I tried very hard indeed to like Metrocross. In theory it sounds like a cracking effort and the shots (of the arcade version) on the back of the box promise all manner of wonderful excitement - don't they always?
Licenced from the Namco arcade game of the same name, Metrocross involves racing along from the left-hand part of the play area to the right in a style not entirely a million miles away from the ill-fated inspector Gadget (see last ish) while avoiding assorted obstacles such as potholes and pressure pads.
Everything (apart from the back wall, which doesn't count anyway, as it has no purpose) is black and white, which makes reading the instructions a little confusing eg: Blue cans - kick them and you score points/ Green Cans - Speed cans which double your speed.
Each of the twenty-four levels has a time limit which, when exceeded, will cause your fairly poorly defined character to be electrocuted on the spot. Each level also offers a different arrangement of obstacles, although there are relatively few types of obstacle. There's the "green tile" (which is in fact black) which will slow you down by 75% and the hurdle which you must leap. There are also numerous rats which scurry about and will gnaw away at your ankles if you don't kick them away. At sporadic intervals along the course you'll encounter "blue cans" (white) which can be kicked off the screen for bonus points.
There's a skateboard, too, which while offering moderate novelty interest as you glide over the ground, arms waving oddly at your sides, doesn't do a whole of the game in the last interesting stakes.
The main problem with Metrocross is that it just isn't particularly exciting. It's far too easy in the early stages (no-one should be able to score upwards of 50,000 in their first game on anything) and by the time it actually gets difficult to complete a level, you'll have been playing it for so long that it will be quite a relief to be able to stop for a while.
Label: US Gold
Reviewer: Jim Douglas
Initially entertaining but ultimately unsatisfying licence. To be avoided if you've got anything along the same lines.