Metal Slug is one of the premier side scrolling run and gun games of any generation. Its synonymous with quirky fun and gorgeous animation. It was only a matter of time before unofficial games started to crop up using its fantastic sprites. Metal Slug vs Zombies takes a departure from run and gun action and its a simple point and click shooter that has you defending your tower from waves of enemies. In between waves, you can use cash from defeating enemies to purchase better guns, health and other upgrades for your fortress.
The game looks like Metal Slug or at least a combination of backgrounds and sprites. It uses music and sounds from the game, but stops short at the announcer narrating things. It uses zombies, characters, soldiers and sprites to make it look convincing, even if its a single screen game with no change in background since you’re defending a single base for as many levels as you can..
You shoot with the mouse cursor and your bullets instantly hit. Depending on the gun you’re using and its upgrades, you’ll run out of bullets. The reload process is a painful amount of time, but you can change to a different weapon if you have another. There’s a problem with changing weapons, because your current weapon never highlights any different from the default weapon. Even in the upgrade menu, the weapon you start with is always highlighted, even if you select something different.
There are upgrades to your clip size, gun strength and reload speed as well. Each upgrade can be maxed out. I appreciate having the ability to upgrade and guns feel different, but its still a shallow game. Bonus cash for accuracy and time would have been nice, but in the wild west of free games, you take what you can get.
For the most part the enemies, are ground zombies and flying demons with little variety. The sad thing is the variety of zombie sprites is used sparingly until a boss fight where every zombie sprite comes out for a walk. Higher waves only make them faster to compensate for your gun upgrades.
It would be easier if you could fight the enemies from the ground rather than stuck in your tower. I suppose that would sap all the challenge from what is already an easy game that relies on a grind. There are soldiers to purchase for ground combat that will aide you, but otherwise, you’re all alone. With another soldier on your side, the game feels far too easy and reduces the stress. The game is already at a point where my tower was never touched. At some point I was bored enough to stop playing and so I allowed zombies to make it through, but my hired gun still put up a heck of a fight. Having two meant they were unstoppable even when times looked bad for them, they still muscled through it.
There is a mystery bar at the bottom along with numbers that never move. I assume its the tower health, but it should be the percentage of the wave you’ve completed. Waves get longer, but there’s no threat or crescendo to increase the challenge at the end. After each wave, you’re just kicked into the upgrade menu with little transition to make it feel polished. Its just very abrupt and one time I still had a flying demon that had just spawned coming into the screen. Death is just as abrupt and after each death if you chose to play again, you start at the same level you lost.
The only real problem other than the shift in genres is how small the resolution is. You’re stuck in a small game window fit for a security monitor. It makes the upgrade screen so tight that 1,000 turns into 100. With the enemies spawning on the left so close to the edge of the window it can be easy to click something else. Another minor issue is that the menu items for more games, submit score and high scores, but neither link even works. I have no desire to see either one, but at least ensure that they work. Since its a web based game, it ends up on a lot of websites with thousands of petty games.
Without the name Metal Slug, I’d never play this. Its a shallow game with a dull genre. Its the start of what could be a better game. Such as having to move and defend both the right and left side at least for the sake of diversity. I’d like to see it expanded, rather than just making use of Metal Slug sprites.