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 Post subject: Arcade Archives: Metal Black (PS4|5 - Switch)
PostPosted: Sat Nov 19, 2022 8:52 am 

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Joined: 11 Oct 2008
Posts: 629
Location: Autobot City, Sugiura Base

Taito and Hamster brought a great surprise this time, 'cos this time we will check the Arcade Archives release of Metal Black.
Time to take the role of John Ford and get on the Black Fly once again.

NOTE: This review will talk about the Arcade Archives port.
For a deeper analysis of Metal Black's gameplay, check the game's review.

It's the Good ol' Metal Black you always knew.

Well, you might be very well familiarized with the I-was-meant-to-be-Darius III-but-I-became-Gun Frontier 2 game called Metal Black and its mind-blowing beam duels either since its release on the arcade or if you've played it on one of the console ports out there like Taito Legends 2. Hamster and its Arcade Archives series basically tells you "Ditch the Saturn" (or PlayStation 2, or XBOX) 'cos Metal Black has made its arrival on their ever-growing series of arcade games. After been ported to consoles with some flaws (which I'll mention later), Metal Black hits the Arcade Archives screen. Anyone who've played the console ports, especially the Saturn and PlayStation 2's Taito Legends 2 port will clearly remember these flaws: First one was like loading screens before starting the game (Both Saturn and PS2), and the worst of all was on the PS2 Taito Legends 2 port: Being unable to decide if you want to use the full screen, rapid consuming blast, or keep the long-lasting beam. ┬┐What do I mean?, our friend BIL told us about it in the Arcade Archives topic. Thanks for that info, dude.

BIL wrote:
The bomb refocus mechanic doesn't work in TL2. Basically, when you're at MAX power and hit [bomb], you're meant to have the option of condensing the fullscreen blast into a beam, by continuing to hold the button. This is extremely useful, as sometimes you'll want the longer-lived, screen sweeping beam, as opposed to the briefer fullscreen nuke. (sometimes you'll want the opposite, as you cannot begin restoring your shot power until the beam/bomb has run its course; the nuke drains quicker, useful when you're in a hurry to rebuild shot power)

On TL2, this functionality is missing (I guess due to something with how they coded inputs?), so you're limited to just the big bang. It's not what I'd call a fatal flaw, per se... but definitely a major one that you'd need to adapt around, if used to AC.

Back to the review, the Arcade Archives port lacks of those flaws since the game is basically based on the original arcade board. There's no need to talk about graphic differenced since all three ports have the same graphics of the original arcade, along with its music, so we have the arcade perfect version of Metal Black in our PS4/5 and Switch.

John Ford: Captain Mitchell, is that you?

Everyone is already familiarized with the Pac-Mom bullshit in the Arcade Archives version of Pac-Land. So, one of the concerns that I (and maybe some of you) had was the watering down to comply with copyrights, the removal of things that nowadays require licensing. In Metal Black's case would be the enemy F-14's in Stage 1 due to any legal troubles with Northrop-Grumman. Fortunately, Taito kept the enemy ships rather than replace them with more of the generic jets that appear on the stage. This could be great news for those who are looking for an upcoming, unaltered arcade-perfect releases of GridSeeker: Project Storm Hammer, Aero Fighters and even Fighter & Attacker, but only time would tell what happens.

As part of Arcade Archives, Metal Black features both the Japanese and International releases of the game, along with the traditional Hi-Score and Caravan Modes. If you're a Star Soldier/Starship Hector enthusiast, you're gonna like Caravan Mode as the game grants you five minutes to rack up the highest score possible, and Hi-Score Mode acts like a Survival Mode of some sorts cause it sends you with default game conditions and no continues, so its up to your skills to fight your way through the leaderboards. If you're looking for a small "Trophy Hunt", then Metal Black is gonna be a challenge since the game will require you to get 300,000 points to get the Gold trophies. It was too bad that the Tarabar Version of this game wasn't included. I know it was an company-exclusive board currently unavailable to the public, but it would be worthy to check out for two reasons; first, for the "Special Stage" and the implemented gameplay mechanics and second for the sake of videogame preservation. Since that board is unique in the whole world it really deserves to be preserved at least in emulated form 'cos time will eventually kill the board and it'll became lost media.

- This is the third console port of the game and the first arcade perfect one as well.
- The game was also announced as part of City Connection's S-Tribute before its Arcade Archives release.
- While the Taito Legends 2 port called Newalone as "Neuron", the Arcade Archives corrects that.
- During the game start cutscene, John Ford is briefly revealed to be a blond haired man, which could be or not a reference to Proco/Proco Jr. or an archetype of what would later become Keith Arden from Darius Gaiden.

Another arcade smash that fulfills all expectations.

Arcade Archives: Metal Black is more than just the classic Taito surrealistic shooter, is the return of a vintage Tour-de-Force that will definitely become a shmup experience. Can't wait to see what Taito would throw at us in the Arcade Archives.

A Perfect result for a great game.
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