Wednesday 24 November 2021

Metro-Cross (Namco, 1985)

Originally developed and released for the arcades by Namco Ltd. in 1985. Designed by Masanobu Endo, Tatsurou Okamoto and Yukio Tahahashi. Programming by Kyota Tanaka. Graphics by Hiroshi Ono and Yuki Kasukawa. Sounds by Nobuyuki Onogi. Illustrations by Satoshi Kitahara.

Converted and released for the Nintendo Famicom by Namco Ltd. in 1986; no further information available.

Converted for the Commodore 64 by Probe Software: Programming and sounds by Brian O'Shaughnessy. Graphics by Vakis Paraskeva. Produced by Fergus McGovern. Published by U.S. Gold (EU) and Epyx (US) in 1987.

Also converted for Amstrad CPC and Sinclair ZX Spectrum by Probe Software in 1987; no credits are known.

Atari ST version programmed by Timothy Moore, and published by U.S. Gold in 1988.

Converted for the Sharp MZ-700 by Kazuhiro Furuhata, and published by Namco in 1989.

The Atari ST version unofficially ported for Commodore Amiga by Wanted Team in 2013.



Back to more arcade cult classics. This time, the game under the magnifying glass, Metro-Cross, was the ninth-biggest arcade table in Japan in 1985, but it was rarely encountered elsewhere in the world. In fact, the International Arcade Museum website lists Metro-Cross as one of the least common games among collectors, with a 6 out of 100 in popularity based on census ownership records (1 being the least common). Taken that into consideration, all the European conversions must have been made after finding out about this game through the Famicom port from 1986. But that's just guessing. My personal introduction to Metro-Cross happened on the C64 around the mid-90's when the local C64 scene in my area had already turned more to Amigas and consoles, but because it never came up in anyone's collection on other platforms, it felt like such a hidden gem, which I still think it is.

Of course, you can't expect too many people giving scores for this sort of a game, and starting with the KLOV/IAM score at the Arcade Museum site, a single voter has rated the game with a 4.43 out of 5.0. At the archived World of Spectrum site, you can find a score of 7.57 from 25 votes, while the new rating system at Spectrum Computer has a 6.9 out of 8 votes. From the two Amstrad scores, CPC-Power has a fairly promising 14.38 out of 20.00, while the review at CPC Game Reviews has an 8 out of 10. At Lemon64, the C64 version a less promising 6.9 from 85 voters. Oddly, there is no score to be found for the Famicom version, and the Atari ST version has only been voted by 11 voters, resulting in a 7.5 so far, so it seems like the game had the most notable presence on the C64. But that's not necessarily a reliable indicator to how the versions actually line up in the end.



If we were to deconstruct the title of the game, Metro-Cross, you would get a combination of metro or metropolis, and perhaps motocross, from which we can deduce that the game is about racing on something in either a city environment, or perhaps more specifically, enclosed sections of subways or underground tunnels. It's not too far off, I guess, but you're not racing on any vehicle - you're running for your life against time through a series of subway-like tunnel sections that are littered with all sorts of obstacles from hurdles and slippery zones to pit traps and walls. For balance, there are skateboards and spring boards you can use to get ahead quicker, as well as drink cans you can jump on or kick for different bonus effects.

Considering this is a racing game of sorts in which you actually run for the majority of time, it might seem a bit peculiar that the running itself happens somewhat automatically. You just need to focus on getting as quickly to the end of each course as possible, and hopefully waste as little of time as possible while at it in as many methods as it is possible for you to. I shall explain this later on. The original arcade version has 32 levels (and I have yet to find out if this holds true for all the home conversions), and every fourth round, all your accumulated leftover time is combined as you run through the bonus round. To be honest, I don't care much, whether the game has an ending or not, since it's an arcade game, so I might hazard a guess that it doesn't, because that's how classic arcade games are.

As I said earlier, I think Metro-Cross is more a hidden gem than a proper classic. It's enough of a cult classic to have been included on a couple of Namco Museum compilations on PlayStation and XBox, and it's not nearly the most difficult game to find for the old home computers, either. Not that sure about the Famicom version. There's enough of "one more time" factor in it to get you hooked for a while, and it's fun to learn your way through all the different elements and courses, but the game also requires you to hone your skills for some unexpected quirks. It's definitely a Namco game through and through, and I can heartily recommend it to any classic arcade game fan still in the dark about some slightly lesser known titles.



