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Introduction & Characters
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Metal Slug 5
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Metal Slug 7

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Metal Slug (3D)
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Metal Slug (メタルスラッグ) - PlayStation 2 (2006)

Japanese PlayStation 2 Cover

Pretty much everyone on the face of the planet, even those who'd never heard of SNK, cringed when the first footage of a 3D Metal Slug surfaced. It was a sham in principle - SNK had stood for quality 2D action for years, and here it was selling out? Many other long time series had made the jump to the third dimension, with varying results, but this one looked particularly awful. However, SNK proved they were competent with the release of The King of Fighters: Maximum Impact games, so gamers grew hopeful that they wouldn't screw this one up.

As it turns out, it's not as bad as everyone expected - but it's not great either. Simply titled "Metal Slug" (although it's often known as "Metal Slug 3D", "Metal Slug PS2", or "Metal Slug: Evolution"), it was released to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the series.

While there's always been a back story to the Metal Slug games, they've been mostly relegated to quick ingame cinemas or a brief mention in the manual. Here, almost every level is punctuated with a cutscene, telling some nonsense story about General Morden's alliance with an evil corporation called Oguma. The biggest problem with these is that SNK tried to recreate the 2D artwork in 3D, and it just doesn't work. Like Square-Enix's similar attempt with the Romancing SaGa remake for the PS2, the characters are hugely out of proportion, with gigantic heads and tiny bodies, making them look like demented midgets. Despite having been released only in Japan, all of the voice acting is in English, so importers can understand the story, if they really want to bother with it.

Metal Slug

Like the portable games, you only get a life meter and one life, although there are several checkpoints throughout each level. Most of the weapons have an auto lock-on function, although some, like the rocket launcher, need to be aimed manually, which is nearly impossible. The controls actually do a pretty good job in emulating how Metal Slug should control in 3D, but it's too slow-paced and the levels are too big and flat to convey the same sense of action. Additionally, controlling the actual Metal Slug is nearly impossible and basically not worth messing with. There's a lot of unnecessarily customization, which has somehow become an action game tradition since Devil May Cry - each of the four characters has different skills that determine how well their lock-ons work, how well they pilot vehicles or how much life they have. By obtaining S ranks on the levels or gaining points, you can upgrade these stats. Why? Just because, I guess. There's also a ton of ways to customize the Metal Slug, but when it's such a chore to use them, what's the point? There are a few vehicle levels that takes place in a jet or submarine, which play like a 3D rail shooter similar to Panzer Dragoon. They're not fantastic, but they're relatively inoffensive.

Many of the stages should look similar to Metal Slug vets - the calm European towns, the Arabian villages, the pyramids, and the ice stages - but it all looks looks very low budget and drab, a shameful contrast to the beautiful pixelwork of the 2D games. Plus for some reason, it eliminates the linearity of the old games by forcing you into certain areas until you've run around and killed all of the enemies. In fact, the whole game feels like a generic, Simple 2000-type action game with some Metal Slug characters stuck in. It's not an unplayable game but it's all very mediocre - how they justified charging full price for this, I have no clue. Evidently, the SNK execs didn't have much faith in it either, since it never left Japan, despite rumors of being picked up for European release. At least the music is once again awesome, done once again by Tanaka from Metal Slug 4 and 5. The only problem is that it sounds very muted in gameplay, which does a disservice to how excellent it is.

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Metal Slug (PlayStation 2)

Metal Slug (PlayStation 2)

Metal Slug (PlayStation 2)

Metal Slug (PlayStation 2)

Metal Slug (PlayStation 2)


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Metal Slug 1st Mission - Neo Geo Pocket (1999)

American NGP Cover

The Neo Geo Pocket Color may not have lived long, but the quality-to-crap ratio is astoundingly high. It's especially surprising that most of the games for it were downscaled versions of arcade games from a monumentally more powerful system. But SNK handled their properties quite well, resulting in quality portable versions of King of Fighters, Samurai Shodown, Last Blade and others. They looked and played quite differently, but still managed to be remarkable. Metal Slug also got this same quality treatment - it's structured differently from the arcade installments, but manages tailor the experience to a different audience.

Metal Slug 1st Mission

Obviously, the game doesn't look or sound nearly as good - the backgrounds are okay, but the characters suffer from the NGPC color limit for sprites, which in this case, was mostly done to support compatibility with the original Neo Geo Pocket. The gameplay is pretty much the same, though it's lacking a lot of weapons, and tossing grenades requires that you hit the Option button to switch weapons. You also have a life meter and can sustain multiple hits, but only have one life. There are no bottomless pits, but there are spikes, which are definitely out of place. There are also a lot more auto-scrolling vehicle stages. However, SNK added a ton of replayability by including non-linear levels and branching paths. There are over thirty stages in the game, some of which are maze-like and require a bit of exploration to reach the end or find all of the prisoners. Your performance in one stage can effect which level you visit next. For instance, if you die in a certain level, you can end up next in a prison camp, forced to fight your way out with only a knife. There are other cool scenes too, like parachuting segments. So even though it can't replicate the graphics or even the intense action of the primary Metal Slug games, it provides a unique experience that stands on its own merits.

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Metal Slug 1st Mission (NPC)

Metal Slug 1st Mission (NPC)

Metal Slug 1st Mission (NPC)


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Metal Slug 2nd Mission - Neo Geo Pocket Color (2000)

Japanese NGPC Cover

Metal Slug 2nd Mission takes all of the awesome parts of the first game and improves on all of them. You can play as two characters - a dude named Gimlet, and a gal named Red Eye - each with slightly different levels, and the graphics have improved quite a bit. At the beginning of each stage, you can use your transceiver to call your friends to get info on the upcoming areas. You can also interrogate any of the hostages you've saved, although most just say things like "I'm not talking to a grunt like you!" Harsh. The options screen is set up like the Combat School from the home ports and even features Meg the instructor.

Metal Slug 2nd Mission

The music's about the same, but there are now TONS of voices, including some amazing explosion sound effects. You also toss grenades by just hitting Option instead of switching between weapons - still awkward, but a bit easier. There are tons of new weapons, including the flame thrower and a spread gun. It's the only game out of all of the Metal Slugs where the appearance of your character's gun changes with different weapons. The levels are basically the same in construction but now feature the aliens as the main bad guys. There's also a save feature, which was sorely missing from the first NGPC title. This is an all around outstanding game - flawless victory.

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Metal Slug 2nd Mission (NGPC)

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Metal Slug 2nd Mission (NGPC)


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<<< Prior Page

Next Page >>>

Page 1:
Introduction & Characters
Metal Slug
Metal Slug 2

Page 2:
Metal Slug X
Metal Slug 3
Metal Slug 4

Page 3:
Metal Slug 5
Metal Slug 6
Metal Slug 7

Page 4:
Metal Slug (3D)
Metal Slug: 1st Mission
Metal Slug: 2nd Mission

Page 5:
Metal Slug Advance
Mobile Phone Games

Page 6:
Compilations
Fighting Games
Image Gallery

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