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December 14, 2007



- 6 and a half games for a mere $40US

- Most of these games are excellent



- Crappy control schemes

- Minor issues with the ports



Review: Metal Slug 3 (XB)

Review: Alien Hominid (GC)

Review: Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (Wii)



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Metal Slug Anthology

Score: 8.0 / 10


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 Ė run forward, shoot stuff, donít die Ė but the humourous 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 Wii 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, just Metal Slug 3 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 of some of these games Ė 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, some of them do lack inspiration. Metal 




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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 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 games, they feel a bit recycled and even a bit dull.


The most interesting addition is Metal Slug 6,


released in 2006, and which hasnít seen any other home release (at least, in America .) 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 Ė 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


At heart, itís an awesome compilation, but there are a number of minor quirks. First off, the hit flashes - that is, the brief white blinking that occurs whenever you shoot enemy vehicles Ė has been removed from most of the games. Apparently this was removed due a request from Nintendo, as they were worried about seizures. Secondly, there are some mid-level load times when you move from scene Ė they never interrupt the action, but the previous home ports on the PS2 and Xbox never had this issue. Furthermore, some the extra missions, such as the training camp modes found in the other home ports, are totally gone, although thereís a huge database of music and art that basically makes up for it. You also have the ability to enable or disable unlimited continues, which already makes it preferable to the monstrously difficult Xbox port of Metal Slug 3.


Unfortunately, someone somewhere really screwed up with the control schemes. There are all kinds of crazy ways you can hold the remote and nunchuck and attempt to play the game, but nearly all of them are useless novelty gimmicks that no one will ever use for more than a few minutes. One of the most best options is to turn the remote sideways and hold like a standard controller, but since it doesnít have enough buttons, you need to shake the controller to toss grenades. This also makes executing the special moves pretty difficult in Metal Slug 6. The other option is to use a GameCube pad, which would be ideal, except the digital pad doesnít work, at all. Therefore, youíre stuck with the analog pad, which is way too slippery for use in a 2D game. The lack of digital control also means the Hori pad is useless, as are most arcade joysticks. What about the Wii Classic Controller? Itís not supported, which completely boggles the mind.


So yes, the Wii version of the Metal Slug Anthology is somewhat less than ideal, primarily due to the control snafus. In this case, one might want to wait for the Playstation 2 version, which is apparently still scheduled for a February release. Still, you can get used to it, and despite tripping over itself, Metal Slug Anthology is a tremendous deal for your money, and is definitely worth checking out for anyone into chaotic old school mayhem.


- Kurt Kalata

(January 17, 2007)


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