Sinclair User19th April 1990
Published in Sinclair User #101
This isn't a pop industry simulator for long-haired denim wearers, but a trigger-happy combat sim offering three games for the price of one.
Heavy Metal is a follow-up in spirit to the classic BeachHead, and as an exciting bonus you get a copy of that game too. But Heavy Metal is much more sophis game in every respect: istead of just endless blasting, it has a lot of really deep sim-type features AND endless blasting.
There are three basic sections, each of which is a shoot-'em-up to some extent: only if you acquit yourself well in these three can you get onto the fourth, the Tactical Command Centre section, where you use the skills you have gained in the aims to plan a whole campaign.The first sim puts you in control of an Abrams M1 Main Battle Tank (MBT), which is not the sort of beast you want to find in your space in the bike sheds. The display screen is festooned with features - over twenty separate displays showing your combat radar, weapon status, speed, direction, incoming missiles, laser range-finder, and so on. The main aim, though, is just to keep rolling and smashing as many enemies as you can. A periscope display shows targets as your laser rangefinder locks on, and you have to choose the appropriate type of weapon to take them out.
Basically this is an advanced version of Battlezone, with excellent graphics and scrolling, and it's heaps of fun. Annoyingly, in this section the manual gives an incorrect list of keyboard controls, and you have to work out for yourself that W and S move the tank while QAOP directs the gun.
The next bit, ADAT (Air Defence Anti-Tank System), is more of a straight shoot-'em'-up; planes and tanks zoom towards you, and you have to take them out either with missiles or cannon. There's a radar-controlled missiles target cursor, while you control the cannon cursor; match the two up to launch a missile at a plane, or just use the cannon cursor to take out a tank.
The third bit puts you in control of a FAV (Fast Attack Vehicle), which is the sort of car I'd like to drive to work: a partially-armoured dune buggy with a TOW missile mounted on top. Zoom through the dunes, blasting the tanks, helicopter gunships and equipment for points; don't hit anything, because at 100 mph you won't survive the crash!
Assuming you accumulate enough points to quality for a higher rank, you get to enter the TACC section. Here a campaign map is displayed, and it's your task to assign different units to various troublespots, return to HQ to refuel at regular intervals, and take control of individual combats (which are basically re-runs of the MBT, FAV and ADAT routines).
Apart from the enormous amount of tape loading involved, heavy metal is non-stop fun. You're getting four games for the price of - well, not one but two - and they're all substantially better than ninety percent of the stuff on the market right now. Heavee!
Non-stop combat mayhem for sim freaks and blast addicts alike.