Metal Slug 7 Review: Heavy Metal 4-Ever
There are very few franchises that have survived as long as the “Metal Slug” series has, without fundamental changes to their gameplay. For example, if you put “Metal Slug 7” up against the original Neo Geo “Metal Slug,” your average gamer would most likely be able to play both of them, without being able to tell the difference. However, “Metal Slug 7” is different, for a host of different reasons… but is it better?
And the definitive answer is … Kinda?
“Metal Slug 7” takes the long-running franchises standards and carries them through into the new game. SNK and Ignition don’t try to add in anything to the story, gameplay, graphics, etc. It’s all pretty much the same game that everyone should know and love – shoot your way through the levels, toss a few grenades, stab some bad guys, and save the hostages. After all, it it isn’t broke, then don’t fix it. For that I thank SNK for a worthy addition to the “Metal Slug” series, and, possibly the best portable version of the game (I can’t say for sure because I haven’t played “Meal Slug Advance” or either of the Neo Geo Pocket titles). The series has become reliable – in a very good way – especially since its’ closest relative, “Contra,” went so far askew, for so long.
After all these years, it’s always nice to see a new entry into the “Meal Slug” series, even if it is on a handheld. The DS lends itself pretty well to the game’s fairly short, and very frenetic, levels for some satisfying gaming on the go. In addition to the game’s main story line, there’s also 80 mini-challenges that are significantly shorter than one of the game’s standard levels, and can be played (but not necessarily beaten) in virtually no time. In keeping true with the series, the DS can thankfully handle the instantly recognizable “Metal Slug” art style with no problem, so the original experience is preserved quite well.
Unfortunately, the game itself doesn’t really lend itself to any kind of dual screen play, so the DS’s bottom screen is pretty much just there, serving no real purpose. While I can’t really think of anything to suggest putting on that screen to really help the game, maybe this “Metal Slug” could have stretched across both screens, similar to last year’s “Contra 4.” It would have created a truly unique DS-only experience for the franchise, unlike any other “Metal Slug” game that has ever come out.
However, with all the greatness that comes with a new “Metal Slug” game, there was one facet of the series that should have been included in the game, and was curiously omitted – multiplayer. There really isn’t any good reason why I can play “Mario Kart DS” against people from all over the world, but I can’t play “Metal Slug 7” with a friend, across the room. The “Metal Slug” games have always been a multiplayer experiences, even if it was just to get double the quarters, but, in this day and age, it should be almost a no brainer that multiplayer needs to be included. Hopefully they’ll be able to squeeze it in by the time the Xbox 360 version launches.
12 years after the original appeared “Metal Slug 7” is, approximately, the 45th game to be released that bears the “Metal Slug” moniker; while most of these are rereleases, and multiplatfornication that’s still a lot of games to be released under any franchise. SNK’s ability to release that many games really speaks to the staying power, and fan support, of “Metal Slug”’s simple and straightforward run-and-gun gameplay. This particular title happens to be the DS’s first and only “Metal Slug” game, which instantly makes it the best on the platform, and it follows virtually the same recipe for success that almost every other “Metal Slug” game has followed, and really only makes one misstep. So, if you’re looking for a good solo run-and-gun DS title this is it, but if you want to play with your friends, you might need to look elsewhere.