Ads are gone. We're using Patreon to raise funds so we can grow. Please pledge support today!
Google+   Facebook button  Twitter button 
3DS | DS | PS3 | PS4 | PSP | VITA | WII | WIIU | X360 | XB1 | All
Metal Slug 4 (Arcade) artwork

Metal Slug 4 (Arcade) review


"Lots of words come to mind when I think about SNK's Metal Slug games, and one of the very last is “competent”. Riding an elephant, turning into a zombie—I didn't love this shit because of how well it complemented the gameplay. I loved it because it was fucking insane. An elephant eating chili and incinerating the enemy army with his breath would be the highlight of any other game, but in just one level of Metal Slug 3 it's a distant second to seeing your undead hero melt the flesh off their bone..."



Lots of words come to mind when I think about SNK's Metal Slug games, and one of the very last is “competent”. Riding an elephant, turning into a zombie--I didn't love this shit because of how well it complemented the gameplay. I loved it because it was fucking insane. An elephant eating chili and incinerating the enemy army with his breath would be the highlight of any other game, but in just one level of Metal Slug 3 it's a distant second to seeing your undead hero melt the flesh off their bones with a stream of bloody vomit.

The nicest thing I can say about Metal Slug 4 is that it's, well, competent. It's challanging without being unforgiving, it's balanced well enough to not be a quarter muncher, but honestly, who fucking cares? None of that's what this series is about. Metal Slug games are amusement parks, each one packed with so many new rides and thrills that by the third one SNK had to put in alternate paths and an hour-long final mission just to cram it all in. Metal Slug 4: The Contra Clone is irrelevant--how's Metal Slug 4: The Circus Experience?

Not good, it pains me to say. Anybody who thought this would top number three after SNK's messy bankruptcy was deluding themselves, but Metal Slug 4 misses the point so entirely that it's a huge letdown even if your expectations aren't exactly through the roof. There are no surprises, no thrills, and the only quirks will be familiar to even the most casual fan. Even at their best, its six soulless stages are Frankenstein's monsters of sights you've already seen and jokes you've already heard. In a series that prides itself on novelty, it's a game you've already played.

Evil General Morden's finest drop their smug victory looks and scream when you pop in another quarter and come back to life, huh? It's great attention to detail, but when it's the coolest thing going for the fourth game to have it, something is wrong. Raging hulk Sgt. Allen makes yet another appearance, spraying machinegun fire and mocking you by yelling “go home to mommy”... just like he did in all the other games. Except this time, he's secretly a robot. Fantastic.

The most infamous, most perfect example is that part of one level is quite literally stolen from the original Metal Slug, pixel for pixel. The analogy writes itself: the developers took a snapshot of the series' former glory and just slapped it into their creation, no, their production. Envy those who can enjoy this, since anybody with a single cynical bone in their body couldn't possibly feel anything but ennui.

Metal Slug 4 is so stuck in its predecessors' shadows that I don't even understand why Playmore bothered, and I don't mean that in the usual condescending bash review way. I fear for the sanity of anybody who thought that arcade operators would snatch up Metal Slug 4 cabinets in volume, expecting people to drop quarters into a sloppy imitation when the real thing is sitting there on attract mode three feet away. At a certain point, you just have to write off your sunk costs and start over.

I won't give dev team Mega the dignity of calling their game bad, because you'd have to try to end up with a bad Metal Slug game. Beyond the insanity that every amateur reviewer on the internet harps on and on about, the core mechanics were always solid, and it would take more thought and effort than Mega could muster (however misguided it might have been) to change that. Don't believe the hype: Metal Slug 4 is not a bad game.

It's competent, and when it comes to the typically fresh, exciting, and surprising Metal Slug series, I can't think of a more damning word.

Rating: 4/10

mardraum's avatar
Community review by mardraum (July 16, 2009)

A bio for this contributor is currently unavailable, but check back soon to see if that changes. If you are the author of this review, you can update your bio from the Settings page.

More Reviews by mardraum
Doom (PlayStation) artwork
Doom (PlayStation)

Doom has evolved into its very own software platform, and because of that, all of its straightforward console versions would be useless even if most of them weren't wretched. Most of iD's original maps are great, sure, but I'd have stopped playing years ago if that's all there was. It only takes one or two trips throug...
Castlevania: Circle of the Moon (Game Boy Advance) artwork
Castlevania: Circle of the Moon (Game Boy Advance)

It's no secret that Castlevania: Symphony of the Night was absurdly easy, but I've always found a certain beauty in that. While I wouldn't want every game to be like it, there's something satisfying about seeing enormous boss monsters strut their stuff and then slaughtering them before they have the chance to pull off ...
Scythe (PC) artwork
Scythe (PC)

Almost every Doom II mod out there, good or bad, takes the same approach: endless sprawl, insane enemy counts, and the subtlety of whichever metaphor cliché you prefer. I'll go with a sledgehammer. Play one and it's fresh, play two and it's still exciting. Once you've barreled through enough of them, though, you come d...

Feedback

If you enjoyed this Metal Slug 4 review, you're encouraged to discuss it with the author and with other members of the site's community. If you don't already have an HonestGamers account, you can sign up for one in a snap. Thank you for reading!

You must be signed into an HonestGamers user account to leave feedback on this review.

Info | Help | Privacy Policy | Contact | Links

eXTReMe Tracker
© 1998-2014 HonestGamers
None of the material contained within this site may be reproduced in any conceivable fashion without permission from the author(s) of said material. This site is not sponsored or endorsed by Nintendo, Sega, Sony, Microsoft, or any other such party. Metal Slug 4 is a registered trademark of its copyright holder. This site makes no claim to Metal Slug 4, its characters, screenshots, artwork, music, or any intellectual property contained within. Opinions expressed on this site do not necessarily represent the opinion of site staff or sponsors. Staff and freelance reviews are typically written based on time spent with a retail review copy or review key for the game that is provided by its publisher.