After five different incarnations of Metal Slug (six if you include Metal Slug X) you would hope that SNK would have found a way of radically improving the series. Unfortunately Metal Slug 5 is really more of the same, with same looking graphics, the same trusty control scheme, the same sound effects, the same replay value, and the same length. If you don't intend to go through Metal Slug 5 more than once or twice then by all means check this game out, but by now it might be best for Metal Slug fans to just sit this one out ... you've been here before.
By now you should already know what Metal Slug is, but if you've somehow managed to avoid this long-running series you are missing out on one of the best 2D shooters around. Well, the first few were pretty good ... they've all been kind of the same since then. You run from left to right shooting at just about anything that gets in your way, which usually results in some funny animation or a big explosion. If you've played Contra, Alien Hominid, or Midnight Resistance you will know what to expect from this title.
What sets Metal Slug apart is its sense of humor. The graphics and animation in Metal Slug are amazing, each character has a funny reaction, style, and personality ... even if you're doing nothing but killing the same person over and over. Like the past Metal Slug games, Metal Slug 5 does not disappoint when it comes to funny details and cute character animations. In a lot of ways it's the highlight of the game, and certainly a big part of the reason you'll keep going through the overly-repetitive levels.
While we give SNK a hard time for not taking the series in new and innovative directions, they have managed to add a couple of new elements to the game. For one, you are now able to slide along the floor - even go on the offensive when you're performing your slide kick. This new move is required to get past a couple of barriers in the game, but for the most part it's simply unused. I found myself doing it by accident more than by choice, but I suppose it's a welcome addition.
The other change comes in the way of the enemy. While it first it might look like you're going after the same people as Metal Slug 1 - 4, when you get far enough in the game you realize that you're actually up against a brand new villain, a group that has more to do with a cult than aliens or zombies. Unfortunately even with the new villains we're basically doing the same thing as before, the levels haven't changed that much, and the bosses all seem pretty familiar ... well, all except for the last boss, he's a real doozy.
If you're not expecting anything more than what you got from Metal Gear 1 - 4 then Metal Slug 5 will probably satisfy you for the 30 minutes it will take you to beat it. But the series is starting to run out of steam and it's going to take something bigger than a slide move or a new weapon to kick it back into shape. This series needs a makeover fast, or maybe just a rest from active duty.