Metro-Cross is another one of those arcade games that has a two-player mode, but which really doesn't make much sense on the long run, since you play alternate turns after the other player has either lost a life or reached the goal. It's all about getting a high score, really. But it's here that the comparison starts already, since the FAMICOM version doesn't actually have a two-player mode.

The way you control the runner is, you can move around the left half of the screen with your joystick in all directions, and your running speed is determined by your location on the screen. If you back up to the left edge of the screen, the runner stops entirely. The designated firebutton is only used for jumping.

If you happen to be playing Metro-Cross on the ZX Spectrum or Amstrad CPC, you are given a few optional control methods, mainly a joystick and redefinable keyboard. The SPECTRUM version allows you to use either a Kempston-compatible joystick, a Sinclair-compatible joystick or a cursor-mapped joystick, which means there are already two preset keyboard controls. The AMSTRAD version makes you define your keys right after you choose that option as your control method. The ATARI ST and COMMODORE 64 versions simply use a joystick, as does the later AMIGA port of the ST version. The FAMICOM version only uses the other action button as well, but it's a bit trickier than usual, which I shall explain a bit later on; however, as usual, the Start button toggles the pause mode.

Before going into details, I have to mention, in case you didn't notice from the credits section, that a SHARP MZ-700 conversion of Metro-Cross also exists, but it's practically impossible to obtain a copy of it, unless you're part of a highly exclusive Japanese trading group - at least, that's what I read from a YouTuber, who posted a video of the MZ-700 version's gameplay some time ago. True enough, you cannot find it anywhere from the public websites and servers, so I cannot properly feature that version in this comparison, but I shall throw a link of the video in the final section.

Starting the game, the first notable difference is the timer, which in level 1 gives you 40 seconds to complete the course in the original ARCADE version. Most home conversions follow this rule and timing speed, but the SPECTRUM and AMSTRAD versions have a clearly different timing method, starting level 1 with 3 minutes. However, the timing speed is basically the same, as all versions seem to end level 1 with a similar amount of time left on a good run - around half of the time you had at start. But the scoring system is a bit different, making these versions incompatible for score comparisons.

Moving your runner around the play area, which is more or less the left half of the screen, is surprisingly different for all versions in many ways. First off, your running speed's adjustment feels very organic in the original, as it does in the FAMICOM port and the 16-bit conversions. The SPECTRUM and AMSTRAD versions are the least organic in this sense, by having two running speeds and halt. The C64 version sits comfortably between every other version by having four notable running speeds and halt.

While the running speed isn't particularly important on the long run, it is part of why the SPECTRUM and AMSTRAD versions have their levels designed a bit differently to all the other versions. For example, there are notably less soda cans in the first level than there are in other versions, and the jump boards in level 3 are laid down in such a way as to make it impossible to chain-jump through every one of them.

Speaking of which, using the jump boards is an artform on its own. In the ARCADE original, you have to keep the fire button down when entering the jump boards, but you don't have to jump on them to make them work properly. Also worth noting is, that keeping the fire button down doesn't make you jump repeatedly. This is how the fire button and the jump boards work in the ATARI ST, COMMODORE AMIGA and FAMICOM versions as well. The SPECTRUM and AMSTRAD versions require you to have the fire button down when bouncing off from the jump boards, but keeping the fire button down also makes you jump repeatedly. In the C64 version, you also jump repeatedly with the fire button down, but you don't have to keep the button down when bouncing off the jump boards - just jump on them properly and you should be fine.

Still more about your runner's basic movement is about running into diagonals. With the viewpoint of the game being as skewed as it is, the diagonal movement should feel faster to the top-left and bottom-right corners. Of course, it's all about perspective. The SPECTRUM and AMSTRAD versions get this surprisingly right, while the C64 version has the opposite diagonals almost a bit too fast. Not that it doesn't help your moving around, but it just feels a bit off. Not too much, though, like it does in the ATARI ST version, and consequently, the AMIGA version as well. The FAMICOM version gets this particular thing all wrong, as you're barely able to move into any diagonal, while moving in the four cardinal directions is all good, and this is what practically ruins the Famicom version, since you have to memorize all the levels in a completely different way, searching for optimal routes instead of the best possible ones.

