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Metal Slug XX (Xbox 360) artwork

Metal Slug XX (Xbox 360) review


"After completion of Metal Slug XX for the first time, I made a passing comment, in an extremely popular and thought-provoking blog, that it was at least better than Metal Slug 6. I must have been on something that day, because MS6 is mostly a competent game with some flaws; it features backdrops in several locations, like the African countryside, a city under siege by invaders, and a battered bridge, as well as a variety of new foes, both human and alien, to go up against. Also, each of t..."



After completion of Metal Slug XX for the first time, I made a passing comment, in an extremely popular and thought-provoking blog, that it was at least better than Metal Slug 6. I must have been on something that day, because MS6 is mostly a competent game with some flaws; it features backdrops in several locations, like the African countryside, a city under siege by invaders, and a battered bridge, as well as a variety of new foes, both human and alien, to go up against. Also, each of the selectable characters are given different traits that affect combat: Fio always receives a machine gun after losing a life or when starting a new mission, and Ralf, of Ikari Warriors fame, has two hits before dying. The only serious issue with MS6 is that its boss battles have horrible pacing, thanks to the developers insistence on giving them too many hit points. This meant boss fights came off cool at first, only to turn into repetitive messes that overstayed their welcome.

When I completed MS6 and then went back to Metal Slug XX for another go, I realized that it was almost the exact opposite of its predecessor. Basically everything about the game made it the most unoriginal release since Metal Slug 4, and that's not even a fair comparison... for MS4. Things immediately start off on a bad note, as you dive into the most unexciting first mission that has graced the main series. You parachute into a junk yard, guarded (??) by a ragtag group of soldiers and tanks that could be taken out with ease. Nothing cool or special happens, like in MS1's first mission where you assault a river fort with soldiers scrambling, scuba divers popping out of the water, and bamboo huts going explody, or in MS3's where you take on an army of mutant crabs, giant, flying insects, soldiers swinging on vines, and piranhas with wings. The following mission locations aren't much better as you travel through two underground mining stages, back to back, and just when it couldn't get lazier, the final stage is... another junk yard.

The lack of imagination doesn't end there, as you'll soon notice you'll be pitted mainly against Morden's Army, or at least it'll be like that for most players. If you stick to the regular path, you'll usually just see soldier after soldier, with brief, brief appearances by two past foes: the mutated Venus Flytraps during mission 4, and the flying saucers in a small segment of mission 5. That's it. The rest are tossed in the secret hidden paths that are tough to locate. What's up with that? It's almost like SNK was ashamed of the diverse cast, so they hid them. The paths probably would have been oblivious to all if it wasn't for the achievement telling you to find every one, too. And the only way to find them is by either doing something stupid like committing suicide every time there's a pit, or just look at a FAQ. Also, the only new rivals featured in this release are future soldiers wearing stupid helmets, Dig Dug heat-seeking drills that appear for a second, robotic Pac-Men with a long knife reach that are introduced at the very end, and all the bosses. Where did all the love go? You felt it in the Nazca era, because you could see the hard work they put into the characters, animations, and backgrounds. Even in the later Slugs, you could still sense some actual effort was involved. Metal Slug XX? Metal Slug XX feels like it came out of an assembly line too early.

The play mechanics are trademark Metal Slug, though, as you'll constantly be fighting an onslaught of soldiers appearing on-screen, on foot, in tanks, helicopters, and parachutes. It's also nice that the boss battles don't drag on like they did in MS6, I would have thrown a fit if I had to endure that for another game. There's a Combat School mode and online play featured, as well. The Combat School mode isn't really that thrilling, however, since it just ask you to perform certain conditions in the game's main missions, so it acts as a distraction at best. The online multiplayer could have been fun, too, but no one is barely on. All the times I've tried to do online co-op, not one person was on to play with. Disappointing. Despite that, and despite everything else wrong with Metal Slug XX, you can still dive into the intense action (which heats up after the first mission) and get some sort of enjoyment. But that begs the question: why this when you could just play a previous Metal Slug title that does everything much better, specifically, Metal Slug 3, which is also available on Arcade? If this is what we're going to expect from upcoming Metal Slugs in place of legit improvements (c'mon, it's time for a graphical upgrade!), then the series' future looks really bleak.

Rating: 5/10

pickhut's avatar
Community review by pickhut (June 17, 2010)

After reviews about Gradius, Salamander, Parodius, and Otomedius games, PickHut attempted a Scramble review. The idea never materialized into writing...

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