Metal Slug 4/5


posted 9/22/2005 by Cyril Lachel
other articles by Cyril Lachel
One Page Platforms: Xbox

Between the two games you are looking at around 90 minutes worth of arcade action, with only 11 levels between them, Metal Slug 4 and 5 can be considered on the short side.  You can easily beat any one of these games in less than an hour (often closer to thirty minutes), which probably won’t keep you occupied for long.  Considering this package is retailing for $40 it’s hard to get past the idea that you’re buying something with no more than 90 minutes worth of game play.

Another problem is that the games are just too similar.  Metal Slug 5 does try a few new things – sliding attack, new hostages, and a new cult-like group of villains – but even with these few changes it’s hard to tell the difference between it and any other Metal Slug game.  The levels are all new and highly detailed, but there’s this overwhelming feeling that we’ve been here and done that already.  It’s nice that SNK has updated some of the moves, but after five games isn’t it about time your character looks to shoot diagonally?

Of course, these problems are not the fault of the port so much as the source material.  These games were built for the arcade, they never meant to be extremely long, and the limited gameplay (which involves nothing more than button mashing for much of the game) is just the type of thing you would expect from an arcade game.  At home these games are entirely too easy and just a little too shallow for today’s generation of gamers.  Even with the addition of vehicles, the game just ends up being too repetitive for its own good, making it only fun in short doses.

In this day and age there are companies packaging dozens of games together for a $20 compilation, so getting only two games for twice the price feels uncalled for.  Had this been a collection of all of the Metal Slug games then this set would make more sense, but as it is we’re looking at two games that are entirely too similar and too short packaged for nearly full price.  They are teeny tiny games that fit comfortably on one single CD, yet for some odd reason SNK has decided to package them on two different Xbox DVDs.  With nothing more than a stage select, chances are you’ll forget about these games the moment you finish watching the second-long ending.  Unfortunately you’ll be angry about spending that much money for months to come.

It easy to get into Metal Slug 4 and 5, they are extremely likeable games with plenty of personality.  But it’s a short experience that will feel hallow when you’ve shot through the final boss.  It features great graphics and a nice variety of levels, but it’s hard not to be concerned by the lack of value.  It’s nice to finally see these Metal Slug games come home, but it might be wise to wait until SNK decides to release them all in one complete collection.

Metal Slug 4 and 5 offers non-stop 2D arcade action … for about 90 minutes. In this faithful port, SNK has decided that they don’t need to put any effort into their newest overpriced collection of old-looking games. Maybe they should have!

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