Taito’s dystopian shmup Metal Black hits the Arcade Archives

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You think Hamster has already hit all of the shmups released in the late ’80s/early ’90s? Well, think again, buster, as the retro lovin’ publisher has added Taito’s eye-searing shooter Metal Black to its mammoth Arcade Archives range, with the forgotten shmup now available to purchase on PS4 and Nintendo Switch.

Released to the arcade market in 1991, during Taito’s “Loud & Vulgar” phase, (see also: Under Fire, Special Criminal Investigation), Metal Black is a horizontally scrolling sci-fi shmup set against the backdrop of a damaged Earth, having fallen victim to a devastating meteor shower. In the aftermath of this event, an alien force attacks the weakened planet, leading to the surrender of humanity. However, one rogue pilot, John Ford, refuses to allow mankind to go quietly into the night. Hijacking prototype vessel “CF-345 Black Fly”, Ford embarks on a final bid to send the unwelcome visitors packing.

You can check out the action in the video below, courtesy of YouTuber AL82 Retrogaming.

Metal Black consists of six stages of frenetic sky-fighting action, with mechanics not dissimilar to that of Irem’s R-Type and Taito’s own Darius franchise. As previously noted, Metal Black comes from an era of Taito that features somewhat ugly textures, slapdash scaling, and some brutal visual effects, which often renders the in-game action a little tough to follow. Regardless, this forgotten example does feature a pretty rad soundtrack, interesting boss designs, and a novel feature that sees the story come to one of two massively different conclusions, dependent on how the player fares on the final encounter.

Metal Black is available to download on PS4 and Nintendo Switch now.

About The Author
Chris Moyse
Senior Editor - Chris has been playing video games since the 1980s and writing about them since the 1880s. Graduated from Galaxy High with honors. Twitter: @ChrisxMoyse
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