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November 20 2017

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  Metal Slug - ©Nazca 1996 (Page 2)

Sound

Metal Slugs soundtrack is pretty solid and only serves to improve the experience. When I originally heard what the game had to offer, I must admit that I wasn't overly impressed - but then again I was playing the game in arcade, which wasn't exactly the ideal location to listen to it. Once I got the chance to play the game at home I really began to appreciate it a whole lot more.

First off, the music is pretty damn good and although it sounds a little dated now it couldn't have been any better for the subject matter. All of the music has a military theme, and while it won't exactly rock the speakers on your TV, it is still nice. None of the tracks really stand out a great deal, but I do personally like the music from stage 2. Here's a couple of mp3 samples from the game that I made for your listening pleasure:

Stage 1 Music - MP3 Format, 43 Seconds, 475k
Stage 2 Music - MP3 Format, 50 Seconds, 565k

On the whole, the sound effects do not disappoint either. The noise that all the guns make and the explosions aren't particularly realistic, but they do sound good enough. The enemy soldiers on the other hand sound very funny at times. My favourite part is when you sneak up behind a soldier with your gun pointing at them - if you don't shoot straight away they will usually jump up and scream, right before running off. Classic! On the whole there is a lot of depth to the soundtrack, the only one annoyance is that most of the enemy death screams are the same, which does get a bit repetitive at times. To tell the truth though, like the graphical slowdown I stopped noticing this after extended periods of play, and it really doesn't bother me anymore.


Stages

Metal Slug is made up of 6 stages in total, each with numerous enemies and a boss. At the end of each stage you will receive a points bonus for all of the POW's that you have rescued, although you are only rewarded for the ones that you have rescued on your current life. Therefore, if you want to achieve a high score you really will have to beat the game on as few lives as possible!

Here is a short description of each stage and its boss, as well as a couple of hints on beating each one. I only explain the basics however, so if you want more in-depth coverage you should check out one of the many FAQ's (see the section at the end of this review). If you would rather not read everything about all of the stages, I recommend you skip to the "Overall" section near the bottom of this page!

Stage 1



This is a fairly easy stage that will ease you into the game and help you grow accustomed to the game play and controls. There are quite a lot of funny moments on this stage, such as your first chance to use the flamethrower (burn baby burn!), and a chance to crush some enemy soldiers by shooting down some large rocks that are dangling above them. Midway through the stage you will find a tank, and you shouldn't find it too difficult to hang onto it until the end of the stage. Most of the enemies here will be simple soldiers, although you will have to take out a couple of helicopters and some tanks.

Stage 1 Boss: The Bomber



This boss is extremely easy to beat, especially if you have tank still (which you should have). Simply move all the way to the right, duck down, and then throw all the grenades you have at it. This will most likely be enough to finish it off within about 5 seconds. You will have to dodge the beams of energy that it fires out, although this isn't very hard at all. If you take too long you will also need to avoid the energy beam that it fires across the bottom of the screen. One more hint – as you approach the boss, make sure you shoot down and rescue the hostages that are near to it, preferably before the battle begins.

Stage 2



The action begins to hot up a little here, and you'll need a bit more skill to get past this stage without dying. It begins with you above a railtrack and next to a bunch of soldiers sitting around a campfire. Slaughter them quickly and you'll move onto a small section where you have to either jump over or crawl under some electrical barriers; the funny thing about these is that I have occasionally seen enemy soldiers run right into them!

Right after that you'll get to use the flame thrower to good effect in roasting a few soldiers that parachute in, before you move onto a section where you are on a bridge above water. Boats come floating in and you will need to blow them up to move on. What's great about this part is that you don't need to stay on the bridge; you can jump down onto the boats themselves to inflict some major damage, and then jump back up to the bridge before they sink. One of the best things about this section is you will get your first chance to use the almighty shotgun here!

After this you will have to take out a really easy sub-boss (a large tank on rails that appears above you), and if you still have the shotgun you can finish him off with ease. This is followed by a short section where you can pickup the tank and then take out a few planes before coming face to face with boss no. 2!

