|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: SNK Playmore||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Ignition Software||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov. 18, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Adam Brown
When looking for a run and gun experience, Metal Slug has been a staple for fans for over a decade now. Whether playing in the arcade or any of the subsequent console and portable releases for the series, Metal Slug constantly provides extremely hectic, entertaining, and responsive gameplay.
Combining this gameplay with beautiful and fluid 2D animation, impressive graphics, and an off the wall sense of humor has kept the series a fan favorite throughout its previous seven iterations (counting Metal Slug X). Fortunately, this beloved formula remains largely intact in Metal Slug 7 for the DS.
Despite a puzzling name of Metal Slug 7 when its actually the eighth game in the series, it does fit into the mythos of the series. Making matters even more confusing, this games story takes place before the events of Metal Slug 4. After General Mordens defeat, a mysterious portal opens, allowing soldiers from the future to strengthen his previously diminished army. Now players must once again put a stop to General Mordens constant plans to overthrow the government.
As with the previous games in the series, this is achieved by blasting your way through a plethora of evil soldiers Rambo style. The action has a tendency to get very frantic with soldiers, helicopters, planes, tanks, and jeeps constantly attacking you from every direction. Fortunately, the game offers several weapon power-ups and slugs (vehicles) to help you keep up with this steady stream of adversaries as well as to dispatch them in new and interesting ways. A couple good examples of this are a gun that shoots arcing electricity and a massive robot you get to pilot that takes up the entire top screen and can be used to shoot and crush a multitude of enemies.
The portion of the game that has you piloting this enormous robot is very well done. As you progress through this snowy level, leaving heaps of crumpled soldiers underfoot, its hard not to marvel at the destruction you leave in your wake. While this is incredibly enjoyable, a final confrontation with a boss that is essentially an enemy version of your robot is icing on the cake. Expect to see many epic boss battles in this game, with all taking up a majority of the top screens real estate.
This brings me to one of my complaints about the game. Metal Slug 7 is a DS game, yet it makes no attempt to utilize any of the systems unique capabilities. Sure, it could be difficult to keep up with this games frenzied gameplay if it took place on both screens at all times, but this could have at least worked well for boss battles. Dont get me wrong, I also dont think that touch screen controls would have benefited this title, but it is fairly odd that nothing was attempted. Instead, the top screen houses the classic Metal Slug gameplay we all love and the bottom is a complete afterthought, displaying a low-res mini-map of your current level that youll never need in any way.
Another major oversight is the fact that there are no multiplayer options. Many fans fondest memories of Metal Slugs past have come when playing with friends. The lack of both online and local multiplayer on a handheld with Wi-Fi capabilities is completely inexcusable. There are also absolutely no online or locally shareable leaderboards either, leaving Metal Slug 7 as a relatively shallow single-player only experience.