Saturday, 26 March 2011

Retro Monday: Metamorphic Force (Arcade)

I know we haven't done one in a while, but for the last year, Retro Monday has been churning out the nostalgic goodnees on a weekly flex. We're now going to be slowing down a bit. Our brains have quickly dumped all the sweet and cherished game memories, so we'll be releasing Retro Mondays on a more sporadic note. When the games or inspiration hits us, we'll write about it. After all, you can't really plan memories.

But this is one such time, a time when a memory takes hold, and reminds you about how good gaming can be. This is Metamorphic Force, a Konami arcade brawler from 1993:

It's nothing special, if I'm completely honest. A standard 90's-era Konami/Capcom brawler, it's got all the standard features one would expect. The USP of this particular one being that the characters transform into beasts with the help of a power-up.

In fact, I don't expect ANYONE to have heard of this, let alone have played it. It took me about an hour of typing in various game features into Google to track it down properly. But this is one of those games that completely encapsulates everything your childhood represented, and just how gaming can take you back there. I remember this being at a campsite in the Lake District, at the first and last time I saw it. I remember pumping a shitload of money in it the weekend I was there, and I remember vividly the characters and the enemies.

I recall completely obsessing over it, the friend I was with and I running through the woods, actually acting out the game when we weren't playing it, and then begging our parents for some change so we could go and play this bombardment of flashing lights and colours. I only went to this campsite once at a young age, but this was more than enough to firmly seal this game into my sub-conscience.

Playing it today is an absolute joy. The gameplay isn't particularly brilliant, and the graphics are good (although dated), but this obviously isn't why I love this game. It's that feeling of nostalgia, and it always amazes me how much games can affect me like that. Games seem to encapsulate time, perfectly preserving a feeling and place, easily remembered when that start screen lights up.

Games do this to me more than most things. And I think that's one of the reasons I love them so much. This game is from an awesome time in my childhood, a time when I had no worries, and could pretend I was a French Swordsman called Claude, who could also transform into an Arctic Wolf. I still believe that one day that will happen to me, of course, but back then it felt a little more achievable. And by playing it again, I remember all this good stuff, and good times. Games are the closest thing I have to a time machine, and are often much cheaper than forking out for a Flux Capacitor.

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