Commodore User


Metaplex

Author: Ken McMahon
Publisher: Addictive Games
Machine: Commodore 64/128

 
Published in Commodore User #61

Metaplex

This game has got great instructions. How many times have you studied that tiny sliver of paper under the magnifying glass for a good half-hour only to discover that it seems to describe a game altogether different from the one you have just booted up?

None of that with Metaplex. A demo goes through the game telling you what you have to do, showing what a teleporter, spare vehicle, acid tank and so on look like so there's little chance of the kind of infuriating cock-up that's likely to end up with the joystick stuck to the forehead of the nearest passer-by.

Metaplex is a metal labyrinth, home of the horrible Garth. Garth is twice as ugly as he might be on account of having two heads. The general consensus is that life would've been a whole lot better without Garth around, and guess who gets the short straw.

Metaplex

Destroying Garth, as you would imagine, is not simply a question of finding him and hitting him on the head with a blunt instrument. Garth's power comes from four power points located in very difficult to get to places around the maze. To weaken Garth before finishing him off, you must first locate the power points and destroy them - pulling out the plug simply isn't good enough.

These power points, being of a particularly sophisticated high-tech design, can only be destroyed by a liberal dousing with acid, and the acid can only be obtained from particularly difficult-to-reach spots within the labyrinth.

The task then, in short, is to find a flash, fill it with acid, pour it on the power point, do the same four times, go get Garth, then get out. You have limited time to achieve all this.

You scoot about in this thing that looks like a cross between a pram and Sinclair C5 and frequently find your path blocked by number-coded doors, wind tunnels and other obstacles. These can be overcome by using these switcheroo thingies which you can find, surprisingly enough, quite easily. By sitting on them and pressing the Fire button, you can select from a 3x3 matrix of goodies on the control panel. This offers you super shields, super lasers, unlock doors, neutralizes wind (pardon me!) and all sort of other helpful things.

I dunno whether it's addictive; it kept my attention for a couple of hours, but I wasn't overcome by compulsion to go on all night. Metaplex is certainly cleverly thought out and interesting, but it's let down a bit by the crude graphics. Garth himself is particularly on the leggo-like side and the scoot about vehicles, though they scroll well, don't have any of the realism of 'gravity'.

Ken McMahon

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