Re: [gwmg] - New edition Metamorphosis Alpha - any reviews?
- In a message dated 4/30/02 6:07:57 PM !!!First Boot!!!, john.horton@... writes:
Anybody have the new Metamorphosis Alpha yet? I was really looking
forward to it, but the only review I've seen so far was not good:
Sadly, I have to agree with the review. Aside from a few (very few) bits of good stuff mixed in, the new Met Alpha (IMO) was a major letdown. The clunkiness of the original was all there, with none of the original's charm. The idea of playing a campaign in multiple phases (robots vs aliens, then androids vs aliens, then humans vs aliens and mutated critters) isn't bad, but it is clumsily handled.
In the final phase, the only PC options are humans revived from cryogenic sleep. While this is *one* good campaign idea (and was more capably explored in an early issue of DRAGON), it locks out the possibilities of mutant campaigns and tribal / low-tech campaigns (a la "Starship" and other novels covering generation ships whose crews descend into barbarism).
The new premise for the mission is weak as well - if you were sending out a search party to look for lost colony missions, why build a vast worldship to do it when a fleet of smaller exploration vessels would be more effective? Huge ships only make sense as colony vessels, and then generally only in slower-than-light scenarios. While the text mentions that you can create campaigns around other ideas about the Warden (military vessel, exploration vessel, etc), the topic is breezed over and presumably will be examined in a supplement if at all.
Apart from the gaps in content, the presentation was pretty pedestrian. The cover is a computer-created art montage with little relation to the concept of a ship in space (presumably the armored vehicle is facing an alien critter against a huge observation window, but who aside from an original MA fan would infer that?). Aside from that, unless I am sorely mistaken the armored vehicle on the cover is a very slightly modified version of the APC from "Aliens" - not very creative. The interior art is uninspired but serviceable for the most part (I could swear some of the illos were done by Jim Holloway, who did art for TSR in Star Frontiers and D&D products back in the 80's).
I've been a fan of GW since it came out, and for its time the original MA was a gem; even now, the first MA with the DRAGON articles for it thrown in constitute a decent little game. The second MA (Amazing Engine) was disappointing since much was gutted tio make room for Amazing Engine rules, but a decent updating of the original as far as it went. This one, especially since The Man (Jim Ward) was in the creative driver's seat, really got my hopes up. Ah well.. I'll still hold onto my copy rather than returning it (which I would if it were by anyone but Jim) out of respect for the godfather of mutated post-apocalypse gaming : /
PS - As with all reviews, your mileage may vary..
- I picked up the new MA this past weekend and for what it's worth,
here's my 2 cents.
Overall, I didn't think it was such a bad product. I liked the
illustrations both exterior and interior and the interior definitely
reminded me of the illustrations from some of my old Gamma World
I also thought it was a pretty complete as far as rules, basic
creatures, and equipment go, but it certainly left a lot open and
undescribed. I think the intent was to let individual GMs design
their own Starship Warden as they see fit, rather than constrain them
to one design. If you just pick up this book, you should have all
you need to start playing the game (absent pencil, paper, and dice).
I didn't like the "phases" system. It thought that part too
restrictive and didn't see why the it was necessary. Seems that the
a more open-ended structure, like the older versions of MA, would
have been better.
All in all, not a bad product for $15. But it didn't seem as useful
to me for Gamma World, than the Amazing Engine edition. However, Jim
Ward expects to produce more products for MA, so perhaps future books
will be more helpful for my GW campaign.