The year was 1988. Or 198X in video game terms. A boy named Jason was innocently playing with his frog. When disaster struck!

No, the disaster wasn't a giant starting screen.

*Tap Tap* "Haha! Stupid frog, guess what we did in science class today? MWAHAHA!"
Jason loves Fred.

"No! Why didn't I put a top on his cage?!"
Fred hops to freedom.

"That radioactive box that my dad got at the Farmer's Black Market will stop him!"
Fred hopps into a box of radioactivity... Every farm in 198X had one...

"What? Fred is evolving? And getting cancer?"
Fred miracululously grows.

"I don't remember having a giant hole in my backyard..."
Fred jumps down a conviniently placed hole.

"Why don't I just jump down after him? It will only hurt for a second..."
Jason follows. Being a farmboy, he doesn't have to know of the unbelievable pain of falling into the center of the Earth...

"Hey, look! A tank! Just the thing I need to help my battered body..."
Jason finds a tank.

"I'll just put on this jumpsuit and drive this tank! It shouldn't be too hard. Or illegal..."
Jason finds a suit of futuristic armor and puts it on, why not?

The story is older than time itself...

The tank that Jason gets to ride in is called S.O.P.H.I.A. the 3rd. Don't ask me what it stands for. In the japanese version, SOPHIA was made from a special alloy metal called 'Sophianium'. As you play along in the game, you get several upgrades for your Tank. Including more powerful weapons, the ability to hover/fly, and the ability to drive up walls and cielings!
The gameplay is a basic sidescroller with some fun and innovative variations.
Both a side view...

Health Meter: When this goes to nothing... chika-cha-KABOOM!
Hover Meter: How much fuel you have in your hover drive.
Tank: SOPHIA the 3rd. A mysterious tank with great gas milage.
Scenery: Pretty to look at. Oooo.
Bushes: See scenery.
Psycho Weeds: Weeds at the bottom of level 1 that inflict mad damage, yo...

And an overhead view...

Health: When this reaches nothing, Jason spins while making a funny sound and collapses.
GUN: Upgrades Jason's gun. From a dinky ol' peashooter, to a submachinegun with go-through-walls action!
Bad Guy: Jason's enemy. The underworld he's in is filled with them.
Balls of Evil: The most common weapon in the underworld.

The game was produced by Sunsoft under the name MetaFight. It was originally an arcade game, but then Nintendo reps realized that one could play for hours on one quarter. And thus, the score function was taken out.

When being americanized, the game underwent some drastic changes. Namely, change the storyline and make it all cool looking. And adding a crappy storyline.
But the game itself has many exciting parts. Like these...

The game itself is interesting for the fact that you had to actually backtrack to previous levels to continue on in the game. It's like Metroid in a tank! Only harder, because there isn't any save feature, and you think that it has unlimited continues until, SURPRISE!!! It doesn't.

I've loved this game ever since my brother brought it home from the pawn shop... I still love it.