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Metal Slug Anthology Review

Developer: SNK Playmore Publisher: SNK Playmore
Release Date: December 14, 2006 Also On: None

Metal Slug is a game that looks older than it really is. The franchise is just celebrating its 10th anniversary this year with the release of Metal Slug Anthology on Nintendo’s Wii. The appearance of the game is intentional: a simple look for a simple game. The only accurate definition for simple would be mechanics, and not actual gameplay. This is a tough game to beat on any difficulty setting and with any number of extra players.

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Now that it has been taken out of the arcades, Metal Slug won’t cost you anything. That’s a good thing, as you would probably spend the amount that it costs to buy all seven of these games on continues to beat just one of these in the arcade. SNK Playmore did the smart thing by allowing unlimited continues to players as it gives everyone an opportunity to experience the full greatness of an entire Metal Slug game. If you want a real challenge, there is a setting that allows a limited number of continues.

For those of you saying “Metal wha?”, Metal Slug is a 2D sidescrolling shooter that dates back to 1996 in the arcades. You play as Marco Rossi and Tarma Roving of the Regular Army, a global peacekeeping political force, which is fighting a war with the Rebellion Army. The Regular Army puts into production a special, newly designed tank known as “Metal Slug”. When the Rebels learn of this, they capture the tanks and make use of it themselves. It’s your job as Marco and/or Tarma to bring an end to the war.

If you have ever played a classic 2D shooter like Contra, you have an idea of how Metal Slug plays. You control your character on a 2D plane with the ability to jump and fire forward, backwards, up and down (only when jumping). The screen is filled with a few enemies, and at more hectic times, sometimes upwards of a dozen. All you have to do is defeat your enemies, advance through the level and free prisoners for rewards (optional). Each level has a boss fight unique to the level. There are a total of 5 levels plus one final level.

Metal Slug Anthology comes packed with a number of different Metal Slug games. Included in the collection are Metal Slug, Metal Slug 2, Metal Slug X, Metal Slug 3, Metal Slug 4, Metal Slug 5, and the latest entry in the series just released in 2006, Metal Slug 6. All of these games have a distinct feel to them with a high degree of variety in the level choices, some different weapons, tanks, new and returning playable characters and storylines.

Metal Slug 2 and Metal Slug X are for all intents and purposes the same game. Metal Slug X has minor changes and was considered an upgrade to Metal Slug 2. Some of the graphics are different between the two games, there are a couple more weapons in Metal Slug X, and SNK added a mini-boss in one of the levels. The enemies are slightly different as well, with mummies gaining the ability to spit out locusts, as well as an added enemy character, the dog mummy. Metal Slug 3 does not change things up dramatically, but introduces water levels and a space shooter level.

Metal Slug 4 acts to return the series back to its roots somewhat. SNK added new weapons, such as dual guns. There seems to be a lot more frantic shooting with swarms of enemies and a whole bunch of shooting. The levels include quite a bit of driving parts where you will sit in the back shooting at bad guys while a computer takes the wheel. The Final Mission in Metal Slug 4 is one of the best in Metal Slug history, having you repel into an enemy base.

Metal Slug 5 starts out in a Central American jungle with tribal Indians attacking you. The gameplay quickly moves into pyramid base with futuristic weapons, lots of tanks and mechs. Metal Slug 5 reintroduces the gamer to an underwater level, including an underwater base on-foot. Overall, a solid entry into the franchise. Metal Slug 6 is easily the best looking game in Metal Slug history with very slick hand drawn graphics and high quality sound effects, both redone. The gameplay has changed slightly, with faster firing and the ability to carry two weapons at once. You also can select from 6 characters in this game.

One of the most basic (and important) parts of an arcade experience is the controls. While the graphics remain fully true to the originals, the controls will take some adjustment. Thankfully, SNK employed six different controller settings for you to tinker around with. Most of them aren’t worth even having, but I know how some people prefer awkward control settings. The different control settings are Arcade Configuration (move the Wiimote to move the character), Wii Remote, Tilt Wii Remote, Nunchuk Only and Nunchuk Control Stick (the best of them all).

If you are skeptical of the worthiness of Metal Slug Anthology in your collection of Wii games, just give this a rent at first to try it out. This collection is filled with classic sidescrolling shooters that anyone can enjoy. The gameplay is fun, it’s humorous and it’s challenging. Whether you are a longtime fan of Metal Slug or have never played one before, Metal Slug Anthology is a game that you need to play on your Wii.

Graphics: 7
Sound: 7
Gameplay: 9
Creativity: 8
Replay Value/Game Length: 8.5
Final: 8.2
Written by Kyle Review Guide