Get ready for another one hour of run and gun action with Metal Slug. You know, once I’ve written a review of one Metal Slug, I could just copy and paste them for all the games. I know the developers sure did when it comes to art and animation, but with a style so great it was the wise choice to use assets from the previous game. Metal Slug X is a modified version of Metal Slug 2 rather than the tenth game in the series.
There’s a lot new to the game that’s fresh from its predecessor. Metal Slug X becomes a parody of itself. Rather than a game full of strict action and a few chuckles here and there, this game brings charming absurdity and laughs.
The story is simple, once again the world is in danger and you need to stop him. Like all Metal Slug games, you can bring a friend for some cooperative action. There is online multiplayer, but no one is using it. The big twist with Metal Slug X is rather than saving a world, you turn unite with the enemy to face the greater evil evil.
At the start, there is get four characters to chose from. There seems to be no difference between them and if you get a game over, you can chose a new character. Each character starts with a pistol, a few throwable bombs and a jump. You can fire three directions and four if you jump. Getting close to an enemy and attacking will perform a melee slash which is also good for cutting larger projectiles out of the air.
As you progress through the levels you’ll face off against mummies, and later wall crawling sewer ghouls. Mummies, mummy dogs and bats have the ability to turn your character into a mummy. This constricts you to a pistol and slow movement. Jumps feel stiff because you’re wrapped in bandages. Rather than throwing a grenade, you can throw your head instead.
Along the way, you’ll pick up items for points; things like fruit, pigs, cats and medals. If you eat too much food, pigs or cats your character will become fat. This makes you move slow, but your bullets are much larger as a trade off. It will still get you killed in an instant. Metal Slug is a sluggish game in general, but getting hindered by obesity is a sure fire death sentence.
The game in general is just a death sentence, but a fun one. The screen fills with enemies and projectiles so its easy to die with how stiff your character moves. Its all that great animation weighing you down. One of the worst instances of how unfair the game can get is fighting off four unstoppable subway cars in a row with only a pistol.
Since this is a home version of the arcade game, there are several different difficulties and a free play mode that gives you unlimited continues. Once you complete the game, it tells you how many continues you used and then you can multiply that by quarters you would have spent in an arcade machine.
There are more vehicles in this game than the previous. Instead of just the Metal Slug tank, you can now drive a camel through the streets. The camel performs a lot like the Metal Slug, but you’re susceptible to dying while you’re mounted the hump. The a new mech is a good one to pilot because it has twin guns that are more accurate than the tank or the camel. Last, but not least is the jet that lets you fly around and fire missiles.
Another thing that sets this game apart from other Metal Slugs are the environments. The first level is in an Arabian city. The second level is through a mine that turns into catacombs. There are rehashed cities from the previous game, but they manage to feel fresh with cars that explode up rather than get crushed under tank treads. There is a dark sewer and an alien base.
A few of the bosses are recycled from the original game and pallet swapped. Other bosses are brand new. Things like a giant metal worm that’s eating a stone tower that forces you to keep jumping up or die. You’ll find many bosses that rely on you having to leap into the air and shoot down at them.
One thing I did notice about the bosses is how many bullets they takes. When you need to shoot them with a pistol and push the button for each and every bullet you fire, it turns into a test of endurance. The incentive to put another quarter into the game when its game over is the fact that a heavy machine gun drops for your next game.
The heavy machine gun fires a burst to make it more effective than just a pistol. All the previous weapons are back; the shotgun rips enemies in half at short range, flame thrower with the best burn animation of any game, rocket launcher that steers projectiles toward an enemy and a few others. A lot more weapons make their debut. A bouncing ball gun. Chasing rockets that are more agile than the standard rocket launcher. Some sort of bomb radio car that drives along the ground. There seems to be both a fat and thin laser. You can even find alternate bombs like one that ignites the ground on fire. Each of the weapons has incredible impact and is fun to use; except the pistol.
To get weapons or items you need to save prisoners-of-war that will wave you over. Once you shoot or stab them, they’ll be free to walk around and then when you touch them they’ll pull up a pair of boxer shorts and reveal an item within. It sounds bizarre, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
I always go out of my way to save every POW; no man left behind! They will amount to a bonus score at the end of the level, but only if you haven’t died after saving them. One of them tries to help you out with some fancy moves from Street Fighter 2.
Like the other Metal Slug games for the PC, I have a feeling this is emulation. There’s no way my beast of a computer would slow down from an arcade game from over fifteen years ago. Its designed to emulate that old Neo Geo feel, warts and all. Its nothing game breaking, but it is noticeable.
You’ll find modernization here like achievements and a wide array of video options. There are controls for the keyboard or a 360 controller, but sadly, no mouse exclusive input where the middle mouse is the gun, the right button is the jump and the left button is the grenade. Such a missed opportunity there.
While the linear ride is over in an hour, that’s still twice the time of the original Metal Slug. Its a great time for any arcade game and it leaves you wanting more. Lucky for you there are so many Metal Slugs.