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Metal Slug (Arcade) artwork

Metal Slug (Arcade) review


" In the 2020's, terrorism is a bitch. Within the army, a frothing rebel front amasses due to inaccuracies in the regular army's intelligence reports. Circa '96 this branch of the army is lead under the supervision of one General Morden, fighting off patriots with an ultimate aim to assassinate the President of the United States. Falling short on the attempted assassination, the rebel army turned their sights upon attacking the regular army soldiers in an intense civil war. The 1st and 2nd Lueite..."



In the 2020's, terrorism is a bitch. Within the army, a frothing rebel front amasses due to inaccuracies in the regular army's intelligence reports. Circa '96 this branch of the army is lead under the supervision of one General Morden, fighting off patriots with an ultimate aim to assassinate the President of the United States. Falling short on the attempted assassination, the rebel army turned their sights upon attacking the regular army soldiers in an intense civil war. The 1st and 2nd Lueitenants of the regular army's Peregrine Falcons division, Marco Rossi and Tarma Roving, decide to re-initate a superweapon in the form of Super Vehicle-001.

Super Vehicle-001 provides either Marco or Tarma with defensive capabilities and a shot radius which spreads in any direction, depending on how the player situates their joystick. The weapon attached to the Super Vehicle-001 turns slowly, yet packs a more powerful punch than the standard pistol while giving the player a vehicle (pardon the pun), for mowing down the inevitable waves of armed soldiers they will confront on the battlefield.

Despite being a 2D game classified in the "run and gun" genre, there are different layers and platforms which allow for depth and maneuvering under persistent strings of fire. The player can jump upon platforms and follow different paths to their destination. Happening upon a large number of hippy-like prisoners throughout the adventure, the player will be thanked for their rescue and sometimes the rescued prisoners will shell out ammunition for more efficent, ranged, persistent, or effective firearms ranging from shotguns to rockets. The array of bullets supplemented by an immense amount of blood is vibrantly detailed in colours which differentiate such details from sometimes plain but always intriguing looking backgrounds.

The level design is bold and usually hilarious. You'll find situational characters, whom partake in activities which relate to the level's hand-drawn backgrounds, reacting with surprise as you unleash a round of bullets into their skull. The reactions they relay are what give Metal Slug such a distinctive personality all of its own. You'll approach some enemies as they are using the bathroom, while others will be cooking fish over an open fire, which only makes them seem all the more human when you either fire off a round at them, or if you're close enough, puncture their neck with a knife and watch the blood spill outwards from the wound as they fall into a heap of waste and green militant clothing.

Mostly everything in the game is destructible. Ridges corrode upon absorbing a few shots and with the crumbling landfall, comes a tank, which explodes on collision with the ground, as another tank rolls up, sitting behind the fallen dent in the rock formation. This means that village homes with outer ledges can be destroyed to reveal certain power-ups, weapon pick-ups, and in some cases, more enemies. Enemies can also parachute from the sky, shooting aimlessly torwards you, until they either land, or float on downward. When shot directly, everything your character comes into contact with can either be shot, shot through, interacted with, etc. Aside from the short allotted times in which you can utilize the Super Vehicle-001, you can really only shoot left, right, and up, while standing. There is also the ability to jump, shooting downwards, or to run while gunning for the sky. Or you can duck down and evade high enemy shots and rockets which are usually set for patterns in their courses.

Metal Slug packs a lot of punch in it's detail and realism. It would've been too easy to opt out of featuring grisly patriots succumbing to the violent temptation of bloodying their knife on the throat of a former comrade, but SNK succeeds in relaying just the right entertaining atmosphere, so that you'll feel downright jovial after just blowing a shotgun shell through a crowd of blood-thirsty regular soldiers in a momentum-packed cloud of smoke. A must-play for any fan of the long-standing champion and innovator of the Run and Gun series, Contra. Metal Slug is a clutch game for both the casual and the hardcore, and it makes use of a foothold, suspending it in line with the competition, ready to strike.

Rating: 9/10

Calvin's avatar
Community review by Calvin (July 04, 2007)

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