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Video Game / Metal Arms: Glitch in the System

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Metal Arms: Glitch in the System is a Third-Person Shooter released in 2003.

The story begins on the war-torn planet Iron Star which, as fate would have it, is populated completely by robots. Under Colonel Alloy, the Droids have formed a resistance against the Milbot forces of the evil General Corrosive. On a routine patrol, a robot of mysterious origin is discovered by the rebels and brought back online to aid against the Mils. Having no memory other than his name "Glitch", he is quickly called into action to aid his new allies.

Much ass-kicking follows as Glitch, unsurprisingly, turns out to be quite handy blowing enemy mooks to pieces. What follows is 42 missions of shooter action featuring some vehicular destruction, controlling ally characters and hacking enemies for good measure. Due in part to its limited commercial success and its reputation for being unkind to the casual gamer it's something of a underrated gem for its fans. For those who got past the tough gameplay there was a lot to like. Fun characters, novel weaponry and a light-hearted story made for a unique third-person shooter.

Metal Arms: Glitch in the System provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Action Bomb: Scouts, although they're a little smarter than your usual kamikaze in that they will raise an alarm and call for reinforcements before starting their suicide attack.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: General Corrosive. Interesting example, as it's a robot rebelling against other robots.
  • Arm Cannon: Every robot with a dedicated weapon, with the singular exception of Guards.
  • Badass Adorable: Glitch
  • Big Bad: Literally in General Corrosive, an office-building-sized psychotic machine. Actually, he's really working for the real mastermind, Dr. Exavolt.
  • Blade Below the Shoulder: Troopers Dual Wield these.
  • Boom Stick: Guards, about the only robots who don't have Arm Cannons, use these.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The brief focus on Glitch's apparent Morbot symbol likely meant the planned sequel would elaborate on his connection to the precursors. As the sequel was cancelled, this question was left unanswered.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Most of the robots swear at least once, but Krunk is the king.
  • Critical Existence Failure
    • Played straight and justified with Glitch as he is a robot capable of losing limbs and still functioning.
    • Done to great comedic effect with the enemy Mils.
  • Crystal Spires and Togas: The Morbot Region cities are the robotic equivalent.
  • The Dragon: Turns out General Corrosive is actually this to Dr. Exavolt.
  • The Faceless: Agent Shush. An apparent master of stealth, only his green eyes are ever visible from the shadows.
  • Faking the Dead: The only way to escape certain death facing Corrosive in the arena is to make it look like he smashed you to bits. Glitch's "remains" are then dumped elsewhere and he puts himself back together.
  • Final Boss: General fucking Corrosive. Despite having been badly damaged after crash-landing from space, he's still very hard to kill.
  • Fun with Acronyms: The main automatic weapon of the game is called the "SPEW," meaning "Small Projectile Emitter Weapon."
  • Gladiator Games: Corrosive's prisoners are often forced to enter a gladiator-style set of events, odds heavily against them. Winners go free. If they manage to reach the final event, their reward is to face General Corrosive personally, unarmed.
  • Glass Cannon: The Troopers are fast, can fly, and have very powerful ranged and melee attacks. But, they have even less armor than the Grunts.
  • Harder Than Hard: The aptly-named "Nuts of Steel" mode is for masochists only.
  • 100% Completion: Secret Chips are hidden in each level. Locating them unlocks multiplayer levels but holds no bearing on the single-player experience other than simply wanting to collect everything.
  • Idiot Ball: Glitch enters General Corrosive's lair and activates a Control Console, that can control the General for some reason, and rather than attack and destroy the tower that Glitch is in, Dr. Exavolt orders his forces to destroy the invincible General, instead.
  • Improvised Weapon: Many of Glitch's weapons are improvised or modified mining weaponry, from rivet guns to mining lasers.
  • Kill It with Fire: Strangely, in a game featuring metal enemies, there exists flamethrowers and Magma grenades. An entire level playing as Slosh, a flamethrower unit, involves burning swarms of spiderbots.
  • Kinetic Weapons Are Just Better: In a world where sapient robots exist, ballistic weapons and explosives turn out to be surprisingly effective against them.
  • Left Hanging: Who were the Morbots, and what is Glitch's connection to them? Why did Exavolt join the Mills? What is his new plan for Glitch? All of these questions were apparently setups for the currently non-existent sequel.
  • Meaningful Name: Glitch's two ill-fated comrades, Screwed and Hosed. They end up biting it after the first level.
  • Mecha-Mooks: The Mils.
  • Mechanical Lifeforms: The robots of Iron Star have long moved beyond simplistic A.I.
  • Mentor Occupational Hazard: Played straight and hilariously lampshaded by the fact that the two Droids who take you through the tutorial are named Hosed and Screwed. Any guesses what they become when they run into a grenade on a few pipes?
