Metal Max Returns (メタルマックスリターンズ) is a post-apocalyptic role-playing game developed by Crea-Tech and published by Data East. It is a remake of the original NES Metal Max, featuring improved graphics and sound, revised areas, references to Metal Max 2 and decreased difficulty. It is the third game in the Metal Max series, and its direct sequel is Metal Saga: Hagane no Kisetsu on the Nintendo DS. It also contains many elements that were later found in Metal Saga: Sajin no Kusari on the PS2.
The game is set an unknown number of years after the end of modern human civilization. The survivors clustered into villages or began to live among the ruins, and those who fought the monsters and robots outside became known as monster hunters. These men and women salvage tanks and tank parts in order to defeat monsters and outlaws and collect bounties on them. Although the previous civilization has been ruined, the environment is not as desolate as many post-apocalyptic settings, with plentiful trees and water.
- The Hunter: The main character, a young man who dreams of becoming a monster hunter.
- The Mechanic: A young man who wants to travel the world and become a great tank mechanic.
- The Soldier: A rough woman who hopes to best her rival, Red Wolf.
- Hunter's Dad: A gruff tank mechanic who disowns his son over his wild and impractical ambitions.
- Red Wolf: A mysterious hunter who drives a bright red tank.
- Mosquito: The first tank that the hunter finds.
- Red Wolf
- White Muu
The gameplay is classic RPG fare: the characters travel from town to town, having random encounters on the way, upgrading items and tanks as they go. The object is to become a well-known and respected hunter by defeating the monsters with bounties on their heads, which can be done in any order the player pleases. There is a surprisingly rich storyline, but as it is not forced on the player it must be actively sought out. A large part of the game is customizing tanks: tank parts can be bought or found, and the parts, as well as the tank itself, can all be modified. The player uses a BS-Controller (BS-Con), a personal computer system, to track data about things such as towns, tanks, bounties and experience points. Combat is turn-based. There are a large number of miscellaneous items, weapons and upgrades, most with unique or uncommon capabilities.