Saturday, 12 November 2016

Metal Freezer (Arcade)

I know what some of you might be thinking, and this game doesn't have anything to do with Dragonball Z. In fact, it's a futuristic maze game, that's almost as good as the game that I (and I'm sure many other people) place at the top of the genre, Raimais (and yes, I realise that this marks two arcade games in a row that I've compared to better-known games by Taito. The thing is, if you like arcade games, you like Taito games. They just put out a ton of varied, high quality games in the 80s and 90s!)

Anyway, Metal Freezer has you placing floor tiles over what appears to be exposed electronics, though functionally, this is exactly the same as collecting stuff in almost every other maze game that exists. It might actually be a spiritual sequel to another game from the same publisher named "Mustache Boy", albeit with a significant aesthetic improvement (but I'll get back to that later). Anyway, in four out of every five stages, you simply have to move over all the exposed electronics squares to place floor tiles over them, while avoiding/destroying the enemies roaming around. Every fifth stage has you getting through a tight obstacle course-like stage and reaching the exit as quickly as possible.

There are several distinct types of enemies, and they all do different things. For example, one type of enemies drags you towards it with magnetism, while one drills holes in walls to create more work for you, and another shoots goo at you that prevents you from jumping for a few seconds. Touching any of them loses you a life, though you aren't nearly as defenceless as you would be in most maze games, as you can shoot them with your freeze ray as much as you like (well, it has an overheat meter, but unless you go crazy with it, that won't even matter), turning them into ice cubes that can be pushed off the stage, into walls, or even used to crush other enemies.

Anyway, those aesthetics, eh? At first, the game'll look no better or worse than any other mid-budget late-80s arcade game. But there's a lot of great little details in there that you'll gradually start to notice! Like the way every type of floor and wall block has a different animation for when the stage fades to black on completion. And there's the cool cyberpunk wireframe progress map that displays at the start and finish of every game. All these little things add up to lift Metal Freezer a little higher than its contempories, and make it feel a little bit more professional.

Anyway, Metal Freezer is an excellent game, and I strongly recommend giving it a try!

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