Metal Slug 4 & 5 Playstation 2 Review

The Neo Geo hardware may be gone, but Metal Slug will be with us a long time. Ending the series on the long standing hardware, Metal Slug 4 and 5 are both great ways to go out, though 4 does feel a little forced in spots. These Playstation 2 ports are as accurate as they can be, retaining the feel this series became famous for.

Neither game included here is particularly different from the other. Both are 2-D platforming shooters, running with one of the greatest graphics engines ever created. That's what makes this series stand out, the stunning animation and beauty of the backdrops is unmatched.

That's not saying there isn't quality gameplay here. This is pure video gaming, barreling through enemy forces in absurd numbers, dodging insane amounts of enemies, co-op or not. Each game runs about a half hour each, maybe even less since the games both offer unlimited continues. Players can of course limit themselves if they desire, just not through the games.

Metal Slug 4 features what is probably the most varied scenery in the series. It moves away from the Earthy tones of previous games, opening it up to snow-capped mountains, river battles, and a cruise ship. It's wild fun, but the newly added Slugs (vehicles) for this entry fall flat. There is no air or underwater battling here. It's completely grounded, and it feels out of place. The final battle doesn't feel like much of a resolution either.

The fifth entry into this beloved series fixes all of that, adding in new sprites, completely varied gameplay, and it tries to mix in a little bit of everything from the previous games. Even by borrowing a few things, it still feels like an entirely new game. Some of the bosses are the best ever seen from a graphical standpoint in this fan favorite series.

Those accustomed to current generation titles may find this lacking in multiple areas. The characters have no differences between them. They're nothing beyond a visual switch. The only extras are trophies, which are difficult to earn, but not worth the effort. Replay value is derived from the greatness of the gameplay, another throwback much like the games themselves.

None of that actually lessens the fact that theses are great games. That's why people buy them. However, being put on two DVDs, it seems almost wasteful not to have any extra content. Fans will be happy with this collection, and everyone else will be content to pass this over.

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