What do you do when you are SNK and have this awesome piece of tech in the arcades? You bring it home of course. The problem that SNK faced with this action is that arcade perfect ports required arcade perfect hardware. With that hardware comes a high price. So, to entice players into buying your games and hardware you have to give them something the competition are not. That is Metal Slug. A super detailed tour de force of explosions and run and gun action. To say the Sony Playstation and Sega Saturn, Neo Geo’s main competition in 1996, were not providing anything similar is an understatement. SNK was rocking the 2D, sprite based, style hard with Metal Slug while Sony and Sega were playing with pointy polygons that were slow and tedious for the player.
The action in Metal Slug is best described as Contra on steroids. While Konami’s run and gun game was hard due to well-placed enemies that made life tough, Metal Slug was hard for sheer numbers of enemies coming at you. Metal Slug doesn’t hold back. Enemies die in grand fashion, they don’t simply fade or flicker away. Enemy machinations explode in tons of parts and shrapnel that will make you grin with glee the first few times. SNK knew how to make an awesome game both graphically and in how it played.
What was cool about Metal Slug was that even if you survived only a little bit of a level, you were easily enticed into dropping more money into the machine. That “pull” that old school games had was gushing out of the arcade cabinet and television when played at home. SNK knew they had a hit as the sequels prove- even during the nearly “all fighting” game craze they went through.
If you want to get back into Metal Slug then you are in luck. SNK saw that it was available on many platforms over the years. Check out Ebay for copies of them, your purchase helps us keep Retro Gaming Magazine going strong.
What are your memories of Metal Slug?