Bite-sized arcade actionThe latest game in the long-running Metal Slug series follows firmly in the footsteps of its predecessors by delivering a frenetic and explosive side-scrolling shooter, this time on Nintendo’s handheld. It’s surprising that SNK Playmore has waited this long to make its series debut on DS, because the fast-paced thumb-mashing 2-D action lends itself nicely to its small screen, while the accessible controls and bite-sized missions make it an enjoyable pick up and play arcade title ideal for on the move.
The main bulk of the gameplay takes place in ‘Mission Mode,’ which sees you tackling dozens of heavily-armed grunts and rescuing POWs, before squaring up against the final boss at the end of each of the seven missions. The huge variety of weapons on offer also ensures that you'll cause plenty of carnage on route in a variety of visually entertaining ways. From the hand-gun to the rocket launcher there’s a wide array of firearms at your disposal, and certain weapons are better than others at penetrating armour or taking out a tank, so you're encouraged to experiment and try out which firearms work best in certain scenarios. It’s a familiar but stimulating blend of classic run-and-gun action, with the added new twist of coin collecting, which earns you points to improve your ranking on the online leaderboard.
The six playable characters from Metal Slug 6 make a return, including the pistol-whipping bandana-wearing renegade Marco, and explosives expert Eri, and all bring something different to the table in terms of their expertise, firearm handling and special moves,. The action is chaotic, at times overwhelming so, as you move across the screen lobbing grenades while keeping your thumb firmly on the button to take out the huge amount of enemies attacking you from every angle. Enemies parachute down from above, run at you with knifes, use ballistic shields as cover, and take up positions on cannons or in the driving seat of a tank to do everything they can to stop you progressing. You’re generally confined to one small area until you’ve killed all of the enemies, so the action can get intense and quite tricky as you hop around, chucking grenades and aggressively assaulting the opposition while trying to evade the continuous spray of enemy bullets.