PS2 REVIEW: METAL SLUG 4 & 5

Metal Slug fans should be drooling over this release. It features two very hard to find arcade games in one package. There are no difficulty settings to unlock, no extra mode or multi-player modes. What you get here is a near-perfect recreation of the arcade versions of Metal Slug Four and Five.

Metal Slug is a pure action shooter. It's fast, furious and frustrating. If you're looking for a challenge, this is the first place you'll want to stick your nose. Fans of the series know how difficult this game can be and that's a major part of the appeal. Both games are relatively short but they instigate a lot of replay value as you try to see if you can better your last score and find alternative paths and other secrets.

I don't want to scare off newbies with all this talk of difficulty, and neither do the developers, because the game includes unlimited continues. I know that some purists may find that sacrilegious but you don't have to use them if you don't need them. At the same time it does simplify the gameplay and lowers the bar. Getting though the game isn't as mighty an accomplishment as it used to be. It does pander to mediocre players that won't take the time to develop the necessary skills to get through the game with only a handful of lives as per the arcade version. But don't tell me that you never used a cheat code in your life.

Metal Slug is a non-stop, action-packed game. It's violent and funny as you use machine guns, rockets, lasers and various Slug Tanks to battle enemies that range from robots to pirates with the occasional Big Foot thrown in for comic relief.

The tanks include standard tanks, sub tanks and jet tanks. When you leave the relative safety of a Slug Tank you will be able to jump, dash and shoot. In the Fifth version you will have a forward slide move that you can use to get underneath certain obstacles. It's here you'll find more goodies and shortcuts but you can also be lured into traps so be careful.

Metal Slug 4 tends to rehash the series by reusing the same enemies, locations and Slug Tanks. It even recycles the same sound effects. The Fifth version features new additions and a new storyline. There are new characters, tanks and bosses. The storyline is even more bizarre but the challenge is as formidable as ever. Both games can be played through in less than an hour but it might take a lot longer if this is your first experience with the series. If it is your first experience the Fourth version will be all new to you so disregard the beginning of this paragraph.

The controls are perfect. They are tight and responsive. With so many things coming at you you can't be screwing around with loose controls. The graphics are 2D and not exactly beautiful. I know that the graphics are supposed to replicate the arcade version as closely as possible but I don't recall seeing so much aliasing on the arcade game. The music is militarily-themed and really comes alive in the Fifth version.

If you're undecided then you're probably not a true fan of the series. I would suggest renting this first as you might not appreciate kicking it old-school.

Click For Media
System: PS2
Dev: BreezaSoft
Pub: SNK
Released: May 2005
Review by Stew XX
RATING (OUT OF 5)
OVERALL
4
GRAPHICS
3.5
CONTROL
5.0
MUSIC/FX
3.5
VALUE
3.5