Metal Slug Anthology Wii review. Includes Metal Slug 1, 2, X, 3, 4, 5 and 6

Metal Slug AnthologyCelebrate the 10th Anniversary of Metal Slug by joining the Metal Slug team on seven separate adventures that span across the life of the franchise in this definitive collection titled Metal Slug Anthology.

Since 1996 the Metal Slug series has gained a cult following. It stands proud as the benchmark of side-scrolling purity, one of the most important 2D platform-shooters on today’s gaming platforms. This anthology delivers ten years of frantic (2-player co-op) arcade action and stunning hand drawn and animated graphics.

System: Wii, PS2, PSP
Genre: Arcade, Platform-Shooter
Release dates: December 14th 2006 (USA), March 30th 2007 (EUR), May 30th 2007 (AUS)
Players: single player, 2-player co-op
Developer: Terminal Reality
Publisher: SNK Playmore
Origin: America

Metal Slug 6 screenshot from Metal Slug Anthology

The Metal Slug franchise was born to life in 1996 for Arcades and later the now-defunct Neo-Geo console. The arcade shooter took inspiration from the hit Contra series and served up a healthy dose of frantic run-and-gun-style cooperative two-player gameplay. The Metal Slug name describes a massive tank in the game, but much of the side-scrolling missions in the series challenge players to go on foot as Lieutenant Marco Rossi, a tough-guy military leader whose mastery of projectile weapons is second to none. You’ve got an incredible arsenal waiting for you, from destructive pistols & combat vehicles to a stockpile of grenades.

The gameplay consists of you (and a friend) constantly shooting at a continual stream of enemies in order to reach the end of a level. At the end of each level, the player(s) must confront a boss who is often considerably larger than regular enemies and takes multiple shots to defeat. On the way through the level, the player finds weapons upgrades and “slug” vehicles that can be used not only as weapons but also as added defense. There are also prisoners to be freed, who count towards points and give you random items or weapons in return. You can perform melee attacks by using a knife and/or kicking. The player does not die for simply coming into contact with most enemies. Correspondingly, many of the enemy troops have melee attacks. Much of the game’s scenery is destructible. Sometimes this reveals extra items or powerups, other times it simply results in collateral damage.

Watch the Metal Slug Anthology launch trailer.

Each included game in the Metal Slug Anthology offers game play and game objectives centered around a futuristic battle between two military groups known as the Regular army, and the Rebellion. In 2026, the Rebellion army launches an assault that pushes the Regular army forces to the brink of destruction. With superior numbers of troops and weapons, the Rebels overwhelmed the Regular army in all aspects.

Seeing their disadvantage to carry out direct attacks against the Rebellion, the Regular army then decided to carry out numerous special operations and create certain vehicles to accompany their commandos. As a direct result of this new plan, a newly designed tank code named “Metal Slug” was put into production.

Unfortunately, the Rebellion captured many of the newly produced Metal Slug tanks, and starting using them against the Regular army. With their government and military in shambles, the Regular army gathered its scattered troops and launched a desperate counter attack; recapture the stolen vehicles and use them to destroy the opposition. If the vehicles can’t be captured, destroy them. Your job is to help the Regular army defeat the Rebellion by using a myriad of different male and female characters, vehicles (including various animals and tanks), and weapons.

The subsequent releases of Metal Slug titles (all included in the Anthology), continued to incorporate different antagonists, with more high-tech means and methods employed to attack the Regular army. Experience all the action and storylines with Metal Slug Anthology.

Unlockable bonus content is purchased with points gained at the end of each game. However, there is a special track and gallery that must be won by taking off infinite restarts and completing the games with a limited number of continues instead. The unlockables are:
* MP3 Music tracks.
* Concept art for characters, vehicles, soldiers, and miscellania.
* An interview with the original Metal Slug development team.

Watch what Metal Slug Anthology Wii control options you have.

The 6 different gameplay controller schemes described:

* “GameCube controller” can be used in the Wii game if you want a more traditional control style. However the digital pad is not supported for movement. The button configuration can be changed with this setting.

* “Nunchuk Control Stick” lets players move on the Nunchuk and use the Wii Remote to shoot, jump, and throw grenades (by flicking the remote forward).

* “Tilt Wii Remote” gets rid of the Nunchuk and puts character movement in the tilt sensor on the remote, so players hold the remote horizontally and tilt left and right to walk, and D-pad “up” is used to jump.

* “Wii Remote” also only uses the remote, but puts movement on the D-pad and requires players to flick the remote forward to throw grenades.

* “Arcade” has players ‘plant’ the Wii Remote standing vertically (against a surface) to simulate an arcade joystick, and use the Nunchuk to shoot and jump, while you flick it for grenades.

