Metaloid: Origin Review: Decent 1990s-Style Run-and-Gunning

by David Sanchez August 5, 2021 @ 10:56 am

Metaloid: Origin vehicle gameplay.

Reviewed on PS4

One look at Metaloid: Origin and you’ll instantly be sent back to the glory days of the Sega Genesis. Quite frankly, Retro Revolution’s follow-up to Metagal very well could’ve been a Sega Genesis game back in the ‘90s. Though it initially arrived on Xbox One, Switch, and PC in 2019, the game just recently became available on PS4. It’s not without some glaring flaws, but ultimately, the running and gunning gameplay is plenty fun and worth a look by folks who want something a little retro.

Run and Gun and Jump… and Maybe Solve a Few Light Puzzles

Metaloid: Origin on PS4.

If you ever played an old school character-based shoot ‘em up, you’ll likely know what to expect from Metaloid: Origin. The game takes cues from classic run-n-gun action games like Mega Man and Gunstar Heroes. Unlike the latter, you’re not able to combine weapons for crazy effects here, but you’ve still got a few guns at your disposal including a standard pistol, flamethrower, and scattershot gun. Using the different weapons is a lot of fun, especially because the game’s enemies are pretty varied, so some weapons will work better than others depending on the situation.

Unlockable weapons run on energy, so you’ll need to collect pickups that refill this meter if you use it up, which is easy to do when you’re holding that trigger down as you burn through all the enemies in front of you. Eventually you can unlock an upgrade that fills this meter up slowly over time. You’ll also unlock an air-dash and double-jump, which makes movement much easier.

Metaloid: Origin shoot 'em up gameplay.

You’ll want these aerial upgrades because outside of blasting robots, you’ll also do some platforming. The controls in Metaloid: Origin are really precise and solid, so the platforming gameplay actually feels pretty nice, even if the game’s main focus is on the shooting.

Unfortunately, some of the design work in the levels can be hit-or-miss. For the most part, levels are a little too basic, but they’re still pretty fun to play through. A lot of the levels, though, rely on specific gimmicks that aren’t always fun. One stage, for example, requires the player to move metal blocks around and then trigger magnets to pull those blocks to different parts of the map so they can be used as platforms. While this is okay in theory, it’s not implemented in a fun manner.

Metaloid: Origin PS4 gameplay.

Some levels also have vehicles such as motorcycles, flying ships, and even mechs. These are kind of fun, but it never feels like the level designs reach their fullest potential. On the one hand, the inclusion of these things is kind of cool — I mean, wrecking bad guys with a mech is always great — but on the other hand, these sections aren’t as enjoyable as they could be.

As you play, you’ll collect purple gems that are used to purchase upgrades. In addition, if your health is completely depleted, you can use 50 gems to buy a continue. Gems are pretty easy to come by, so it’s never daunting spending gems for continues. Metaloid: Origin offers a nice challenge — by Genesis standards, I’d say it’s probably on par with the aforementioned Gunstar Heroes, so it’s neither punishing nor a cakewalk.

Metaloid: Origin on PlayStation 4.

Where you’ll likely spend the most continues is during boss battles. Each stage has a mini-boss battle and a big boss fight. These larger enemies aren’t overly challenging, but they rely on cheap attacks that will eat up your health bar. Even then, though, a lot of the time you just have to spam your attacks and you’ll be able to dispose of bosses fairly quickly.

Nostalgia-Infused Action

The pixel art in Metaloid: Origin is one of the game’s strongest elements. There’s a heavy 16-bit era look to the game that’ll remind you of the old school days of gaming. The character designs, for starters, are very Sonic-esque. Beyond that, though, the visuals themselves are highly stylized Genesis-like pixel graphics. The music is a little generic and nowhere near as catchy as those classic Sonic the Hedgehog or Mega Man themes, though.

Metaloid: Origin enemies.

It’ll take you around four hours to get through the nine stages in Metaloid: Origin. Each stage is pretty challenging and fairly large. It’s worth noting that the ninth stage is a two-phase battle against the game’s final boss. It’s a shame because a standard level would’ve been a better option than what ends up being the worst boss fight in the game. In any case, there’s plenty of game here for just $7, which isn’t a bad asking price at all.

Though it’s far from perfect, Metaloid: Origin is still a decent, mostly fun game that’s easy to recommend to fans of the Mega Man series or classic Sega Genesis games. At under 10 bucks, there’s enough here to justify a look from retro gaming fans looking for something that captures that classic nostalgia.

Score: 6.5out of 10

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