What's a console without
Metal Slug? Truly, there must be laws regarding this, provisions hidden in the Patriot Act. Now the Wii gets it's own version of Metal Slug, complete with motion sensitive controls and a few new upgrades. We might be getting a little tired of these games
by now, especially considering their supersaturation in the market, but Metal Slug Anthology for the Wii is still an enjoyable and complete, if gimmicky, version of the beloved series.
Metal Slug Anthology continues SNK's tradition of beating mildly successful franchises to death. This time they packaged the entirety of the Metal Slug library on to one disc. That's seven (7) Metal Slug games for about ten (10!) bucks cheaper than one full priced game. Kind of a bargain. Unfortunately, this might be the last swatch of reed
the dead horse can take, very literally, since this series has now been all but ported to the PlayStation 3. I'm sure that is pending.
In an attempt to make up for the lack of new material developer Terminal Reality made Metal Slug Anthology, for lack of a single, better word, Wii-tastic--that is, adapted the controls to the new system's capabilities. In doing so, and not for a lack of effort, they created multiple complicated systems of movement and a couple decent ones. There are numerous modes of control, and most of them are, actually, pretty terrible. The biggest downer for this franchise's leap to the Wii is that the control styles which do
work the best are not at all geared to the Wii's strengths. Meaning, ordinary, uncomplicated, classic controller configurations. And that's a shame.
Most of the control styles meant for the Wii's motion sensing are awkward or just plain silly. (Nunchuck only configuration, I'm looking at you!) Most likely, unless you enjoy dying over and over, you'll play with the Wiimote on its side like an updated NES controller or, if you've got one, with you Gamecube controller. With so many options, why the heck is there no option for the Wii Classic Controler?
So although this old dog failed to learn some new tricks, Metal Slug Anthology works as a collection of antiquated, but still enjoyable action scrollers. But if you're a fan of the series, it will be worth your while to pick it up.
As an anthology Metal Slug fairs pretty well. Seven full games are a pretty good hunk of meat. You get all the original blood and such, not to mention the swear words. (Nothing reminiscent of Grand Theft Auto, however.) If you have played Metal Slug before then you know exactly what you are getting. If not, just think Contra on crack. It's an addictive, retro, 2D platformer, actioneer, with lots of variation and stlye. And style has always been one of Metal Slug's shining characteristics.
You can watch the series grow up as you play through each game. But really, it doesn't grow up that much. I'm not sure if this is a testament to how well the first few games have held up or if it just highlights how little they have done with the franchise. Either way, unlike many gaming franchises, the first game is almost is good as playing the last. All those in-between are pretty much the same. But since the first was a damn fine game, that's not such a terrible thing--how original? that's another thing entirely.
One of the funniest paradoxes of Metal Slug Anthology is that even with all seven games (Metal Slug 1 through 6, and the trendily named Metal Slug X) there are still only a handful of hours of gameplay on the whole disc. I'll admit that I am not a Metal Slug enthusiast, so playing through it just once was a struggle for me. Even if you have great fandom, a high tolerance for repetition, or even have insomnia, bloodied gums, spit foaming ravenously at the corners of your mouth, I still
have a hard time seeing anyone
wanting to play Metal Slug over and over again. Unless you are such a big Metal Slug fan that you would, I suggest only giving the game a rent. You can probably play through the entirety of the franchise in a single day, easily a rental period.
That might sound harsh, but if you are fans of Metal Slug you have already played all of these games. The only thing you need to know is that the Wii controls add nothing (or perhaps take away something) from your beloved franchise's gameplay and cohesion. But, for non-fans, I say "pass." Or "rent." If you are in the mood for some old school gaming, especially a game that two of you can play together--and co-op is always great--then this collection is a good renter. And a perfect
rent if you can return it early and get some of your cash back.