* “Nunchuk” moves all the controls onto the Nunchuk and lets players move with the analog stick, shoot and jump with the buttons and flick the Nunchuk forward to throw grenades.

Sadly Metal Slug Anthology on the Wii does not support use of the Classic Controller for gameplay. The reason behind it is that according to Ben Herman, in the beginning, “Nintendo initially intended for that controller to be used primarily for the Virtual Console only.” Thus Terminal Reality did not receive instruction on how to implement the Classic Control configuration in the game.

Watch some more Metal Slug Anthology gameplay.

So what are the main features of Metal Slug Anthology?

* Seven incredible Metal Slug games in one package – Metal Slug 1, Metal Slug 2, Metal Slug X, Metal Slug 3, Metal Slug 4, Metal Slug 5, and Metal Slug 6.

* Arcade perfect port of each title.

* Pick-up-and-play, non-stop action.

* 2 Player co-operative player.

* Unlockable items including exclusive bonus games and bonus galleries containing classic poster and character art as well as other Metal Slug goodies.

* The inclusion of the all-new Metal Slug 6 marks the first time the 2006 arcade release sees a console outing…

Metal Slug 6 was released in the arcades earlier and expands the cast of playable characters by two. In addition to the Metal Slug regulars – Marco Rossi, Tarma Roving, Eri Kasamoto, and Fio Germi, Metal Slug 6 includes Ralf Jones and Clark Steel of Ikari Warriors. The new gameplay allows you to use melee attacks at will, choose your difficulty, carry multiple weapons and more. The Metal Slug 6 storyline returns to the Rebel-Martian alliance featured in Metal Slugs 2, X, and 3, but now players have to team up with the Rebels and Martians to defeat an even greater threat.

Metal Slug Anthology art

Now let’s see how much fun Metal Slug Anthology is on a scale from 1 to 10?

To have every of the seven arcade Metal Slug games together in one Metal Slug Anthology package is pure old school side-scrolling gaming goodness. If you’re looking for some good classic 2D platformer-shooter action games, along with Contra, Metal Slug games are the best there are.

The only minor faults I can put on the game are the loading times between levels are a few seconds long, which is unneeded longer than previous releases of the games, for a 2D game you have to wonder why they are even there at all? Also, since not all Wii control schemes are particularly handy to play with, you’ll feel the lack of the Classic controller support. The Wii controls forcing you to throw grenades by flicking the controller doesn’t help, mainly because this motion sensitive move doesn’t always work. But if the controller is an issue for you, you might want to consider the PS2 or PSP version.

Let me say it again, you’re getting Metal Slug 1, 2, X, 3, 4, 5 AND 6! Excluding the Mobile and Neo Geo Pocket games, that’s every main Metal Slug game ever released! Especially now that instead of the Limited Continues, you can choose for Unlimited Continue to keep playing all those games to your heart’s content. At $40 that’s a pretty sweet deal for these arcade perfect ports of all-around fantastic games. Get a buddy to play with on co-op and these games turn golden!

Graphics – 7.5
There’s a huge amount of detail in the 2D pixel graphics. Smooth animations. Level themes range from forests, garrisoned cities, snowy mountain valleys, canyons to military bases and much more.

Audio – 7.5
Quirky voice over bits. The goofy sense of humor, also in the cutscenes, makes this game shine. Of course there are a ton of awesome weapons sound effects. The synthesized music makes the game feel all the more retro.

Ingenuity – 7.5
The game controls are incredibly easy to pick up. The gameplay will sometimes go up and down from easy to very very hard, but if you keep at it you’ll always get through to the next level. Amongst the 6 different gameplay controller schemes — from the Wii-specific modes — the Nunchuk Control Stick and Wii Remote combo has to be the best, since these are the most familiar and feel like they give the most control over the characters when using them. Arcade and Tilt Wii Remote are definitely fun for experimenting, but I doubt they’ll give anyone long term use. Since the Classic controller wasn’t supported at the time, gamers looking for a classic control scheme experience will have to hook up their GameCube controller(s) to the Wii (that allows you to map the buttons yourself). Rapid Fire Mode and Auto-Aiming do make the Wii controls easier and, if you’re lazy, more fun. The game lets you save at any point, making it easy for you to pick up and play at any time.

Replay Value – 7.5
Don’t play ten years of Metal Slug games all in one day or not even in a few nights in a row, because you might find yourself noticing a lack of variety. As arcade games they play the best spread out over extended periods of time with a friend, or in short bursts alone to unlock all the extras by playing through them on different difficulty levels. There are also plenty of alternate and hidden paths to find for kicks.

Update: Can’t get enough of Metal Slug? Lucky for you Metal Slug 7 is underway for the Nintendo DS.