When I heard that Metal Slug was coming out for the Neo-Geo Pocket Color I was really excited. I am sure that many Neo-Geo fans shared in my excitement. It is one of those games that you are happy to see on display in a multi-game Neo Geo machine because for some reason it gives credibility to that particular machine. Well you can bet that a game like that would be sure to make it onto Neo-Geo's pocket system-no doubt. But does it remain fun on the small screen? Does it retain all of the fast-paced shooter action that it had in the arcade? Well the simple answer to those questions is yes. The complex answer will take a couple of paragraphs.
The game throws you smack dab in the middle of a war. You are a one-man special task force sent to destroy as much as you possibly can before getting your butt blown away. Along the way there are special weapons including a machine gun and a rocket launcher. You also man a specialized tank-called Metal Slug-as well as a Slug Flyer, which is basically a tank that can fly. Each of the vehicles can be accessed early on in the game so even novice players will be able to enjoy the great variety of play that the game offers.
There are a ton of missions in the game, each one much more difficult than the next. They range from different war environments like the desert and the jungle, anywhere where there are bad guys to shoot. Just like the arcade version the game plays very fast and is only for those with quick reflexes. It is definitely not for the slow of fingers. You only have one life and when that is gone your game is over. Although there are 3 continues and the option to earn more, the game is so difficult that those continues will seem to dwindle quickly. The saving grace is that there is the option to save the game after each level so if you are good enough you will never have to see those first couple of levels again. Probably the reason that it is so difficult (besides having the reputation of being a hard game) is that it is a hand-held game. That way, the challenge will be ever-present even on the fourth or fifth time you play it.
Metal Slug is a great series and fans of the series will enjoy the portable installment. The biggest complaint will probably be the lack of action going on at any given time. The playing field is much more zoomed in so there is less to see. Though this is necessary on such a small screen, it does take away from the busy action-packed feel of the original. Still if you have always wanted to know what it is like to nearly get shot while rescuing POWs and shooting down the enemy in a military tank then you have no other game to play than Metal Slug.
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