It's been ten years since 2D shooter Metal Slug appeared in the arcades, and to celebrate SNK is set to release a new compilation for the PSP.
For the first twenty minutes, I loved Metal Slug 4 intensely. It's been long, too long, since I've played a game of such simplicity. There's no cut-scene-based preamble, no mood building: expect exposition no more elaborate than the brief looming of 'boss' before the battle ensues, or a thumbs-up from an ally at the end of a level.
From the moment your character's feet hit the ground in the first stage, Metal Slug 4 is relentless. Enemies attack from left, right and above, you instinctively duck, jump and change your position, and there's a metronomic quality to the hammering of your finger on the fire button.
It's pure, unadulterated, visceral; this is what gaming used to be like before better technology blurred the boundaries between it and cinema.