Metal Slug Review
Released in 1996 by Nazca Corporation, Metal Slug is a run and gun shooter originally released as an arcade game and then for the Neo-Geo Console. The game has seen numerous ports on just about every major gaming platform and recently was re-released yet again by SNK for PSN with some slight tweaks and new features, including multiplayer. It is setup as a mostly untouched version of the original for old time fans and those who never had a chance to experience this classic.
So, to get to the basics of what Metal Slug is for those uninitiated: we have already established that it is a run and gun shooter, there are plenty of those, and Metal Slug was by no means the first one. It had a certain charm and unoffensive cartoon violence that was detailed and easy to look at. The amount of explosions and other animated effects happening on screen never overwhelmed the player like a lot of games in this genre tend to do. It struck a good balance between being overwhelming and just keeping you alert. You certainly need to be alert and have fast reflexes for Metal Slug.
Getting hit, even once, means your character automatically dies. The only exception to the rule is while you are in a tank which has a health bar. This sort of difficulty might be off-putting to the newer generation of gamers who are used to their regenerating health and having a lot of it. However, in the case of Metal Slug it works in its favor as it brings a nice amount of tension to the game, encouraging the player to react quickly and try to think out what they are going to do in advance, which can be challenging. You should be made aware that although there is a 4 credit limit, you have an option to emulate the Neo Geo Memory Card which will get you around it.
As with other Neo Geo Station releases, Metal Slug has online multiplayer, but it doesn’t work well at all. The lag makes the game unplayable, and in my experience it never let up, not even once. Hopefully SNK fixes this, but for now if you decide to take the plunge expect a non-working multiplayer experience. Given the fact that fans have been playing this game over the Internet with their friends for years now using an emulator called MAME on their PCs, it is sort of expected from SNK that they provide online functionality. I appreciate that they tried, but they didn’t make sure it actually works. That leaves the game with an important and broken feature, which is not good.
Do you still want to buy it? It will depend on the type of gamer you are. If you have a love for these classic Neo Geo games it is a no brainer, just bring a few friends over and have a good time. If you’ve never played the classic Metal Slug games before you might want to think about the type of games you like. If you are a fan of the run and gun genre, Metal Slug is still a good choice and I hope SNK brings the sequels to PSN. So long as they can fix the online multiplayer they should be good. Otherwise, give the game a pass. It’s a good game that manages to not feel dated, but broken multiplayer and a steep price compared to other ported classics makes this a tough sell. If you can overlook Metal Slug’s one technical flaw, and if the $9 (or $7.19 for PlayStation Plus subscribers) is not a problem for you, then you’ll get enjoyment out of this classic action arcade game from 1996.