February 20, 2000

Wild Metal - Review

Release Date Publisher Developer Players Rating RRP
29/2/2000Rockstar GamesDMA Design1-2G$89.95
VMU Game Difficulty Save Size Vibration 60Hz 50Hz Border
NoMediumTBAYesNo Small

The first time you play Wild Metal you might think that you have just wasted some of you hard earned cash. The game doesn't have an intro, there is almost no storyline and the first couple of levels are as exciting as watching mould grow on cheese. But DMA Design haven't made a name for themselves with boring games. These are the guys who have brought us one of the biggest puzzle games of all time, Lemmings. Recently DMA Design developed one of gamings most contraversial games, Grand Theft Auto. Wild Metal is their first game on the Sega Dreamcast.

The object of Wild Metal is pretty simple. Select one of five tanks, each of which has it's own strengths such as speed or armour levels, and collect the 8 power cores in each level. Of course there is a little more to it then that. Each level is littered with enemies which are ready to destroy you to protect the power cores and defend their territories. The game includes almost 20 different enemies which are varied and have different abilities. Some of the more interesting enemies include the Lemming which is a fairly stupid tank which explodes when you get close to it, or the Hippo which doesn't have weapons but can carry objects such as the power cores. To make things interesting there are several flying enemies which are quite hard to combat with a tank. The game is made up of 3 different worlds with close to 10 missions to complete in each level.

While the game starts off slow, Wild Metal soon turns into an action packed game with intense action. DMA Design have included some good AI routines in the game for the enemies and the game world. If enemies take too much punishment they will often try to retreat. Another great feature is that because tanks can only view forward it is possible to sneak up behind an enemy and blow them up before they know you are there. It's also great fun to destroy an enemy from a distance from the top of one of the many mountains that make up the alien worlds.

A mention must also be made of the 2 player mode of the game. Last year it was rumoured/suggested that this game was being delayed to include online gameplay. Unfortunately, this is not the case. This game would have been perfect for online gameplay, but with the online gameplay delays it was dumped in favour of a vertical split screen mode which is still a lot of fun. However, like all fragging games, being able to see where your opponent is by looking at the other side of the screen takes away a lot of the fun. Still, it's better then nothing.

One of the biggest disappointments with Wild Metal is the graphics. The terrain looks barren, even if they are alien words, and there is occasional slowdown. Granted this game is running on WinCE, it is probably the most impressive game to date which uses the speed crippling operating system. It very apparent where the terrain polygons are joined as the textures can be easily seen repeating and during th night missions the light levels change on defined angles from the polygon edges.

Wild Metal has quite a few problems in the sound department. While your tank emits a very low frequency rumble (which shook my house thanks to the super woofer), but the enemies are very quiet in comparison, even when driving right next to you. The explosions are exactly what you would expect in a game like this and driving over a piece of destroyed tank or gun emplacement invokes the appropriate metallic crunching noise. Unfortunately, Wild Metal is completely devoid of any music during the batttles. Perhaps this is so you can hear weapons and tanks in the distace, but during the emptier levels it is just too quiet.

Wild Metal is an interesting game. It never reaches an adrenaline-rush level of excitement but having said that it isn't a boring game either. If your a fan of tank games, want some blasting action, or like games such as Vigilante 8 and Twisted Metal on the Playstation you will probably enjoy this game.

Graphics Sound Gameplay Value Overall