| paleface [sys=GBA; cat=Platformer; loc=NA] |
|References added: 409, 410|
"Metal Slug is way better on the GBA than on the NGPC."
Don't look now, but SNK actually went ahead and made a brand-new Metal Slug game. The fact that it's on a handheld is just a minor detail: this is some darn good Slug.
MSA packs that good ol' lovely Metal Slug animation into the tiny GBA, and it looks very very nice, and plays just like you'd want it to. The bosses are large and elaborate, perhaps a touch less extravagent than bosses in the later console Slugs, but still quite memorable. And wouldn't you know it: not a touch of slowdown here. You don't see that too often in a Slug!
The fun is over pretty quickly though: I cleared it in a few hours, and that included a lot of replaying the later boss fights. But then again the arcade Slugs, particularly the earlier ones, weren't that long either. SNK went for replay value with the old "save all the hostages" thing, and yes if you die you lose anyone you've saved, so to get them all you have to clear each stage in a single life at some point.
But not content with just the old hostage schtick, they also threw in card collecting: cards are scattered arount the levels in crates, and some are awarded after clearing missions. Most don't do anything except fill up the slots in your collection, but I've heard that some actually give you new abilities. I can confirm that one at least does this: with it equipped I can now use the knife on enemy vehicles, not just on soldiers. Neat.
I don't know how likely I am to go back through the game that much, but I guess I appreciate SNK's efforts. After the blah NGPC Slugs (see entry 409 and entry 410), this is a great step in the right direction, closer to the superlative Metal Slug 3 (see entry 170) than anything else. You even get little bits with some of the vehicles (tank, plane) and I think all of the weapons (even the laser gun, woo!) from that console version. Yes it's shorter but heck, it's good fun while you're playing.
The sound is great too, now that I think about it--the digitized voices ("Enemy Chaser!") from the console versions are here, along with the old weapon sounds, and the music is rich and vibrant militant orchestral work.
SNK could really take over the GBA if they could keep cranking out stuff like this. Judging by how long this took to produce, that probably won't happen--and it's too bad, too.
|Download added: boss_bomber.jpg (16166 bytes)|
"Like most of them, this bomber boss goes through three or more stages of aggression."
Instead of one-hit-death, in MSA you get a life meter and can take five hits or something. This works fairly well, and they counter this apparent generosity by forcing you back to the beginning of the current mini-area if you die and continue. So you can't just quarter-pump your way through, you'll have to learn to beat each boss' pattern with a single life. This can be tricky for a while, at least it was for me.
It also helps you collect stuff, in a way, since you can take five instead of just one hit before you lose whatever you've picked up.
|Download added: submarine.jpg (20320 bytes)|
"I don't think the game has underwater levels, but they have a submarine cameo."
It looked like there may have been a couple branching path areas as I played through. I'm not sure how deep these would go--probably not that far, but who knows?