Slug Advance makes an impressive debut on the GBA.
Those familiar with the NeoGeo console games will
marvel at how accurately the essence of the game has
been capture in terms of graphics, sound and gameplay.
Those unfamiliar with the series are in for a nice
surprise - as long as they like action - and lots
Slug Advance is not a port. This is an entirely new
game specifically designed for the GBA. It uses multiple
layered backgrounds for an incredible 3D look. The
characters and graphics have a Heavy Metal cartoon
style to them, rich in thick, shiny, metallic gear.
For an action-based shooter it's got a unique look
level consists of numerous enemies which stand between
you and boss. This is not an easy game as there are
many times you will get killed. Expect some trial
and error in some areas. Fortunately there are unlimited
continues which will let you progress without starting
over and the levels are divided into sections with
checkpoints which means you don't have to start back
at the beginning of the level or thankfully the beginning
of the game.
and vehicles abound. The gameplay is frenetic but
it's not very deep. Yet, the level designs, the variety
of enemies and weapons, all help to keep it interesting.
You literally don't have time to be bored.
begin the game with a pistol and a few grenades. With
the ability to accumulate more weapons and ammo from
defeated enemies and bosses you'll be looking at machineguns,
flamethrowers, rocket missiles and of course the Metal
Slug tank which is armed to the teeth with machineguns
and explosives. Enemies will come at you with similar
weapons in addition to similar vehicles as well as
choppers. There will be many occasions where you're
no match for the bad guys and you will have to take
defensive actions such as ducking, jumping and taking
include rescue, search and destroy and the location
of specific items. A health meter lets you keep an
eye on your life. Cards are hidden throughout the
game which you will be advised to search for. Some
are even relinquished by fallen enemies and rescued
POWs. There are 100 cards in all, some of which act
as power-ups giving you cheat-code style attributes
such as permanent health. Other cards help you unlock
new areas or paths while some will grant you more
ammo. It's not necessary to collect all the cards
to beat the game but it might be an incentive to replay
the game since you can take new paths and use different
weapons. If you get killed, you lose all the cards
that you collected in that level. It really gives
you a vested interest to stay alive while offering
fresh gameplay elements your second time through.
include the jungle, beach, mountains and desert. All
of the locations benefiting from the layered graphics
which gives them an incredible sense of depth. Although
you can't explore the 3D areas the 2D levels are large
enough to keep you satisfied. The animations are excellent
whether it's the enemy death scene or the Metal Slug
crossing crevices like a metal-legged spider. Unlike
the NeoGeo version there is no bloodshed - but it's
Slug Advance proves that great things come in small
packages. This is an ideal Christmas gift. It might
even top the list of best GBA games in 2004.