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Metal Slug 4 & 5
game: Metal Slug 4 & 5
three star
posted by: Matt James
publisher: SNK Playmore
developer: SNK
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ESRB rating: T (Teen)
date posted: 09:23 AM Fri Sep 16th, 2005
last revision: 09:23 AM Fri Sep 16th, 2005

Click to read.Metal Slug 4 and Metal Slug 5 are the types of games that are getting increasingly harder to rank. When I sit down to write my review I have to decide by which merits do I judge these games. If I were to compare this game to most popular games I would have to rank it pretty low. The graphics and gameplay are far from what we expect these days. On the other hand, if I judge the game by what the developers were actually attempting to create, then I would have to give it a decent score. Metal Slug (The two games are near identical so for the most part I will just refer to them as one) is an old-school, 2D, run n\' gun style game. If you have never played a Metal Slug game before, think Contra. If you still don\'t know what I am talking about take a look at the screenshots. I think you\'ll be able to get a pretty good idea what this game is about.

There is a large part of me that yearns for the simple gameplay of days past. There was an intense and immediate joy that I would get from videogames in the past that isn\'t really there anymore. Even the worst games seemed playable. Today that isn\'t true. Sometimes even really good games are hard for me to play for an extended amount of time and often take time for me to get into. Resident Evil 4 and the Splinter Cell games come to mind. I think they are great games, and appreciate the heck out of them, but when it comes to actually playing them I tend to punk out. So when a game like Metal Slug comes along you\'d think I would be all over it. I was too. I was actually really excited to play Metal Slug. Of course playing Metal Slug I was reminded that my enjoyment of videogames hasn\'t changed because of the games but because of me. At Christmas you can get a thousand dollars worth of presents as an adult and the joy will never match fifty dollars worth of presents as a kid. Just like Christmas, even playing Halo today won\'t feel the same as playing Contra did twenty years ago. Don\'t get me wrong, I love games, lots and lots of games. But that is reality, and playing a game like Metal Slug isn\'t going to make me feel like I am a child again. If it did they would sell a hell of a lot better.

Not being the digital fountain of youth shouldn\'t count against Metal Slug, though. I have to give the game credit: it seeks to be a certain thing, and it does that very well. But, does anybody want what that is anymore? I did, for about and hour. Then I was pretty much done with it. Luckily Metal Slug 4 and 5 only take about five hours of combined gameplay to finish. Luckily for this reviewer. If you are a consumer and you just plopped down forty bucks for the game you might be a little upset. Eight dollars an hour isn\'t exactly a great bargain, considering there are many games that guarantee a minimum of ten times that amount. I understand that there is an audience for this type of game and they will really enjoy playing it. I think even they will be disappointed with the length.

Many people will be wondering what Metal Slug does with X-box Live. Virtually nothing, in-fact. The only support Metal Slug has for X-box Live is an online scoreboard. Although I don\'t mean to slight this feature, which is pretty cool. With this more arcade style game getting a high score is a very big component of the fun factor and even high scores are no fun if you can\'t compare and brag. Too bad this is the only major evolution for this kind of game. I would like to see this spill over into arcades though. Imagine if the machines at the arcade not only listed local high scores but high scores all across the world. I don\'t think it would be that hard of a thing to pull off.

It is disappointing that this is the only online function though. The biggest reason Contra was so fun is because it was one of the first games you and a friend could play together, at the same moment, against a common foe. Continuing this idea, into today\'s gaming generation with an online co-op mode would have been neat. It would have doubled my playtime and given Metal Slug some much needed replay value. Something it has almost none of for me and probably will for few others, except the already mentioned high score junkies.

Metal Slug does offer some manic, wacky fun akin to the Timesplitters games. You can expect to battle zombies and pirates along with your standard military men. In Metal Slug 4 you even get turned into a zombie, offering a slight change in gameplay. It is kind of fun but it is more or less fighting variations of the same thing over and over. Which is very much unlike the Timesplitters games, where you really feel like you have found yourself in the thick of a new environment with each level.

Metal Slug 5 offers slightly better bosses and weapons, but you don\'t turn into a zombie. So screw that. They really are very much the same. Add a little cut scene and just link the two to make a slightly longer single game. No one would\'ve known the difference.

If you need a break from today\'s intense and engrossing titles, then Metal Slug might be worth having around to pop in every now and again. If you are a huge fan of the series you may enjoy having it. If you are curious I say give it a rent, if you think you will like Metal Slug it really is a perfect renter. My guess is that most gamers won\'t have a lot of use for it. Especially now as we emerge from the summer gaming drought.

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