Metal Slug Anthology Wii - 16/05/2007

Metal Slug blasts onto the Wii, has it bought anything new to the mix, or is it merely relying on the old guns?

It's been over 10 years since Metal Slug super vehicle 001, for that is its full name; made its mark on SNK's home entertainment system, a very expensive home console with the capabilities of an arcade board of the time. So what's changed? Well the console's have got cheaper and the graphics more complex, with better lighting and bitmapping of millions of polygons, that's not forgetting the advances in sound and control for this generation as well.

But that's not the point of Metal Slug, it's a game so rooted in old school cool, that it pretty much defined and set the template for most side scrolling 2D shooters. Its cartoony graphics, all hand drawn by SNK's very talented artists are on par with Disney at times with the characters showing great humour and movement. The backgrounds are sumptuous renderings of jungles, cities and snow-capped mountains all ripe for blowing up as the war machine rolls on.

The Wii is quickly becoming a new home for old school classics

At it's heart Metal Slug is a run and gun left to right, with the occasional vertical ascent shoot 'em up of epic proportions, most shooting games give the player at least 3 'lives' not so with the Metal slug Games, if one bullet hits you, then you're dead, it really is hardcore, well it would have been if it wasn't for the infinite lives system. To be fair the games are too hard for a majority of the time and I think the developer didn’t want to alienate its target audience.

So what do you get in an anthology? Well in this case it’s a generous package of seven games including Metal Slug 1,2,X,3,4,5 and 6. Part six is a brand new game released just last year with really crisp graphics and a bit more shine than the rest.

The connoisseur's choice would of course be part 3, it was SNK's last direct involvement before developing duties were passed onto Playmore, as SNK were in a little bit of trouble at that time. It seemed all the best ideas were saved up for this sequel and it stands up as the best of the bunch, that's not to say the games are that different from each other.

The memories…

This is probably the collection's biggest fault, the games are great in short bursts and each hold their own, but play part two after playing through say part five and your not going to notice.

Hang on though isn't this the new fangled Wii version? It certainly is and unfortunately this being on the Wii is its own worst enemy, so many games get the controls just right, unfortunately this game needs a stable control method and the options just don’t work, waving the remote or nunchuck to move your character and perform shooting or running just feels wrong. The best of the bunch is actually the default with the remote held in the NES style and the only movement controls going to the throwing of grenades with the flick of the wrist.

Overall if you are an older gamer who pines for the good old days, or just a new gamer wanting to find out just what the fuss is about, this game is highly entertaining and good fun especially if there are two of you playing co-operatively.

- Emerald



SNK Playmore