Along with SNK's 1999 launch of the Neo Geo Pocket Color came a brand new entry in the ever popular Metal Slug series. It's common to see discussions online arguing over which Metal Slug game is best between the original, MS3, or MSX, but rarely do people discuss the handheld games. Perhaps it's because they were only released on a console that so very few got to play, and they were never ported to anything else. Seems to me they should have been included in Metal Slug Anthology, but I digress...
Metal Slug: 1st Mission
Genre: Run 'N Gun Players: 1 Size: 16 megs Released on: NGPC
Metal Slug 1st Mission plays similarly to other Metal Slug games, but has toned down graphics for the Neo Geo Pocket Color hardware. Notably, grenades are thrown by pressing the option button to switch, then fire. This was changed in the sequel. When the game is completed once, another character becomes playable. It is assumed that the playable characters are Marco and Fio, although this is never directly stated.
I actually agree with 2D about playing handheld games on PC emulators, it just doesn't feel right. That's why I played MS: 1st Mission on my CFW PSP on which I play all other Neo Geo roms as well. It's a handheld too after all...
However, my impressions after playing it for about 1 hour (it's been a while ago) were pretty positive. This NGPC title plays actually quite different in comparison to a regular Metal Slug title in which every moment there's stuff blowing up and Morden soldiers dying. 1st Mission has a more calm and clear gameplay-pace (which is actually understandable as this is a handheld title) and the level design is pretty unusual for a Metal Slug too. Sometimes the level pathway changes dramatically from left-right to right-left, there are also doors which lead you to the "other side" of the level and it rarely even happens that you get lost in a stage and have to go around in a circuit...
In 1st Mission there are indeed most elements from our known Metal Slug titles like the Handgun, Heavy Machinegun, Grenades, Rocket launcher, of course the Metal Slug and Slug Flyer itself and much more. But it still feels very different, as not all shooting phyisics are the same as familiar and as you need to change weapons quite often (Handgun<->Grenade) by pressing the option button I think.
Speaking of the Slug Flyer, evertime you get in one of these comical" Harriers", you actually get transfered to a small classic Horizontal Shmup section, where you've to shoot everything lying in your way into pieces. The special thing about that is that everytime your Slug Flyer gets destroyed, you actually can jump off and save yourself with a parachute. If that's the case, another sequence opens where you need to open your parachute in time. It's a bit like the last stage in Metal Slug Advance, if you guys remember it.
But overall it's a really nice piece of handheld software which just got overcome by it's even better sequel. If you want to enjoy a little bit different Metal Slug for once, 1st Mission is definitely worth a play.
Edited by Murikov on 05. September 2011 12:40
Before I bought a NGPC, this was not a title I liked the look of, I actually thought it looked average at best. But then after plaing it for a while I changed my mind completely and it became one of the first few NGPC games I bought! It's actually a very solid game, although the sequel is miles better. I still think the 2 NGPC slug games are better representations of the series than the other handheld versions later on (GBA for example). They may have looked prettier but didn't play as well imho.
My experience is rather the opposite of Kaz's. I had high expectations for this game back in '99; the screenshots in the mags looked awesome. I was really hoping for a game that captured the arcade experience. Unfortunately, I never got to try it back then (the stores were always poorly stocked when it came to NGPC games).
Flash to '06: the emulation boom. I finally got to try it, and boy was I disappointed. The game feels like a home adventure game rather than an arcade action game. In its own right, the gameplay is good, just not what I was expecting. To properly enjoy 1M, the player has to come into it knowing it doesn't play like the arcade...
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