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Metal Slug - SNK

by S. Ives (Scorpion1999@worldnet.att.net)

Lowdown:

    The Neo-Geo game Metal Slug has just been turned loose on the Saturn. Go find and rescue the prisoners of war who are being held by the enemy. You'll meet loads of resistance from enemy troops, so blow these cruds away with the various weapons you find. The SNK Ram cart is used to give an arcade-perfect version.
Playing similar to Contra, Metal Slug is set in WWII (rather than a futuristic alien-infested world). The game uses three buttons: fire, jump, and bomb (grenade). Your soldier carries a pistol as well as a knife. If you're close to an enemy soldier you can slash him to conserve ammo (if using a special weapon, you'll revert to your pistol if it runs out). Enemy soldiers carry varying weapons: guns, bazookas, etc. Four special weapons are as follows:

  • H: Heavy machine gun- larger bullets, increased firepower.
  • F: Flame thrower- shoots a fireball that can take out several enemies.
  • R: Rocket Launcher- shoot a rocket and take out a row of baddies.
  • S: Shotgun- blast your enemies into a bloody splatter. Powerful but the range is lacking. VERY GOOD on enemy armored vehicles.
A second player may enter the game at any time. You'll also find grenades to add to your reserve. You may even find a tank. So, hop into it- the tank takes several hits to destroy, coming complete with its own machine gun as well as a cannon. If you feel like it, you can run over the soldiers! Gas is also available for your tank but it is quite rare. Getting hit causes the tank to lose fuel. If the tank's gonna blow (low on gas!), you can hit A+B to hop out and send it at the enemy like a bomb.

Bosses are large enemy vehicles that take tons-o'-lead before they go down in loads-o'-smokin'-wreckage. Mid-bosses also are in the game, such as a large enemy soldier who's armed with one heck of a machine gun and runs around shooting his mouth off with some hilarious Super High Impact style trash-talk. You can eat the food items you find and rescue stranded animals (monkeys, baby bears, house cats, etc.) for bonus points. To save prisoners, just slash the ropes to cut them free- or shoot the ropes (the game assumes you're the sharpest shot in the universe, so much that your bullets hit only the ropes.). A freed prisoner will run around spasming in excitement- run to him to rescue him, and he will leave you something nice most of the time, whether it's a weapon, a gold coin, or a snack. By the way, there's also one hilarious surprise that you've got to discover on your own. YOU WILL LAUGH. The game saves your high scores, and also keeps track of the highest stage you've reached- so you can jump ahead to that point in the game if you don't feel like replaying the earlier levels.

Graphics: 9

  • + Just like the Neo-Geo/arcade game.
  • + The grenade-juggling monkey in the Loading screen is good for a chuckle or two.
  • + Nice hand-drawn anime style graphics with lots of animation, including death animations (see below), idle animations for the heroes, comical "freak-outs" for the enemy soldiers, etc.
  • + Gory deaths for enemies- shoot 'em and they bleed to death, watch 'em burn til they crisp to ashes after you torch 'em with a flame thrower, or just FUBAR them with the shotgun (yea!)! There are quick bits of arterial spray whenever an enemy or a hero gets his throat cut.
  • + Reduce mean-looking, HUGE boss vehicles to tons of smokin' wreckage.
  • + Loads of stuff to trash- blow an enemy flag to shreds, board boats and kill the soldiers on board before you sink 'em, blast away the enemy's lookout posts, and more. Kibbles & Bits!!!!!
  • + The enemy bosses have some cool looking weapons.
  • + Good parallax.
  • + The large tank boss in the 3rd level...whoa. It's got some intimidating weaponry.
  • + Generally, the graphics are primo stuff. It may be from the 24-bit Neo Geo system but it sure looks like a 32-bit game to me!
Sound/Music: 9
  • + Excellent, stirring Rambo-style music that captures the spirit & adventure of your mission.
  • + Nice voices- the POW's will enthusiastically thank you for rescuing them, and there are also some cool death yells for the hero & enemies.
  • - If you lose your last credit to the giant enemy soldier in the 3rd mission, he will gloat to the point where it gets annoying. D'OH! Shut him up, PLEASE!
  • + Nice explosions and weapon fire sounds.
Gameplay/Control: 7
  • + Anyone who's played Contra will easily pick up the controls.
  • + The tank's turret aims 8 ways, just push the joystick in that direction.
  • - Occasional slowdown. This never gets too bad though.
  • + Saving prisoners is a nice way to earn bonuses, but if you die you lose the credit for any prisoners you've saved. A good incentive to complete levels without losing lives.
  • + Food items and stranded animals- good rewards usually, but sometimes there is quite a risk involved. This adds to the excitement.
  • + Limited ammo on special weapons is actually a good thing- you need to be careful to not fire wastefully.
Lasting Power: 8
  • + You won't beat this in a day.
  • - There are just 6 stages
  • + But they are a fairly good length, with midbosses such as Mr. Gloating Giant (I've told you about him already) and a mid-sized tank.
Overall: 8.25

-S. Ives




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