Metrocide – Murdering Thrill Ride
This week I’m looking at another Humble Bundle purchase… I was attracted by the Cyber-Dystopian aesthetic and it did not disappoint. Before anything occurs in Metrocide, you are greeted with character selection; well, gender selection. The game is top-down and your character wears a hat, regardless. The developers didn’t have to add in this detail, but it is nice to have a choice in games; particularly those focused around shooting people. It was nice to see the character appearing in the following “cinematic” in the form of comic strip panels…
Metrocide is a game about a hitman named T.J. Trench, presumably due to their sweet trenchcoat and matching hat. =D The object of the game is to earn enough cash in your sector and acquire a set of credentials to get you out of there. The first sector you start in is the streets. You have to collect $2000 to buy your papers and there are numerous ways of doing so. The primary method of earning cash is taking contracts. You can meet with a number of contacts across the sector and choose from a small selection of targets. Each target is given a number of identifying factors and marked with a number of confounding variables which determine the difficulty and the payout. Initially, your only factor to consider is a time constraint. All early targets have a tracker and they all seem to smoke… That’s the future for you.
A secondary form of earning dollars is through cleaning out the local gang in the sector. Your uplink alerts you to gang members and dispatching them grants you access to their wallets. This offers small amounts of cash, but there are plenty of gang members and citizens don’t seem too fussed about the gang’s departure from the sector.
But the game primarily focuses around the contract system of earning. After selecting your target, your tracker will start signalling your proximity to them. As you move in on them, your uplink will highlight them and the challenge begins… The game gives you a quick reminder of how to murder. The main hint being “Don’t be seen.” The police have drones flying overhead, many street corners have security cameras and most streets are littered with pedestrians. As if this weren’t enough, your starting blaster has a charge time before a shot can be fired off. My first attempt at murdering was fairly uneventful since I didn’t quite appreciate HOW LONG the shot took to charge. Or the fact that equipping the firearm makes noise. Or the fact there are vigilantes in the streets and they have bigger guns… Anyway, as with every game where one shot kills, you learn fast. You learn to bide your time and follow your target. You see where they go and when opportunity strikes, you stand far enough away that they don’t hear your gun… You line up the shot and you fire. If all things went to plan, you have successfully murdered someone! =D Now that you have blood and laser residue on your hands, you have a choice to make. You can skip away and find more people to kill for cash, or you can clean up… If you can see a steaming sewer vent, you are more than welcome to hide the body there but you will need to cover it over and no longer have access to it. OR if you happen to be beside the a large body of water… DUMP IT IN THE RIVER! =D And if you managed to do all of this without being seen or alerting any security forces then there is bonus cash available to you. Murder is fun! But if your murder wasn’t so clean, chances are you are now suspected and on the police database… Metrocide has a clever little system in place whereby the sector has a limit to how many police patrol, so at lower levels you can only stir up a maximum of one patrolling police drone. If you are seen at a particular murder, the police will lock down that area of the map and you had better hope you don’t need to go back there for a while. Curiously, there are unconventional ways to get around this. I silenced one of my targets in a street from an adjoining alleyway. Amongst all the fleeing pedestrians, a security camera decided one of these innocents was a chief suspect. I thought nothing of it as a skipped merrily to a weapon vendor a few minutes later… I then received a notification stating that the innocent had been “neutralised” by a police drone. I felt a pang of guilt but then I purchased a shotgun, which had just been unlocked and I suddenly felt much better as I stepped up my game…
Unfortunately, all things must come to an end and mine declared me a psychopath… The guilt came back as I reassessed my last 15 minutes of “entertainment…”
In subsequent games, I started receiving notifications of more weapons and contract types being unlocked. It would seem that as you accomplish particular goals, you unlock features that remain accessible thought your playthroughs. As of writing, I unlocked a Shotgun, a silenced Shotgun, a Holo-Lure, Armed contracts and Paranoid contracts. These all have allowed em to play the game differently and all add to the variety of gameplay.
I enjoy Metrocide. I think it is a cool little game and features some nice mechanics for a roguelike of this sort. My biggest issue with the game is the control scheme. The game uses WASD or the Arrow keys to move and the mouse to aim. Left Mouse Button [LMB] shoots and Right Mouse Button [RMB] holsters or unholsters your firearm of choice. This isn’t a huge issue but it makes the game quite a challenge to play on a laptop; I had to fetch a conventional cable mouse since the game was nearly unplayable with the track pad on my lappy.
It is also worth noting that the movement controls are always relative to the direction you are facing with the mouse. This makes sidestepping a little trickier than you want when in a quick assassination contract, but it is easy enough to adapt to after some time playing it. In fact, I found that you can change the movement controls in the Options menu, but I had already adjusted my style and couldn’t work with the more traditional movement scheme!
On a lighter note, I love the visuals and aesthetic. Those neon lights look great amongst the dingy streets and give the city some character. I also like how vibrant the city feels with the sheer number of police drones, cleaning robots, billboards, adverts and pedestrians. Metrocide very quickly slips you into it’s world and you soon feel that your not alone in your nefarious activities; hell, you may not even be the worst person walking those streets.
Overall, Metrocide is a tough Roguelike with a NeoNoir aesthetic. It has questionable morals and a nice mix of stealth and gambling. If this sounds like an appealing prospect, Metrocide may be for you.
Ellen captured all these images off of her Laptop. The visuals are owned by Flat Earth Games and Ellen doesn’t claim to own them. You certainly don’t need to send any trench coat wearing assassins after her… Please don’t send any trenchco-
Last played on 21/05/15 but not completed