There are a few little peculiarities, which might be considered advantages, or perhaps disadvantages, if you're a hardcore gamer and like a harsh difficulty level. The FAMICOM version uniquely features warps, which appear as red flashing things, and take you to a further point within the same level. In the AMSTRAD and SPECTRUM versions, you cannot change your vertical position when flying after bouncing off from a jump board, although you can move in mid-air when jumping normally. The AMSTRAD and SPECTRUM versions also use the green frog/rat-like small mutant creatures in a different way than the original, as they just stop you for a second upon collision, while in the ARCADE version, they latch onto you and slow you down until you are able to shake them off by either jumping around for a while or hitting an obstacle. The C64 version doesn't even feature the green creatures in any other way but a quick visual nuisance. Unfortunately for the AMSTRAD users, their version also has a rather nasty bug, in which, when you stumble upon an obstacle and have some other obstacle in the same position directly below you, you will also hit that obtacle once you get up from the previous hit.

At this point, I have to mention the fairly recent AMIGA port of the ST version, because while it feels almost exactly like the ST version in many ways, it is also much slower than any other version around. Also, it feels like the game is still a bit unfinished, since after the 8th level, the game has almost no obstacles and enemies around for the first couple of courses, and around level 12, there's a section where you cannot escape getting hit by one of those green frog-rat mutant things, which drain your speed and you cannot even shake them off here, so the only thing for you is to wait until your time runs out. Too bad, really, since this was otherwise the most player-friendly version due to its lack of speed. Also, the ATARI ST version requires a certain version of TOS to be playable beyond level 5, so the AMIGA version would have taken care of that problem as well. Only, the ST version suffers from some slowdown problems when there's too much action on the screen.

And so it seems we have reached some sort of a conclusion. The ATARI ST version would be the closest conversion of the original game, were there no slowdown problems and the annoying problem with finding the correct TOS for each American and European releases. The AMIGA version would be even better with the correct speed and further work on the later levels, but now it just feels unfinished. The AMSTRAD version is firmly at the bottom of our list due to its bugs, with the SPECTRUM version just a bit above it due to its similar case of level design, controllability and speed problems. The FAMICOM version would otherwise be a fantastic port, but its diagonal movement ruins the whole experience. The C64 version really is the most optimal conversion with its speed, controllability and correct level design.




It has to be said: graphics are most likely the reason why Metro-Cross never became that much of a hit game outside of Japan. There just isn't enough variety, and the little of it that there is, is fairly uninteresting to begin with. But at least my only job is to compare the graphical quality between the available versions, not to review the artwork itself.

All the available loading screens, left to right:
Amstrad CPC, Sinclair ZX Spectrum, Commodore Amiga.

As we skipped the Loading section for too many obvious reasons, it's only logical we take a look at them here. As it happens, there are only three versions that even have a loading screen, at least that we know of. The MZ-700 version remains a mystery. The SPECTRUM and AMSTRAD loading screens are pixelated from the U.S. Gold cover art, while the recent AMIGA version uses the original Japanese arcade flyer artwork as the source.

Title screens and options. Top left: Arcade. Top right: Atari ST/Commodore Amiga.
Bottom row, left to right: Nintendo Famicom, ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64.

The title screens don't really have much going on for them. Perhaps the most interesting variations are on the AMSTRAD and C64 versions, which have a framing around the options, which themselves are a bit more visually interesting than in any other version. Then again, if you look at the game title logo, the C-letter is a bit skewed one way or another, instead of a fully round curve. What I find the most odd, though, is the Namco copyright in the SPECTRUM and AMSTRAD versions, which says 1982 instead of 1985, or even 1986 as it does in the FAMICOM and C64 versions. But graphically, that's not of any actual interest. The only versions to get the logo fully right, colour and all, are the ATARI ST and AMIGA versions, but the ARCADE original is the only one to have grey top and bottom borders for the score and credits information, as well as a separate screen for start prompt after the coins have been inserted.

Screenshots from the first three levels of the original arcade version.

If you have played Metro-Cross more than a few times, you might have noticed, that the first three levels use the same exact background wall pattern. Also, judging by the amount of stuff on the floor, the three levels could be called the introductory phase. Level 1 focuses on the preliminary forms of obstacles, such as big rolling cans, green floor tiles that slow you down, and also gives you plenty of opportunity on jumping on soda cans. Level 2 throws in hurdle-fences, more difficult floor patterns, skateboards and green soda cans. Level 3 focuses almost entirely on jump boards.

The info panels are very simplistic, yet effective. There are no other graphical elements than the distance meter that says "AREA", which has a smaller version of our metro-crosser inside the distance bar, dragging blue substance along with him to fill up the otherwise white meter. All the other text elements use a different colour, apart from the residual time indicators and the score counters, which are some shade of blue.

