Metal Dungeon (Xbox) review
"The story: "
In another planet where technology is mixed with magic, war is omnipresent. In continuous search of more powerful weapons, powerful beings called ''gods of magic'' created ''bio-monsters''. The authorities tried to control the Gods of Magic, but ultimately failed. The Gods of magic are slowly awakening from their trance in the depths of a huge Metal Dungeon located under the city. It's up to your group of cyborgs to stop them before they fully awake and become unstopable, going through the never-ending supply of bio-monsters they create.
Metal Dungeon is a dungeon-crawling type of RPG. The story i just told represents 95% of the storyline you'll see in that game (the 5% remaining being a bit of story between each level, which isn't much). Think a game like the original Diablo, with a battle system like the one found in games such as the Final Fantasy series or the orinial Phantasy Star series. Complete with randomly generating dungeons, random monsters and equipment.
If you accept that an RPG kind of game can not have any story attached to it, then Metal Dungeon will satisfy you a lot, gameplay wise at least. The game is fun if taken as a dungeon-crawler. The random dungeons can get very complex and the use of the auto-map is a must (even though it will take you some time to make sense of that semi-transparent map since it occupies 75% of the screen, causing lots of distraction and confusion).
Monster appears when you touch floating orbs or at random when you open a door. The group of monster attacking you is also random in type and number.
Character creation is a mixed bag. You have up to five different characters in your group and the game has a total of 5 different classes (guess how your first group will be like). There's the close weapon specialist: the fencer, the martial artist: the striker, the gun shooter and tactitian: the analyzer, the mage: the caster, and a generic, multi-puropose class: the broader.
Depending on the class, the points assigned to stats with leveling-up vary in cost. Raising the magical effects stats is faster for a caster than say, a fencer.
You gain experience by fighting monsters and the experience is translated to level points. Level points then needs to be installed on your cyborg, and it cost money. Which brings me to a little problem with the game that i find annoying. The shop only has basic items and you'll have bought them all by the third level of the dungeon (forcing you to find better items in the dungeon itself). Then moeny is plentiful. Unless you're completely dumb, you'll never run out of cash. All of it making money management completely useless.
The game itself is made of 10 levels, each with a perk (magic not working in that level, random transporters in another, etc.). At the end of each level, your greeted by a big boss monster you have to kill/maim/destroy before going to the next level. Repetitive, but i found it fun anyway :)
Ouch! the game hurts here. Shadows are just plain pixelated ugly, animation of the characters is always the same, there are only one type of weapon per category shown during battle (only one look of swords, one of hammers, one of rods, etc.), no armor is ever shown.
Character creation allows you to create the look of the character in a similar fashion to Phantasy Star online. But with a lot less detail. The game only has about 10 faces for male and 10 more for female and about 7 or 8 color for clothing. Considering half of them may not be your taste or are just plain ugly to look at, you may find the selection of looks very limited. You can adjust the size and weight of your characters, but it doesn't change the whole character cosmetic design limitations by much.
Graphics are not totally bad, but they look like something you could find on a Playstation One, with better resolution.
There are even some very apparent glitches. Looking at the male model of the fencer, i can never understand why it's collar keeps going up and down for no reason.
Perplexing is the fact that characters always seem to ''moonwalk'' when walking around in the dungeon.
Sound is average at best. I found the music good in the dungeon crawls, but since there's only one music for every single battle you'll face (except the occasional boss battle), you will get tired of it quickly even though it's not THAT annoying.
Sound effects are well made, but nothing extraordinary.
Metal Dungeon is a mixed bag. The game IS badly made with poor artistic choices. It really feels as if the programmers had simply cut corners to get it out fast. But even with all it's faults, the game is still fun and is worth a trip if you like dungeon-crawler type RPGs, but only if you like them. If you don't, then you'll give a 4/10 or a 5/10 to this game at best...
Community review by deedob (January 20, 2003)
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