Metal Warriors – “Metal Warriors” (Warhol and Swanson)April 16, 2010
Metal Warriors (1995) was another one of the games I played a lot that my cousin enjoyed, too. This LucasArts game published by Konami is a kind of cult favorite. Most of the team behind the game also designed Zombies Ate My Neighbors, another LucasArts classic. The game is heavily inspired by the Assault Suits Valken series, more commonly known in the US as Cybernator and Target Earth. The mech designs for Metal Warriors were incredibly cool, too, particularly the Nitro mech (featured here), which has a nice jetpack. The other key elements is the ability to hop out of your suit and commandeer other units (just be sure nobody steals YOUR suit!) and an incredibly cool two-player versus mode that we played a lot at my cousin’s house. Yup, lots of fun out of that. I was lucky enough to find a used copy of this game for fairly cheap – it usually sells for more than $35 on Amazon as it’s fairly rare.
The soundtrack to Metal Warriors is memorable primarily for its space mech opera feel, courtesy of some dramatic strings and organs, which makes it feel like an old serial. It’s also got a pretty slick guitar, with some nice, heavy clicking that really stands out in “Metal Warriors”, the game’s title theme. It’s a very distinctive sound, almost jazzy. The title song has that sense of ‘space – the final battlefield’ and just screams “Lock ‘n load, we’re rollin’ out!” which is the type of gung-ho action you want for a mech piloting game. Granted, the instruments are very midi, but they’ve got a very consistent sound aesthetic. The downside is the the songs are only about 45 seconds long, making for some really short clips that get kind of tedious after awhile.
Another track I really liked was “Vital Mission“, which is the Stage 1 theme, which also has that nice guitar, but is more heavy on the organs and this clarinet-type synth line. The guitar here is especially fitting because its plucking, step-like rhythm matches the gait of the mechs.
The soundtrack was composed by David Warhol (Maniac Mansion, Ghoul Patrol) and Eric Swanson (Resident Evil 5, Ghoul Patrol). It’s interesting that Swanson left for some high profile titles later on in his career while Warhol, who has been around since the early 80s, has gone on to work on Re-Mission, the famous serious game about fighting cancer designed to help patients gain self-confidence.