GDC 06: Hands on Metal Slug GBA

We get a first glimpse and pass with this port of the original arcade game for the Game Boy Advance.

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SAN JOSE, Calif.--To kick off the second full day of GDC conferences, we were able to sit down with SNK and get our hands on a playable version of Metal Slug for the Game Boy Advance. The Metal Slug series, which was popularized in the arcades and on the NeoGeo in the late '90s has been ported several times in recent years to systems like the Xbox and the PlayStation 2. Though GBA owners were treated to an original game with Metal Slug Advance in late 2004, they're going to get to try something new--at least because this time its nostalgic--with Metal Slug.

This upcoming release is a direct port of the arcade version of the very first Metal Slug game. In it, you'll be able to select either 1st Lieutenant Marco Rossi or 2nd Lieutenant Tarma Roving to fight on behalf of the Regular Army troops against a disruption in the lands known as the Rebellion. But the story in the Metal Slug games has always been ancillary to the actual gameplay, and in this regard Metal Slug for the GBA is no different. The focus of the game is the 2D side-scrolling action accentuated by a pretty constant flow of bullets, rockets, and grenades across the screen. As either of the characters, you must fight your way through the environment using jump and duck to maneuver yourself out of the way of the enemies and their bullets.

Though this version is still in the early stages of development, we were able to jump right into gameplay and give Marco a spin. The game feels pretty much like the original Metal Slug game, although not all of the actions are fully functional yet. We did manage to blow up some barrels and watch it destroy wooden planks in the environment, and there were a fair share of enemies to fight and long-haired POWs to rescue. As you would expect, the gameplay is going to be a balance of dodging bullets, returning your own fire to destroy the constant stream of enemies, and collecting pickups to aid you along your way.

So far Metal Slug is looking pretty good on the Game Boy Advance, but it is still quite a way from completion. We look forward to seeing how accurate this arcade port is going to get and bringing you any and all information when we get it up until the game's projected release in September of this year.

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