Supple Think: My Tanks Are Fight

My Tanks Are Fight

by Tupperwarez

Posted on Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Labels: ,
alzabo asked me if there were any time-sink games of note that have held me in a productivity-sapping grip. Now, I could write pages about the months that X-COM: UFO Defense has stolen from me, or my utterly demented completionist approach to RPGs, or my weakness for strategy games.

But I'm not going to do that. Instead, let me tell you about these tanks. These. Fucking. Tanks.

Metal Max Returns is Super Nintendo remake of Metal Max for the NES, both of which were Japan-only releases. So I have game translation group Aeon Genesis to thank for all my lost time, not that I'm complaining or anything.

Metal Max Returns is a fascinating game to me because it is a Super Nintendo game that is both refreshingly advanced and frustratingly primitive. For starters, the game plays like a free-roaming RPG. There are precious few plot-related bottlenecks to block your exploration of the huge world map. If you wanted to you can, with a little care, explore and uncover nearly three fourths of the world without bothering with what constitutes the main plot. You can collect bounties on boss monsters whenever you want. Actually, you can pretty must just do whatever the hell you want within the bounds of the game, which is light-years ahead of the usual console RPG of that time.

And that's not mentioning the other useful features. Your personal computer, the BSCon, is essentially an online help file, a Hitchhiker's Guide to the Wasteland. It contains information about every town you've been to, including what shops/facilities are available and their inventories, and also whether or not a sale is going on. You can set a chime to let you know when you've accumulated a certain amount of money.

I'm not saying the game is all roses, though. The encounter rate is a relic from the NES days, in the sense that it is utterly infuriating. You cannot go five steps without some biomechanical horror trying to kill you. To compound the frustration, the interface is very clunky and makes inventory organization a chore that you will dread.

That about sums up the pros and cons I see in the game. This is all really great material for discussing game design and perhaps the history of the Super Famicom, but let's cut the bullshit for a second here.

The real reason Metal Max Returns fascinates me is these goddamn tanks. The ability to customize your tank to an almost psychotic degree is hypnotic. Not only can you modify the tank chassis, but you can also tune the individual parts up or down. This in turn changes the overall weight of your tank, which you must carefully balance with your engine's load capacity. When I'm adjusting these tanks into unstoppable engines of destruction, I'm entranced like a goddamn stoner staring into a kaleidoscope.

My best tank is a refurbished ambulance. It is equipped with twin 22mm Vulcan machineguns, a 195mm main cannon, autonomous guidance system, air-conditioning, and leather upholstery (no, seriously).

Pictured here is the female soldier popping up from her armored dune buggy and using her hand-held minigun to shoot a cybernetic hippopotamus, which has a cannon in its mouth.

Why are you not playing this goddamn game along with me? Article Permalink



Decide Weapons

[Supple Think]

...and luck

© Supple Think. Powered by Blogger.