Metal Slug Anthology


Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 7

Sound: 8

Gameplay: 6

Overall: 5


Seven games, each one a classic in its own right, on a single UMD is a steal. Actually almost anything SNK puts out with Metal Slug slapped on the box is a winner; seven Metal Slug’s are even better. While this PSP compilation boasts all of the 2-D renditions of the main series, it’s either a system limitation or poor coding that at times renders these games unplayable.

metalslug1psp.jpg (24108 bytes)Up to date with the latest game in the series in tow, Metal Slug 6, this packed set is a portable dream at first glance. Full multi-player options, though sadly over local ad hoc connections only, allow two players to run through these three-explosions-per-second action platformers together. A few extras, including unlockable galleries and an interview, add reason to play through each game.

Fans generally award Metal Slug 3 the award for the best in the series, setting a record for the longest final level in the history of 2-D gaming. Simply stunning sprite animation is a series highlight, pushing the original arcade Neo Geo hardware as far as it could go. This also tends to lead to heavy slowdown, particularly where Metal Slug 2 is concerned. That slowdown is a part of the originals and is emulated here accurately.

What’s not accurate is the constant loading. An extended wait to enter each title through the simple menu system (filled with customization options as far as difficulty and credits are concerned) is acceptable, but waiting for animation to load during a game is inexcusable. The UMD drive struggles to keep up with new information. If a previously unseen enemy or animation routine is needed, the game stops completely for a second — sometimes more — to pull the data before letting the player continue on their run.

In other areas of the game, this is even worse. In Metal Slug 2, when trying to continue after dying, Anthology oddly loads each character as your browsing the selection, not after making a decision. Pauses like this interrupt everything, from the flow of the game to the otherwise flawless and trademark animation.

This makes each title more difficult than it already is. The unexpected pauses are more out of place here than they would be in nearly any other title. Pinpoint accuracy is the only way to survive. Given that extras are not awarded until you’ve completed a game without continues, this becomes a further issue.

Oddly, the games look only fair on the PSP's sharp screen. Even when sets to their original size, colors are faded and drab. Stretched, the added blurriness hinders this further.

Complaints aside, there are seven Metal Slugs in their original form on this disc. The inexcusable stuttering game play does mar that selection to the point that purists will find this set unplayable. Casual followers will simply be happy with the games as they are and find the loading nothing more than a small hindrance.


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Last updated: Monday, April 16, 2007 09:37 PM