A genre of game that I’m always embarrassed about my lack of knowledge of is the first-person shooter. There seem to be a million and one of them out on the market, but the vast majority are played on Windows machines, and the only one of those that I have access to at home is my underpowered Gateway laptop, which barely runs Puzzle Pirates, much less Doom III or whatever it is that’s currently forcing everyone to buy new graphics cards.


A side effect of this deficiency is that I have no idea how to judge shooters. Based on discussions and reviews I’ve read in various places, it seems clear that there are major differences in their weapons, levels, and control, but when I play them, they all feel exactly the same: like Quake, but much more complex (not that Quake was all that easy to play in the first place). It’s distressing to think of yourself as some kind of well-read, thoughtful gamer, only to realize that you’re almost completely ignorant of and incompetent at a large chunk of the library.

This is all just my excuse for having played Metal Arms: Glitch in the System, yet having almost nothing to say about it. It’s actually a third-person shooter, not an FPS, but it controls as if it were first-person, which has its good and bad points. It looks really nice, although the framerate tends to dip frequently on the GameCube. It sounds ok, with some cute voice acting; background music is curiously lacking. The Tether Gun, which allows you to take over an enemy robot via remote control, is by far the most amusing weapon. And there are a couple of nifty puzzles that require you to disassemble yourself (the player-character is a trash-talking robot) to advance.

Is it better than that other shooter over there, though? I have no idea whatsoever. If you want to know that, you’ll have to go read a review on some site where they know what they’re talking about. Ah well, I guess we can’t all be experts at everything. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go try out this Halo game I keep hearing about; I hear it’s ok.