REVIEW: Robot Wars: Metal Mayhem (GBC)
Tiertex Design Studios
Robot Combat Sim
Game Boy Color
Earlier this decade and towards the end of the 1990’s the “sport” of robot combat was on the rise. The United States had BattleBots, and England had Robot Wars. While both shows had their flaws (BattleBots had excessive amounts of Carmen Electra’s tits and Robot Wars was completely rigged), they also had their games complete with gratuitous flaws as well. Robot Wars saw many more releases than BattleBots, which only managed a meager Game Boy Advance game and a cancelled console title, but at the same time Robot Wars has nothing to brag about either. This Game Boy Color game is absolutely horrible and if you wanted to be a dick about it you can blame the fall of robot combat on this very game.
Upon starting up the game you’re greeted with a nice Game Boy conversion of the Robot Wars theme, along with some seemingly random three dimensional animated model of a robot frame which actually looked like it took some effort to make. Immediately following this fine piece of programming art is a title screen that looks like it was made in five minutes with MS Paint. No, that’s not sarcasm, the rendered robot model is easily the best part of this game; it only gets worse from here.
At the main menu you’ll see a few options, the first of which, “Robot Workshop”, will let you build a robot. Your choices are extremely limited in terms of what you can pick. You’ve got some prefabricated chassis designs, motors, reductions, and weapons. After you pick from this great assortment of crap you can name your robot and use it in a number of events. There are more events to choose from than there are options available for your robot, and they are just as bad as the cheesy robot features.
Before I mention any kind of gameplay at all, I must mention the controls. Whoever the asshole is that programmed these I’d like to stick them in the face. Driving your robot is literally impossible because as you try to make a left turn your robot will have a seizure and turn/warp in every possible direction. Either it is turning way too fast for the Game Boy to keep up with or whoever was in charge of this part of the game was a total retard and I’m betting it’s the latter. Aside from not being able to make a left turn the rest of the controls “work”. Using weapons is pretty lame since they never hit and when they do it sounds like either someone is opening up shaken cans of soda or Stephen Hawking taking a dump, either way it’s nothing but static and buzzes. From when you turn on the game to when you put a bullet in your head to end it all, the digitized version of the Robot Wars television theme will be set on repeat. Yes, that’s right, it will play the same ten fucking seconds of music when you’re navigating menus, making a robot, or fighting.
The game offers a handful of modes to play in. Choosing the “Trials” category from the main menu will bring up several events to play in. The first is “Skittles”, and despite what the name sounds like, no, it’s not the candy that makes rainbows erupt out of your stomach. In Skittles, your objective is to run into barrels… and that’s it. Compounded with impossible controls, chances are you won’t knock them all down in the time limit provided. The next event is “Sumo”, which, as it implies, is a sumo pushing event between two robots. All you have to do is shove them off the side of the arena, but as you’ll soon find out, that is no easy task because your robot graphic tends to just ride up next to your opponent and get stuck. You can press whatever button you want (even the magic left turn button) but you’ll be going nowhere and your opponent will have his way with you every single time. Next up is “Slalom”, which is self explanatory, and with controls from Hell itself, you can pretty much guess how fun this mode is.
The final event in the “Trials” category is the “Gauntlet” which is listed last and by its description is easily the single most hardcore robot event in the history of hardcore robot events. If you’ve been paying attention this whole time then you’d know that the Gauntlet is probably going to be less hardcore than two old men playing shuffleboard. Upon starting the event you are plunged into a blue arena littered with every hazard in the game, and all of the house robots… who can’t seem to get up over a little bump in the floor. Once you get past the house robots (which is pretty easy, just drive straight) it’s just a matter of using the tedious controls to get by a few thousand pneumatic spikes and pits only to be raped by Sir Killalot when it’s all said and done.
If you’re done playing around in the sleep-inducing rounds of “Trials” then you can finally try out some robot combat action that doesn’t involve running into barrels or staying between the lines. Combat, at best, can be described as two people in wheelchairs hitting each other; very slow, very pathetic, and devoid of any kind of action whatsoever. I could have sworn I gave WORSTBOTEVER a flipping arm, but instead it appears that its weapon has been reduced to a yellow penis that fires out from the front of the robot. Fighting your opponent with your selected weapon is virtually impossible because no matter how hard to try to hit your opponent, your weapon will just clip through him and do zero damage. If by some crazy chance you do land a hit it will do a very negligible amount of damage. If you’re trying to win (heh) then your best bet is to just stuff your enemy into the fire pit or into one of the house robots. If by some chance you are able to beat your opponent, he will violently burst into flames like something out of a Stephen King movie and you will be rewarded with what looks like a condom wrapper nailed to a saw blade with your name on it.
Among the robots available for you to play as or fight against include the ferocious Milly Ann Bug and Diotor who, thanks to the graphical limitations of the Game Boy Color, has either some kind of spinning piece of wood or just a regular piece of wood as a weapon. Also available is the menacing looking “Crasha Gnasha” (see above), but when he’s translated into sprites he turns into a purple stick that loses the saw blade and instead adopts a wire flail as a weapon that does a whole lot of nothing. Rather than display a nice little pre-rendered picture for your custom robots the game just throws up a nasty looking wireframe with your robot’s name on it. With the staggering number of options available for your design (four) you’d think they could just make that many pictures, but no, that would be too convenient.
When it comes to combat, “Grudge Match” is a quick battle where you pick the opponents, and “War Zone” is an onslaught of random opponents. If you manage to beat them all you’d think maybe the game would give you something cool like an unlockable chassis or a new weapon. Nope, you get nothing. It just replays the little opening 3D robot scene along with the title screen. Any way you cut it, you lose.
Dracophile’s Final Words:
Graphics: You can’t help but laugh at some of these graphics and how they transferred robots into the game. Apparently, somewhere along the line Dead Metal ditched his armor and instead went for a bright fucking pink Barbie Jeep paint job instead.
Controls: Unlike NASCAR, Robot Wars: Metal Mayhem is completely devoid of left turns unless you plan on losing control.
Music: If there were more than two tracks of music in this game maybe I’d have something to rate, instead I get to berate the Robot Wars theme and a bunch of patches of static for sound effects.
Replay Value: If I was locked in a room with only a Game Boy and this game I think I’d rather attempt to eat the Game Boy instead of putting myself through this again.
Overall: Some people claim that robot combat died out because parts such as E-Tek motors cost a few hundred fucking dollars and not everyone has disposable incomes or works for Hollywood movie studios making animatronics but in reality the sport died out because of shit like this. The Robot Wars television show is rigged because of their overpowered house robots. This game is rigged because there are so many glitches and flaws it’s impossible to win. Cease.