Sometimes when i’m not entirely sure what game to play next, I dig out a bundle of Zzap/Commodore Format mags and flip through to get “inspired”. Again this helped me to produce a small list of titles to dig out.
Metrocross was one of those titles, and yet another game which gives me some fond memories – picking up the budget version of the game second hand many moons ago. I remember that the game didn’t look that much on the front cover or the back, but it was a new title in the second hand shop and worth a try for a quid.
The game itself is a conversion of a Namco title which doesn’t get as much attention as maybe it should. The idea of the game is simple – control your futuristic man and get him racing from left to right across a checkered floor to the finish line within the time limit. However, the checkered floor comes covered in hazards such as holes, obstacles and squares which slow you down. There are objects to aid your progress, such as skateboards to scroll across even slow tiles at speed, springboards to propell you further along in the game and over holes and collectables that stop the timer, help you speed up and give bonus points.
The game automatically scrolls, with your character always running. All you have to do is move your character around the race area and across 32 courses in total. It’s pretty different to most games you may have played back then, and still holds up today – though its a shame there is no simultaneous 2 player mode – which could have increased the fun scale.
As a conversion, I never really knew how accurate it was at the time – mainly because I had never seen the arcade itself. It wasn’t until thanks to MAME and one of the Namco classic collection packs that I managed to see just how close it was. Zzap’s 53% grading is very harsh indeed, and something that should be ignored. Although the graphics are a bit blocky, with sprites being expanded – the game plays brilliantly and is an extremely accurate conversion (Though music could have maybe been beefed up a bit).
I’m off to play it again now, so if get the chance – check it out for yourself (It should be available on various retro compilations, but also may even be on one of the virtual consoles of the big 3).
Additional trivia – The general format of the game was never really cloned to the heights of Pacman. Actually it pretty much wasn’t cloned at all, apart from one C64 game which never fully materialised. Inspector Gadget was a licenced game of the cartoon series by Melbourne House – although an arcade adventure game did surface, there was an earlier version of the game which was a blatant clone of Metrocross and can be checked out here on GTW64.
It’s actually quite fun, although buggy – and would have been more welcome than the terrible game that eventually got a release.
Other games being checked out today
Pretty much a day of C64 (Though a bit of PS2 after to test out a donated console from my nephew that he was getting rid of).
The Muncher (C64)
A Rampage sort of clone with a very large main godzilla character breaking up cities – including a level named “Nintendo village”. Great little yelps when you pick up people and eat them, or crunch sounds when you jump and land on them (Considering the 8-bit pixalage, not as gory as it sounds 🙂 )
Never played it before, though always seen the adverts – thought i’d give this Xevious clone a whirl to see if it as average as the magazines made it out to be.
Forgotten Worlds (C64)
Stunning conversion by Arc Developments. Graphically superb and very accurate conversion. Really good use of hi-res and multicolour backgrounds.