|System: PSP||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: SNK Playmore||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Atlus||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Feb. 23, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Speaking of features, what Metal Slug XX for PSP really brings to the table is co-op ad hoc multiplayer. The DS version of the game inexplicably shipped without local co-op play. For anyone that grew up with Metal Slug at the arcade, playing this title alone is like kissing your sister. Fortunately, Metal Slug XX does let you join up with a buddy. However, due to the ad hoc-only support, your friend will have to pick up a copy of Metal Slug XX too. This definitely hampers the co-op side of things. While I know companies are in the business to sell games, and this title retails for just $19.99, a little Game Sharing love would have been nice, even if it was only for a set of Combat School challenges.
Combat School is SNK Playmore's way of increasing the amount of gameplay in Metal Slug XX. As mentioned previously, the campaign is only seven levels long, so the additional 70+ challenges presented by the Combat School are welcome. However, only a handful of them are particularly clever and unique, most are essentially rehashed, mini-gameplay elements found in the campaign. Still, passing the challenges should keep some players busy for several more hours.
Graphically, the game is awesome. That's assuming you enjoy 2-D pixel art. I happen to think the quirky levels, bodacious weaponry, hilarious death animations, wacky Slugs (unique tank-like vehicles for which the series is known), and larger-than-life bosses are a real pleasure to behold. Classic sounds such as "Thank you" when POWs are saved and the rumbling rapport of bombs and firearms are bested only by the quintessential arcade background themes. Controls are where the game falters in terms of production. Disappointingly, neither the D-pad or analog nub are particularly well tuned, making it tricky to overcome stages efficiently on higher difficulties.
In the end, Metal Slug XX is a gaming experience I thoroughly enjoyed. However, I grew up blowing through my allowance at Aladdin's Castle. The fact is, the Metal Slug experience simply isn't particularly well replicated on handhelds, and the PSP version isn't an exception; the co-op multiplayer offered on the system is only playable if you have two copies lying around, and the control scheme on Sony's portable is decidedly less acceptable than what was found on DS back in '08. I expect only hardcores and nostalgic gamers to truly enjoy the game. Everyone else will probably play it a handful of times and set it aside.
CCC Editor / News Director