reviews and playing tips: Pocket PC games
2: Mutant Uprising by ZIO
Interactive, Price: $19.95 Reviewed September, 2003 by Howard Paw
After a brief hiatus, Zio Interactive,
formerly known as Ziosoft, has come up with another major
game release. This time, it once again brings to life one
of Zio’s most popular 3D shooter games. Metalion 2:
Mutant Uprising continues where the first Metalion left
off, and that means more high-speed robot busting action.
With 8 levels of pure unadulterated sci-fi
action, I was all ready and excited to start playing. Upon
launching the game, the first thing that greeted me was a
very sleek looking opening screen and a very techie looking
menu screen which fits the overall theme of the game quite
nicely. Similar to the first Metalion, you have 3 different
types of robots to choose from, but unlike the original Metalion,
the robots now are more customizable and you can enhance
each property of the robot like firepower, shields, health,
etc. by purchasing upgrades using the money you earn on each
of the 8 levels.
The game is played in portrait mode using
the stylus or D-pad and gives you a third-person 3D view
of your robot and game play area. Using the stylus to move
your robot is very smooth and combine that with two fire
buttons (one fires regular guns and the other fires bombs)
is a great way to play the game. Though it would have been
better if there were an auto-fire option. You will pilot
the robot and blast your way thru enemy space using your
laser guns to demolish alien ships/robots while keeping yourself
alive at the same time. The game can get very difficult especially
during major boss battles, so it’s a good thing your
robots now have the ability to charge up their weapon system.
When your robot’s weapon level reaches its max, you
can unleash heavy firepower at the alien fighters.
Graphically, the game looks a little better
than the first Metalion: there are more elaborate backgrounds
now and your robot and enemy spacecraft are rendered much
more beautifully. The options screen, robot customization
screens and other non-in-game screens look very slick! It
is too bad though that Metalion 2 shares the same “quirk” as
its predecessor: it’s often hard to estimate where
the enemies are or where your shots are going to land since
the 3D perspective isn’t very clear.
One thing I absolutely love about the game
is the cool heavy metal inspired sound track, which fits
nicely to the overall theme of the game. Sound FX is very
similar to the first Metalion game. The game comes with two
files, one supports the Pocket PC 2002 devices and the other
one supports Microsoft Windows Mobile 2003 running on the iPAQ
2215. We’ve tested both versions.
As much as I like the gameplay, music,
sound effects and mech customization of Metalion 2, there
are more than a few glaring bugs that I encountered during
actual game time that made me think that Metalion 2 was rushed
to the market. The game behaves fine on our Dell
Axim X5 Advanced running Pocket PC 2002, and reasonably
well on an HP iPAQ 2215 with the game speed running just
a little too fast. But on the HP iPAQ h5450, the overall
speed of the game was noticeably slow, even with all graphic
enhancement options (lighting, shadow, etc.) turned off.
On both iPAQ 5450 and iPAQ 5555,
the game doesn’t exit properly which meant having to
soft reset the PDA. On the iPAQ 5450, I found that the game
would erase your saved game files after you exit the game.
It doesn’t run properly at all on the 5555 (music stutters
majorly, menu interaction is very slow and it crashes on
exit using both the 2002 and 2003 versions of the game).
The first Metalion was clearly a
game ahead of its time; it was one of the premiere 3D shooting
games during the early years of the Pocket PC. I loved
that game, and spent countless hours playing it. I really
tried my best to like the sequel, but with all the bugs
in this release, I feel very disappointed in what could
have been another great game from one of Pocket PC's most
prominent game developers.
Playing Hints and Tips
Use the 3D flying space to dodge the bullets.
Save the bombs for the boss fights, if you can. Buy upgrades
based on your style of playing, enhance your weakest part