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 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
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.
most interesting addition is Metal Slug 6,
in 2006, and which hasnít seen any other home release (at least,
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
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
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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