Friday, July 13, 2007

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Metal Slug Anthology

Product Number: 180
How Much: £14.99
Where can I buy one:

With all this worry over house price inflation and continued interest price rises it’s nice to see something in this world that has depreciated for our benefit. Take the side scrolling shooter ‘Metal Slug’. Up until recently the only way to play the original Metal Slug was to import a Sega Saturn version from Japan for $60 and then buy the import machine to play it on. Meanwhile Metal Slug X, 3, 4 and 5 could be grabbed for 20 quid each on Xbox, PS2 or PS1 and the all time rarity Metal Slug 2 and newby Metal Slug 6 could only be found in the arcades for a few hundred dollars or more. Thankfully a cheaper solution has emerged and for a mere fifteen pounds you can own all of these mega rare titles in one go. Now that’s progress.

Of course things are a little unfair for those who just want to play the newly released Metal Slug 6 that have already spent serious moolah on the other games in the series, but if you’ve got the cash to burn on Japan only imports then you’ll probably get your moneys worth out of this release as well. Hardcore fans will also love the ability to play Metal Slug 2 which up until now has only been playable in the UK in rejigged form under the guide of ‘Metal Slug X’.

For those new to the series Metal Slug is a classic 2D platformer which gains its name from one of the many vehicles on offer in the game ‘Super Vehicle 001: Metal Slug’. Or in other words a nifty little tank which comes complete with rockets and a machine gun to cause all manner of carnage. Other vehicles include planes, motorbikes and even camels with side mounted machine guns.

This humor forms part of the games impressive charm and it’s this ability to poke fun at other side scrollers which has allowed the game to survive so successfully for the past 10 years. The villains on offer also keep things fun and you’ll face everything from zombies to mummies and aliens whilst also keeping an army of soldiers at bay. It's all fantastically hand drawn to boot and everything from the first pencil sketch of Metal Slug 1 to the final boss of Metal Slug 6 maintains an element of charm mixed with pure bloodlust.

And whilst we’re on the subject of bosses, whilst this may not be the series that invented the screen filling boss it’s certainly the one I remember the most for it. Giant tanks, skips with lasers and runaway trains are just a few more sights you’ll be able to enjoy and with so many great moments it’s no wonder this review is turning in to one big list…

As you can tell this is a series I’m already heavily infatuated with and since the only previous game I’d played in the series was Metal Slug X then this bumper collection is a must have in my book. In terms of problems you should be sure to turn off the infinite continues option that the game has as a default if you want any sense of a challenge (as each bullet glows brightly, death if purely your own fault) or if you want to make the compilation last anything longer than a nostalgic weekend. The rather frustrating loading times on Metal Slug 3 and 4 could also definitely have done with some sort of optimization as you’ll practically enter a room, kill everything and then wait 15 or so seconds for the next to load. Thankfully by the time you reach Metal Slug 6 all will be forgiven thanks to a fantastic return to form and for those left feeling cold by the lack of decent 2D retro titles it’s enough to make this a must have compilation.

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