Run, jump and shoot stuff!
Old Skool gaming, I love it! I’ve recently been getting my fill from playing the superb Worms and Jetpac Refuelled on the Xbox live arcade and now SNK Playmore are the latest company attempting to drag me away from playing those next-gen AAA titles with the lure of the 2D arcade classic, Metal Slug.
The Metal Slug Anthology for Wii comes complete with Metal Slug 1 to 6, in addition to Metal Slug X, an upgraded version of Metal Slug 2. There isn’t a massive graphical overhaul for the Wii version or dozens of extra features, but instead the titles have been accurately ported from the arcade titles and as a result will appeal mainly to hardcore fans of the series - those 20-somethings seeking the fast paced action and solid game play experience of yesteryear.
Each game in the series offers something slightly different, whether it's a few new features, such as the added bonus combo system in Metal Slug 4, new weapons, different backdrops or a range of new enemies to defeat. Ultimately though the premise remains the same throughout; Metal Slug anthology is a set of run and gun games, similar to the likes of Contra, where enemies re-spawn at a furious rate as you move across the side-scrolling levels blasting and meleeing your way through until you encounter the big boss; in short, you run, jump and shoot stuff. As you travel through each of the levels you're able to pick up an impressive assortment of extra weapons, upgrades, power ups and can even commandeer powerful vehicles. The visual over-the-top presentation, the humorous moments (such as when a zombie vomits all over you) and the frantic pace all lend a hand in creating an engaging shooter that’s still as impressive as ever.
Using the range of weapons on offer, as you blast through the hordes of enemies ripping apart the destructible environment, is where the majority of the fun lies. Amongst many other weapons available, you can jump on fixed machine guns, wave around a flamethrower, shoot a missile from a rocket launcher, drop bombs or jump on the gunner of a tank. This relentless action, which is accompanied by a pumping soundtrack that keeps up with the pace of the game, in addition to the excellent level design, is why the Metal Slug series received such acclaim in its day; and it's still just as absorbing.