If you can remember the arcade classics Metal Slug 1 and 2 then you’re probably old enough to appreciate this tribute to the days of old-school shoot-‘em ups. Metal Slug X faithfully follows the format of its arcade/Neo Geo predecessors with its blend of humorous characters, super-powered weapons and fast-paced shooting action. All the memorable bits are in there, including the cartoon-style character design, the over-emphasised death animations and the amusingly ridiculous array of controllable vehicles such as turret-mounting camels, leap-frogging gun emplacements and, of course, Metal Slug itself.
The main single player game follows the simple premise of the classic, side-scrolling shoot-‘em up: i.e. walk along, shoot everything that moves, rescue the hostages, don’t get hit. Rescuing the hostages rewards the player with bigger weapons and the super-charged vehicles are acquired conveniently just before a boss. There are six very large levels in all, and they’re not at all easy.
Aside from the main arcade game, the PlayStation version plays host to a few extra features. Once the original game is completed, players can access the new ‘Combat School’ mode, which offers an array of new levels to play through. Following this, there’s a ‘Special Secret Mission’ and a gallery of the game’s artwork to unlock. Probably the best addition to the PS version is the inclusion of a two-player, simultaneous option, allowing you to team up and run through the game together.
If you can’t remember the arcade classics Metal Slug 1 and 2 then this game is recommended purely due to its homage to the classics of yesteryear. A snip at under £20, it offers amusing, fast-paced entertainment at a considerably lower cost than the £199 price tag Metal Slug originally carried when first released for the home console market (Neo Geo).