TGS '07: Metal Slug 7 Hands-On

DS owners with a penchant for classic arcade shooters should have something special coming their way with Metal Slug 7. We played the preview build at this year's Tokyo Game Show.

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The Metal Slug series is one of SNK's biggest commercial and critical successes, so it's not surprising that it has managed to hit as many as seven iterations. Heading exclusively to the Nintendo DS, Metal Slug 7 was on show at this year's Tokyo Game Show for the first time. We headed over to the SNK booth to find out if it's set to continue in the great tradition of the series.

As with many other demos at this year's TGS, Metal Slug 7 was incredibly short. It offered up two very short levels as an example of its progression, and while we were impressed with what we saw, it offered little in the way of variation. Nonetheless, the DS seemed to be handling the technical demands of this high-action title for the most part, although there was some slowdown when lots of characters were onscreen.

However, the game played just perfectly, and it will be immediately familiar to anyone who's familiar with the series. Your character starts the game by being dropped into a war zone by parachute, and from then on it's basically nonstop side-scrolling action. You move your character with the D pad, jump with B, and fire with X. The game is incredibly frantic, with human enemies and tanks firing at you from all angles, but you can attack people up close with your knife or throw grenades with the Y button.

The demo also showed off one usable vehicle in the form of a tank. This vehicle is very useful for attacking the other tanks because it can fire in many different directions, and likewise it provides some much-needed armour. You can also use the L button to eject from the tank and send it running unmanned to take out enemies kamikaze-style. While there was no touch-screen control to be seen in the demo, the bottom screen was used to show the map, and hopefully some more in5tegration of this will appear in the full game.

Metal Slug 7 will no doubt appeal to fans of the series. It seems to have captured everything about the original games that made them great. While the touch-screen integration seems limited at this stage, there's still time for the team to experiment, which is probably better than just awkwardly shoehorning it into a game where it wouldn't fit. We'll have more for you on Metal Slug 7 as we get it.

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