Name: Metal Slug X
Format: Playstation 1
Genre: Platform Shooter
Region Reviewed: Pal
Year of Release: 2001 (uk)
Now before I start Metal Slug games are considered to be the pinnacle of their genre and the hard core retro fanatics adore this series so I was expecting something out of this world.
Spoilers..... Didnt get it!
So I chose new game and selected my character (choice of 4) and the game began, the first thing that hits me is the soundtrack, its fantastic!!! really pumping dramatic sounds and music tracks, the second thing was that once again this is a game that has real colours in it...And lots of them, it looks lovely. The Playstation has a bad reputation for always using grey's or brown's so this is a superb example of how that reputation is based purely on critics not taking the time to explore the entire games catalogue
It plays in traditional left to right scrolling fashion although you cant always keep walking, a lot of times you are forced to stop kill everything on screen or a boss etc then you can continue, to start with thats fine but after the 30th time of it happening repetitiveness kicks in and it become ever so slightly annoying, almost to the point of frustration.
The screen is usually filled with things and although impressive it makes actually spotting the bullets kinda hard and a lot of times I died simply because it was impossible to see what was going on, not because I forgot to jump or duck, this could be a real deal breaker however when you do lose all your lives you get to continue and theres infinite continues so the bad stuff is outweighed by the good in the end.
Now during the game your supposed to stop and free prisoners of war, when you do they say thanks and usually leave you a cool weapon power up and thats where the game kinda shines, the weapons are great, really over the top and silly. From time to time you can get into vehicles and use them and thats fantastic as well, at the end of the level you get a score based on how many POW's you freed during your current life.
Now the game has quite a few levels, I actually completed this and each one has some lovely touches and varying locations but due to the nature of the game playing left to right and start stop gameplay it all felt kinda similar and eventually I just wanted it finished. Only on the last level does the Playstation break a sweat processing wise by creating this lovely wavey rope bridge that looks very mode 7, why theres not any other variation earlier is frustrating to me.
Theres a story but theres no cut scenes at all, you have to read the manual but in a nutshell a bad general with the help of aliens is trying to take over the world, they turn on him at the end though so learn that lesson eh world leaders!!! Its a stupid story but honestly in this kind of game it really isnt needed, this is arcade run & gun its not trying to win the script of the year oscar.
After finishing it I have to say I dont see why people go nuts for these games, they are extremely repetitive and even though theres bosses etc, most are so bland and lack thought that its a huge waste, theres many megadrive and snes games that do similar things much better, for a ps1 game with all its power its a slight letdown.
I can however see that when this series of games was first released for the then super console NEO GEO it would have blown peoples minds on graphics alone, maybe time has not been kind to the game style which is often the case with retro. So ultimately its kinda fun whilst it lasts, looks lovely, has a killer soundtrack and for arcade folk or bullet hell lovers im sure its a classic but for me its ultimately a bit average.
Verdict:- The final score is less than the average because nice graphics and killer sound do not make a game, its kinda boring after a while and the initial impact of the arcade action vanishes after about level 4, you simply just want to finish it and be done.
A bit more attention to boss design and less screen halting for yet more waves of troops and maybe even some sort of bonus level where you do something different for a bit to break everything up would have made this so much more fun for me. I get why so many folk love it, I really do but for me its just another game genre that died off because it never really evolved.
This is one classic game club im never going to be a member of.
Second Opinion:- Damn! And I thought I was harsh on games. Megatron is of course a mighty Decepticon warrior but on this one we may have to fall out. Metal Slug for the PS1 is both a superb game to play as well as saving all those monies you would have to fork out to own a Neo Geo console.
Ok so it's a bit repetitive, so is Pac-Man, Space Invaders and Asteroids but they are considered stone-wall classics. I'm gonna go higher on this one then call Optimus Prime, cause I may need some Autobot protection after this...
Transbot Scores:- 8 out of 10