Metal Slug Anthology PlayStation 2
Published by: Ignition Entertainment
Developed by: SNK Playmore
Release Date: Out Now
A few weeks ago we looked at Metal Slug Anthology for the Wii and it was an impressive collection of some of the best side-scrolling action games to date. Of course one of the few disappointments with the game was that it didn't make good use of the console's unique control scheme. It played much better with a conventional controller and we preferred to play the game with a GameCube controller. Here we have the PlayStation 2 version of Metal Slug Anthology which is practically identical. Of course there are no motion-sensing controls in this version but, as we've just mentioned, a more conventional control scheme is required and the default controls on the PlayStation 2 version work wonderfully well.
Metal Slug Anthology contains Metal Slug, Metal Slug 2, Metal Slug X, Metal Slug 3, Metal Slug 4, Metal Slug 5 and for the first time ever on a home console, Metal Slug 6. The games can either be played as a single-player experience or a two player co-op game. Either way the games are highly enjoyable. The games offer a variety of options to cater for both the hardcore enthusiast and those who are new to the series. It's possible to play with unlimited credits, meaning you can 'continue' until you've finished the level, and you can even save your progress if you wish, meaning you don't have to sit playing the game for hours on end which is a nice feature.
It's not possible to go into detail for every game that's included here but they all follow a basic pattern. First you'll pick one of the available characters (dependant on the game you're playing although Marco Rossi, the default character, and Tarma Roving are always available) and each character has their own strengths and weaknesses. Once you've selected your character you'll embark on your mission. As with most side-scrolling action games, you'll move to the right of the screen firing your weapons and throwing your grenades to take out the waves of enemies that are heading your way. You'll also have to free prisoners and collect bonus items. Perhaps the best part of the game is having to combat the multitude of Metal Slugs that appear. These are heavily armoured tanks, helicopters, airships and such like that will take a lot of effort to bring down. Occasionally you'll come across vehicles that you can enter and take control of to give you greater firepower. There are also sequences where you'll be a passenger in a vehicle and will be travelling at high speed whilst you attempt to take out the enemies. The action flows thick and fast and from start to finish, it's pure adrenaline-pumping action.
The default controls in the PlayStation 2 version of Metal Slug Anthology use the directional buttons for movement, the square button to attack, the X button to jump, the triangle button to switch weapons, the circle button for the grenade and the R1 button to carry out an alternate attack. I find that these default controls work wonderfully well. However, if you aren't too keen on them you can reconfigure everything apart from the movement controls. You can even assign a button to perform an autofire action.
As mentioned earlier, these games are essentially arcade perfect conversions. Whilst that's certainly good news for hardcore enthusiasts (and we certainly have no problems with it) it also means that the graphical quality is certainly nothing special when compared to most of the games we see today. Still with compilations such as Metal Slug Anthology, it's more important that the games looks just as they did when they first appeared and all the games here don't disappoint in this respect. The load times seem a little longer than in the Wii version but to be honest we're talking a few seconds and nothing that will cause irritation.
The games in Metal Slug Anthology all use a liberal amount of synthesised speech and this speech isn't subtitled. The good news is that none of this speech is important. Rescued prisoners saying 'Thank You' and the names of the weapons you acquire being called out isn't really anything worthwhile. Sure you are losing some of the game's ambience but whilst that is disappointing it doesn't prevent you from enjoying the game. You'll see the word 'Go' appear on the right side of the screen when it's safe to move on and text prompts showing you that you can get in one of the various vehicles in the game. The HUD provides all of the information you need such as the status of your Slug, explosives and ammo stock, amount of credits remaining and your hostage count. Deaf gamers won't have any problems with the game.
Those looking for some classic side-scrolling action will simply love what Metal Slug Anthology has to offer. The games are very enjoyable both as a single-player experience and as a two player multiplayer experience. Of course with these games being arcade perfect, they aren't exactly graphical masterpieces and in no way test the graphical capabilities of the PlayStation 2. To be honest though, I would rather have them in their original form because when you purchase collections such as this you expect the games to retain their original look and feel and that's exactly what the games in the Metal Slug Anthology have done. If arcade side-scrolling action titles are your thing, Metal Slug Anthology is simply a must own title.
Metal Slug Anthology is a great collection of some of the finest side-scrolling action games and at the asking price of just £14.99 it's an absolute bargain.