GDC 06: First Hands-On With Metal Slug Collection

We get to play a few of the six Metal Slug games offered in this upcoming massive collection for the PSP.

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SAN JOSE, Calif.--One of the exciting announcements coming out of GDC 06 this morning came from the SNK camp, when it announced that to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Metal Slug franchise it was releasing the largest single collection of Metal Slug games in the Metal Slug Collection for the PlayStation Portable. This collection, which will fit onto a single UMD, includes Metal Slug, Metal Slug 2, Metal Slug X, Metal Slug 3, Metal Slug 4, and Metal Slug 5. The games will all be perfect ports of their arcade counterparts and will feature ad hoc support for two players to play cooperatively.

Metal Slug, a franchise that was popularized on NeoGeo home and arcade platforms in the late '90s, has since seen many iterations and ports across recent systems, including an upcoming translation of only the original game, Metal Slug, to the Game Boy Advance, but none, not even recent releases on the Xbox or PlayStation 2, offer all of the games that are coming to the PSP collection in such a small and neat package.

We got our hands on an early build of the Metal Slug Collection and checked out a few of the games. It's safe to say that they're coming along quite nicely. Though the collection is still in the early stages of development, it's apparent that the PSP handles the gameplay quite well, and it's frankly surprising that SNK is going to be able to fit all of the classic Metal Slug games so easily on one UMD.

The crux of the Metal Slug gameplay is 2D side-scrolling shooting similar to that of Contra. By acquiring different weapons and pickups, you can make your way either quickly or cautiously through a constant flow of oncoming (and trailing) enemies. Metal Slug has always been characterized by its exaggerated realism (to the point of cartoonishness) and quick humor. Since SNK is porting all of the original games directly, it seems to be effortlessly translating all of what makes Metal Slug unique.

In the games, you control one of the soldiers in the Regular Army looking to stifle the enemy Rebellion troops. As Marco, the game's main protagonist, we were able to jump around easily through the environment, shoot a whole lot of bad guys, free some long-haired POWs, and retrieve the pickups they had left behind. The games feature a number of different weapons aside from the standard gun and grenades, and we got the opportunity to play around with the flamethrower and rocket launchers as well. These were especially effective in destroying the environments and hovering helicopters that provided a pretty serious threat to our hero.

Unfortunately we didn't get the opportunity to check out the multiplayer, but it promises to be identical to the multiplayer of previous games, letting you cooperatively defeat enemies and compete for the superior pickups. We're anticipating a November release of the Metal Slug Collection, and we'll bring you more information on this game as it is made available.

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