GameOver Game Reviews - Wild Metal Country (c) Gremlin Interactive, Reviewed by - Prolix & Wolf

Game & Publisher Wild Metal Country (c) Gremlin Interactive
System Requirements Pentium 133, 16MB Ram, 4x CD-ROM
Overall Rating 52%
Date Published , ,

Divider Left By: Prolix Divider Right

All arcade tank-sims on the PC have been crappy. There doesn?t seem to be a wide market for this type of game, so that must be the reason why talentless developers keep giving it a shot. I was hoping Wild Metal Country might be an exception, but I was let down once again. Maybe one of these days someone will get it right, unfortunately the wait continues. The design of Wild Metal Country is to maneuver your tank through a massive environment collecting colored capsules. However, certain enemy tanks wish to foil your collection task, so they have setup grenade stations and other perils to destroy you! To assist in this task, a wide variety of weapons are at your disposal, the two main weapons being mortars and grenades. If this sounds redundant and tired, that?s because it is.

Think Terminal Velocity, now think of it with a slight face-lift and some 3rd rate 3d rendering. Now you have the basic formula behind the graphics of Wild Metal Country. WMC supports resolutions up to 1024x768 in 32-bit color and rendering in D3D. With a 450Mhz CPU, 128 Megs of ram, and a TNT, I figured I could run Wild Metal Country in all of its glory, unfortunately I was mistaken. At 1024, the game was unplayable and even at 800x600 in 16 bit color it was hardly playable. Being reduced to playing in 640x480 is quite frustrating when you have a fast machine. I?m not a programmer, but I don?t think WMC was optimized very well to run fast on all machines. Slowness aside, WMC is mildly appealing visually. The environments are all giant rolling hills with mist depending on what level you?re on. The tanks lack any extravagancy and are all painted a tan color with few details on the actual tank. Weapon and explosion effects are well done, huge chunks of flaming debris shower down from exploding tanks and mortar shells poof a massive sonic boom type ring from each impact. The camera could use a good deal of work, typically the action is viewed 3rd person behind the tank. However, when your tank is blasted back to the camera or backs up rapidly, the camera has difficulty resetting itself to behind the tank. One minor annoyance is the HUD system. Due to the oddball system that is chosen, the screen always has junk on it. By junk I mean the directions of all the pods in the level, there are eight or so plus the direction your facing. Its not to detrimental to the game, nonetheless it?s a nuisance. One word basically sums up the graphical content of Wild Metal Country - dated.

As I mentioned before, the goal is to collect around eight colored capsules. On paper this might sound somewhat interesting, but in reality it isn?t. After all the capsules are collected, you must drive the tank back to a determined teleportation location and beam up for your next mission. The only thing hindering your capture of the capsules are tanks and other various machines driven by the poor AI. The artificial intelligence is so blatantly bad in Wild Metal Country it?s astounding the game ever made it to stores. Tanks would fire at me over and over and then suddenly stop shooting at me and go in circles. On other occasions enemy tanks wouldn?t even acknowledge my presence and would go about its weird scripted patrolling routine. Most of the time spent in Wild Metal Country isn?t actually in combat, it?s spent wandering through the massive hills searching for the next capsule. Most of the hills are too steep for you to climb, so you must drive on the ground in a maze-like layout. At least the creators decided to add a little variety to the tanks, in the form of five different tanks each with their own strengths and weaknesses. To continue on the downward spiral that is Wild Metal Country, the game is in such a slow place I caught myself yawning on several occasions. Even the fastest tank was too slow paced for me and the tank felt like it was moving through molasses.

Control is clunky and awkward and moving the turret on the tank can be quirky at times due to the odd setup. As a product of bad turret control, aiming can be near impossible. I used a trial and error process most of the time, due to a lack of a sight or any real indication of where my mortar shell was going. Sound effects are sub par as well, more tiresome clunks and booms spewed from my speakers as I played through the game.

A growing trend seems to be the addition of TCP/IP multiplayer function in every game I play. A few years back I might have interpreted this as a good thing, but now it?s at the point where it?s become possibly a bad thing. Developers have such easy tools to incorporate TCP/IP protocols into their games it?s astonishing. However, most of these developers are unfamiliar with tweaking the net code to provide a stable and lag free environment. Wild Metal Country in multiplayer is nothing more than another unplayable lagfest. For those of you that do have access to a LAN, up to eight players are supported and numerous arenas are included.

If you couldn?t tell by the general tone of my review, I didn?t like Wild Metal Country. Expect to see Wild Metal Country in your local Kmart bargain bin in a few months, because that?s the only place where people might consider buying such filth. One day I hope to see a tank game that can compete with Tokyo Tank Wars (arcade tank game), but until now I will continue to plonk down the quarters for tank action at my local arcade. Life is too short for games like this. Overall, this game is as patched together as its meaningless name.

Highs: 5 tanks to chose from and cool explosion effects

Lows: Really bad AI, dated graphics engine, maze like environments, repetitive play, laggy internet multiplayer, awkward control, and no decent targeting system.

Rating System
Overall Impression5/10


Divider Left By: Wolf Divider Right

The DMA team is best known for their smash game "Grand Theft Auto" released last year. It was great in it?s ultimate simplicity and linear storyline binding you to a given path. DMA has tried to do the same thing in their latest title, but completely different genre, Wild Metal Country.

Storyline-wise, there are some vague comments about robots, in the Thethric system, created to protect the Power Cores, which have gone completely feral after many years to fill the niches in the natural environment, like Bulldogs, Manta's, Hippos and the like. The different machines still look the same, but they act like their appointed animal behaviour. Or at least they?re supposed to.

