Metal Storm

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Genre: Action

Publisher: Irem

Total time played: 4 Hours

Short review:  Easily the most unique action platformer on the NES due to its anti-gravity and stage scrolling feature.  The game also features very good music.  Metal Storm is a top 15 game on the system and one you never hear anyone talk about.


Interesting links related to Metal Storm


This game takes me back to elementary school.  My friend Michael and I would sit in his basement and play this game all night.  Each time we would play we would get a little farther finally getting stuck at the stage 5 boss. 20+ years later stage 5 boss is still hard. Upon beating him I discovered the stage 6 boss was even harder taking me probably close to 100 tries to finally beat it.  After the stage 6 boss I was very discouraged to find out that I then was forced to fight all 6 stage bosses in a row followed by the final boss (who thankfully was very easy).  Luckily if I died and had to continue I started where I left off and didn’t have to go back to the first boss.

Metal Storm is not an easy game but it is a very rewarding game and one of the most unique games on the system.  At first it seems like a normal run and gun side scrolling shooter but you soon find out there is much more to it.  Unlike the bullet hell games Contra, Super C and Jackal, Metal Storm features very few traditional enemies and the levels are much shorter than most NES games.  The key to the unique game play is that at any time you can press Up+A (or Down+A) and reverse the gravity flipping your mech warrior to the ceiling.  By reversing the gravity the enemies behave differently as well, some enemies will not let you pass unless the gravity is reversed.  On top of this the game features one of the few instances on the NES of multi-layered background scrolling giving more depth to the game.

The first stage or two fly by as you learn the mechanics of the game but then things get pretty relentless.  On top of the gravity switching some levels also scroll from top to bottom, when your character reaches the top of the screen he then appears at the bottom of the screen.  This creates a very unique puzzle element as you must jump between platforms, dodge bullets and avoid spiked ceilings and floors.  Some stages don’t give you much time to think as a giant electric beam slowly moves from the left to the right of the screen meaning you have to act fast to advance.

The game features a few “upgrades” but only the extra hit point (this game features one hit kills) and wider more powerful gun fire are of any use.  If it were not for unlimited continues this game would have been impossible.

When I finally beat the game I was presented with a paragraph of text that scrolled faster than the end credits of a movie ending on the TV station TBS.  I didn’t even have time to read what it said and one of the photos came out blurry.

When I was 13 my friend Michael gave me the game as I had just started collecting NES games and he had moved on to SNES.  I then let a friend borrow the game who then let his neighbor borrow the game.  The neighbor liked the game so much he refused to give it back so the day before the neighbor thief moved to a different state my friend went to his house to take the game back but couldn’t find it.  He found Tecmo Bowl and stole that instead.  Although Tecmo Bowl is a great game I would have much rather had Metal Storm as to me it is more fun and it is also worth much more.  Oh well, I eventually got the game back and beat it.  It just took me 20 years.

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