Published by: Other
Reviewer: Dr. Boogie
Review: I've got a sick passion for Rogue-like games. If someone tells me they've got a game where you can make great strides towards winning the game, so long as you're willing to skirt the possibility of losing everything and having to start over at the beginning, chances are I'll give it a try based on nothing more than the promise of yelling, "ah, god dammit!" after one small slipup. And when you add sprite-based artwork to the equation, I become the world's worst consumer.
And so, when it was first admitted to Steam Early Access, I was eager to give Metrocide a shot. It promised to be a game you wouldn't put down. Except when you're taking a break because you're really crapping out.
Let me set the scene: you're TJ Trench, and you want out of Metro City. And who could blame you? It's a horribly violent place where you're likely to be killed at any moment, whether in a crossfire between gang members and police drones, or gunned down by a contract killer. As such a contract killer, your only means for earning the scratch needed to buy your way out of the city is to build a stack of bodies and climb your way out. Metaphorically.
Thus your crimewave begins. At the start, you'll have a simple blaster that shoots about 15 feet and has to be warmed up like a diesel engine before you can fire a shot. Soon, though, your blood money will allow you access to deadlier, more illegal guns that'll make you seem more a hitman and less a journeyman serial killer.
But not everyone wants to see Trench succeed in his quest to leave the city at any cost. Police drones, in particular, frown on murder. Gun-toting gang members aren't crazy about a dangerous killer roaming the neighborhood. Heck, even the citizenry is armed and paranoid. You know what they say: just because you're paranoid doesn't mean there isn't a guy with a blaster waiting to kill you and hide your corpse in the sewer.
Metrocide works because it gives you a very simple set of rules and lets you run wild: complete contracts, hide the bodies when you can, buy some guns, and keep going until you reach your goal. From that simple formula comes stories about the sweet taste of victory turned to bitter ash a moment later. Once, while attempting to neutralize an armed target, he accidentally spotted me and tried to flip the script with a gun of his own. Unfortunately for him, he caught some random passerby, and in doing so aroused the ire of some nearby gang members. I ran for my life as a veritable bloodbath erupted as NPCs started gunning each other down, only for the police to arrive and gun down the survivors! Such a senseless tragedy, I thought to myself as a swung by later on to steal all their wallets.
I have plenty more stories like that, but unfortunately many of those stories ended with me being dumped to the desktop after the game crashed. Crashing is never something you want to happen in a game, but it's especially frustrating when the game asks you to complete a long, (relatively) flawless run of a level, only to crash when you're just shy of your goal.
Less severe problems include the far-off, pixilated style leading to some visual confusion. The gritty streets of Metro City are littered with garbage and corpses alike, and at times it can be a little tough to spot a person standing still amongst said trash. Worse yet, imagine the look on my face when I shot my target, only to see that there was a second person standing directly on top of him who witnessed the whole thing! Obviously I killed him too, but it's the principle of the thing.
The game boasts three levels representing three sections of the city with graduating levels of security and other threats. Performing various tasks will unlock further equipment to help you overcome these new dangers, but there's no way to know what will be unlocked by doing what. Early on, the tutorial advised me to buy a new gun, but I found there were no guns for sale! Eventually, my indiscriminate killing unlocked a shotgun, but it would've been nice to have had a goal in mind before hiding around a corner, shooting whoever walks by, and dumping them in the river. Ah, that river and I had some good times.
Metrocide's strongest attribute is that it inspires great tension: Will your shot come out of the barrel at a slight angle and miss its target? Will there be any witnesses? Will any of said witnesses be packing? How many more jobs can you pull off before "yes" comes up as the answer to any of these questions? As of this review, you'll also have to ask, "Is the game going to crash?" Once that particular bit of tension is removed, you'll have a fine example of old school game design.
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)
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