NES Review – Metal Storm

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Six months into my collecting hobby, I was travelling around in London, Ontario for interviews for where I would be working in the following year and ended up stumbling upon upon a retro game store. I was expecting to find little – but their inventory was awesome! They had Princesses Tomato and the Salad Kingdom (which I bought), Battle Toads for Genesis (which I bought), and Hagane (which I seriously considered, but it wasn’t in great shape so I skipped on it), and finally – METAL STORM! I had heard that the game was uncommon, a bit of a hidden gem, and definitely worth picking up – so I did just that and have not regretted the decision!

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In terms of story – apparently the game takes place in 2051. Humans have colonized the solar system, and aliens have come to destroy and have already taken out some planets! If I didn’t look online I would have no idea about the story as there is little in the game to indicate it – but it honestly really didn’t effect how much I enjoyed the game. Based on the cover, I knew that I was going to be driving around in a cool looking mech with huge guns and that was good enough for me!

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In terms of gameplay – this game is an action platformer. As I mentioned, you take control of a cool looking mech and are able to shoot and jump. Controls are tight and responsive. What makes this game so awesome though is the ability to shift the gravity so that you are either walking on the ground or walking on the ceiling! With this mechanic, tons of cool platforming puzzles become possible like needing to walk on the roof to avoid spikes! The shooting on the other hand is somewhat simple but satisfying – you get a blaster that can be upgraded with a power up found in the level.  Most enemies take between 1 and 3 shots. It’s the combination of having to shoot enemies and mixing in the platforming elements that really make this game engaging and fun!

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There are six stages in total, with two acts in each stage, and a boss! Each of the levels are quite different as well – some of them are more focused on horizontal progression, while others are vertical. Some have enemies continuously follow along a set path (see images below) while other have enemies sprinkled throughout. There is even some platforming similar to Mega Man where you must move quickly or get destroyed! The bosses are also excellent with each being screen-sized, although some where overly simple and easily dispatched. Laters bosses needed much more precise jumping and shooting to survive, which made it all the most satisfying when they were finally destroyed.

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In terms of difficulty, this game is very hard. It basically one hit kills, apart from the odd time players find the shield power up that allows you to take one extra hit. I died many times before I got the hang out it. Thankfully, the developers implemented infinite continues, so you can learn from your mistakes and make it al the way through!

In terms of graphics, this game is extremely gorgeous with awesome use of colour. Each level looks dramatically differently while at the same time maintains a really high-tech feel…almost like the game takes place in the world of TRON. The main characters and enemies are fairly detailed and are easy to see against the backgrounds as well. I was also especially impressed with the death animation when your mech blows up beautifully! The music is also fantastic, with amazing tracks all the way through.

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Overall, Metal Storm is an awesome platform action game that while hard (as in NINTENDO HARD), has excellent gameplay and infinite continues to push you till the end! This is a true hidden gem on the NES and highly recommended. I give this game a final score of 8/10.

FINAL SCORE: 8/10

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