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Metal Slug by Maddog
Game:Metal SlugCompany:Nazca Corp.
Type:ShooterPlayers:1-2

In my opinion,one of the best games Neo-Geo has to offer,this one is another shooting game."Another?!" I hear everybody asking.Well, not quite,this one is so nicely done that it'll keep you playing for a long time...
You control a little macho commando style man,running along several (6,actually) levels,jumping on platforms,shooting everything in sight and generally wreaking havoc all over the place.So far,nothing we haven't seen a billion times before (remember Green Beret,Contra and many other classic arcades?),but this tired old concept is given so many nice touches and features in this one,that make it a lovely game to play again and again.
First of all,the graphics are very beautifully drawn,detailed and cartoony style.The movement is very smooth and many sprites, especially some of the end-level bosses are h u g e.The game is full of nice touches and little details,which you 'll notice gradually as you play.I especially enjoyed the bit halfway through level 2,where you shoot some enemy ships.Just before they go under,you see the enemy soldiers aboard them frantically trying to pump water from them,to prevent sinking.Certainly,a couple more shots and their efforts prove to be just vain...I admit losing a couple of lives while watching this sequence!These little bits add so much to the enjoyment this game offers.For the more battle-hardened out there,who won't care a bit about the funny stuff,there are also several special weapons available, like flame throwers,bazookas etc. to make blasting the enemy to pieces a more varied activity ;) .Additionally,your man can throw grenades and enter some kind of tank that you find along the way and improves greatly your resistance to enemy fire and your firepower.Along the way, you must free some friendly POWs.Grateful,they will offer you some special weapon,extra points or grenades and a bonus at the end of the level,so free them for your own good too!Watch their animation too,it's another one of the beautiful details mentioned above.The levels are only six,but they are quite long and challenging and all have different backgrounds,so you won't get bored very fast.Much of the scenery can also be blown to pieces and crumbles in a spectacular and very satisfying way.At the end of each level,there is the usual big,bad boss,that is a good challenge in itself too.I can't tell anything about the sound,as the emulators don't support it yet and I have never seen this game in an actual arcade.Let's see if NeoRage or MAME make it first with sound support on this baby!The ability to play it in two-player mode is also very welcome,as a friend can join you and help increasing the mess (and the fun...) considerably.
On the down side,sometimes there seem to be so many bullets flying around,that I seriously doubt whether anyone can survive among them,as you get very confused and occassionally you don't even get to see the one that hit you coming.Also,you don't seem to be able to fire diagonally,unless you are in the tank and firing downwards is hard too. This means that sometimes you see the enemy,but can't shoot them in time.Control could have been a little bit tighter,it would n't harm the game at all.Also,the ending sequence seemed a little disappointing.I'm sure the programmers could have put up something more rewarding for anyone having the ability (or extra coins!) to finish the game.
All in all,this is a very decent shooter.It is also a rather fresh game,dated 1996.You 'll like its' graphics and nice touches and you 'll probably try to finish it at least once and come back to it even then.
Metal Slug is emulated by two great emulators:NeoRage and the latest betas of MAME 0.34.Emulation of the game is very nice indeed, except the sound support,which isn't there yet.Luckily,it has been announced that the teams behind both emulators are working on this subject,so it's just a matter of time.We all have to be patient. Hopefully it's coming soon,I'm sure it 'll add so much to the games' pleasure.It's not a horrendously demanding game either (at least for a NeoGeo game...) ,so that most recent computers will play it gracefully. Definitely a slow Pentium or just 16MB of RAM won't do the job,but most of todays' systems will.Finally one little "tip".For those who prefer a bit more blood and gore,enter the dipswitch menu and set the Blood option on,to play a more violent version of the game,if you are into this kind of thing.
OK,guys,killing time is NOW!
Graphics
10
1
Sound
Play Control
7
8
Challenge
Replay Value
9
8
Performance
1999 EmuViews