SNK Playmore Metal Slug Anthology
This is why you pull the pin before you throw the grenade.
- They're still great games
Assuming you have a GameCube controller, these classic games are still a blast to play, but this particular release of them is hardly the tenth anniversary treatment the series deserves. Hopefully one day SNK will get the job done properly.
Price$ 79.95 (AUD)
The Metal Slug series is loved by just about anyone that digs scrolling shoot-'em-up action thanks to its unique hand-drawn artwork, intense firefights, and inventive boss designs. Unfortunately, lame (and mandatory) motion controls don't do these gems any favours.
The games themselves are as great as you remember, and have weathered the tests of time remarkably well. To have all seven games — alright, more like six, given that Metal Slug X is a revamp of Metal Slug 2 — in one place seems like a no-brainer recipe for success, and the emulation of each arcade original is impeccable, right down to the occasional slow-down.
Trouble is, the only way to play the game without screaming in frustration is by cracking out an old GameCube controller. Not a single one of the Nunchuk/Wiimote combination setups feel right, whether you're holding the Wiimote like an oversensitive unmounted joystick, or clumsily dividing duties between two hands. And get this: outside of a GameCube controller, there's no way to throw a grenade without invoking the motion sensitivity and waiting a solid half-second before you see the result reflected on-screen. In games that demand good timing above all else, this is unforgivable.
Come on, now: the developers could support the elderly GameCube controller, but not the sleek new Wii Classic Controller that's best suited to the job? It's a symptom of a rushed release, and it isn't the only one. Most of the games force you to endure frequent loading breaks simply to get to the next area. In a time when massive seamless worlds can be streamed off a disc, we can't manage to preload a section of a ten-year-old game?
Then there are the auto-fire and game save features, which work beautifully — except in Metal Slug 6, where the former setting is ignored, and the latter option is missing entirely. Consistency, anyone? There isn't even support for 480p.
Everything about the presentation says "we threw this together in a week," down to the poorly compressed ten-frame-per-second preview videos of each game in the main menu. Even the "bonus" content is weak; the galleries show some snazzy concept art from years gone by, but the unlockable interview fans would breathlessly expect to be in fresh new video format is actually... plain text. What, nobody had a camcorder they could crack out? Come on, guys: a little effort goes a long way.
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