As it is an arcade game, all the graphics are as well drawn and coloured as you should expect, but let's just focus on the runner for now, and talk about the other elements later. The runner wears orange running overalls, red boots and a white helmet with a blue stripe. The runner's facial features have a notable extension in his chin area, a very deep frown (with red lipstick?) and sunglasses. It's a very elaborate costume for a character that could have worn just about anything.

Screenshots from the first three levels of the Nintendo Famicom version.

For the FAMICOM version, Team Namco followed their original work as far as they were able to, although, rather oddly, the info panels have been altered considerably. You get no score display until the end of each level, and the area display's mini-runner doesn't drag a blue substance with him. Also, all the text is white, apart from the running timer.

The action screen has been translated for the FAMICOM screen just as perfectly as you can expect, with the only minor gripe here being the width of the screen being just slightly less than in the ARCADE original: where the original shows just about 9 rows of floor panels, the FAMICOM version shows just about 8 rows. Of course, the colours are more extreme, as there is much more notably white areas than a bigger scale of greys. But for an 8-bit conversion, you can't really expect much more. A nice detail worth noting is, that they kept the "small bombs exploding around the screen" effect from the original when you're running at less than 10 seconds to go.

Screenshots from the first three levels of the Commodore 64 version.

While the C64 version loses a lot in detail and beauty, it has a very nice choice of colours, as well as a fully functional set of info panels, although the colouring is notably different from the original.

Whether you consider the Lego'esque look of the runner in the C64 version charming or not, it still retains some of its humorous aspects. The details of his outfit are gone, but his animation is still very strong. The floor panels are now two shades of blue instead of blue and grey; the level end gate is as much of a Lego version of itself as the runner, and the time-running-out explosions effect has been replaced with flashing floor panels. Other than that, it's a surprisingly well-constructed whole, particularly as the action screen is of the same size as that of the NES version.

Screenshots from the first three levels of the Sinclair ZX Spectrum version.

As you might have expected, the SPECTRUM version goes with a very monochrome style, with only the background walls using a different colouring. It works well enough for the most part, as all the graphics are well-drawn, and the action screen is just about as wide as in the NES version, but the game scrolls slowly, the area indicator has no small runner, and most annoyingly, you really have to look clearly to see the difference between timer-stop soda cans and speed-up soda cans. So far, this is the first version to feature the game logo at the top of the screen during the game.

Screenshots from the first three levels of the Amstrad CPC version.

The AMSTRAD version follows the SPECTRUM version in the usage of the game logo at the top of the in-game screen, the lack of a small runner in the area indicator, and the general slowness of the game's scrolling. Where the AMSTRAD version fails spectacularly is its action screen size, which is only about 5-6 floor panels wide and also a bit less in height. The choice of colours is similar enough to the C64 version, and the runner sprite is more detailed and slightly less Lego'ish than on the C64, but I'm not entirely sure, whether I would choose this over the SPECTRUM version just because of the colours. To be honest, probably not.

Both SPECTRUM and AMSTRAD versions skip the visual effect of getting close to running out of time, so you're just going to have to look at the timer to keep up with it.

Screenshots from the first three levels of the Atari ST and Commodore Amiga versions.

I have included screenshots of both COMMODORE AMIGA and ATARI ST here, just to show you they look exactly the same. I'm not even sure, which screens are from which version.

Anyway, the 16-bit version(s) have the widest action screen in all of the versions, with around 10 floor panels fitting in the screen. This also means that all the elements on the screen are smaller than in any other version. But the info panels are the closest to the original than in any other conversion, and there's a smoothness of scrolling that can't be found even in the NES version. Only the AMIGA version plays slower than the ATARI version, but that's less of a problem here than in the Playability section.

What strikes me as odd about the 16-bit version(s), though, is the background graphics, more specifically, the lack of them. There are only two backgrounds in the entire game, both being big slabs of rectangular elements in an otherwise plain grey wall. In the first three levels, you get a window, behind which a red sky and some odd-looking buildings is shown, which is basically the third set of background graphics in the original game, as you shall see below. Also, you get no time-running-out effects here.

Screenshots from levels 4 and 5.
Top rows, left to right: Arcade, Nintendo Famicom, Commodore 64, Sinclair ZX Spectrum.
Bottom left: Amstrad CPC. Bottom right: Atari ST/Commodore Amiga.

