Metal Stoker (PC-Engine)

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Most shooters we all know and love have us autoscroll either horizontally or vertically. Metal Stoker is the first one I’ve played that lets you have complete control of your spaceship. Well at least it looks like a spaceship but I think it is supposed to be a tank. I mean, you appear to be on the ground in this game, what kind of spaceship would do that? Seems like a waste of a spaceship to me!

When you first start the game you are greeted by some not so easy to read story. Grey font on a blue background doesn’t work to well for these old man eyes of mine. I like how your objective is to “clear all the zones under various circumstances’. The game starts and I was confused a little at first. Like I said before, this shooter isn’t autoscrolling. You’re just sitting there, chilling while a line of ships come at you.

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My eyes suck. Hard for me to read!

Game play is basic. You have a shoot button and a special button. What the special is depends on what weapon you have equipped. If you find different weapons you press the start button to bring up a mini menu. Here you can see your health, defense, lives left and of course weapon selection.The other button allows you to lock your ship in the direction it is facing. This is super useful on bosses and rooms where you have to go up and enemies come from the top.

This game can be really tough depending on how you play. If you take your time moving around to take out every enemy, chances are you will die more. At least that’s what happened to me. If you push forward while shooting and never stop, you’ll find yourself getting through the levels quickly and safely. Sure you might miss out on a power up, but luckily you can turn around and get it if you choose to do so.Each level has 3 sections which are the “varying conditions” the game mentioned before. Then of course you have a boss fight. Again the lock button is key to winning most of these.

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I like how it lets you know you’re about to die. “Life Worst”

It can also be tricky on where to shoot at enemies. I say tricky but it’s really unfair. For example there are gun turrets scattered about. You’ll have to figure out which angle to shoot them from. Sometimes going in from the left won’t hurt them. You’ll have to move to the top or bottom to cause damage. You can take cover behind a lot of walls and things, but some enemy bullets can come through them still. While your bullets will get blocked. This is another reason I say unfair but hey, I guess it adds to the difficulty?

Overall Metal Stoker is an okay game. It is by no means the best shooter out there and you won’t be missing much if you don’t play it. It does add some interesting twists and there is a learning curve. Check it out if you life retro games and shooters!

Score: 3/5

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