Retroactive Review: Metal Combat – Falcon’s Revenge
No, not Mortal Kombat. METAL Combat.
The SNES is to this day considered by me to be one of the best consoles of days gone by. There were many games that molded the future of gaming that we’ve been trying to emulate ever since. Street Fighter 2, Super Metroid, and many more. One specific peripheral for the SNES that I loved and sadly was very underplayed, was the Super Scope.
Probably the coolest looking light gun ever created. Every other system had a weird looking pistol or, if you were lucky, a rifle. This was the only one that gave you a freaking bazooka. It only had 3 buttons and a toggle switch for off, on, and RAPID FIRE.
Most of the games for it were somewhat lame, but one stood out from the crowd; Battleclash. In this game the world is in chaos and is being ruled by Anubis and his chiefs. The only way to fight back is with the Battle Game; a ruthless battle of giant mechs called ST’s (Standing Tanks). You are the gunner in a 2 man team in the ST Falcon. Your pilot flies you around on the battlefield and tries to keep the enemy centered on your screen. Three years after you defeat Anubis, peace is returning and cities are being rebuilt. The peace is shattered by the return of Anubis. This is the beginning of the sequel; Metal Combat: Falcon’s Revenge. The storyline takes you much further than earth and the moon this time and sends you flying also to Mars, Saturn, and Uranus (snicker) to find the real masterminds.
Because you don’t get to dodge bullets, since you aren’t piloting, and the one who is piloting is solely trying to keep the enemy centered, you have to block the bullets and missiles by shooting them out of the air on their trajectory towards you. Your gun slowly charges up in power and will need to be at a comparable level to the shot coming at you. If you try to hit a huge energy shot with a smaller one, it will still careen into your face. Even on normal difficulty you can only take a few hits before dying.
One of the most satisfying parts of the game is that repeated hits to specific points in the enemies’ armor can cause serious damage and can destroy the mech’s limbs, protective armor, etc. If his right hand has a huge gun that keeps causing you problems, rend it from his torso. Some of the bosses can even be completely immobilized be destroying their legs. Then you can laugh in maniacal delight as he tries desperately to drag his robot ass away from you. However, some bosses take complete advantage of this and will actually unleash horrible special attacks if you are unfortunate enough to take out specific body parts.
They give you plenty of powerups to help with the battles on the easier difficulties as well. One, the V system, makes you invulnerable for a short time and makes your shots uber powerful at the cost of your shields. So after it runs out, you have about 5% of your life bar left, so you just have to make sure to pound the living crap out of them during those 10 seconds.
Graphics were about par for the SNES, they did do quite well with the visual designs and effects in the game though. It had a decent audio track that fit the battles. Nothing fancy. Plenty of fun explosion noises and such though. The gameplay however, was amazing. The only reason I wouldn’t give it a cool 100% was that it really has a limited control scheme with only being the gunner. You don’t get to control where you are flying. Add that in and you’d have an amazing mech game that came out way before all the others.
Like most good games I’ve found, they added in a few things to round out the game. They added secret passwords they gave you after beating the game, creating great replay value. They also added in a multiplayer function that had one player using the SNES controller to control the ST on the screen while the other used the Super Scope. But the one feature that got me going the most was the ranking feature. It had a ranking structure similar to the Metal Gear series that gives you a ranking along with an animal title. Having a few competitive brothers that all enjoyed the game made for many hours of trying to one up them in the time trials or in the game total score. Many of the bosses could be beaten with perfectly timed/aimed shots within 10-15 seconds.