Retro Saga Part 1: The Metal Slug series

Arcades are awesome! They just bring memories back of going to the arcades at a laser tag place or just going into the bowling alley area of the UT campus here in Austin, Texas with a pocket full of quarters. SNK seems to have had a good hold on the arcades, with games like Fatal Fury and Samurai Shodown. Though those are all good games, my personal favorite has to be the Metal Slug series. Today will be the first new section of my blog called, Retro Saga, where I review old retro games, and just old games overall from Atari to Super Nintendo. The first review of the retro Saga will be of the famous Metal Slug series in the form of Metal Slug Anthology.

Basically, the story isn’t that important, or even shown much in the whole Metal Slug series. You know there are bad guys trying to rule the world, and it’s up to you and about three other people to go out and save the day by hitting everything in front of you. Of course, there is the occasional mad scientist, aliens, and zombies, but it’s mainly you taking down hordes of nazi-like enemies.

The game play is just as classic as other games like Contra or Gunstar Heroes, in the form of a run-and-gun side-scrolling shoot ‘em up. You basically start out with a weak pistol for long-range attacks, and gain upgrades so you can hold stronger guns like the shotgun and rocket launcher. My personal favorite thing I like about Metal Slug is that you are not tied down to just long-range attacks. If you can get up to enemies in their face, you can use a knife that kills them instantly. Through-out the game, you can also save prisoners of war, which are for some reason all guys with long blonde hair and blonde beards that have power-ups in their pants. Yeah, let’s not dig deep into that… you can also use stronger weapons in the form of vehicles. Usually, they are all different within each Metal Slug game, from a tank, a machine gun wielding camel, and a mech suit to name a few. They really help out when it comes to the harder enemies and bosses.

The graphics in the game are amazing. For a side-scrolling franchise, they are much better than what the Genesis and Super Nintendo had to offer. SNK, like Treasure, has a history of making high quality-looking games. The animations of the sprites also are really nice and are fun to watch. The music is fun to listen to. The difficulty is right in the middle. Since this is a run-and-gun game, you will have to use fast reflexes to dodge bullets. If you are a seasoned fan of run-and-gun games, then you will do fine in this game.

Now, it is time to pick up your pistol and shoot down the bad soldiers of the game. The game itself isn’t that long, and you can either beat it in a dedicated 45 minutes or so. The game is fun in single-player mode, but the multi-player option is far better, since it’s fun to play with friends. So, this isn’t really a game to get if you don’t have friends to play it with. Even though the graphics are nice, it shows that they haven’t aged that well. Looking at games now, like the new King of Fighters, coming out for the Xbox360 and PS3, why couldn’t they have updated the graphics of the game when they released it in the Anthology collection? Oh well, that is just a minor gripe.

My final conclusion is that this has been a successful first Arcade Saga, and I would say, pick up the Playstation 2 version of the game. I say the Playstation 2 version since it is the best version out of three. So, go out and pick it up and invite some friends over. This game is just perfect for multiple people playing it.

This game series gets an 8 out of 10.