Metal Slug Anthology Reader Review
When this was announced it was immediately catapulted to the top of my wish list, I just love SNK, Metal Slug and 2D period. The thought of being able to play all of the Metal Slug games whilst on the move was like a dream come true (fingers crossed for some kind of KOF Anthology). Sure since the game was announced the PSP homebrew scene has jumped in leaps and bounds and it's (excluding MS6) now possible to play all of the games via emulation on the PSP anyway, but a complete made for PSP package meant that I would still be dribbling with excitement leading up to its release. Then the game arrived....
The first thing I noticed upon booting up the disc is the horrendous loading times. I am guessing that Ignition are just not very good at this. All of the KOF collections released in Europe for the PS2 have had loading times on par with boiling water on an open fire, so maybe its something they need to work on. But the fact that the game boots to the game selection screen, then boots again for you to choose single / network play, then boots again asking if you are to start a new game or load a continued game, then loads for a 4th time just to get to the Slug of your choice, just screams lazy programming to me. But the loading doesn't stop there, some of the titles then have to load a 5th time once you press start, and a 6th to actually get you started on Stage 1, not to mention the 'catch-up' loading during gameplay. Not disastrous you might think, but sort of ruins the pick up and play ethic of these sort of collections, especially when I compare to Parodius Portable which IMO couldn�t have been implemented better.
Anyhow, for those that don't know, the Metal Slug series is one of the pinnacles of the 'run n gun' genre, with beautifully animated sprites and at times blisteringly hard don't blink or think gameplay. I could go on, but will just ask you to wiki Metal Slug for the full picture.
Yes as stated on the box, you do have arcade perfect conversions here - all the sounds, animation and gameplay of the NeoGeo games; which may explain the above with all the titles being emulated then the additional bits and pieces bolted onto the package. Metal Slug is still the best game of the collection with the difficulty curve pitched just right, unlike MS3 which starts sedate enough, but by the end of the first level less proficient gamers will be reeling with frustration not to mention fear of breaking the start button after constant continuing.
The surprise of the package for me is Metal Slug 6. I had not played this title before as it appeared on the Atomiswave system and not on the humble NeoGeo hardware. This is back to form following the shambles of MS5 and it very much borrows many of the mechanics that made the first game so great. Had this not been included I probably would have marked the whole collection down to a 6.
7 / 10