|Release Date:||: February 25, 2000|
|Genre:||Action-adventure, role-playing game|
|Game Modes:||Single Player, Multi player|
|Platform(s):||Game Boy Color|
Metamode (メタモード) is an action-adventure game that is one of the few Koei titles made for the Game Boy Color. Its style and narrative is targeted towards younger audiences as a majority of the game's script is written in hiragana with simple to understand Japanese phrases. While it is a stand alone title, it shares the friendly monster theme found in Koei's other titles made to appeal to children, the Monster Race series and Garakutale.
The game plays like the 2D titles found in Nintendo's The Legend of Zelda series with a few RPG twists.
The setting takes place in a fantasy world in which monsters and humans coexist with one another. Monsters actually like humans but, when they try to become friendly with them, they may accidentally demonstrate too much strength and cause harm to people. One day, a group of villagers in Dodge Village had enough of the physical harm they were experiencing and complained to the village elder to exterminate them. As the elder hesitated, a father sought an alternate solution and asked the elder to wait a week. His answer to the problem became the Metamode, an anthropomorphic robot that allows people to subdue but not kill their monster friends. The robot grants shape-shifting powers and abilities to its user to better defend themselves against danger. With a group of volunteers, the village created a group of Metamode users who first called themselves Security Guard.
The Security Guard's success and popularity skyrocketed. As time passes, the Security Guard established its peace keeping organization throughout the world and instead called themselves Kools. Kools are revered by young and old alike as reliable superheroes. The protagonist, a young child who is wants to become a Kools, is taken to his/her village's Kools facility by his/her cousin, Knack. During his/her first hours of being a Kools, he/she overhears a disgruntled Kools named Bob. Bob is tired of being second best to the Kools superstar, Knack, and seeks to have the world realize his greatness by sabotaging Kools' operations. Realizing the protagonist overheard him, Bob tries to silence him/her. Knack rescues him/her and teleports the child faraway from home. As a just Kools, the protagonist proceeds on a long journey back home to rescue needing townsfolk and stop Bob's take over.
The world is presented to players from an overhead perspective and people are depicted as miniatures. Moving to the ends of the screen reveals more of the world to players, not unlike turning a page in a book. Diagonal movements for the players' characters are allowed but each screen otherwise moves in the four cardinal directions. If two players are playing at once, the screen moves when both players exit an area together. Players can choose to play as either a male or female protagonist for their game, although only a single character can be kept at a time for each player.
Combat is mainly done by using the A or B buttons. Special commands can be inputted by holding the A and B buttons or by tapping a direction and holding an action button. Each special command can be accessed on three different levels, Small, Medium, or Large. The time needed for each level is determined by how long the player holds down on the action button. A flashing S, M, or L icon next to a character determines which level they are currently charging. The bars in the lower right corner of the screen list the player's health (yellow) and special bar (blue), the latter of which is needed to perform special abilities.
The Menu lists the player's stats and can be accessed by pressing the Start button. Players can save at any time and can also use the menu screen to connect two players together in a single game. An Album option within the Menu lets players review their collected monsters, appearances, and skills and may help determine how much of the game they have completed.
Metamode features a job class system with a total of 90 transformable appearances (すがた, sugata). Their appearances and their naming motifs change depending on the gender the player has chosen. Players can change between these forms at any time by selecting the Transform (へんしん, henshin) option within the game's Menu screen. These appearances uniquely change the protagonists' weaponry, equipment, and capabilities.
Within each appearance is a set of skills that can be learned with an accumulated amount of points. These points can be earned by defeating various monsters seen in the world. Beaten monsters excluding bosses regenerate as players exit and enter a screen, so monsters are in ample supply.
Learned skills can help players in various ways such as:
- increasing efficiency of form's special skill set
- keeping equipment whilst in any form
- increasing the strengths of player (i.e. speed, strength, defense) or earned experience
- various special terrain effects (i.e. walking across water)
- regenerating the health or special ability bars
Players can change their skills by selecting Set (セット) in the Menu screen. Four different abilities can be set based on the players' action commands. These four command actions can be seen at the bottom of the screen during the exploration section of the game. Players can change their S, M, or L abilities depending on the skill set they have equipped. Additionally, supplementary skills can be equipped in the Plus section.
