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JadeDragon's reviews and playing tips: Pocket PC games

Metalion, by ZIO Interactive $19.95
Reviewed June 2002

While you are waiting for Star Wars Rogue Leader coming to your Pocket PC, why not check out ZIO's Metalion, which is an amazingly fast paced 3D flight shooter. It's not only a showcase of the gorgeous looking animated graphics (designed by a professional animation company), it is also a big step into keeping high performance under high number fps (frames per second) on a Pocket PC.

The first thing I thought when I picked up this game was "finally we are out of Raiden clones and into the real 3D first person flight shooter world." Well, almost first person. In Metalion, you control a robot that will save the world by fighting mean machines with big guns. What you will see on the screen is your Metalion flying in the air and fighting incoming enemies. There is a slide show before the beginning of the game that tells you the story behind the game. The story isn't complicated, but soon you will find that you hardly need one. The amazing part of the game is how great the graphics look and how easy it is to control your character in 3D. It's like a Saturday morning cartoon playing in the palm of your hand, and you get to be in it and play a big part.

In the world where we are spoiled with great looking console games like SkyGunner and Star Wars, we often forget the steps that have been taken to get there. When you get to fly up and down, left and right in Metalion, instead of the 2D screen movements like Raiden clones, you will realize that ZIO has taken one of those steps on this new gaming platform. Developed by Vooz, the high quality animations and graphics in this game feel so real that when the clouds swooshing by your ears you'd swear you can almost feel the breeze.

The game play is fast paced, and the action is thumb-numbing. You can start in 1 of the 3 difficulty levels, though you only get more lives at easier levels but the game sequence is all the same. You can change the graphic effects and sound quality levels depending on the type of device you're using. The D-pad controls the character's movements, 2 additional hardware buttons control the gun and bomb actions. Even though the controls are extremely smooth, you will need some practice to get used to the perspectives when you target enemies or dodge their fire in 3D, even when you chase the power ups. There are 3 types of Metalion you can choose from: normal, power or speed. If you die early in the game, you are not alone. But with practice you'll eventually get through the game.

The sound tracks will remind you of those in a driving game. Loud music and fast games seem to go hand and hand. The game takes up 2.3MB space and runs smoothly at high quality level on my Casio E-200.

So instead of watching your favorite cool Saturday morning cartoon, why not play it? Get Metalion and experience the new world of flying and shooting games for Pocket PC. And oh, may the force be with you!

Playing Hints and Tips:
Don't stop moving. All enemy fire seems to have guidance systems. Keep moving: it's the only way to survive long in this game.

Test all three Metalion robots and see which one works the best for you. I liked GAIA for the Speed, but its power isn't all that weak either.


Metalion screen shot

Metalion screen shot


Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):
Graphics At high frame rates, the game is extremely good-looking and extremely smooth.
Sound The futurist and upbeat music will get you in the mood very fast.
Fun Meter You will love the freedom of flying in the mid-air and you'll get used to the new 3D flying shooting game quite easily.
Addictivity You will need some time to beat the game. But the intense action, polished graphics and fun game play will keep luring you back.


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