Here, on the other hand, is one of those games that doesn't look like anything much but will probably keep your brain in gear for a good couple of weeks.
The idea is simple enough: you have to destroy a sort of mega-meanie holed up in a network of tunnels on an asteroid. Heard that one before? Well, yes, it's hardly original, but it's an interesting puzzle. To kill this blighter, you need to knock off four power units by pouring acid on them - getting the acid and finding the pods are the basis of the game. What complicates matters further are a number of security control units dotted about the place. These, if you land on them, open and shut doors around the place, change the direction of air currents, and generally change conditions throughout the maze. It all reminds me a bit of Pulsator, that splendid old Martech game, although it's perhaps not quite as fiendishly addictive. Judging by the generous packaging I'd guess this was originally planned as a full price release. It may not have cut it at eight quid, but at three it's a bargain...
I've often seen games that people have praised for being 'ahead of their time'. Ultimate released loads of them. But there's no way this game could be described as 'ahead of it's time'. I can't even see how this could be called 'The game of today'. 'Maybe last week' or 'Didn't I see that on a 16K speccy at the 2nd Microfair' are slightly more appropriate. If Addictive have tried to recreate the look, feel, even the smell of the old 'collect this to destroy that so that you I lean get to the other' 1984 kind of pap, then they've done a very good job of it. If on the other hand, they've tried to write an original, fun arcade adventure that'll keep you coming back for more, then I think they need some new programmers.
But before I give you the lowdown on one of the worst full price games around at the moment, here's an award. The Alien Syndrome award for the worst packaging blurb goes to this game for it's precis of the plot. 'Deep within the labyrinth that is Metaplex, lurks Garth, sworn enemy of the Earth." Good stuff eh, and believe me, things don't get much better.
You, as a little roaming droid, have to destroy four power points before you can get to the hideous two-headed thing that is Garth. To destroy them, you have to drop acid on them. To get the acid, you first have to collect an empty flask, of which there are a limited number. Once you have a flask, you have to carry it to the acid room (!?!) where a large vat of dripping acid is positioned. Stand beneath the vat to fill the flask, and then take it to one of the four power points, and then drop it by standing over it.
Lots of nasties roam around aimlessly, occasionally deciding to mill about in front of you. Things like expanded spiders and ghosts fly about waiting to be shot. Occasionally you'll get the odd alien who'll shoot back, and I do mean occasionally.
Graphics are large and colourful, that I can say. The only problem is that they are all single colour sprites, and all different colours from the other sprites on screen, which gives rise to large amounts of colour clash. Also, some of the graphics look like they were created by graphic expansion, just like the graphics in games like Heavy on the Magick. Blockiness abounds. Everything moves about very smoothly, which is almost a redeeming feature, even though it doesn't add to the gameplay at all.
Basically there's no way this could be recommended. Try again, lads.
Reviewer: Tony Dillon
When I reviewed Addictive's Metaplex last month, I was under the impression that it was to be released as a full-priced title and thus reviewed it so, calling it "... the worst full price game around at the moment..." and gave it the following marks:
Graphics: 36, Sound: 26, Playability: 68, Lastability: 15, Overall: 42.
In the light of the price reduction from £9.99 to £1.99, I have re-evaluated the game. I have now awarded it a Overall mark of 47 in view of the slight increase in value. The other marks I remain the same as, whatever the cost, the game is still as bad as when I first reviewed it. I say again, try again lads.
Reviewer: Tony Dillon
Addictive step backwards.
Asteroids are interesting things. According to Addictive, the one in this game houses a huge metal complex that's guarded by an evil two-headed being called Garth - who's determined to destroy the world.
It's your job to foil Garth's plans by destroying the four power units that supply him with his energy by collecting empty flasks and then filling them with acid before dropping them on the power units. Of course, nothing's ever as simple as that. Aliens roam the complex and your space buggy has a limited shield.
Metaplex is a real step back in time; it's got the look and feel of very early arcade adventures and it's very frustrating to play. Fine for those who still hanker for games that are simple to play but incredibly tough to complete.
Reviewer: Andy Smith
Spec, £2.99cs, £6.99dk, Out Now
C64/128, £2.99cs, £6.99dk, Out Now
Amstrad, £2.99cs, £6.99dk, Out Now
Predicted Interest Curve
1 min: 55/100
1 hour: 65/100
1 day: 50/100
1 week: 28/100
1 month: 10/100
1 year: 0/100
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