North American cover art
|Genre(s)||Mech simulator, shooter|
Metal Head[a] is a 3D mecha simulation shooter video game developed and published by Sega, and released in 1995 for the Genesis/Mega Drive's 32X add-on, allowing for fully texture-mapped polygons.
Metal Head's levels are broken down into missions, though most of the missions are to destroy all of the enemies in that particular area using the Mech's various projectile weapons. The time the user have remaining for each mission will count down and is displayed below the power gauge health bar. Before each mission a talking head appears of presumably one of the superior commanders in the Federation Armed Forces/Federation Police, and will instruct the user of the objective of the mission, which includes full voice-acting. A summary of the current mission will also appear when the game is paused.
Designed for Sega's 6-button controller, the games uses a first-person view looking through the windshield of one of the game's 'Metal Head' mechs. Below the screen is a control panel displaying the remaining health status, represented by a power-gauge and a percentage number, the time the user has remaining for the mission, the weapon the user is currently accessing and a screen displaying various other information for what is required (i.e. a 'miss' when the user does not hit an enemy target).
In the top-right of the quadrant of the screen is a map of the level. The user's vehicle is represented as a triangle and remaining enemies' vehicles are represented as pulsating circles, which allows navigation throughout each level.
Five years after the 'World Federation' was established strife and war are still on the rise. In order to keep the peace the Federation Armed Forces, part of the Federation Police, build fully armed, bipedal Mechs also known as 'Metal Heads'. The Metal Head's success causes a heavy militarization of the countries of the Federation.
A sudden and chaotic revolution led by terrorists, armed with their own fully armed Mechs, breaks out and the terrorists take control of a whole country. The player character (in a Metal Head) is sent in with his team to liberate the country's capital.
The player character starts in a small border town and works his way in to reach the capital.
Development and release
The four reviewers of Electronic Gaming Monthly panned the game, with their main criticism being that the gameplay is boring. GamePro instead focused its criticisms on the graphics and sound, calling the digitized talking heads "laughable" and complaining of the rasping quality of the audio. The reviewer remarked that the missions are varied but ultimately boil down to the same actions, and summarized the game as "a promising programming experiment not taken to fruition." Next Generation said that its graphics look good in screenshots, but that the game suffers from slow pacing, glitchy explosions, bad controls, pop-up, a poorly designed change-view feature, and clunky combat.
Steve Merrett of Computer and Video Games called it "the most impressive-looking 32X game yet." The "second opinion" reviewer Mark Patterson said it looks good but is hindered by weak explosions and slow gameplay, with the player normally only facing one enemy at a time. He nonetheless deemed it "decent". Mean Machines praised the "Smooth and fast-moving detailed polygon cityscapes" and called it a "thoughtful shoot 'em up that shows the promise of the 32X." One of Game Zero's review team said the game has boring graphics and gameplay, while the other found it reasonably fun and compared its visuals favorably to contemporary mech game Iron Soldier. Both agreed that Metal Head failed to create the feeling of controlling a mech.
- "MEGA DRIVE Soft > 1995-1996" (in Japanese). GAME Data Room. Retrieved 2019-12-14.
- "Fact-Files - 32X - Metal Head". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 67. Sendai Publishing. February 1995. pp. 136–137.
- Merrett, Steve; Patterson, Mark (March 1995). "CVG Review - 32X - Metal Head". Computer and Video Games. No. 160. Future Publishing. pp. 90–91.
- "April Release on 32X - Metal Head" (PDF). New Releases Catalogue. Sega. April 1995. p. 28. Retrieved 2019-12-14.
- "Metal Head Mistake Caught by Alert Reader". Electronic Gaming Monthly. Ziff Davis (71): 20. June 1995.
- "Review Crew: Metal Head". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 69. Sendai Publishing. April 1995. p. 36.
- NEW GAMES CROSS REVIEW: メタルヘッド. Weekly Famicom Tsūshin. No.324. Pg.42. 3 March 1995.
- "Metal Head". Next Generation. No. 4. Imagine Media. April 1995. p. 90.
- "The Final Word: Metal Head". Game Zero. December 1995. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
- "32X Review: Metal Head". Mean Machines Sega (29): 66–68. March 1995.
- Manny LaMancha (April 1995). "ProReview: Metal Head". GamePro. No. 79. IDG. p. 60.