The graphics in this game are quite average. The fully 3D arenas are dotted with hills, mountains and valleys which are nice to look at and all, but every area is based only on a few different textures. In the few minutes of being inside an arena, you will have seen all the textures you will see for the next half-hour, so it's rather bland and boring. There is absolutely nothing special about the models, all being rather average. What they have done though, is make abundant use of 3D lighting effects to cheer up the place, which seems to work quite well. In the heat of the battle there will be shells pounding all around you with nice little lighting effects and lovely explosions when the enemy tanks explode.

Wild Metal Country supposedly boasts one of the most advanced sound engines ever created. While not owning a 4 Speaker Dolby Surround sound system and a Sound Blaster Live! Card (give me a few hundred bucks and I would?) I think I can still safely say that listening to the bland "kapow" and "boom" for a few hours in a row, will really start to grate on your nerves. This is escalated by the endless, zombifying trundling sound of your tank vibrating through your brain, which could perhaps succeed in putting you to sleep at night, but nothing much else. The sound does though, give the position of where the shell came from that just blasted the sand right behind you, so turning it off makes you lose a sense of direction when being shelled.

The controls are tad different than your average shoot 'em up game, the first immediate thing you will notice is that you control each track separately. Its not just trundle forward, trundle backward, etc. Each track has an accelerate and a reverse, you will have to spend your first 10 minutes of this game learning them, only to stumble into battle and *completely* forget everything you just learnt in the midst of the action and revert to just stabbing the track keys in vain hope of getting anywhere you want. It is a bit of a challenge mastering the tracks, but once you have, you will find it quite responsive and useful. Then there are separate keys for directing your turret left and right. If you want to shoot up though, you have the Hold down the fire button, which is rather annoying as it slows your rate of fire and makes aiming more of a guesswork rather than involving any sort of skill. As you move your turret about though, the camera, being zoomed in a bit to much to my liking, dutifully follows it about which makes the driving aspect of the game rather hard at that moment as you can't see where your going. This is made even worse when you cannot see where you are driving whilst in the midst of a battle and blindly stumble onto a steep cliff, which makes it even harder to see anything at all. This results in you letting out a fierce cry of anger, stabbing angrily at your fire button repeatedly, and bashing the controls of your tracks again trying to get the bloody camera to show you anything other than the details of the sand textures.

As you charge into the first Arena, having no real idea of what to do, and wondering what on earth all those little symbols on your screen mean, it all looks pretty weird. Then you start learning to handle the tracks and the turrets, kill your first baddie tank, feel good about yourself and continue on. After killing a few more tanks, and collecting the "power cores" you finish your first arena, simple enough. Repeat this process in the next Arena, kill some tanks, collect power cores, finish Arena. Level 3, kill tanks, collect power cores, finish Arena. That?s it. The whole game is based on just *that*. Don't get me wrong, its fun??for a while, but after trundling through, to Arena number 11, it gets as boring as batdroppings. Sure, you get some bigger weapons, like doughnuts that make the enemy wobble (rather useless) and funny green hola hoops that sometimes teleport you a little further and sometimes don't. The enemies get bigger too, from tanks to bigger tanks, to hover tanks, to really irritating flying machine that drop grenades at you. Due to the fact that aiming your controls upwards is rather tedious, they are for the most part, real bastards to kill. So what do you get if you kill them all? Another Arena, Hurray! There is just nothing making you want to complete the level, only a dull throbbing numbness pushing you onwards onto the next arena.

Now as I previously stated, DMA have boasted about the tanks having an animal like AI, meaning they will behave differently and dynamically. Well, I hope what I experienced wasn't the peak of their Artificial Intelligence. The enemy tanks that have a gun, will see you and shoot at you. True, some will chase you and other times they will not, but it doesn't give much of a thrill either way. It seemed like a rather novel idea, although it sounded a bit hard to actually incorporate into a game, which it was apparently.

Multiplayer then, I attempted a game against somebody in the US. Now of course, me being in Australia vs somebody in the US might sound unlikely, but I assure you that I hardly ever have lag problems with people in the US. Games like Battlezone and Warzone 2100 manage absolutely fine, not a single enemy tank having jerky, lag-induced movement, or not taking damage properly. Connecting to my friends IP, My tank seemed to immediately launch itself into a series of teleporting evasive maneuvers as soon as I hit the forward button. Randomly dropping beacons for no apparent reason, and having the awkward ability to strafe left and right in teleporting spasms, which was all rather disconcerting. As my careful, but persistent attempt to stop my cracksmoking tank from its breakdancing maneuvers and to make any turn of sorts was endlessly foiled, I stabbed the [Esc] button and put my tank out of its misery. Needles to say, the game is rather unplayable Tcp/Ip, at least across the world, perhaps if both people are from the US the results might be better, but I doubt that it will be smooth. In a LAN game I had better results, but as I expected, it was rather boring and my friend and I, so we quickly reverted to a game of Half-Life within a few minutes.

This may sound hard to believe after reading this review, but I rather dislike giving a game a bad review, because I know there are people who spend months working on it. Sadly though, there is not much that can save this game from its ultimate demise. The weak environment, awkward aiming, and uninspired levels just ruin the game. There is nothing that I can even think of to improve upon this game, it would not be worth the effort, and so I guess its back to the drawing board for DMA.


  • Nice 3D Lighting Effects
  • Is fun for short term play


  • Awkward Aiming
    Bland Arena's
  • Lousy Sound
  • Hopeless Multiplayer
  • Gets boring rather quickly

    Rating System
    Overall Impression6/10

  • Rating

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