Lately the PSP has been overflowing with all kinds of fantastic classic game compilations, from the Sega Genesis Collection to two different Capcom Classics Collection discs to Konami's incredible Gradius Collection. Now you can add SNK Playmore's Metal Slug Anthology to the list of must-own 2D games you can take with you where ever you go. Even without the best graphics and sound, the seven Metal Slug games featured in this anthology represent some of the best 2D shooters of all time. If you're a fan of Contra-style games or the Metal Slug series then you owe it to yourself to pick up this PSP game.
Metal Slug Anthology comes with seven games, including all six of the main Metal Slug titles as well as Metal Slug X, a slightly altered/remixed version of Metal Slug 2. Every one of these titles is an identical recreation of the classic Neo Geo arcade games, compiled in one succinct package that every action game fan should search out. While you could probably argue that this set lacks variety, what you are getting is a solid collection of amazing arcade games.
For those who aren't familiar with the series, Metal Slug was SNK's answer to games like Contra and Gunstar Heroes. It was a popular 2D arcade shooter that featured detailed graphics and a whole lot of crazy enemies. While games like Contra and Midnight Resistance went for an ultra-series mood, Metal Slug had fun with the genre by offering silly characters and an over-the-top story that featured everything from moronic army men to zombies to aliens from outer space. One look at Metal Slug and it was easy to see that this was one series you couldn't take too seriously, yet it managed to attract a nice following thanks to its intense action and unique personality.
Here we are more than ten years later and we are up to Metal Slug 6, an arcade game that never quite made it to these shores. Not a lot has changed since the first Metal Slug, but that shouldn't keep you from having a great time playing through the seven games offered in this PSP anthology. While the technology didn't change much (which has more to do with SNK's decision to stick with the Neo Geo arcade architecture), these seven games do give you dozens of enemy-laden levels to fight through whenever you want.
Like Contra, Metal Slug involves you choosing a character and taking him from one side of the screen to the other shooting everything that gets in your way. Along with your traditional gun you can also pick up useful special weapons and throw powerful grenades when you're in a pinch. The pace is a tad slower than that of Konami's classic NES (and arcade) shooter, and there's no doubt that Metal Slug is far less punishing experience overall. That said, these SNK shooters are not always a walk in the park. You will still need to dodge all of the enemy fire, avoid being puked on by zombies and figure out the patterns of the level end bosses. And maybe, if you're good enough, you can do all of this while saving a few hostages along the way.
What sets Metal Slug apart from most of the other 2D shooters is that you can occasionally commandeer a vehicle, some of which include a jet, jeep, submarine, helicopter and yes, even a camel. This doesn't impact the game too much, but it is a lot of fun to jump into a vehicle (or onto an animal) and start shooting at everything you see. Like the special weapons themselves, these animals can help clear the level of large groups of enemies and massive bosses. As is the case with all 2D shooters, it's important to memorize enemy locations and use your surroundings to your advantage.
But forget about riding animals and battling huge bosses, Metal Slug is about more than intense 2D action. Metal Slug is about looking cool and making you laugh. The levels in every single Metal Slug game are filled with humorous details and some wacky animations. As you fight your way through the level you will see town residents doing funny things, innocent victims wrapped up in terrible situations and enemies that are extremely expressive. And that's not all; you will also discover that the game has a sense of humor when it comes to how you look. For example, if you eat too much of the bonus food on the level you will turn into a short fat kid who walks really slow and desperately needs Jenny Craig. Some of my favorite moments happen when innocent civilians are turned into blood-thirsty zombies. All seven games are full of these memorable moments that you will want to tell your friends about, that's easily one of the highlights of the Metal Slug franchise.
There are a lot of classic video game compilations already on the PSP and Metal Slug Anthology is one of the best. It offers seven of the best 2D action games of all time in one succinct package, that's a deal you shouldn't pass up ... no matter who you are!
This product was submitted by the publisher for review. As a rule, Defunct Games does not review games we spent money on. However, that does not always apply to classic/retro games. This specific product, however, came straight from a PR guy for the purposes of being reviewed!