Stage 2 Boss: Jumbo Jet



The second boss is a large jet carrying General Morden (the principal bad guy of this game). You are actually riding on a train at this point, and there are 3 platforms on it that raise up every now and then; you can jump on these if you want which might make it a bit easier to hit the boss. If you have the tank still (again you really should have), you can use a similar tactic to beat this boss as the first one - just duck down and keep throwing grenades, although you will have to make sure the jet is low enough for the grenades to hit it. Otherwise, you will need to keep avoiding the rockets that he fires, and also attacks from General Morden himself who pops out every now and then.

Stage 3



This stage is the obligatory ice level... and lets face it all 90's platformers HAD to have an ice level ;-). You will initially start off having to make your way from the bottom of the stage to the top instead of just going from left to right like in the first two. Halfway up you will have to quickly shoot a button at the top of a huge gate to open it up, and while it is open, you'll need to destroy a barrel of dynamite that is just behind it to blow the whole thing up.

At the top you will face a the mid-boss, a bearded guy who will taunt you with phrases like "Come on boy!" and "See you in Hell!!!". The best tactic you can use here is to stay beneath him when he is on a higher ledge than you and to just keep shooting up, as he cannot fire directly downwards. You will need to dodge his grenades though, but you can finish him off quickly by returning the favour and throwing a few of your own grenades! He'll be back in later MS games though...

After this you will make your way through what would appear to be an enemy base, and after totally flattening that (literally) you'll climb from the rubble and find your trusty Tank Slug! After a few short skirmishes and some POW rescuing, it is time to head for the boss!

Stage 3 Boss: Boss Tank



This boss is a HUGE tank that appears below you. It fires up mines that land on the platform you are standing on and can fire machine guns at you. It will also unleash a massive energy blast from time to time that takes a few seconds to charge up - so just make sure you get out of the way before it is unleashed!

Once again, using the "duck down in the tank and throw grenades" technique will work wonders. In fact, with this particluar boss if you do it quick enough you will destroy him before he even has a chance to get on the screen fully, and before he even mounts an attack! As Terry Bogard would say, "NO PROBLEM!!!".

Stage 4



Stage 4 starts off in what would appear to be a war torn city. Before you do anything, just wait for about 30 seconds and a plane will pass by and drop a few POW that will give you some extra grenades that will prove useful later on!. Once you have rescued them, you will have to blast your way through the wall of a house, and you will get the opportunity to get the Tank Slug. To get it however, you'll have to be careful not to shoot the barrel of dynamite. First you will need to jump on top of the barrel and then up on to the platform where tank is; if you have already destroyed the dynamite you won't be able to reach it!

In the section that follows you are going to have to put up with some guys that jump in and try to stab you, so be very careful not to get too close to them. If you are in the tank of course you will be fine - they will just cling on to the tank and won't actually be able to cause you any harm. You will find yourself outside again now, and this section will DEFINITELY be a lot easier if you have the tank.

You'll come across some tanks on the top of the screen that fire down on you. You can destroy them, but if you are not careful you will shoot the ground out from below them instead, and they will come crashing down. This will destroy them, but of course it will destroy you too if you are directly below them, so be careful! After this you will need to destroy some gun turrets in your path. If you have lost the Tank Slug by now, you should be able to claim another one in this area.

Stage 4 Boss: Super Tanks



You'll be facing off against two large tanks here, one on the top of the screen, and one at the bottom. Beating this boss is easy if you use the grenade tactic - start off by quickly going in for kill with the one at the top, and then move to the left and throw a few grenades while avoinding his attacks. Easy! However, there are a couple of hostages at the bottom of the screen (and usually a couple at the top), so it might be a bit harder if you want to rescue them as well.

Stage 5



Ah, the stage where things really start to get challenging! You'll be running through another city on stage 5, although it isn't as messed up as the one at the start of stage 4... well, not until YOU arrive anyway ;-). You can shoot out the top windows on all the houses that you pass by, and this is a good idea as there are enemy soldiers and bonuses hiding behind them! In fact, you can blow out the whole front of most of the houses,which is very satisfying, in a sadistic "I wanna blow s**t up!!" kind of way. There are also a number of cars that you can either shoot or crush by driving over them in the Tank, which can be obtained a little way into the stage.

