I’ve been replaying run and guns, and beat ’em ups a lot recently, and they start to blend into one at some point.
So what does Metal Slug do to start out from a crowded field?
Well, it Super Vehicle-001: Metal Slug is a run and gun, so you run from left to right shooting things, avoiding the things shooting at you. Simple.
Metal Slug looks pretty good, the Neo Geo was fantastic for cartoony sprites, and means everything in Metal Slug still looks nice and defined.
Enemies are humorous, and the locations are fairly interesting. They even manage to make “Ruined City” look interesting, something no Triple A shooter has managed in the last decade.
Oh God it’s hard.
Metal Slug is one of those “one hit and you’re dead” type games. Which makes everything manic as hell, but at the same time fun. It can make things a little unfair, especially on Mission 5 when you get the jumping knife men destroying your soul. But, with a little bit of practice and skill, you’ll be able to beat the game before you run out of continues.
Oh later levels things become a bit tense with a shit-tonne of enemies firing shite at you, but it never feels unfair. You will die, and you’ll die a lot, but there is usually a way out of things, and when you die, it is because you did something wrong. So despite the many cheap deaths, it never feels unfair.
The story is surprisingly more fleshed out than similar games such as MERCS, but like MERCS, can be summed up as:
Evil man takes over an unnamed state, develops a load of super weapons, and wages war. It isn’t smart, and it isn’t clever.
If you complete the game on two player mode, you get a slightly different ending, which sets up Metal Slug two.
Metal Slug is short with only 6 “Missions”, so you’ll be completing it in 30-40 minutes if you try. If you’re good, you are looking at 20 minutes to complete.
Bosses are actually too easy, considering how hard and manic the levels are, the bosses are a little too easy. Personally I would have preferred easier levels, with harder bosses, but, it doesn’t detract too much from the game.
Also, the final boss is a massive let down. Considering how big and awesome the first 5 bosses were, to fight a puny helicopter for the final boss is a bit of a disappointment. It is also the easiest boss. Which, is weird.
Ultimetly, it is the humour that sets Metal Slug stand out from some of it’s peers, Metal Slug is good, it is enjoyable, but it is limited. It doesn’t try to do very much, but thankfully, it is good at what it does do.
I wouldn’t advice you buy the original Neo Geo version as the price isn’t worth it, but with this being on most virtual consoles for less than £10, you should really give it a go.
Pros: fun, difficult to master, but fair saving system means you’ll complete it if you try, the music is hella awesome!
Cons: short, final boss is shit