Metal Mech
Blaster Master

We begin this new section with a look at a little-known NES game made by Jaleco and Sculptured Software called "Metal Mech". In this game, you control a giant robotic Mech that stomps around the city, destroying little robotic enemies. You can also make the little man who pilots the Mech jump out, and then you can control him as he runs around the city, climbing ladders and finding items. Does this concept sound familiar? Well, if you're a fan of Sunsoft's Blaster Master, then you should! Although the idea of controlling both a man and a vehicle, alone, wouldn't be grounds enough to call a game a "rip-off" (Air Fortress used this concept, and it still was quite original), but Metal Mech's "little man" looks almost exactly like Jason from Blaster Master, except he's a little less "super-deformed".. The way he pops out of the Mech's hatch is almost exactly like how Jason leaps out of Sophia the 3rd, except that Metal Mech's character ejects higher and farther, which looks really funny! So how does Metal Mech stand up to the game it so much wants to be like?
Stomping around in the Mech. This game wins bonus points for also ripping off Robocop.

It's Jason!
(After deflating his head and growing legs...)

This, as far as I know, is the extent of Metal Mech's dialogue. And people thought the frog story was bad. Metal Mech's entire plot is the little man making a pass at his tank.
In Blaster Master, Jason climbs aboard a tank and goes looking for a frog...

In Metal Mech, the little man climbs aboard a tank that goes leaping around like a frog!

Rip-off games can sometimes be good, so long as they rip off a game that was good to begin with, and get the formula right. Metal Mech picked a decent game to emulate, but unfortunately, it misses the mark on almost all areas. The control of the Mech is extremely clunky. Controlling the man is somewhat easier. In fact, I kind of wonder why we even need the Mech in this game, since the man has much better control, and is easier to use. In Blaster Master, the tank is invulnerable while Jason is running around outside of it. But in Metal Mech, enemies will continue to attack the Mech, even after you leap out, and it will still take damage! This is not a good thing. Metal Mech also tries to be non-linear, like Blaster Master, but most of the time, you're just climbing up and down ladders within the same area, and not really exploring much.

Jason climbs a ladder.

Metal Mech man climbs a ladder.

Metal Mech also has you collecting little radiation symbols around the city. As we all know, radiation was central to Blaster Master's theme. Since I don't have the Metal Mech instruction manual, I do not know what the story is with this game. But none of what goes on seems to really make any kind of sense. The whole game feels very unfinished and sloppy. All in all, I really think Blaster Master is one of the best NES games, around. Metal Mech, on the other hand, is probably one of the worst NES games I've ever played. I'm really glad I only payed $1.00 for it! In this case, the real thing just can't be beat!

Hmmmm... What's this? Another one of those boxes with the radiation symbol...Hey! Stay away from that! Didn't we learn anything from the damn frog?!



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