Metal Slug Anthology is a pretty terrible game. It includes Metal Slugs 1 through 6. Playing any of them is frustrating and dissatisfying. It’s painfully apparent Metal Slug is an arcade game designed for arcade systems and has no place on a home console.
The Metal Slug series has no story. Wikipedia and a bonus feature interview claim some sort of war is happening, but there’s no explanation or semblance of a story in the game. Since it’s an arcade action game, the story isn’t supposed to be the main reason for playing, so having no story isn’t much of a fault.
Gameplay & Controls
Controls are awful. You can play with a Wiimote, a Wiimote and a Nunchuk combination, just using a Nunchuk (though it still has to be connected to the Wiimote, you just don’t use the Wiimote for controls), or a GameCube controller. Moreover, in addition to the normal Wiimote control scheme, there is a “tilt” Wiimote method. Unfortunately, a Classic Controller control scheme is not included. One would think that with so many different ways to control the game, one of them wouldn’t totally suck. Unfortunately, they are all extremely inconvenient, all having enough faults to make the game nearly unplayable. And the control schemes aren’t configurable, only selectable. I was nearly finished with Metal Slug 1 before I realized I had to violently jerk the Wiimote to throw bombs. Couldn’t it just be the + or – or A or B button? Or any combination? Tilt mode is terribly sloppy and imprecise, and using a Nunchuk makes moving difficult as well because the slightest adjustment in the Y-axis sends your guy pointing straight to the sky or makes you duck awkwardly.
Gameplay is very straightforward. Run from the left side of the screen to the right side mashing the shoot button. When a boss comes up, jerk the Wiimote as if having a seizure to throw bombs until you die and respawn with a replenished inventory of bombs so you can repeat this process. Dying makes you lose all extra weapons you’ve collected. After three deaths, you can choose game over or continue. An option which is on by default allows infinite continues. I can’t imagine how unpleasant playing this at 50 cents a pop would be. Any kid who played this game in arcades was probably hated by his parents, because you’ll die a lot playing this game, and need a lot of continues to clear the relatively short games. Any enemy attack of any kind instantly kills you, and running into some vehicles also kills you. The only difficult bosses are ones which fly or stay too high to hit with bombs. Some of the later Metal Slug games have different stats for different characters, but it really doesn’t change anything.
Graphics & Sound
Graphics are good and 2D. The Neogeo was 24bits, so they’re more detailed than SNES games, and nearly on par with 2D PSX games. The animation is very fluid, and very gory. Monsters will suck the skin from your body, you will be cutting enemy soldiers in half, and other gruesome things. The music was pretty good, but I didn’t really notice it much. At least it wasn’t annoying or distracting.
The anthology tosses in some bonus artwork and soundtracks which you can unlock with “Tokens” earned by playing the games. It’s nice to have the Metal Slug games in a nice collection, but the controls are just bad. With two players, this game will be fun for a little while, but it’s not something you’ll keep picking up to play. With one player, you’ll probably be too frustrated trying to figure out the controls and/or dying every 30 seconds to get into the game.
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