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Metrocide (PC) artwork

Metrocide (PC) review

"It's basically a very demanding people watching simulator"

Metrocide (PC) image

Metrocide is yet another vision into a rainy, draconian, cyberpunk-y future. Burnouts seem to outnumber the scattered bits of street trash, loitering about with cigarettes dangling from their lips. Police drones zoom overhead, gunning down anyone who's suspected of criminal activity, regardless their actual involvement with the infraction. Finally, there are you and your employers. You want a ticket out of the cesspool you're currently stuck in, and they want some people dead. As you can imagine, an agreement has been reached: you off the knuckleheads whom they've deemed unfit to live and in return, your bosses hand you paychecks that can eventually buy you a one-time pass out of the city. The only catch is that everyone from the ecstasy-loaded ravers on the street corner to the aforementioned flying fuzz hates murder. With a passion.

Obviously, this means you're going to have to utilize stealth to dispatch your targets. Should you slip up and accidentally kill in front of a passer-by or a police drone, you could face ill consequences. In the case of the former, an onlooker might run off and tattle on you--assuming you don't whirl around and put a bullet in his back as well. In the case of the latter, you get shot. Period. The same thing happens if you commit homicide in front of a citizen who turns out to be a vigilante. That's when he produces his impressive blaster (which easily trumps your initial weapon) and puts a hole in your head.

Metrocide (PC) image

Bear in mind that these bullets don't wear down your health or subtract a life from your supply, but flat out kill you. Not the "I"ll just use one of my continues" kind of "kill you," but the "perma-death/restart from the very beginning of the stage" sort. Get used to it, because it happens a lot.

You see, assassinating is not as simple in Metrocide as it is in, say, Assassin's Creed. For some reason, the future appears to have a dearth of knives and garottes, which would be perfect for silent killing, but has a plethora of firearms. The very weapon you start with is possibly the worst one imaginable: a futuristic pistol that takes eons to charge before ejecting a mid-range bullet. Once you pull that puppy on a target, he'll likely run away. Because of that, your foe is usually out of range by the time the high-tech bullet leaves the chamber, so you have to hope that your opponent is stupid enough to give you the deer-caught-in-headlights stare, as (thankfully) sometimes happens. You could also attempt to close the gap between the two of you as much as possible once your victim flees, but you run a fair risk of being spotted that way. Like I said, get used to it.

Metrocide (PC) image

For the first hour or two, you'll probably hate Metrocide. The stupid primary weapon is the only one you'll possess for a while, as the vendor doesn't offer any additional artillery options until you've unlocked them. So you might try to hone your crappy gun skills, only to find that the game is well capable of stomping you into the mud, despite your proficiency in awful weaponry. More often than not, you'll be a victim of bad luck. For instance, you might open fire on a target, only to realize that the nearby sprite that you took for a cardboard box was actually a vigilante, who busts a cap in your sorry butt. In other occasions, an awning might mask an onlooker who witnesses your sin and phones for a five-o. The one mishap that really drove me nuts, though, was blasting someone in a secluded area, only to have a cop randomly show up as the ammo left the chamber. That earned me an instant execution, after collecting something like seventy-five percent of the money I needed to vacate the town.

None of that compared to the lengthy waits I had to endure before a target entered a prime zone for murder. They'd wander crowded sidewalks for minutes, sometimes disappear into clubs for ages, stop in the middle of a busy street to smoke an entire pack, then finally walk down a dark alley. There I'd finally end my target's life and jam his body into a nearby manhole or dump him in the river. That is, of course, assuming that someone didn't notice me carrying the body. Now, amplify these issues tenfold and you have the second and third levels, both of which are rampant with witnesses. I trailed one woman for well over ten minutes at one point, because everywhere she went was crawling with pedestrians.

Stick with Metrocide and you'll eventually get the hang of it. You might even learn to be patient, despite your enemy stubbornly refusing to travel down seedy, obviously unsafe routes. Once you've racked up a few kills in a row, the game begins to announce new unlockables, including a silenced shotgun. That weapon helped me complete level one, because it didn't need to charge up and didn't attract attention. There were even devices you could use to distract crowds and EMP grenades that dealt with the pesky authorities. Basically, every terrible situation had a way out, provided I had the dough to purchase the right items. Bit by bit, I learned to enjoy Metrocide

Metrocide (PC) image

...for a while.

During one session, I managed to rack up a good 1400+ credits in level one, leaving me with less than 600 to grab. Ecstatic to be done with the stage, I accepted a mission and charged down an alley, and then my desktop inexplicably appeared. The game had suddenly crashed and I lost all of my progress. I wish I could say this was an isolated incident, but the game has unexpectedly terminated numerous times on me, all during different phases of play. Although I did eventually complete the first stage, I still dwelt in the fear of having all my hard work obliterated by a glitch.

Eventually, I grew tired of Metrocide, but not for a reason that you might suspect. Yes, it was tough, but it was manageable. Rather, what killed the game for me was its repetition and lack of content. Metrocide sports only three levels, you enact a fairly familiar routine in all of them, there are only about four different weapons (and a few more if you count the silenced versions of the same guns), and the process of waiting for an opening becomes exhausting after the first level. Personally, I found the game to only be enjoyable in minor doses.

I walked away from Metrocide with a slightly heavy heart. It's not a terrible game, but its flaws leave a foul taste in your mouth. It's understandable that the game would be slack in terms of pacing, as it is a stealth title. Unfortunately, it's difficult to stay interested when you regularly have to follow an assignment for more than a few minutes. It's also frustrating to play lengthy session, only to have your progress wiped out by a crash. Overall, you end up experiencing a lot of tedium for a teensy payoff.


JoeTheDestroyer's avatar
Staff review by Joseph Shaffer (December 28, 2014)

Rumor has it that Joe is not actually a man, but a machine that likes video games, horror movies, and long walks on the beach. His/Its first contribution to HonestGamers was a review of Breath of Fire III.

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