Apart from the ATARI ST and AMIGA versions, in all the other Metro-Crosses, every fourth level takes place in an area with some yellow/beige/browns in the background with lots of odd-looking technological things, and the three intervening levels have the city landscape windows. The ST and AMIGA versions switch the scenery after every fourth level, and then they switch the lonely rectangular wall ornament to a cut from the wall in the ARCADE version's first three levels.

The city landscape looks quite different in every version. For the FAMICOM version, they've taken out the red hue, although it looks otherwise very similar with its futuristic, almost alien approach to architecture. The C64 version has things in the windows that are barely recognizable as structures - instead, they remind me of large white plugs on a black panel. The SPECTRUM and AMSTRAD versions go with a more traditional city architecture look, but the SPECTRUM version has a cyan background, while the AMSTRAD version goes with the correct colouring.

More text bits. Bottom middle: Amstrad CPC.
Others, left to right: Arcade, Nintendo Famicom, ZX Spectrum, Atari ST, Commodore 64.

Okay, this is a bit overdoing the text stuff, but more is more. Although you can't see every single text screen here, the ARCADE version has the most text-based screens, and the C64 version has the second-most. All the others have two text screens aside from the title screen. The most important of these is the high score table, for which you can type in your name in various lengths: the ARCADE version allows 7 letters, the ST/AMIGA version has room for 10 letters, and the C64 version has a whopping 16-letter space to write a novella in. However, only the ST/AMIGA version allows you to use your keyboard to type your name in.

If I were to do this part of the comparison in the high concentration method, I would have also included various runner poses in one compiled picture, but I decided the above details should be enough. Besides, you can see everything more clearly from the video link provided at the end of this comparison.

To be brutally honest, I found the 16-bit home conversion(s) rather lacking in visuals - only two background patterns, and both horrendously lazily implemented. The runner also lacks in character that the original has, so it's definitely not one of my favourites; the only really good thing I can say about it is the wider screen. The AMSTRAD version feels narrow and cramped, and it runs slowly. The SPECTRUM version looks surprisingly nice with its monochrome approach, but suffers from the same speed problem as the CPC. The C64 version is sort of ugly, but in a funny way, and the scrolling is the best you can get from the 8-bit home computers. There's just no way around it: FAMICOM has the best version after the original, and the rest follow in an orderly manner... apart from the 16-bit version, which looks boring and unfinished, and it suffers from juttery scrolling problems occasionally. But even that's better than slow and constantly jerky scrolling of the cramped and narrow CPC version.




What always struck me as odd, but simultaneously charming about Metro-Cross, was its jazz/bluesy soundtrack, particularly considering its supposed post-apocalyptic setting. Then again, now you can hear real 1920's jazz and blues music in games like the Fallout and Bioshock series, both futuristic in their own way. I suppose old jazz and blues songs have always been timeless in the way that they can fit into any context, almost in the sense of the more unlikely the better.

The original Metro-Cross soundtrack consists of the main in-game theme tune, which is basically a minimalistically arranged bluesy bigband swing tune in A minor, a very traditional one in its form of composition. The actual theme is in the usual A-A-B-A structure, using traditional bigband swing chord progressions, with a brief coda bit after the last A part, and the whole thing lasts only 50 seconds. Most of the shorter ditties that are played at places like the end of a level, bonus counting and the Game Over screen, are somehow deviated from the main theme, but the screen where you enter your name into the high score table has a distinctly different tune. It's a more traditional marching band fanfare with the same plastic synth horn and vibraphone orchestration as the main theme.

As for the sound effects, Metro-Cross is one of the cheapest games of its time in that regard. Most of the time, you only hear music, and the sound effects are played only when you jump or hit something. There is no ambience-based sound effects or other incidental noises that could have been produced by, say, the rolling Coca-Cola cans, the turning blocks or even your feet or the skateboard as you race towards the goal. And, even when you hear some sound effects, they are often drowned by the plastic swing music so you don't necessarily even notice them.

Well, if you don't want music to ruin your gaming experience, the best way to avoid it is to play the SPECTRUM version, which only has some blippy sound effects, all of which sound very similar to each other in style. Jumping and hitting a soda can basically have the same sound effect (two bleeps in a different pitch) in alternating orders, and then there's a single blip effect somewhere, and one that has many blips back-to-back. When you complete a level, you can hear the runner huffing and puffing his breath away in a "tick, tick, tick" manner.

Uniquely, the AMSTRAD version has a rendition of the high score music in the title screen, and as a complete contrast to the SPECTRUM version, you only get music when playing, and no sound effects at all. The instruments have a certain nice clear, but wobbly quality to them, which almost makes it sound like it's being played on an old out-of-tune western saloon piano. But only almost.

