Although I had some good times with Mario on the 8-bit Nintendo, it was Konami's Contra that made me a gamer for life: the music, enemies, the gun-shooting alien atmosphere -- there was nothing like it. The overwhelming sense of vanquishing evil and restoring order to the universe provided grounds for a mega jam-packed adrenaline rush like none other
Many moons later, Metal Slug strolled onto the scene. And it had gamers claiming of a return to the good old days of ''go-right action,'' ''two player 2D shooting bliss,'' insert other like-cliche here
The memories I have of Contra -- the endless nights spent destroying alien monsters alongside my brother and uncle... feels like a different lifetime. Perhaps Metal Slug will take me back, just like it did those many other gamers...
What can I say? From the start I became a believer. Suddenly I was thrust into the shoes of one, Marco Rossi. Blasting my first enemy soldier, he crumpled to the ground bleeding a horrible yet satisfying death. Oh yes, there will be blood, and lots of it! Bad guy up in your grill? Pull out the knife and BLAM! Talk about a reality check!
Not before long I found the flame thrower. The results were priceless: enemy soldiers engulfed in flames wildly wailing their arms about. A thing of beauty if I ever saw one -- yes siree
CALLING ALL BAD GUYS!
The enemy roster I found a tad disappointing though. The soldiers pretty much all look identical. Some attack differently, but I wished they were physically more distinguishable from one another
Where's the token bald-headed soldier? Or the fat one? Or the ''Elite Soldier''... you know, the guy who is slightly bigger than the rest and takes four, five bullets to kill instead of one. I know this ain't Final Fight or Doom we're talking about here, but such enemy diversity would have kicked extra ass. But hey, I guess that's what sequels are for
Halfway through the game I finally had my wish granted. This beefy punk springs up outta nowhere. Possessing a killer gun and the dirtiest mouth in town, I knew I was in for a dogfight...
Survival of the fittest
Last man standing
Duel to the death
I think you get the idea
[We do -Ed.]
What a pleasant break from the run-of-the-mill soldiers. Killed, he screams ''SEE YA IN HELL!'' Sweeeet
THE SMALL THINGS MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE
Also livening the happenings are the "slugs" scattered about which you can hop in and unleash utter devastation. These bad boys are sure to rip the bad guys a new one!
The details are amazing. Flags can be shot to shreds. [Heh... heh... ahem, nevermind -Ed.] Jump on a snow-covered platform and some of the snow falls off. Stand still and Marco takes a quick swig. Things like such will applease any gamer appreciative of the finer details in life (or at least, their games)
It's good, honest, hard work put in by the programmers
No corners cut
No substitute for hard work
The whole nine yards
Everything but the kitchen sink
Going the extra mile
The early bird gets the worm
I think you get the idea
[Again, we do -Ed.]
Unfortunately, the game does go through occasional bouts of slowdown here and there, but it's not too bad. There are only six levels, so it's pretty short-lived, but it's so easy to pick up and fun to play that you'll probably be back for more in the future
WHAT ARE THE BOSSES LIKE?
The bosses were, for the most part, marvelous. Unlike other games of this nature you won't find any organic behemoths here. The bosses consist of nothing but cold steel and hot lead. The end boss was a mild disappointment. I expected a little more. But like the rest, he's a blast to blow up. If you love the timeless flash unflash boss patterns of the 8-bit age like I do, you'll be right at home here
Don't cha hate blue balls?
[I wouldn't know... -Ed.]
THANK YOU, GAMETZ
I never thought I'd own much less play the Saturn game, ever. But a stroke of luck changed all that. I had a loose copy of US Dragon Force and someone offered to trade me his CIB Metal Slug for my DF copy. The trade was on, March 20, 2002. (My cheap ass probably would have bought it eventually, but at the time I really thought I would never own it). The next morning I had class at 9 AM... but somehow woke up early at 6. It was a sign. I sauntered off to the game room and for the 1st time ever, I could be called a Metal Slug virgin NO MORE!
I still remember how blown away I felt, and how the amazing on-screen frenetic action lit up my gaming room in an array of blood and debris. That day in class, I just kept thinking about my first go. It was one of those "magical" moments that never leave you. Playing games at the ass crack of dawn rocks...
A Sega Saturn import classic and treasure. Every game library needs a title like this. Metal Slug definitely took me back to the good old days and then some. Remember... come back a hero or don't come back at all!