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GF! Archival Version Copyright 1995-2004

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by Rockstar Games

Ups: Cool tanks.

Downs:  Boring landscapes; no story; lame firing controls; fairly pointless.

System Reqs:
Sega Dreamcast

pic1.jpg (3575 bytes)It’s time to reclaim the future. To complete your task you are ordered to wander around some distant planet and find a few misplaced power cores. Along the way you’ll have a chance to avoid some mines and shoot some enemy tanks. That’s not a very exciting description, but Wild Metal’s not a very exciting game, and it’s more of a story then the game itself will give you. There are no mission briefings, no intro movie, no cut scenes, no story of any kind. The morsels of information that most closely resemble a plot are found in the instruction booklet and have already been summarized.

pic2.jpg (2512 bytes)Your tank sets down on a distant planet somewhere, and you have to search for mysterious power cores. The terrain is composed of bland hills and brown dirt. There is no map to gauge your position with, and the radar is ineffective. You climb over big hills, and find yourself unable to climb bigger hills, but everything looks the same. Occasionally you find a few ruins or objects lying around that you get to blow up. Occasionally you find ruins and objects lying around that have already been blown up, so you can infer that you’re moving in a circle. Eventually you’ll either find a power core or trade the game in. If it’s the former then you have to return to the drop off point and deliver the item to the ship waiting in orbit. When all the cores on a planet have been delivered you are transported to another planet, which means you have a different color of dirt to drive on.

pic3.jpg (2946 bytes)An epic quest to save mankind just wouldn’t be the same without bad guys to blow up. Besides, you’re in a tank already, so what the hell, bring on the baddies. You have two different weapons to vanquish the enemy with: the turret and land mines. The turret allows you to change the trajectory of the shell based on how long you hold down the fire button. On the plus side, this gives you the ability to fire giant lob shots at the unsuspecting enemy. On the bad side you’re going to miss because it’s nearly impossible to have any consistency with your aim. It is very difficult to judge the angle of the barrel, and their is no bar or gauge to help you out. You have to judge visually, and it is very difficult to judge distance and elevation. As a result, most of the battles are spent lobbing shells at the enemy growing ever closer, then farther away, until either you or the enemy finally gets waxed. Wild Metal does have a pretty cool turret system that allows you to rotate the turret while still driving forward. Of course, this means you can’t see where you’re going so it’s a risky maneuver. It does become a nice feature when the enemy is right next to you, which is usually the easiest tactic anyway. After all, It’s a lot easier to hit something when it’s right next to you. I found myself driving up to enemy tanks and slamming away on the fire button until they blew up. It’s not exactly a cunning tactic, but it’s the only one that’s really consistent.

pic4.jpg (4213 bytes)There are five different tanks for the saviors of earth to choose from. The tanks have a lot of variety in their strengths and weaknesses, and are actually modeled very well. Too bad they don’t have anything interesting to do.

The mediocre sound effects don’t add much to the gaming experience, and there is no soundtrack at all. Occasional shots being fired and the sound of a helicopter in the background make poor substitutions for an actual soundtrack, and this is just another example of Wild Metal offering only the minimum required to have a playable game.

pic5.jpg (2931 bytes)Wild Metal does offer a multi-player game, but the poor combat system makes it predictably difficult to get into. I tried coaxing a few people into multi-player combat, but, after one round, no one was really interested in a second. There are only four different maps to choose from, but there are three different multi-player modes: Frag, powercore, and capture. In Frag you kill your opponent as often as possible, in powercore you wax your opponent and collect his powercore from the debris, and capture is a lot like a game of tag.

pic6.jpg (2998 bytes)Wild Metal lacks the action and control to make a good arcade game, and it lacks the precision, the story, and the tools to make a good strategy game. Instead it wanders around somewhere between the two, searching in vain for a way to be fun. Exercise extreme caution and rent first.

--Jeff Luther