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by Capcom

sshot7-01.jpg (9340 bytes)Capcom is arguably the king of 2D fighting games. They got there with games like the Street Fighter series and by placing an emphasis on solid controls and game play even if it meant sacrificing the visuals. As for the world of Capcom 3D fighters, they have been average at best. Heavy Metal continues this uphill struggle to be part of the 3D elite. Unfortunately, any of the game’s good points are overshadowed by the bad --to a point that you want to cringe with fear

sshot4-01.jpg (10136 bytes)Geomatrix is essentially arena fighting with new age gladiators. Kevin Eastman, the owner/editor-in-chief of Heavy Metal magazine and creator of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, developed the story used in the game. Based at the end of the 21st century in an apocalyptic setting in which most of the land has been covered by the unfortunate melting of Antarctica. The only real release for those who survived is by submersing themselves in cyberspace, but that is not as pleasant as it should be. Fights are breaking out among the cyber junkies for control over these lands. There are four rival groups hell bent on taking control of them. Each group has three members: The leader, who is well balanced in speed, vitality and power, A buxom female fighter who is just as fast in battle as her looks suggests, and the behemoths who are strong beyond belief but extremely slow.

sshot2-01.jpg (10202 bytes)There are three modes to play. First is the arcade mode where the object is simple-- destroy your enemies. The first few battles are one on one, but later it becomes two on one. Then there are the tag battles in which you have a partner to aid you in your quest for destruction. Each level that you partake in combat has various weapons to use at your disposal. There are two types of weapons: bladed weapons and projectile ones. Depending on whom you choose, they will have a particular weapon to start out with. The second mode is the chaosmatrix, which takes place in arenas that resemble those in the VR missions from Metal Gear Solid. The object is to acquire keys within a certain time limit for a high score. The faster the level is completed the higher the score. There are twists added in every now and then where you have to defeat enemies while trying to collect the keys. This mode is basically a training mode to familiarize you with the controls of the game. Finally there is the Vs. mode, which is a typical multiplayer contest.

sshot6-01.jpg (10299 bytes)Doesn’t seem so bad so far? Well it gets a whole lot uglier from here on out. Simon Bisley, a superb artist who is one of the few people that have been allowed to illustrate a comic based on a Frank Frazetta painting, designed the characters for Geomatrix. I would like to see the sketches for the game because the way the characters look in the actual game does not do Bisley justice. Don’t get me wrong; they look ok. But being a fan of the magazine and his work, they just don’t have the same visual impact that you would expect. There is even more wrong with the graphics than just the way they look. The speed of the game is horrid. There are many times that it feels like you have it in slow motion. Even with the fastest characters you still feel like you are running through mud. The computer, however, seems to have no trouble at all moving around. If that wasn’t bad enough, this game has one of the worst cameras I have ever seen in a game. It might not be noticeable when fighting one on one, but when you add another opponent it starts to become nearly impossible to keep them both in front of you, so you can see them. If an enemy gets behind you, it’s over. Pressing the "y" button allows you to focus on the other enemy, but then the other enemy is behind you going for the kill, and with a majority of the weapons that can kill you with one or two hits it becomes frustrating trying to survive.

sshot9-01.jpg (10336 bytes)If the camera and poor animations are not enough, there is the control that just loves to add to your frustrations. In most games, in order to perform commands all you have to do is press a button. In Geomatrix you have to PRESS the buttons in order to get a response. This is especially true for the trigger buttons. It got to a point that I was afraid of breaking a controller while I was playing. Capcom at least allows us to use the analog stick for character movement. If you ever played Spawn, which was also made by Capcom, you were limited to using the digital pad only. In Geomatrix you can use the analog for at least the few fluid movements that are allowed.

sshot3-01.jpg (10380 bytes)If there is one good quality to Geomatrix it is the soundtrack which features bands such as Megadeth, Rob Halford, W.A.S.P., and Dust to Dust. The track listing embodies everything about Heavy Metal, with the fast paced guitar riffs and crushing vocals, it is a joy to listen to. At times thought the music is faster paced than the battle itself. Don’t go out and buy this game for the music alone because it has been releases as a soundtrack separately. Doing this eliminated any real reason to buy the game.

sshot1-01.jpg (10854 bytes)Capcom must have released this thinking no one would care because the Dreamcast is running out of new games. It’s a shame that games like this come out and tarnish the armor of a fine company. There is absolutely no reason to buy this game. If you are a fan of Heavy Metal and the art of Simon Bisley, stick to the magazine, and if you like the bands mentioned just buy the soundtrack. Heavy Metal: Geomatrix is a renter at best, and then only if it is the last game on the shelf.

Jake Carder   (10/27/2001)


Ups: Soundtrack.

Downs: Camera angled; sluggish movement; poor control.

Platform: Dreamcast