Metal Arms has mettle, legs
15 years on, Glitch is still in my system
It's fifteen years since the release of Metal Arms: Glitch in the System on all the then-contemporary consoles. In that time, I have seen approximately four people acknowledge its existence, and at least two of them looked so similar to me that it's possible they were just reflective surfaces.
The most surprising thing about Metal Arms is that it was made backwards-compatible with the Xbox 360. I'm not sure how they swung that one. It must scarcely have seemed worth it. How many copies can it possibly have sold? I can account for three of them - one on PS2 at launch, one on Gamecube and finally the downloaded "Xbox original" on my 360. I'd imagine it's sold maybe ten times that, total. I account for a frankly unimaginably high percentage of Metal Arms' gross.
I'm being facetious of course, but the game can't have done well; it ends on a sequel hook that was never followed up on. Then, so did Half-Life 2: Episode 2, and that sold a few thousand. Maybe Metal Arms did sell well. Maybe they just didn't feel like doing another one.
A shame, if so. Metal Arms is excellent. It's a third-person shooter with a frisson of platforming and a nicely rewarding sense of exploration. Perhaps intentionally, the whole focus on laser weapons and the impressive enemy AI recall the original Halo. It's also difficult - remarkably so. You can't mash through like Ratchet and Clank - you've got to duck, dive and get good or you won't be progressing in a hurry. Levels are long without being bloated and there's a surprising amount of variety - your player character, Glitch, has the ability to take control of enemy robots and have them do his bidding, which leads to some welcome puzzle solving.It's a game that came and went like, well, a glitch in the system. Almost unnoticed. But not by me.
Metal Arms is still downloadable on Xbox Live via your Xbox 360, if it's hooked up.