From the 8-bit home computer conversions, the C64 version is the way to go in this regard, because it has both sound effects and music, and they're all well defined for their own specific areas. The music is deliberately tinny and plastic, and the sound effects have variety with dark and bloomy whoops and boings, cleaner dings, as well as clear explosion noises. I have to say, I actually prefer this over the original.

And in fact, you don't even get as great a variety of sounds in the FAMICOM version. Although the music and sound effects are in good balance, everything has the same tinny plastic feel, which is more out of necessity with how the sound chip works, rather than how good the sound programmers were at the time. But as it is, I think it's still preferable to the ARCADE version.

The ATARI ST version sounds like how the game would sound like in its proper form on either an AMSTRAD or a 128k SPECTRUM, had they been done with more thought in this regard. The music doesn't have much of effects like the official CPC version does, but you do get sound effects to go along with it, which makes all the difference. Because of the way the music and effects have been programmed here, it lacks the humour more evident in the C64 version, but it's just about as good as the FAMICOM version. Unfortunately, the AMIGA version has all the sounds ripped straight, or perhaps even sampled, from the ATARI ST version, so it sounds otherwise exactly the same, but has a lower samplerate, so the sound quality is not as good, so I'd say it's on the same level with the original.




So, what did we learn today, kids? You need to be diligent about everything, when making an arcade port, is one thing. Hopefully make it even better in any respect, if possible. The C64 version is not the nicest to look at, but it's fast and smooth, and it has the right atmosphere along with a unique cheapness about it that makes it even funnier than the original, if you have the specific sort of acquired taste. The FAMICOM version has its own pros and cons, but it's as close to the original as you could ever wish for, apart from one rather massive playability problem. In the case of the 16-bits (mostly the ST, since it was the only official 16-bit conversion and the pixel-perfect AMIGA conversion followed a few  decades later), having a lazy graphician does a lot of harm for the lasting appeal of this kind of a game. As for the other two 8-bits, I'm sure they could've done a better job with today's knowledge, but there's just too many problems with the CPC and SPECTRUM versions to be considered enjoyable. So, the final results, while being as mathematical as usual, are surprisingly close to the truth:

1. ARCADE: Playability 7, Graphics 6, Sounds 3 = TOTAL 16
2. COMMODORE 64: Playability 6, Graphics 4, Sounds 5 = TOTAL 15
3. NINTENDO FAMICOM: Playability 4, Graphics 5, Sounds 4 = TOTAL 13
4. ATARI ST: Playability 5, Graphics 2, Sounds 4 = TOTAL 11
5. COMMODORE AMIGA: Playability 3, Graphics 2, Sounds 3 = TOTAL 8
6. SINCLAIR ZX SPECTRUM: Playability 2, Graphics 3, Sounds 1 = TOTAL 6
7. AMSTRAD CPC: Playability 1, Graphics 1, Sounds 2 = TOTAL 4

And of course, here's the comparison video, courtesy of Gaming History Source, as promised:

Metro-Cross was also in the works for Atari 400/800 at some point, but the only proof I have come across of is, is a preview video on YouTube from 2013. I have no idea, though, from what year the preview is from, but click on the link to see how it was coming along. 

Screenshots from the Sharp MZ-700 version.

Of course, then there's the notoriously rare and hard to come by SHARP MZ-700 version, which
looks like its graphics are made entirely in ASCII or equivalent. I have to say, I'm properly
intrigued to see how it actually plays, when it looks like that, but I'm guessing the day
for getting to actually experience that is far away still. For now, all we can do is marvel
at the game on YouTube.

Screenshots from the unreleased sequel, Aero-Cross.

Metro-Cross was supposed to have an official sequel in the form of Aero-Cross for the more
modern platforms, as a part of the Namco Generations series, but it was cancelled in 2012,
which is a bit sad, considering we don't have all that many modernized arcade cult classics.
It would have had a proper multi-player mode, and the gameplay would have had a considerable
update to feature multiple vertical levels, more abilities and tricks. Although it was
cancelled, a XBox360 build of the game was recovered in 2016, and a demo version for the
PlayStation 3 called Aero-Cross Trial was also found in 2020.

This is all I have to say about Metro-Cross at the moment, but if you readers have some more
curious information about Metro-Cross, feel free to drop in a line below in the comments
section. So, until next time, which shouldn't actually be too far away now, since the Finnish
Independence Day is coming up shortly, stay safe and keep on retrogaming!

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