Platforms: Windows 2000
Release Date: March 1, 2004
N/A (would most likely be "E")
The download site appears to be down for now. My recommendation is to go to the Underdogs abandonware/freeware site (the-underdogs.org), or Google for "n metanet"; most listings simply link back to the creators' site, but you should be able to find a mirror.
is a freeware platform game made in Macromedia Flash
. In it, you take on the role of a stick figure
member of a pacifistic ninjitsu
clan (a contradiction in terms, but anyway). You must harness the power of N to escape numerous mazes using your elite ninja
running and jumping skills for... some reason. Oh, and there are weird robot
things trying to kill you. You know, because that's what robots do.
Hey, John Carmack
said the story in a game (or at least, a game of this type) is like the story in a porno
. You expect it to be there, but it's really not that important. That idea worked for DooM
, it worked for Sonic the Hedgehog
, and it works for N
. When you're jumping around trying to avoid laser
beams and mine
s and such, you're not really going to be thinking about the why of it, you're going to be thinking, "HOOOOLLLY SHIIIIIT that was close!". Or something.
's gameplay is fairly simple. You start an episode with 90 seconds of life; each episode consists of five levels. You can collect gold
pieces for an extra two seconds each. Your objective in each level is to activate a control panel
to open the doors leading out of it, and then reach them to proceed to the next level, all without getting killed. You may also have to activate certain switches to remove barriers from your path. You can move your ninja left or right, or into the air; you can also jump up or slide down vertical walls. Falling too far, or being hit by an enemy or its weapons, is automatic death.
Several enemies bent (for some reason) on your destruction will... try to destroy you. Yeah.
There's the gravity-defying mines, but they don't actively seek you out. They just sit there, contemplating what it's like to be a bat. I mean, a mine.
"Thwumps" are, presumably, named after the sound they make when crushing ninjas. Only one side of a Thwump is actually dangerous, but if you're holding on or standing on one of the other ends when it approaches a wall, consider yourself street pizza.
Floorchasers... chase you across the floor. Hence the name. Actually, once they sense you, they'll just keep moving in that direction until they hit an obstacle, so they're pretty easy to avoid in most situations.
Regular Zap Drones float around in set patterns looking for ninjas to electrocute. The upgraded ones (with little antennae sticking out of them) will look in several directions at certain intervals, changing course and accelerating to intercept you. They're still not very bright, though.
Gauss Turrets employ a powerful railgun that can blow apart your head in a second flat, a la Quake 2. The only factors that give you a fighting chance of escaping from these things are that (1) Your keen ninja senses allow you to see its target crosshairs, (2) their targeting equipment is slow and outdated, and (3) they're stationary. It and the other turrets and drones will not fire on you unless you're within their line of sight.
Homing Turrets fire amazingly accurate heat-seeking missiles. Apparently all the robots use cold fusion and superconductive circuitry, because the missiles always go after you. They detonate upon hitting either you or a wall.
Laser Drones are slow-moving, and their weapon takes a little while to charge, but when it does it's deadly and long-lasting (the laser beam remains for about five seconds). Two or more of these in the same area make up what is almost guaranteed to be a death trap.
Chaingun Drones possess a machine gun which (thankfully) take a second or two to rev up. In addition, they aren't entirely accurate, so it's possible to move fast enough to avoid their fire.
While I find N to be a fun little game, there are a few things that annoy me a little about it. The graphics, while admittedly not terribly important for this type of game, could have been done a little better. Frankly, they reminded me very much of those used by MegaZeux (an old MS-DOS cult classic, whose graphics consisted of ASCII characters that were edited using a BIOS interrupt). Secondly, there are little quirks of gameplay that make the game less enjoyable than it could be. Weapons fire entirely too quickly from one attack to the next, giving the player mere milliseconds to move before an enemy targets them again. The Homing Turret's missiles in particular are way too accurate, but that wouldn't be so frustrating were it not for the fact that a new missile will fire almost immediately after one blows up. Finally, I have to express my irritation at the "trap doors", activated by switches which are invisible until touched. These usually force you to start the level over again, and there's no way to knowingly avoid them unless you've accidentally triggered them before.
That said, with 60 included episodes of five levels each, a built-in editor, and online score statistics available, N is a pretty great little diversion that costs you nothing but your time. And now I'm going to stop typing before I start sounding like Gene Shallit. Toodles.
1: As of this writing, there is no Linux version available for download; however, one is being worked on.