Metal Slug Anthology PSP Review

It may not feel like it but the Metal Slug series has been going for many years. In the early days the newborn game found its home on only the Neo-Geo platforms and Saturn, along with an arcade release and due to the simple reason that not a whole load of punters had access to these platforms the game never really caught on. Further down the line Playstation, Xbox and GBA releases of certain titles in the series came along helping the 2D shooter to find a home but more problems hit due to different games in the series being scattered across different platform. Now finally after 10 years all that is good about the series has been packed onto one UMD; Metal Slug 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and X… now lets all have a day long two dimensional orgasm!

WOW! It’s So Hard Difficult

In case you have been living under a rock since the good ole days where the possibility of 4,096 colours gracing our screen was made possible let’s explain a bit about how Metal Slug plays. Well, actually there is not a lot to explain as the Metal Slug series is a very simple game to play but it is the detail included in that simplicity that makes the title a joy to play. For example a little touch I always loved with the series is that unlike other 2D shooters you don’t die if you just touch another enemy, that enemy has to perform an attack move to kill you. Of course it is always best to not let the enemy get that close so to aid you game gives you a pistol which is graced with unlimited shots – this is you basic weapon throughout all the games but you will end up using it alot. Your knife is also mapped to the same button as shooting, however your character only mêlée attacks with the knife if you let the enemy get too close like I mentioned above. In addition to this you also have a bomb button, the ability to jump, and are given the option to ride in some vehicles. You also have to rescue some POW’s – which I always found very satisfying whenever I played the game.

These are the basic controls each of the games share, but as you play though each level and all the games on the UMD, little touches are added to not only bring a smile to your face as you play but also make each title unique to play. These extras come in the form of giving you different weapons to play as you advance – these weapons range from heavy machine guns and rocket launchers to hand grenades and more. Another nice touch is that the game’s scenery is destructible – in fact this is how many of the game’s power-ups are found. The games themselves also evolve as you advance. Metal Slug 2 changes things up from the first game by implementing a character selection screen to let you choose who you want to play. Metal Slug 6 even goes as far as to add attributes to different characters making who you choose effect gameplay rather than just resulting in a different sprite. Metal Slug 5 also added a slide-dash move to help when fighting through the levels. Weapons and Vehicles change in different games as well – one of my personal favourite weapons would have to be the great Iron Lizard from Metal Slug X while my favourite vehicle would have to be the Elephant Slug from Metal Slug 3. Of course different players will find different things to love about the games.

Oh, and for those that do not know the Metal Slug games are some of the most difficult ever created… If your hair has not already started to turn grey in the years since you first played the game then the one shot kills system is back once again to speed up your ageing process. Yes, once again the game is void of any form of life-bar and it is up to the player to dodge and kill whatever the game puts in your way regardless of its screen-filling size.

OMG! OMG! OMG! OMG! OMG! OMG!

The Metal Slug series was always famed for fantastic 2D graphics and nothing has changed with the move onto the PSP. Even going all the way back to the first game it is noticeable a lot of detail is evident in everything that appears on-screen. The game also includes the option to switch to from 4:3 to a stretched widescreen alternative… unfortunately doing this makes the game look stupidly blurry and in turn ruins all the lovely graphics and detail mentioned above so it is best to stick to the original view. However all is not perfect…

The boasting of the game being a “perfect translation” is however a broken promise as some of the games on show – particularly Metal Slug 2 & 6 – seem to have a few nagging issues of slowdown. This issue is very sporadic and seems to rear its head at totally random times; sometimes even during the few instances that there are no enemies on screen. The occurrences are however very rare so the enjoyment of the overall game is only damaged slightly. Another niggle would be the quality of the game’s menus which are a chore to stumble through and look downright ugly but once again these do nothing to ruin the game’s overall appeal – they are however another blemish on the overall product which could easily have been ironed out.

You either love the Metal Slug series or you hate it and you either love or hate this industry attempt at reviving retro games. There is undoubtedly a long list of things that will make you want to buy or not buy this game but what absolutely cannot be denied is the overall quality of the title at hand. If you loved the series over the past few years but struggled to keep up with it has jumped from platform to platform then – and you should probably know this by now – jump at the chance to pick up this compilation. Metal Slug Anthology is easily one of the better retro collection out there at the moment. It was a great title to play back in the day and it is still a joy to play now – most importantly it is one of the few retro releases you won’t be needing any of those rose-tinted glasses to enjoy.

A near-perfect compilation of one of the best 2D shooting franchises ever conceived.

8.1 out of 10

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