a place now overrun by this magic and these creatures. Only our heroes can brave the ten levels of the Dungeon to secure safety for mankind.
That is the premise behind Metal dungeon, a new dungeon-crawling RPG from Xicat Interactive. And from playing the game for a short period, it seems that's about all the story you can expect. Beyond a long introductory speech, the game doesn't appear to have much of a set-up for a deep story. Instead of involving characters and storyline, the focus is on leveling up and exploration, which are indeed important elements of the RPG-genre -- Though most RPG fans will tell you it's the story that plays an important role.

Starting off, you need to create some characters, all of them cybernetically enhanced. You can create your own, choosing names, outfits, and classes, or you can choose from randomly created characters. There are five classes initially: Fencer, Striker, Analyzer, Caster, and Broader, but five more classes can be unlocked through a rather unique type of exploration. Though you can create extra characters, you can only have five on any exploration team. Oh, and as for unlocking new classes? The various levels of the Metal Dungeon harbor the corpses of fallen heroes. Revive a corpse and bring them into your party. Some will have new and unknown classes. Yes, that does in fact sound a bit creepy, but it's the coolest thing I've seen in Metal Dungeon so far.

Though the battles are in real-time, they feature a lot of staples of the turn-based genre. Players aren't directly controlled and will do automatic actions unless you tell them otherwise. You don't move them around, but you can make your Caster (I call mine Dude) cast a spell at a specific enemy or have your Broader bash a certain bad guy if you wish. The game mechanics already seem flawed, though, as there's no real sense of control over your character, even when you tell them what to do specifically. Metal Dungeon is in a weird place, not quite real-time and not quite turn-based. The combat systems hovers between the two, which may not have been the best choice.

Though Metal Dungeon features ten different levels, each one can be replayed over and over with some freshness. Every time you enter a level, it is randomly generated. Don't fear getting lots either, because there is a map overlay that fills in as you further your exploration.

Up to four people can slot in a controller and have in on the action, or one player can control every adventurer in the game. As with most dungeon crawlers, cash and items found in a level can be used to upgrade your character in the outer world.

The Shadowrun mixture of cyberpunk and magic is always intriguing, creating unique characters and often allowing for some unusual monsters. And it seems these will be Metal Dungeon's strengths, but the presentation and apparent lack of real story progression may prove a problem in the long run. But hey, with scarcely any RPGs on Xbox, Metal Dungeon will certainly be worth a try.

Metal Dungeon is expected to ship for Xbox this November. IGN will have more on this RPG in the coming weeks.


10-08-2002, 12:28 PM
No storyline? WTF where these devs smoking?? Its an RPG for cryin out loud!

10-08-2002, 12:42 PM
Originally posted by Dre
No storyline? WTF where these devs smoking?? Its an RPG for cryin out loud!

I know, but the XBox needs all the RPG's it can get! The next good XBox RPG will be Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic!!

10-08-2002, 01:30 PM
I went over to the Xicat forum and the company guy there was saying more stuff on MD will be released very soon (like, this week).

So, no offense to Hilary at IGN, but there should be a spate of new reviews of this game coming.

Actually it sounds interesting to me - Metal Dungeon is now on my "interested list". :)

10-08-2002, 03:34 PM
When I was reading about the battles; I was thinking of Dungeon Siege. I wonder if it will be like that?