Recovered from a junk heap on an abandoned planet and recreated
as a tiny droid, Glitch, star of Vivendi Universal’s
“Metal Arms: Glitch in the System,” is one badass
robot. A strange hybrid that melds the third person shooter with a
side-scrolling, puzzling-solving, coin-collecting adventure
(á la “Sonic the Hedgehog” or “Donkey Kong
Country”), “Metal Arms,” if nothing else, makes a
unique and often humorous, addition to the realm of console action
shooters.

Julie Pannuto
And to think that R2-D2 was used as an ashtray. (Courtesy of Vivendi Universal)

The gameplay is fairly straightforward: Destroy the evil
overlord while saving your fellow droids from slavery and ending a
civil war. Glitch has an extensive array of weapons and accessories
at his disposal and can upgrade the destructive power of each
through barters with Shady and Mr. Pockets, two merchant droids
that show up throughout the course of the game. In addition to the
arsenal, Glitch can also hijack enemy bots and vehicles, utilizing
their powerful attributes to further his mission.

The colorful graphics are impressive and soak the game with a
lively and cartoonish feel. Particle effects from explosions and
reflections are all nice graphical touches and the expansive,
interactive levels are an absolute thrill to explore.

The controls of “Metal Arms,” however, are one of
the game’s biggest detriments. Glitch often does not respond
to commands quickly enough or he over rotates when requested to
turn, making necessary jumps and tight rope maneuvers more
difficult then they should be. Think back to the difficulty of
driving the fire truck or ambulance in “Grand Theft Auto
3” and one can see how loose controls can hamper gameplay.
Also, when intense firefights break out, the overly complicated and
unresponsive controls make it even harder to take out enemies and
ultimately result in an untimely demise.

In addition to that, Glitch’s damage is not registered
very well with the player. Usually, when a player is hit, the
controller will vibrate suddenly or the screen will shake.
Unfortunately, Glitch barely reacts, even in intense gunfire, and
it’s difficult to be sure how much damage he has received
until he suddenly explodes in a flurry of gears and sparks.

Vivendi Universal has laid the ground for a solid third person
shooter. If the nuisances that separate good games from great games
can be further ironed out, the next “Metal Arms” should
raise a few more eyebrows.

Review: 3 out of 5 stars

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