View Full Version : Metal Arms Preview + Screens!

04-29-2003, 05:38 PM
Source: Gamespy

You may not have heard of Swingin' Ape Studios -- in fact, unless you live near the small Southern California town of Aliso Viejo, it is pretty much guaranteed that Swingin' Ape is not in your vocabulary. Later this year it will be. Founded by three former Midway employees in mid-2000, Swingin' Ape was shrouded in secrecy until last week when it unveiled a playable version of its first game at a Vivendi pre-E3 event. If what we saw is any indication, this little game is going to rock.

Robots 'R Us

Set in a futuristic world populated by living robots, Metal Arms' antagonist is an evil dictator named General Corrosive who's declared war on the average robot -- if they're not with him, they're against him. The hero, Glitch, isn't down with the General's world domination plans so the stage is set for a massive battle.

Even at this early stage, Metal Arms already feels like a polished game. Grabbing the controller and moving through the world was almost second nature. Everything moved smoothly and the default controller maps were quite intuitive. The default run speed was set a tad on the slow side, but with more than half a year until release, the team at Swingin' Ape has planet of time to tune the game.

Visually, Metal Arms is quite vibrant. Although there were only three levels available for play, each had a distinct look and feel. Even subdued areas of the game had a very colorful look to them. The end result was something of a surrealistic comic book version of a gritty future. Even when things were down and out, it still looked like a fun game to play.

Dude with a 'tude

A major part of the game's appeal is Glitch himself. Swingin' Ape nailed the characterization on this one -- Glitch is an understated hero with attitude, and it shows. Little things, such as the way he shoulder mounts a rocket launcher or reassembles himself after returning from an out-of-body experience, give you a reason to root for him. Glitch isn't just a character, he's a character with mascot potential.

While the main thrust of the game is third-person combat, Swingin' Ape also mixed in a variety of cool stuff to keep things from feeling bland. One of the more innovative features of Metal Arms is the ability to "jack in" to any robot with an open data port. When you connect to a robot, you gain full control of its body and can work it as if it were your own. Of course there is a catch ... because you are controlling the robot via a remote link, you can't stray too far from your body. Go out of range and Glitch will automatically return to his body while the hijacked robot will regain control of itself. With the proper timing, you can use this technique to safely eliminate powerful opponents. For example, it is possible to jack in, take control, and then walk the robot off a cliff. When it dies, Glitch simply pops back to his own body.

Another key point is the individuality of the robots. Not every robot in the game thinks alike. Some can be fooled into thinking you are a friend if you walk up with a remote-controlled body. Others do not care if you are friend or foe and will attack anyone who comes within range.

Ammunition Dump

Knowing that no wars have ever been won without battle, Glitch comes armed to the teeth. A variety of weapons are available for our robotic Rambo. Some are standard, but others are a bit outside the box. One of the neater items is an EMP grenade. When detonated it sets off an electromagnetic pulse which immobilizes any robot activity in the area. The visual effect is neat, but the ability to safely pick away at an enemy is even neater.

If cool weapons and crazy robots weren't enough, Metal Arms also serves up some vehicular action for Glitch. Simply destroy the robot behind the wheel and take command. Some vehicles are meant for utter destruction, such as the tank, while others must be used in more creative ways. The mining car, for example, has a huge pair of pinchers which do a great job of picking up robots and dropping them down bottomless shafts.

In addition to the single-player games, Swingin' Ape has also included a multiplayer mode in the game. Details on the multiplayer modes are scant, but a four-player deathmatch mode is virtually guaranteed. Hopefully Swingin' Ape will see fit to add Xbox Live play to the Xbox version of the game.

Nobody really knows why Sierra has kept Metal Arms so quiet for so long, but we're glad the game has finally come out of the closet. Sure, the shooter genre has a lot of competition, but with its unique characters, solid sense of humor, and low learning curve, Metal Arms has the ammunition to compete with the best of them.

Screens in Reply...

04-29-2003, 05:40 PM

04-29-2003, 05:44 PM

04-29-2003, 06:10 PM
Looks pretty good. I'm glad to know they gave the game a bit of character. Most of the shooters now days are starting to feel a bit bland.