  • Multi-Platform: Released on the Playstation 2, Xbox & Gamecube. Now downloadable for Xbox 360.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: General Corrosive.
  • Nice Job Guiding Us, Hero: Bringing Exavolt back to Droid Town proves disastrous.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Zombiebots. Cannibalistic Robot Monsters.
  • Nintendo Hard: Skill, trial & error and luck will serve you well through the more hellish parts of the game. Special mention goes to the Final Boss. God help you on the hardest difficulty level, cos nothing else will.
  • Non-Standard Game Over: After the HQ of the Rebel Droids is discovered and invaded by Mils if you lose too many friendly bots it results in a very depressing and possibly traumatizing cutscence in which the casualties are too high and the rebels surrender.
  • No Waterproofing in the Future: Even stepping in puddles causes damage and shorting-out sounds.
  • No Zombie Cannibals: Averted, as Zombiebots who are allied with Glitch will attack other Zombiebots.
  • Obviously Evil: Dr. Exavolt. His evil mad scientist vibe is difficult to miss.
  • One-Man Army: Considering the sheer amount of enemies he destroys, Glitch certainly qualifies.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: The Zombots in the Scrapyard mission "hunger for fresh oil" and have to be killed twice. They're the undead remains of Iron Star's Mechanical Lifeforms.
  • Precursors: The Morbots, creators of Iron Star. Unusual for normal precursors, they were said to still be around and just underground, generating power that seeps to the surface and is used by the Droids and Mils (though until the events of the game, everyone's still scared boltless of even trying to go see them, as "no-one has come back alive"). But then it turns out they've all mysteriously vanished anyway, although their cities are still in perfect condition, and they left behind swarms of tiny robobugs. It's implied they all went on an exodus into space, and since everyone's still scared of going down there because of the aforementioned "none came back alive", it may have been recent. It was also implied Corrosive was intending to follow them.
  • Pulling Themselves Together
    • Zombiebots will reassemble if not blown into smaller pieces.
    • Glitch does this after faking his death.
  • Punny Name: So many. Even the game's actual name itself is a pun.
  • La RĂ©sistance: The Droids lead by Alloy.
  • Robot Dog: Zobby, who can also operate armoured vehicles.
  • Robots Enslaving Robots: The reason for the war against Corrosive.
  • Set a Mook to Kill a Mook: The Control Tether allows Glitch to hack and control any enemy he encounters, provided he can sneak up behind them and access their control port. Eventually he even manages to control Corrosive briefly near the end.
  • Sequel Hook: The game ends with an obvious one, but the sequel never came to be.
  • Shout-Out
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: Krunk. He has to be bleeped out constantly. There's a level where you play as him, and that title has to be censored as well, this time via Symbol Swearing.
  • Sound-Effect Bleep: Krunk's swearing is kept at bay by a bleep machine. Likely to keep the teen rating.
  • Suffer the Slings: The Slingshot seems like an out-of-place weapon in a futuristic robot world, though considering the Droid Rebellion's lack of resources it's justified. It's also quite useful in that it allows Glitch to throw grenades farther and more accurately than he normally could by hand.
  • Super Drowning Skills: Justified, all the characters are robots and apparenly not made to be waterproof.
  • Supervillain Lair: Not only is this lair in space, but in true supervillain fashion it's revealed the moon orbiting the planet isn't actually a moon at all, rather a giant disc with a space station behind it.
  • That's No Moon: Quite literally. Iron Star's moon is actually a Mil space station with a big moon-shaped disc in front of it. Glitch does a huge Double Take followed by a disbelieving headshake when he finds out.
  • Trial-and-Error Gameplay: Certain situations require exact tactics to stand a chance.
  • Turned Against Their Masters: The General was created by a group of scientists trying to improve on existing robot brains. He immediately destroyed them all the moment he became aware. At least that's what Dr. Exavolt wanted people to believe.
  • The Unfought: Dr. Exavolt.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Being able to dismantle enemy Mils piece by piece can lead to amusing consequences. Destroying a leg forces mooks to hop and damaging the weapon arm can lead to pathetic attempts to fire in your direction.
  • We Will Meet Again: Dr. Exavolt delivers one of these in classic you'll pay for this fashion.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Swinging Ape deliberately invoked this trope, using robots so the Cruelty Potential mentioned above wouldn't get labeled as Gorn.
  • Why Don't Ya Just Shoot Him?: Glitch, the single biggest threat to the Milbots in existence is captured and sent off to be executed gladiator-style instead of destroyed on the spot. Somewhat justified by the fact he wasn't strictly known as the sole Bot to have taken out all those Mills before. He'd destroyed more or less every Mill witness. Although the policy of having rebels killed off in a grand arena seemingly For the Evulz, instead of quickly executing them, is definitely this trope. It seems villains are compelled to make public executions complicated and spectacular.
    • Tragically averted in the Non-Standard Game Over in the Droid Town levels. All surrendering Droids are executed by firing squad.

Alternative Title(s): Metal Arms