Metal Slug Anthology review
Metal Slug Anthology : Old school at its best


Overview :
If you know Old School, you know Metal Slug. Am I right? Well, if you don't, this is what Metal Slug is : an old school side scrolling shooter game that originally came on arcade machines. Designed by a company known as SNK Playmore, Metal Slug was the game of the arcade era. It supported upto 4 players in co-op multiplayer as well. It became a big hit in arcades quickly after it came into being, in 1996. After 10 years of this initial release of the first ever Metal Slug game, SNK Playmore wanted to celebrate the 10th anniversary. The PSP being an ideal platform for an old school side-scroller, Metal Slug Anthology came into being, as a compilation of all 7 Metal Slug arcade games : Metal Slug, Metal Slug 2, Metal Slug X, Metal Slug 3, Metal Slug 4, Metal Slug 5, and Metal Slug 6.

Story :
I don't think there is one. Even if there is one, I never noticed. All I know is, there are some characters (can't remember their names ) from which you pick one and go on a murder spree, killing every enemy soldier you come across, and also freeing old-man-like prisoners who give you free items and power-ups.

Graphics/Presentation :
Well, it's got no high end graphics , but it does have a nice and humorous look and feel to it. For example, when your character gets hit, the enemy soldier who shot you (or in some cases stabbed you) starts pointing his finger at the corpse and starts laughing. But of course, he doesn't know that you have "credits" that let you regenerate. So, as soon as your character appears on the battlefield again, the soldier's eyes widen and he shivers as if he's seen a dead man walking.

Gameplay :
The gameplay is identical to the arcade versions. You pick your character out of the given characters and start your murder spree. Sounds fun, eh? You can have different kinds of weapons which you can get from various lettered tiles. A tile with letter "H" would give you a Heavy Machine Gun (My favourite weapon in this game ) whereas a letter "R" would give you a Rocket Launcher (Nasty weapon, difficult to target). There are several old-men-like-creatures on each level as prisoners. You have to kill all the enemy soldiers around them in order to set them free. Setting these prisoners free is completely optional, but they give you various high power weapons and stuff like lives once they're free.
There are several bosses in each game. Usually, the final boss of a game is quite challenging to beat. You need to do different things to beat different bosses. For example, the boss of a certain level in Metal Slug 2 and X is encountered as you climb a tower. There, the boss (some kind of a machine with huge snapping jaws) keeps coming at you from below and you must keep climbing the tower (which, thankfully never ends. ) in order to avoid its big mouth as well as shooting at it. All in all, the gameplay is quite fun.

PSP Version Enhancements :
Of course, you guessed there would be some, right? The first most obvious thing is the ability to save the game at any spot. Yes, press SELECT and select "SAVE GAME". Metal Slug Anthology keeps different saves for each Metal Slug Game. But the downside is, you can keep only one save per game.

Next enhancement is WiFi ad-hoc co-op multiplayer. This gives you the same experience you could've had at an arcade with your friends (Maybe, even better! ). Supports upto 4 players just like the arcade game.

Next enhancement (not much of an enhancement ) is the screen set-up. You can select whether to play in the native PSP widescreen mode (lets you see several more enemies at once) or play in the classic 4:3 scanlined mode (gives you the classic arcade feel).

Here's another good (but be warned, may take some of the fun away) tweak. If you've seen some arcade games, you must've seen that before you insert coins, the game plays by itself with "FREE PLAY" where you should see "CREDITS :_". Well, with Metal Slug Anthology, you could set the number of credits or even enable "FREE PLAY", where you have an infinite number of credits. But this may make the game lose its point as you just have no challenge when you enable it.

Here's the final tweak . [] is the shoot button. In the original arcade version, pressing the shoot button once only lets out a few bullets from the gun, making you press [] over and over again on your PSP. If you feel the button might wear out (), enable Shoot Button Hold and you only have to hold on the [] button until your ammo is over.

So overall, I feel it's a pretty good game. A good portable game as well. No load time problems or anything. But be warned : Hardcore gamers won't like this.

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