As players gradually learn skills, another transformation may be unlocked for their usage. When players have mastered an appearance, it would be in their best interest to quickly visit a brightly colored Metamode Center found in towns. The shopkeeper can appraise the players' Metamode and unlock more appearances for the player. Transforming aesthetically changes the protagonists' figure, both in the menu screen and their sprite. In rare occasions, a specific appearance can unlock side quests for players.
Each town offers the following buildings:
- Shop - a single building that offers four different needs for players. Store owners are located in the same spots in each town:
- Town Warp - right center counter close to entrance. Lets players instantly warp to a town they have already traveled. Anpo Town -starting point- is locked until the protagonists make the journey back by foot.
- Equipment - found in the upper right hand counter. Offers weapons, armor, and accessories.
- Items - found in the upper left hand counter. Offers recovery items or temporary effect items.
- Bank - left center counter close to entrance. Stores submitted items and gold players may want to keep.
- Metamode Center - unlocks other transformations if players have mastered enough skills and appearances. The storekeep can also advise the player on what else needs to be learned in order to transform into another potential appearance.
- Mix - mixes together ingredients players may find throughout the game. Once two ingredients are selected, it will perform a roulette sequence for the product's outcome. Whatever it lands on is what players will receive. The right combinations can unlock the best weaponry or armor in the game.
Throughout the world, there is an elderly woman who would like to hear the player's story. If the player has built their character's appearances and tells her their story, she will reward them with a monetary reward as thanks. This is the only way to earn money needed to buy items or equipment in the Shop.
Players aren't granted an Inn or similar resting spot to instantly regenerate their lost health. Instead, players need to rely on items early in the game for restoration. In select places of the world, however, players can talk to a specific man whose job is to completely restore travelers for free. He is often seen in dungeons or in the world map with a yes or no option.
Dungeons in the game revolve around puzzles in order to open barred entryways. Players can solve these by flipping levers or by walking on top of circular switches found on the floor. Monsters may need to be completely beaten as an alternative to unlocking doorways. Select skills learned from the players' appearances may play a part in progressing further, which may be revealed to players by talking to nearby townsfolk, Kools members, or travelers. Some treasure rooms require two players to play at once in order to solve but they are otherwise optional to solving dungeons. A boss awaits to challenge players who reach the end, awarding players with rare treasure and a convenient exit if they are defeated.
After the story has been completed once, players can continue from their saved game to unlock further side quests or appearances. Shops will change their goods to appeal to the advanced job classes.
- Eddy (male) or Ami (female)
- The default names for the protagonists (names can be changed). A particular name may increase their character's starting parameters slightly, but they cannot name themselves Knack or Bob. He/She is a child who lived in peace with his/her parents in his/her hometown, Anpo Town. With the help of his/her cousin, Knack, the protagonist is quickly enlisted to become a Kools. While still new to using a Metamode, he/she eventually becomes the only Kools with the power to stop Bob's plans.
- Number one ace in Kools known throughout the world, Knack lives in the same neighborhood as the protagonists. A respectable and good hearted man, he helps supports his cousin's first steps in Kools by offering to them time to rest during training. After he takes the hit meant for the protagonist, Knack is knocked out and brainwashed to act under Bob's bidding during the latter parts of the game.
- Current captain of Kools, Yang appears in the beginning acts of the game. He congratulate the protagonist for passing the entrance exams and dons them their Kools ranking. A kind and compassionate leader who respects the wishes of the organization's founders, he truly believes that the Kools' powers should only be used to alleviate stress and worry for the townsfolk.
- Second in command of Kools, Bob feels Yang's ideologies are outdated and petty. Tired of being pushed aside and jealous of Knack's popularity, he wants to overthrow Kools to become the superior Metamode master. His plan is to ruin Kools begins with him brainwashing Knack to serve under him. He then orders his lackeys to disrupt Kools' operations with one of their own tricks in order to make them appear inept to the townsfolk. Bob and his men will then come to the "rescue". Midway through the game, Bob's plan takes effect about midway through the story and he calls his self founded and callous organization Bobbies.
A color page advertisement was released in various children magazines such as CoroCoro Comic or Shōgakkan Sanenensei. The advertisement included an introduction comic on how to play the game.
- The Mix shop is fashioned to be like the Mix shop in the Monster Race series. Both shops play mellow Jamaican music and feature storekeepers that speak joyful English phrases.