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Metronomicon: Rave Against the Obscene...

Company: Kasedo Games

Put On Your Dancing Boots And Magic Helmet:

Fans of RPGs know RPGs. There's leveling, upgraded equipment, bigger and better attacks as you progress... Ah, defeating your enemies, driving them before you, taking from them that which they possessed, using it, if it fits, or selling it in a shop. My wife hates that. The upgrades, spending points, deliberating over weapon purchases... don't even let me start on crafting. She feels that RPGs are too slow.

Generally, she's right. Well, not that they're too slow, but that they have a lot of tweaking and fidgeting that has to be done from time to time. They're not continuous action, like side-scrolling brawlers of old.

Metronomicon is a rhythm game with both RPG and old-school brawler in its DNA. Yes, you can upgrade your equipment and you can fidget with your attacks and, yes, you get more powerful as you progress, but when you're in a level, it's continuous action. So much so, in fact, that it can be difficult to keep track of your health or sneak a peek at your current enemy's stats to select the best type of attack, as you'll be too busy watching the directions coming down the track.

You control a party of four adventurers trained in the rhythmic arts, as they seek to learn about, and ultimately, defeat the strange monstrous creatures invading their lands and the strange music they bring with them. Initially, this is four recently-graduated students, out on their first foray into do-gooding. As you progress, however, you will discover other characters who will join your party, each with their own skills and quirks. You will always have four characters in your party, but you can switch them out to suit your playstyle and current quest requirements.

The music you'll dance/fight to is a nice variety of techno-alternative, including music by Jimmy Urine (from Mindless Self Indulgence), Shiny Toy Guns, Yacht, Perturbation and others. It's actually quite catchy and, on occasion, horribly appropriate. To wit, there's the song for the end boss in the Haunted Kingdom level, Fighting with the Melody (Jimmy Urine) with a bridge that says, "You are soooo dead..." So, so fitting.

Otto Would Find It Irresistible:

Your goal is to stay alive (so watch your health and make sure you heal as needed) while dispatching enemies via an RPG-party-based "dance-off" by hitting the correct directions at the correct times, a la Dance Dance Revolution. While there are four characters, you're controlling all four of them, and using two keys to switch between them. Taking damage? You'll need to switch over to your healer and dance out a Cure spell. Need to buff your team? Switch over to the party member that can cast Inspire and make everyone hit a little harder. Depending on how you slot your actions, it could be one section, two sections or three sections to pull off a specific desired attack. Mess up or let a note slip past and it will fire off whatever attack you've already filled. Avoid mistakes for three sections and you'll pull off your third level slot. Either way, when that character takes that action, they won't have notes available for a while, so you'll need to keep dancing from one character to the next.

Jump Around. Jump! Jump! Rinse! Repeat!:

Although Metronomicon looks kinda like a four-player game, it is, in fact, a single player game. There are four tracks, but you have to switch between them, strategically, so you can unleash a large fire attack using the character that can do that or heal your party using your Medic. Also, when rocks start falling from the sky, you'll need to make sure that you don't have a track highlighted when that rock is hitting the hitline, or the character will take damage.

Looking at this game, I had to wonder if it could be reasonably played with a dance pad. I gave it a shot with a Konami/Bemani USB Dance pad and it, technically, could be played with a dance pad, by assigning the "button" pads (not the directional ones) to shift between characters. I was able to do this with the Custom controller setup in the Controller Menu. It didn't work very well on carpet (as one might expect) and my "dancing" skills are just about as bad as my dancing skills, so I failed the levels pretty quickly. Still... possible, so if you have a dance pad lying about, it might be worth giving it a try. To use the dance pad (or a gamepad, for that matter), simply plug it into your PC before launching the game and Metronomicon will make it available.

They Did The Mash... They Did the Monster Mash:

Metronomicon is a strange mashup of genres, but it works in a strange way. It probably helps that the game makes no attempt to take itself seriously, sporting a lot of tongue-in-cheek jokes and references to RPG tropes and different songs. Oh, and there's the over-the-top cartoonish characters. And don't forget enemies such as a succubus in a miniskirt, what appears to be a dancing dire carebear and a cyclops in neon green zebra-striped Flashdance-style outfit. You've been warned.

-Geck0, GameVortex Communications
AKA Robert Perkins

Related Links:

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