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I played the Metal Slug Tactics Demo

by: Joseph -
More On: Metal Slug Tactics

So, to cap this demo off, I decided to play the first Metal Slug, released on the Neo-Geo in 1996. Metal slug is your quarter munching run and gun side scroller, with a lot of enemies, power ups, tanks, and explosions. The idea of the game is simple. Make it to the end of the level, beat the boss, rinse and repeat until you win it all. This was usually on a cabinet with one to three other games, and though it was rare, people did play it. Metal Slug went on to produce several sequels, spin offs, and even a tower defense version, across multiple platforms. Now Dotemu has their hands on the franchise, and they're the ones behind the new tactical version. Metal Slug: Tactics is brutal, but not like it's predecessor. It's far, far worse.  

The game wants to throw you in, but it can't. You're used to going through and destroying everything. Those days are over. This game want you to place your characters, and meet requirements to defeat each level. Whether it's defeat all the enemies, or survive, this game also wants you to know that you will not be breezing all the way through it. If it was still munching quarters, you'd be broke shortly after the tutorial. Out the gate, it tells you everything you need to know.

Your character can move, once. Your character can attack, once. And that's it. If you attack before you move, you seem to lose your turn. Most times the idea is to move your character to a place where it can take out an enemy. With the right weapons, you can take them out from a distance, or if you're in the same eye sight as a partner character, you can sync up and trigger a double attack. Weapons like grenades and grenade launchers can hit multiple enemies at once, and the game will tell you all this. It will tell you what range you can move in, what your weapons will do, and if you highlight an enemy, it will tell you what they could do next. Use this for your defensive strategy as well. You can hid behind barracks, barrels, and more. Take heed, because they too can be taken out, at very little damage to you.

You can also move and use a buff to use on your next turn. Sometimes using these can result in double damage, or a defensive push back with an attack. If you make a mistake, you can undo a move, and at a cost, start an entire turn over. Everyone has HP, and you should probably take out the once closest to you first. The once with range weapons are also a good move. Once all the characters available have done everything they can do, it's the enemy's turn. You And they are just as tactical. They're not here to lose. They're also not dumb at all. You will die, and the game later gives you a limited number of single character revivals. Once you revive, you can relocate the character, so they don't respawn right where an enemy is. I found myself eating the dirt after I thought I knew what I was doing. The game banks on this, and this is where the rogue like element kicks in. 

The demo doesn't portray this very well, but as you perish, you will get additional help sent to your home base. They will be able to help you with new weapon load outs, and buffs. I didn't get to use anything, because none were available in the demo. You can level up, and get more buffs and weapons that way. It was a little confusing, as you could turn down these gifts in exchange for money. Why anyone would want to do that early in the game is beyond me. The game wants you to fail, to succeed, but then fail again. 

The speed of the game worries me. It's a little too slow going for me. You can fast forward the turns, but then you may miss important dialogue needed to proceed. The demo is also just for Mouse and keyboard. Not a complaint, just throwing it out there. The final game, to be released this fall, promises 36 weapons, 176 weapon mods, and 36 loadouts. The characters in the game are part of the Metal Slug universe, even though you may not be too familiar with them. Who was playing Metal Slug for the story? 

It's ideal for you to play the demo as much as possible, perhaps to the end. There's only one map, and you can choose which path and directives to make it to the boss. The game is not for the impatient. It is free, and I think the developers made the right move here. A fan of Metal Slug should not come into this thinking it'll be the days of old. That's not how a tactics game works. Good luck. You'll need it.