Heavy Metal is a comics anthology magazine that began life in France under the name Metal Hurlant. It gained notoriety due to its heavy emphasis on sex and violence. It was bought over to the U.S and renamed Heavy Metal in 1977, and was purchased and published by Kevin Eastman. Yes, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Kevin Eastman. The U.S version of the magazine featured several news articles that tied it into the Heavy Metal culture. The series spawned two feature films: 1981’s Heavy Metal, a set of story sequences done in different art styles (similar to The Animatrix) and 2000’s Heavy Metal 2000, a feature film featuring a character played by B-movie actress Julie Strain. The game also spawned 2 video games, F.A.K.K.2, a PC game sequel to Heavy metal 2000, and Heavy Metal:Geomatrix, a 2001 Dreamcast/Arcade game from Capcom. Although it uses a gameplay style similar to Spawn: In the Demon’s Hand, various gameplay issues and a lack of content cause the game to fall flat on its face. It doesn’t help matters that the game has very little to tie it in with the comics.

Geomatrix isn’t based upon any of Heavy Metal’s stories, but the character designs were done by longtime artist Simon Bisley and it’s plot was written by Kevin Eastman. In the distant future, the Earth has been destroyed by numerous disasters. Thanks to nanotechnology and cyberspace however, humans are able to reverse trace their bodies into cyberspace. Of course things get out of control, and various factions compete for shares of cyber-real estate. Interesting premise for a story, but there are virtually no references to it in the game. While the game is fairly easy to pick up and play, the camera issues make things difficult. You can’t adjust it, so it’s either locked on you or your opponent. There are 12 characters in teams of three. Each team has it’s small guy, big guy, and (this being Heavy Metal after all) busty scantily clad chick. Of course the only differences between each character is their special moves and what weapon they start with. The game’s arcade mode simply has you going through the same battles over and over again. It’s the same sequence of foes each time, so you’ll get bored quickly. Hell, there isn’t even a final boss. You can play through the game’s Geomatrix mode, which is a collection of platforming challenges in a series of vector-style backgrounds where you have to find a key. While this adds a bit of content to the game, the camera issues make this difficult, and before long, you’ll get tired of this mode as well. Did I also mention that this game is only 2 players (whereas Spawn had 4 players and more characters)? This, despite the fact that the arcade mode frequently has you facing more than one opponent at a time. To add further insult to injury, the network play option that was present in the Japanese version of the game is absent from this version.

If there is one good thing about the game (at least if you like Heavy metal music) it’s the soundtrack, which was supplied by Metal Artists such as Halford and Megadeath. Also, the game was only $20 when it was released. For what it’s worth, the character backgrounds are interesting, I only wish the game could have done more to flesh them out. Perhaps it could have been parlayed into a Heavy Metal strip or even a sequel. As it stands however, the game was just one final nail in the Dreamcast coffin.