Metal Slug Anthology
Players: 1 to 2 Player Game | Release Date: 12/14/06 | Genre: Shooter
Nintendo Wii has led the way with downloadable content on the Virtual Console. Despite a few issues with transferring ownership between different consoles, not to mention bringing Virtual Console games to a friends console, the system is flawless. With all the success and money the Virtual Console is making for Nintendo and Third Parties, it is a surprise that there is actually a Wii game that includes a multitude of older titles. And even though SNK could have released these titles for more on the Virtual Console, they chose to deliver Metal Slug Anthology as a value priced Wii game. Keep reading to see why it is worth every penny.
For those of you not familiar with the Metal Slug franchise, it began life in the arcades and on the extremely overpriced Neo Geo console. The game plays as a fast paced 2D action title that features multiplayer co-op support. Players take control of their character (more choices are available in later titles) and use their primary gun, or secondary projectile, to destroy a variety of enemy foot soldiers, tanks, airplanes, and some of the most outrageous bosses you will ever see. The best way to think of Metal Slug is Contra on crack.
In the Metal Slug Anthology package, SNK has included versions of Metal Slug, Metal Slug 2, Metal Slug X, Metal Slug 3, Metal Slug 4, Metal Slug 5, and the never before released Metal Slug 6. Each of these games is faithful to the original version and features a great deal of variety in gameplay options. Although this title is also on the PSP, the best part about the Nintendo Wii version is the multitude of control options available to the player. Players can choose to use the GameCube controller, the Wiimote sideways, the Wiimote/Nunchuck, a variety of motion controlled options, and more. I personally prefer a more traditional control scheme but it is a great deal of fun to try out all the alternate modes. Hopefully these types of enhancements will be included not only in future Wii compilation titles but also in Virtual Console games.
The PSP title, on the other hand, controls and plays just fine. However it uses a traditional control method--that the WIi also offers. As I mentioned above, this is my preferred method for playing. The only thing the PSP is missing is the ability to shake the system and throw a grenade. Ah the joys of the motion-sensitive Wiimote!
Visually Metal Slug Anthology is faithful to every game it represents. It is amazing to see how the franchise has progressed from the first title to the never before released Metal Slug 6. Those hoping for a visual upgrade on either the Wii or PSP versions may be disappointed. However the gameplay in all six versions is the real reason for playing and it is some of the best 2D action you will find anywhere.
All of the Metal Slug titles can be extremely difficult and frustrating. To help combat this, SNK has included a variety of options to assist the player. These include turning off friendly fire and giving you an unlimited number of continues. If only real war was this forgiving! The only thing that is not forgiving are the questionable load times. This is a minor issue I was able to look past though.
The PSP version also features the option to change the aspect ratio. Personally I am the kind of person that wants to stretch the game to fill the entire screen. So this is an option that I did not change very much. But for those who want to see the game in its perfect resolution, the screen can be tweaked to your liking.
Overall, Developer Terminal Reality did a great job with the Wii version and incorporating a vast number of motion sensitive controls to a game that never intended to have them. In fact, they are so much fun to use that I can't even imagine enjoying Metal Slug without them. That said, the PSP version is also a worthy title and makes a great handheld title to pick up--especially if you are still struggling to find a Wii at retail.
At the very least, I suggest you rent either the PSP or Wii version of Metal Slug Anthology. But if you enjoy classic arcade action, it is much better to put that money towards picking up either version of MSA. It is worth every last cent.