You’re not likely to have heard much about the Metal Slug games. Not only are they fairly difficult to get a hold of, they’re also bluddy hard work to play. Then there’s the action – strictly 2D variety that us modern day three dimensional types scoff at.
For hard core shoot ‘em up fanatics though, there’s not much to top them. The first thing that strikes you about Metal Slug is the sheer amount of on screen action. Bullets and explosions fly here, there and everywhere and any left over space is taken up by enemies biting the big one.
Considering the hefty number of collections popping up on the PSP at the moment, it’s little surprise to see Slug finally making an appearance. But are these titles good enough to drag us away from Locoroco?
First of all, there’s a hell of a lot of meat on this collection’s bones. Packing not only Metal Slug 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and X, this also sees the first console appearance of the latest in the series, inspiringly titled Metal Slug 6. Bet they were up all night dreaming up the name.
Played solely in 2D, your main task is simple. Lay waste any and all enemies that are daft enough to wander into your path of destruction and hopefully rescue a few POW’s en route. And that’s it. There’s no complicated plot points to slow you down here.
You’re well stocked and can stay that way with weapons available every few steps. You’ll need them too with the huge number of enemies all ready and waiting to be slaughtered. Chances of spying an empty screen are close to nil.
There’s a twist in the tale too. Unlike countless other shooters, your life isn’t some force that’s depleted as you get hit. One shot here and you’re dead.
As serious as that all sounds, the developers lay on the humour with a trowel and that makes Metal Slug a joy to play. Couple the laughs with the cartoony graphics and the chunky vehicles – the Metal Slugs of the title – and you get a game that’s hard to switch off.
A nice little addition to the PSP version is the ability to save at absolutely any point. If you fancy a quick blast on the way home from work then no problem. Just don’t go missing your stop.
The only issue we have with Metal Slug is the difficulty level. The likes of Oblivion may seem tough at times, but it’s a stroll on an alien planet compared with this. The chances of making it through the first level without snuffing it at least a dozen times are pretty slim. Even after weeks of practice you’ll still get the odd cap in the backside.
But, as the saying goes, don’t let the bastards get you down. Once you’ve been at it a while you’ll enjoy this more than almost anything you’ve played before.
We say try before you buy. Metal Slug is an acquired taste, but one you should love. Just don’t expect to graduate from softy sports titles in an instant.