Metal Slug 7 Review for Nintendo DS

Metal Slug 7 Review for Nintendo DS

Newest Slug Not Fuel Efficient

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.

Metal Slug 7 screenshot

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 it’s actually the eighth game in the series, it does fit into the mythos of the series. Making matters even more confusing, this game’s story takes place before the events of Metal Slug 4. After General Morden’s 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 Morden’s 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.

Metal Slug 7 screenshot

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, it’s 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 screen’s 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 system’s unique capabilities. Sure, it could be difficult to keep up with this game’s frenzied gameplay if it took place on both screens at all times, but this could have at least worked well for boss battles. Don’t get me wrong, I also don’t 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 you’ll never need in any way.

Metal Slug 7 screenshot

Another major oversight is the fact that there are no multiplayer options. Many fans’ fondest memories of Metal Slug’s 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.

The game only includes seven, fairly short missions to play through. There are no branching paths, no bonus levels, and basically nothing to keep you coming back after you quickly breeze through them all in an hour or two, depending on your chosen difficulty. Trying to rescue every POW can add a bit to your playtime but definitely not much. You can also play as any one of the six included characters. Despite their slightly differing abilities, such as more ammo or better melee attacks, your experience will be almost exactly the same.

Metal Slug 7 screenshot

In an attempt to compensate for this, the game also provides eighty training levels to extend its life. Each level in the game provides ten to twelve training missions that have you trying to achieve specific goals and giving you a score depending on how well you do. These missions break down into five basic categories including target elimination, base assault, special training, item collection, and POW rescue. Target elimination is roughly playing through each level trying to kill as many enemies as you can within a certain time limit, a set number of lives, or with limited weapons. Base assault typically has you fighting different bosses with similar stipulations. Item collection and POW rescue are fairly self-explanatory, requiring you to collect as many items and save as many POWs as you can respectively. These training levels can be extremely difficult and are often incredibly tedious in nature.

The only training levels that are somewhat inventive and entertaining are the special training missions. Here you’ll find some completely off the wall objectives and a good deal of variety. In one level you’ll be trying to keep a ball afloat and steering it towards your goal using bullets, and in the next you may need to collect a steady stream of falling fish, with an occasional mushroom thrown in that will temporarily invert your horizontal controls. Almost all of the special training levels are enjoyable but, unfortunately, they only make up two to four of each level’s training missions.

For what’s there, Metal Slug 7 is a very good game full of crazy action, great graphics, smooth animations, and a definite challenge. The only problem is that there is so much missing from this package. No multiplayer, no leaderboards, no branching paths, and only seven story missions won’t keep you coming back even with the additional eighty training levels. While you will likely have a great time with Metal Slug 7, its lack of depth makes it one you’ll want to rent rather than purchase.

Expect to see great looking 2D characters and backgrounds along with incredibly smooth animations. 3.8 Control
Everything is as responsive as you’d expect, although it would be nice to be able to shoot downward without having to jump. 3.7 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
If you’ve ever played a Metal Slug game before, you’ve already heard this game’s audio; if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. 2.7

Play Value
It is definitely fun while it lasts, but with its very limited options that isn’t very long.

3.4 Overall Rating – Fair
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Battle your way through seven intense combat missions.
  • Play as your favorite Metal Slug character.
  • All-new Combat School Mode featuring 80 training missions.
  • New Slugs and Enemies!

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