, posted 7 hours in the past / 712 Views
The shoot-’em-up Metal Empire has been on a wild experience. It began on Sega Genesis in 1992, noticed a Recreation Boy Advance port in 2004, earned a remake on 3DS a decade later in 2014, and acquired a Steam port of that remake (with upgraded graphics and controls) in 2018. Now, in 2024, it arrives on Change basically unchanged from its Steam model. When you one way or the other missed this horizontally-scrolling shooter on a myriad of platforms over the previous 30 years, now could be your likelihood to see what it is all about.
As for this Change model of the sport, there’s excellent news and unhealthy information. Let’s begin with the great: the core gameplay holds up fairly nicely greater than 30 years later. A horizontally-scrolling shoot-’em-up, Metal Empire falls beneath the “Euroshmup” umbrella, outlined by longer ranges, the inclusion of a participant well being bar, and enemies with a lot of hit factors. Regardless of belonging to a classification usually maligned by shooter aficionados, the sport has so much going for it.
For one, it advantages from an atypical steampunk aesthetic. The place a number of shooters lean on science-fiction templates or WWII designs, Metal Empire operates in a world of locomotives, dirigibles, floating submarines, ironclads, and even steam-based windmills. For one more, it contains two playable ships: a gradual zeppelin with extra hit factors and a nimble airplane with simpler air-to-ground assaults. Every ship can fireplace ahead and backward, and deploy a screen-clearing lightning bomb referred to as “Imamio Thunder”.
Metal Empire additionally advantages from some fascinating, stunning set-pieces. The mine stage is especially memorable. First you will scroll diagonally downward, avoiding falling rocks from behind, after which at a climactic second your ship will reverse course and ask you to outrun an enormous fireball. There’s additionally an thrilling bit later within the recreation the place you ascend upward alongside a sheer cliff, and one other the place you keep away from lethal blasts by hiding behind floating rocks. These unpredictable segments assist offset another levels, which endure from flat, uneventful degree layouts.
A number of austere degree designs aren’t the one issues that preserve Metal Empire shy of greatness. It additionally includes a easy, simple scoring system that does not encourage a lot experimentation. On the finish of every stage, you will obtain a rating based mostly on enemies defeated, remaining well being, and bombs used. It completely will get the job executed but it surely lacks the depth and flexibility of different shoot-’em-up programs. Then once more, this can be a Euroshmup at coronary heart, so it is actually extra about journey than score-chasing.
So, that is the excellent news; Metal Empire stays an pleasant scrolling shooter within the Euroshmup custom, all these years later. The unhealthy information is that this model, The Legend of Metal Empire, is basically a direct port of the Steam launch, which was solely barely modified from the 2014 3DS model. There’s nothing new or thrilling right here to warrant a repeat buy. When you’ve by no means performed the sport, although, and you are a Change proprietor who loves scrolling shooters, then it is likely to be well worth the $24.99 funding. Alternatively, you possibly can look forward to the upcoming Metal Empire Chronicles, which incorporates this HD model of Metal Empire, together with the Genesis and GBA variations, for $39.99.
To be truthful, if you have not skilled the sport because the GBA days, there is new stuff right here, carried over from 3DS and Steam. That features remastered graphics, a bigger area of view, a number of issue ranges, achievements, a coaching mode, an area leaderboard, and the power to avoid wasting between ranges. This latter addition is particularly helpful because of the recreation’s runtime. With seven prolonged levels and slow-moving gameplay, Metal Empire will take roughly 60 minutes — far longer than the typical shmup.
Whereas the builders of this Change port retained all of the bells and whistles of the trendy incarnation of Metal Empire, they missed a chance so as to add to it, or no less than add an additional layer of polish. The sport suffers from some bizarre translation points, as if the porting course of over time was a protracted recreation of phone. The chief enemy is alternately referred to as “Motorhead” and “Morterhead”, and the opening textual content warns of the “destrugtion of mankind”. The achievements appear a bit wonky as nicely, to the purpose that I believe they’re mislabeled. After ending the sport on regular, I unlocked achievements for clearing the sport on very laborious, however not on regular. I additionally unlocked the achievement for clearing stage six, however not stage three. Lastly, there is a grating sound impact that performs by the opening cinematic. It is meant to copy the press of an old school projector, but it surely seems like an audio glitch.
This Change port is likely to be referred to as The Legend of Metal Empire, however there’s nothing legendary about it. It is basically the Steam model of the sport from 2018, which was based mostly on the 3DS remake from 2014. That mentioned, it nonetheless ranks among the many finest variations of Metal Empire, due to its remastered property and the inclusion of particular options like coaching mode and an area leaderboard. It isn’t fairly a definitive model, however it’s a straightforward strategy to play an underappreciated fourth-generation shoot-’em-up on the go.
This evaluate relies on a digital copy of The Legend of Metal Empire for the NS, supplied by the writer.