Sega was one of the more schizophrenic video game companies out there -- maybe still are; I'm not sure, I haven't kept up with them in a while -- coming up with some really amazing stuff that truly delivered some outstanding graphics, speed, sound, music and/or new gameplay elements...
...and then, at other times, some of their games were just reduced to the summarization of asking yourself "what is this CRAP?" when playing them.
Such is the case with Metal Head.
One of my masseuses (yes, you have to have two, in case one of them isn't available) is pretty cool, as she likes video games (especially the older classics like Q*Bert). She used to work at a Dave and Busters (TOLD you she was cool!), and on the day that they would get in new coin-op machines, the employees would stay a while after quitting time to check them out. One of them they got in once was a mech game of some sort, which she played it once, but didn't see what the big deal was as her male co-workers would play it for hours on end. "It's a guy thing", I told her. Indeed: controlling a giant, stomping, well-armored, and well-armed killing machine; what guy WOULDN'T like this? Urgh urgh urgh (insert Tim Allen macho guy grunting noises here)...
Unfortunately, Metal Head probably isn't one of those mech games that you would like, or at least not as much as one of the *good* mech games that are available.
This game would almost rate a 6 from me, as it's got some good things going for it, but unfortunately, even some of those good things have crappy elements to round (and cancel) them right back out...one of these things is that there's several missions on here, and you usually have to do something different with each one (which usually involves blowing up something, although one of the later missions puts you in a maze to blow up a reactor or something and you have to get out before the whole place goes down in flames, like Christian Slater's career). The graphics look good at first, but, like when the very first version of Doom was released, once the game characters got up close, you could tell how fuzzy they were then; lord knows why the graphics couldn't have been more crisper- and clearer-looking here on Metal Head with the power of the 32X behind it.
Some of the sound effects are good, but then they can get confusing as well, as an enemy mech biting the dust also sounds just like when you're under attack and taking damage. So that doesn't help. There's also some graphical glitches as well, like enemy craft disappearing into thin air (kind of reminding me of Star Wars Arcade for the same system, making this, what, Star Wars Arcade on mechanical legs?) and unsmoothe scaling, making it hard to follow the action at times. There's not only no password or any way to skip a level, either, so you have to go through all of the levels again from the beginning whenever you start a new game if you're trying to beat it (which I never could, but then, I didn't have this game for real long), and hardly any game variations or anything: there's a slightly different interface (either a sprite or a digitally-generated actor, depending on which you choose) for when you enter a shop and a guy is selling you mech upgrades, and that's about it. Oh gee, that really helps with this game's replay value (read: NONE)!
However, probably THE worst aspect of this game is it's almost impossible to read radar, which quits working in no time at all (usually after only a few levels), resulting in you stomping around city blocks and all, trying to find and kill that one last mech, but WHERE THE HELL *IS* IT?! It's like the A. I. of "Macho Until Turned Into Sniveling Coward When You're The Only One Left" was implemented into the final remaining mech to mirror your movements a block or two away for whenever you try to seek and destroy it so you can get to the next blasted level: you stomp and stomp around, but it's nowhere to be found, and it usually won't come after you, either. Sheesh...here, have a banana, cowardly enemy mech operator.
You'd think that, with the several Mech-type games out there, they could've made this one a lot better, couldn't they? I was lucky I was able to sell this back to a video game resale shop, as Funcoland already wasn't taking 32X games back at the time (due to what a flop that add-on was), even though I only got a buck back for it; oh well, I just looked at it like it was a long rental, especially since I (luckily) only paid a third of it's $60 original issue price in the first place. (Too bad I couldn't foresee the collectability of the 32X games to come a few years later on the internet, as I probably could've gotten ten for this with the box, easily, maybe even more than that. Oh well, spilled milk...)
Well, this makes me all tense, time for a massage. Madam, don't get a game called Metal Head if you've got a 32X, ok? Oh, you've just got an SNES? Never mind then, no worries.