Format reviewed: Neo Geo Pocket Color
Submitted by: Ryan Davies
Let's step into a time machine for a moment. Okay? Not a real one, obviously, but a metaphorical one. A time machine of the mind. Maybe you should light some candles first, burn a bit of incence, stick your head in a bucket of water. Done all that? If the bucket of water doesn't work, try the microwave. Right, BANG. It's 1998!
YOU are a young lad (or ladette) of twelve years old, on holiday, looking in the on-site arcade. Here you find a game called Metal Slug, which you end up spending the entirity of your holiday money on. For the next few years, you can only dream of playing it again, as research has told you that if you DO want to play Metal Slug again, you must either own:
(a) A PlayStation, chipped (no chance, you can't get a new games system until your Mega Drive's broke).
(b) A Saturn (ditto).
(c) A Neo Geo (HAHAHAHA.)
All is lost. You can look at pictures in magazines, but Metal Slug shall always remain a memory. Suddenly, it's Xristmas of 1999, and you've unwrapped a shiny new Neo Geo Pocket Color. It's wonderful! You're playing another game that you played on that same holiday (Bust-A-Move), so the gears start working – you can play Metal Slug again!
Well, sort of. In those pre-MAME days, Metal Slug: 1st Mission was the ultimate in affordable Slug-play, even though it's actually a completely different game:
None of those one-hit deaths, or any deaths at all really. A fair few credits if you're killed on foot, BUT, there's the matter of having your Slug-tank or Slug-plane blown up, which leaves you stabbing your way out of a POW camp, or parachuting through missile-filled skies. Yep yep yep! We're not in the time machine anymore by the way. Just talking about the game now.
There's the recognisable tunes, cute little spritely versions of the big fat sprites you're used to, a fair few weapons. It's all good! Clearly no-where near as good as the "main" Metal Slug games, but they were never intended to be portable affairs. Metal Slug Anthology has too many loading times, Metal Slug Advance is abysmal, Metal Slug 7 doesn't count as I haven't played it – THIS is the only portable Metal Slug that's playable. Well, this and the sequel, but you know what I mean.
Eep, I'm getting bad at these reviews. Sorry, must try harder. Okay. Soon.