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Platform

Playstation 2

 

Genre

Action

 

Publisher

SNK Playmore

 

Developer

SNK Playmore

 

ESRB

M (Mature)

 

Released

March 2007

 

 

- 6 and a half games for a mere $40

- Most of these games are excellent

 

 

- Unless you hate 2D games, it's hard to hate Metal Slug

 

 

Review: Alien Hominid (PS2)

Review: Metal Slug Anthology (Wii)

Review: Metal Slug 3 (XB)

 

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Metal Slug Anthology

Score: 9.0 / 10

 

Now, itís universally agreed upon that Metal Slug is pretty awesome. Thankfully, SNK has realized this, and despite their financial ups and downs, have committed themselves to supplying as much Metal Slug as possible to the general public. Theyíre doing us all a favor, because itís one of the best arcade-style games still being released. Itís all simple -- run forward, shoot stuff, donít die -- but the humorous characters, two player simultaneous action, and extremely high quality 2D graphics have garnered many, many loyal fans.

 

metal slug anthology          metal slug anthology

 

The Metal Slug Anthology for the Playstation 2 features a total of six and half (Metal Slug X is a mere update of the second game) entries in the series. It also retails for $40. Three years ago, Metal Slug 3 by itself was released alone for the Xbox for that price. You donít even want to know how much people pay for the Neo Geo home cartridges -- some of them reach into the quadruple digits. This anthology, one can imagine, is an extraordinary value.

 

Granted, not all of the games are spectacular. None of them are outright bad, but since the formula never really changed, so some of them feel a bit uninspired.

 

Metal Slug 3 is probably the pinnacle of the series, offering multiple routes, tons of cool levels (including a part where you can turn into a zombie and attack with a

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giant geyser of vomit) and one of the most epic final stages known to man. Metal Slug 4 and 5 were designed by a different company, and while they have the best music of the series, they feel a bit recycled and even a bit dull at parts. Generally, the Metal Slug games are all very difficult, and the amount of times you'll get killed tends to frustrate people not used to arcade action, but you can enable

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unlimited continues, which makes it substantially less infuriating than the Xbox port of Metal Slug 3.

 

Metal Slug 6 is the most recent game in the collection, having been published in 2006. Itís the only game in the collection that ran on the Atomiswave board, rather than the SNK Neo Geo system, although youíd probably be hard pressed to find a real difference. The backgrounds are higher res and there are some cool scaling effects during bigger bosses, but otherwise it looks about the same as the other games. The coolest addition here is the ability to play as Ralf and Clark, also known as the Ikari Warriors, known from their own '80s arcade game, as well as The King of Fighters series. Both carry some of their signature moves (the Vulcan Punch for Ralf, and the Super Argentine Backbreaker, an awesome suplex, for Clark ), although the rest of the cast has diversified as well. Marco has the most powerful standard hand gun, while Eri can toss grenades in any direction. Fio starts off every life with a Heavy Machine Gun in backup, which brings up another improvement -- you can now store up to two special weapons at once and switch between them, much like Contra 3 for the SNES. While the levels are still a bit dull compared to some of the earlier games (except for a section where you get to ride the mother alien from Metal Slug 3), all of these little advancements turn it into one of the freshest installments in a long time.

 

metal slug anthology          metal slug anthology

 

Although Metal Slug Anthology was released on the Wii back in late 2006, it had some issues, most notably some bizarre control issues that infuriated many gamers. The Playstation 2 release features no such problems -- both the analog and the digital pads work perfectly, and the hitflashes, another odd removal from the Wii release, have returned. The emulation is generally pretty spot in, although Metal Slug 2 still features some heavy slowdown leftover from its arcade days. Picky gamers might turn their nose up at the short load screens that occur whenever the scenery changes, since previous PS2 ports had almost no loading at all. But it's an extremely minor issue and the loads never exceed three or four seconds once you've entered the game.

 

There are several galleries that include concept artwork, a sound test, and a text interview. The method of unlocking these is completely different from the Wii and PSP versions. Here, simply beating a game will open up its gallery, and beating all of them will open up the final gallery. The sound test and interview are unlocked from the beginning -- no worrying about tokens.

 

Like the PSP and Wii versions, some the extra missions found in the other home ports, such as the Fat Island and UFO Mothership minigames from Metal Slug 3, are totally gone.

 

Metal Slug Anthology is already a tremendous deal for your money, and it's definitely worth checking out for anyone into chaotic old school mayhem. The Playstation 2 version is also the best one for your money, since it isn't hampered by the control or loading issues of the other ports.

 

- Kurt Kalata

(April 11, 2007)

 

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