Metal Dungeon is a dungeon-crawling game originally developed in Japan by Panther Software. As an RPG more in the vein of Grandia Xtreme than Final Fantasy, it stands out from the traditional console RPGs and should be a welcome change. Regrettably, its lack of content and lackluster design take away much more than its relatively unique mechanics add. Overall, it's an experience that redefines the word "bland."
You control a team of up to five mercenaries, whom you can create using a console rarity--a character generation system.
The premise of the game involves simply clearing out the titular dungeon. The regions of the futuristic world of Alansas have been at war for a long time, and the most powerful weapons are "weapon monsters," a mishmash of cybernetic beasts and humanoids. The Giamel region, fighting a losing battle, makes a last-ditch effort to create weapon monsters by capturing powerful sorcerers. The sorcerers are put into a trance deep within an underground facility, and production begins. However, the scientists aren't able to control the sorcerers and soon the monsters have taken over the facility. If the sorcerers manage to recover fully from their trances, the weapon monsters will break out uncontrolled, and it will be the end of Giamel. As all of Giamel's forces are engaged in battle, mercenaries are called on to enter the facility and destroy the sorcerers.
You control a team of up to five mercenaries, whom you can create using a console rarity--a character generation system. However, what could have been a breath of fresh air turns out to be a little thin on oxygen. With five classes, and the ability to further advance into five more, there are plenty of character types, but apart from some differences in the trimming on the different classes' generic full-body armor, all the characters look nearly identical. While some nods are made to customization by allowing the player to select one of 24 heads, choose one of eight colors for armor, and adjust height and weight (weight is represented by a ridiculous-looking compacting or widening of the entire base character model), the only thing that gives the members of your party any sort of identity in game is the weapons they're holding.
Get used to those weapons. There are five types of weapons in the game--swords, hammers, knuckles, rods, and guns--and the more-powerful versions of each weapon look exactly the same as their weaker counterparts. The different guns can eventually have different visual effects when they're fired, but otherwise what you start with is what you finish with. The same goes for armor. In fact, unless you change a character's class, he or she will never be noticeably different in any way other than in stats. With character classes that aren't all that distinguishable to begin with, the static nature of the avatars as the game progresses further dilutes the visual impact of the game.