Reviewed: January 16, 2003
Released: December 3, 2002
When I was presented with the chance to review Metal Dungeon for the Xbox I was pleased to read that it was supposed to be such a unique game due to its being based on a deep traditional role playing experience that can be found in Japan. Metal Dungeon is designed by Japanese developer, Panther Software, and published by Xicat Interactive, a fast growing interactive entertainment Software Company.
The concept of Metal Dungeon is that science and magic have coincided in a world called Aansas where world domination is causing countries to be at war with one another for many years. One of the stronger forces in this fight is called “Weaponic Monsters”, which are considered to be fighting machines. The underdogs in the world battle are the Giamel’s, and they have secretly planned to make their own “Weaponic Monsters” to further their comeback against the other factions.
The Giamel’s capture the world’s most powerful sorcerers called the “Gods of Magic”. It is the inability of the Giamel’s to hold control over the “Gods of Magic” that causes them to lose control of the transformation process and thus the sorcerer’s take over the main computer, which in turn controls the whole Giamel complex. With only a limited amount of time before the remaining sorcerers awaken to destroy the earth it is up to you, a member of the elite forces, to eliminate the “Gods of Magic” and recapture the facility to thus save the planet.
I was rather expecting that this game would provide many hours of enjoyment. Instead it provided me a few hours of torture, as I had to endure its quasi real-time fighting scenes in which I felt there was little if any control over your players.
You and your party stand in a two line formation at one side of the room while your enemy stands at the other side of the room. Did I mention yet that there is little or no control over the characters? Also, there is a lack of any turn-based commands. The characters will suddenly begin to spar and thus you get to open your favorite beverage and sit back and watch. Once in a great while you get to provide a command for characters who about to attack or who are waiting their turn, like the retreat command which failed to execute on many occasions.
The only thing I found amazing with this game was the sheer amount of statistics the designers like to call "features":
The opening movie of Metal Dungeon was awesome, combinining excellent graphics and sound that made for what I thought would be an excellent RPG. Now, as I sit back and write this review I have to laugh at how clunky this games graphical system indeed ended up being.
The graphics can be summed up as this; you are basically running through a dungeon via a top down view with an ever disappearing ceiling. You are shown to be going through the hallways alone then BAM! You hit the battle zones and then the creators of the game decide to surrounde you with the rest of your party and the whole game has morphed into an average looking 3D close-up environment. Animation of these 3D characters was minimal at best during the battle scenes, and I was expecting much more from this game or any Xbox title for that matter.
As previously mentioned, this game’s opening sequence was great both graphically and with great music and sound effects. After this the designers seemed to drop any pretense of offering any quality sound or background music.
The sound in this game was rather distracting and I found myself just listening to the radio instead of utilizing the music and sound effects in this game. It seems like the developers should have spent more time on the sound than they evidently did on all the different characters you can choose to create.
According to the specifications, this game is supposedly capable of providing over 100 hours of game time. Each level takes about an hour and some levels require multiple trips. I will admit that I only played this game for a few hours due to the poor setup and total lack of any real gameplay.
The only value found in this game was the detailed character creation section. To make your characters you are able to choose your name, sex, class, clothing colors, and faces. Thus, there are hundreds if not thousands of possible creations you can make when you attempt to play this game.
There is no multiplayer option available in Metal Dungeon and replay value is nonexistent for me as I don’t plan on replaying this game ever. Someone may find this game enjoyable and play it over and over again, but I don't know who. Metal Dungeon will insult even the most indiscriminate gamer.
If I could give you a one word summary of this game it would have to be "disappointment". Disappointment reigns in this game from its fighting system, poor graphics and uninspired sound. Disappointment in the fact that with a little more development this game could have been much more capable of providing a well rounded playing experience.
It was not a good thing that this game had such a lack of control or interaction during the fights, as I actually prefer to play my video games rather than watch my video games play themselves. The overall concept of this game was great, it was just a shame that its implementation failed so miserably.