Note: During this review I was only able to access 1st Mission and not 2nd mission, so my review will be based around that.
Growing up I had quite a bit of access to Metal Slug, in my early drinking years, my favourite establishment had a Metal Slug 1 cabinet. I had X on Playstation 1, and I still own 3 & 4 on original Xbox. I’m still really bad at it.
1st & 2nd Mission were released on the Neo Geo Pocket Color all the way back in 2000 (1999 in Japan), now in September 2021 we have a port of these on the Switch, retaining it’s original look with a handful of modern features.
Loading up we have the game shown on a digital version of a Neo Geo Pocket, complete with screen lines to keep that authentic look. You can change the skin of the console and zoom in/out pending on preferences, and also add backlight to the game if you need too. We have the original Neo Geo system menu on the machine, and it’s fully touch screen compatible if you want to hold a handheld within a handheld.
The game plays exactly how it used to, Marco being the main Protagonist, we have 16 levels, with a little variety, your typical Metal Slug side scrolling levels, branching paths and a few extra hidden bits, we have a couple of tank only levels and some auto-scroller levels in a Jet, these break up the gameplay a little bit and all fit within the franchises usual aesthetic.
With this being Metal Slug, you have a decent/high level of difficulty, a few of the bosses took a few continues off me, but I was able to get through the majority of the game with no issues.
Speaking of issues, the games have been ported 100% accurately, so expect slowdown especially when playing as the tank, the game suffers pretty bad. Graphically everything still looks pretty nice, some nice background scrolling through the levels, and for the age of the hardware everything is as detailed as can be.
Audio is also pretty good, lower quality versions of the usual Metal Slug tracks are there and you’ll find yourself humming along to them, most of the SFX reminds me of something from a Master System, but that fits the hardware it’s on.
Unfortunately these being just ports we have no major upgrades, unfortunately some of the slow down has been brought over from the original version, there’s no alternative filters for visuals, nor even a slight upgrade visually (I’d personally have loved 16:9 Metal Slug), but it’s all pretty minimal.
If you’re a Metal Slug purist, you probably already have this on original hardware, it’s hard to recommend because for its price you can get 2 of the main line titles, and they run perfectly. I can’t justify buying a portable version of a full title, on the device you can play much stronger entries in the franchise
Only for the purist of Metal Slug fans
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