Metro Cross
Copyright/Publisher: US Gold/Namco, Release Year: 1987, Genre: Weird Sports, Number Of Players: 1 or 2

The latest in the long line of coin-op conversion to come '64-side is the Namco classic, Metrocross, the objective of which is to negotiate a series of floorways within a set time limit.

The quickest path is to keep to the chequered flooe covering, as the green tiles reduce your speed by 75%. Hurdles are liberally dotted about, and must be dodged or jumped, as contact causes your player to go sprawling on the deck, therefore wasting valuable time. Rats also join in the proceedings, biting your shoulders and slowing you down - these pests are shaken off by moving quickly from side to side.

A variety of cans are found scattered about the floor, each with a different function according to its colour. Red Coke cans must be jumped over, blue cans are kicked to gain a bonus score, and green cans double your speed.

Speed is also increased by riding on skateboards which are provided along the way, and certain obstacles are cleared completely by use of the springboards which are dotted around. Jumping from these sends your player somersaulting rapidly across the floor, thus clearing and hazards in his path.

Each of the 24 levels has a separate time limit, displayed by a disappeating bar at the bottom of the screen. Only one life is provided, so fail to finish a level and it's back to square one.

Julian Rignall
The arcade game isn't exactly a household name, and when playing this it's not difficult to see why. Running along the rather bland horizontally scrolling landscape is entertaining for a while, but the unchanging backdrops, repetitive gameplay and long pauses in the action eventually repel. If it was cheaper, Metrocross wouldn't be a bad investment, but there's not enough action or variety to justify its ten pound price tag.
Although billed as a game for people who can 'think in microseconds not minutes', this particular facet isn't terribly useful when the main character doesn't move that rapidly anyway. It tends to be a game where remembering the layour of the screen is as important as being able to think quickly - this is alright for a while, but all too quickly becomes boring. As racing games go, Metrocross isn't exactly the state of the art, and although it does have some strange addictive quality I don't think I'll be returning to it very much.
In essence, Metrocross is very simple racing game with unusual obstacles tacked on, similar in many ways to a horizontally scrolling Trailblazer. It's quite enjoyable, but somehow misses out on a certain something to set it apart from the rest.

It has one or two bad points, including the annoying delay between games (over 20 seconds) and the dreadful music. I suppose that this is a reasonable conversion from the arcades - it's a pity that it's not a bit cheaper though.


A fiddly high-score table and annoying delays throughout.
Simplistic graphics and animation which do no more than serve their function.
A grating tune and weak spot effects.
The straigtforward running and jumping action is immediately enjoyable.
There are 24 similar levels to beat if you're prepared to stick at it.
A good conversion of a none-too-inspiring arcade game.