|Platforms||:||Game Boy & Game Boy Color|
|Review by||:||Ken Gagne|
The new millennium is finally upon us. Flying cars are nowhere to be seen, but what about robots? At least two instances have been recently reported on the Game Boy: Metal Walker, and Mega Man Xtreme, both from Capcom.
Metal Walker is a role-playing game (RPG) that sends our hero to the site of a government experiment gone wrong. Robots abound on this island that plays host to precious Core metals. If you can defeat the hordes of mechanical monstrosities guarding the abandoned plants and laboratories, you may find the ultimate Core, and be reunited with your lost father.
The battle system is Walker's most unusual feature. Battles occur in an overhead, square arena, where characters take turn charging about. Robots can bounce off walls and crash into other robots, sending them careening into other baddies. In theory, this perspective on turn-based fights is merely a unique representation of classic RPG battles: aiming at enemies, choosing to use items or attack, etc. But presenting it as a game of billiards is just weird. It's more mathematical than magical.
Adding to the oddness are items, which play a key role in the game and its battles. By bouncing enemies into analyzers and adding their profile to your Pokedex — er, scan data, that enemy's unique item, or capsule, can be replicated and bought at a store. Items must be chosen before entering a battle, where they are randomly tossed into the arena for anyone to use. All these various factors — collecting, managing, and applying — make for prohibitive use of capsules.
Metal Walker is really just a dull game. It asks too much for too little a return. A simpler and more entertaining game is Mega Man Xtreme, a remake that combines parts of the Super Nintendo classics Mega Man X and X2.
All Mega Man games follow a familiar pattern, and Xtreme is no exception. Players can choose from a set of stages to tackle in any order they like. Each level is guarded by an enemy whose special weapon Mega Man adds to his repertoire upon their defeat. These foes offer a classic challenge that require players to learn their patterns and practice getting their shots in where they can, avoiding hits and wearing down the enemy. Each boss is susceptible to a special weapon, and once the proper sequence of stages is cracked, the game becomes easier.
The stages are short and fairly linear, with multiple save points along the way. Though detrimental to long-term gameplay, these features make Mega Man Xtreme a great pick-up-and-play title for quick and fun side-scrolling action.
Xtreme wins no awards for originality; gamers looking for the latest and greatest of the Blue Bomber should try Mega Man X5 on PlayStation instead.
This article is copyright (c) 2001, 2007 by Ken Gagne. All rights reserved. Not to be distributed without permission.
Original publication: Sentinel & Enterprise, 29-Jan-01