Metal Slug is back and it promises to be very fun!
For those unfamiliar with the franchise, Metal Slug is a one-man army side-scroller (like Contra) with tons of explosions and thousands of bad guys to kill. No real changes have been made to the console game, except for the fact that you won't be pumping quarter after quarter into a machine every time you get nicked be a bullet. In short bursts, the game is a blast, but it only takes about 40 minutes to play through 4 or 5 making the entire game barely 2 hours long, however, you can still have some great fun even when the game is well past beaten. Still, it's a fun 2 hours. There's a ton of weapon pick-ups from dual machine guns and flamethrowers, to shooting rockets on wheels. Another great Metal Slug trait, is using the slugs, which are tanks and other vehicles you can hop into and wreak havoc with. Also, playing with a friend makes the game a lot more enjoyable. There's no difference between single and multiplayer besides the fact that you'll have someone to talk to and share the massive death toll. Some levels are split in two directions, and different paths may mean different enemies. This adds a little replay value but not enough to make the game worth $40.
While Metal Slug has never aimed to push graphics to a new level, it does have a gritty cartoon style that is a blast to watch. The characters and their animations have lots of attitude, the explosions are bright and stylized, and with lots of action happening on the screen at once means that on a PS2, there is no slow-down whatsoever, not to say the PS2 wouldn't be capable of anything much more system output consuming. The level diversity in these games are crazy. One level you're in a run-down city, the next you're in an ice cave, and after that you could be underwater. You really don't have a clue where you'll end up next. A really fun level is a tour through a haunted village in part 4. If you're bitten by a zombie, you turn into one. You can still control your slow-moving zombie self, but the grenade button now makes you puke up blood, destroying everything in your path.
Once the game drops in price, it'll be worth picking up if you're a Metal Slug fan, or if you're looking for a perfect rental. Overall, 4 and 5 are arcade games at heart, and with infinite lives and no need for quarters, the game is non-stop action. Well, until your 2 hours are up.