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Metal Marines

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Released: 1994

Genre: Strategy

Format reviewed: SNES

Publisher: Mindscape

Developer: Namco

Submitted by: James Evans

You are the equivalent of the Japanese space army, taking the fight to the evil Westerners… Obviously for disclaimer reasons that is not how the story is told, but if you have an ounce of intelligence in your head, that is basically the story… A futruristic Pearl Harbour but with robots!

The game is actually an involved strategy game with a plethora of options to keep you busy. The screen looks like an isometric Command and Conquer – build icons are all neatly laid out on the left of the screen, the action on the right. A slight warning – the game is in real time, your factories earn money, money buys stuff. Same with the enemy. Before you know it the alarm sounds and the action cuts to the enemy assault. your base defences respond to the attack that approaches, be it anti air missiles to turrets and even giant mech attacks.

Best thing to do is go straight on the attack, fire off some missles to get a scope on the enemy base – it works like Battleships, you pick a grid area on the enemy's map and trial and error until you find where the command centres are on each map. Then send in the ground troops to level the place. If you save up enough cash / energy (each missle / mech costs fuel so you need to build factories) you can eventuall buy nukes that level huge areas.

An absolute gem of a game, even if it does have casual racism (my opinion of course) but its all tongue in cheek stuff. Bright bold anime characters act out the scenes between the action to keep you entertained and it does not dissapoint. The only downside to the game is the music – it does the job and sets the scene, but it is on a constant loop between building and attacks.

Getting much harder / more expensive to get hold of a copy, but definitely worth a look.