During the latter half of stage 5 you'll have to destroy some gates that are in the way, although this is easier said than done. There are tons of soldiers around you and also a soldier firing rockets on top of it. To make matters worse, there is also a truck that comes in from the left side of the screen at the first gate (as well as a helicopter) that you'll need to destroy, and then a tank at the second gate. This is a lot easier to get past if you have the Tank, but even if you have lost it, you will find another one after the first gate... try not to lose this one!!! ;-)

On the next part, watch out for some crazy guys on motorcycles who will try to crash into you. A little bit further, and you will be at the penultimate boss!

Stage 5 Boss: Armoured Carrier



This armoured carrier is probably the hardest boss so far, but as with the others it can be defeated with the grenade method! At first the boss will fire some energy beams at you so you will need to dash in-between them, as well as avoid the missiles it fires. After a few seconds the boss will stop moving and four small legs will extend out from underneath and lift the carrier up. A small turret that shoots flames out will appear under it, and you should begin to aim your firepower at it.

Once you have destroyed the turret you should quickly get underneath the carrier and rescue the POW's that will appear there. Now aim up and concentrate your firepower (and grenades if you have them) on the carrier, but make sure you shoot down any missiles that head toward you, which come from both sides. This boss may take a little longer than the others to destroy, but it shouldn't cause you too many problems once you know how to deal with it.

Final Stage



This is the final stage, and the hardest one in the game; it will definitely take you a bit of practice to get through without dying! At the start, shoot the guy that is directly below you and then shoot upwards as there is a POW hidden in the trees above. Unfortunately he doesn't give you any weapons, he just gives you a points bonus.

Run across the bridge and massacre anything that gets in your way, and you will soon find yourself a shotgun or flameshot (hopefully the shotgun). Hoards of enemy soldiers will start to appear, and you can have a little fun blowing them to kingdom come with said weapon! Keep your wits about you as in the next section you are going to be fighting against tanks, planes, motorcyclists and lots of enemy soldiers. Get past all of these and the ground will get blown away from beneath you and you'll end up falling onto a boat.

There is a gatling gun mounted on the boat, so jump onto it and take control before the enemy planes and soldiers start swooping in. One thing to take advantage of is that fact that you will have a short period of invulnerability every time you jump away from the gun, so use this to your advantage whenever you have projectiles heading towards you - jump away and carry on firing, and then get back to the gun whenever you get the chance. After taking out a whole load of enemies you will get a chance to pickup the Tank, which you can take with you all the way to the final boss if you are careful enough.

Final Stage Boss: General Morden!



Here comes the General again, and this time he is in a helicopter. Morden will pop out of the helicopter and fire a bazooka at you, while the helicopter itself will fire some rockets (that you can shoot down) and also fire a gatling gun which is mounted on the bottom of it. It will occasionally drop bombs all the way across the screen - when it does this just shoot upwards and destroy at least one of them so that you have a spot to stand in where you won't get blasted!

Avoid all of this and keep shooting (you can hit the General too), and throw your grenades when it is close enough, if you have any left of course. If you are not in the Tank Slug and if you run out of ammo for your current weapon, don't worry as POW's will occasionally appear who you can get weapons off. After you have done enough damage, Morden will fall from the helicopter and hit the ground in a shower of blood. That's it - as the game itself says, "Mission All Over!". =)



Overall

If you are a fan of this style of game, then you need a Metal Slug game in your collection in my opinion... no questions asked. Unfortunately, if you happen to have the home system you are going to need to take out a second mortgage on your house as the price for the home cart has sky-rocketed. Metal Slug 1 is said to be one of the rarest games around, and original non bootleg carts have sold for wll in excess of $1000... so only very rich people/completist collectors will want to take the plunge for this one. On the other hand, the MVS cart will barely cost you anything - when I bought one a while ago, it cost me £30 (GBP), which is somewhere in the region of $50 US, which to me is a very good price for this game. If you have an MVS setup, then this is the way to go!

I've heard a lot of people say that Metal Slug is either too easy, or that there is no replay value, but I have to disagree with that. It is a very simple game, and six stages may not sound like very many, but something always pulls me back to it again and again. While you can easily get through the game by pumping in credit after credit, it will take some real practice to make it through the game using only one, so that gives you a reason to play again. Another reason to come back to it is to try and beat previous high scores, and also to play through the game with a friend, which can be a lot of fun!

The later games in this series add things that make the game even better and add some more variety, and also balance the bosses so that they aren't as much of a walkover as the ones here. Even so, I still highly recommend picking this game up if you want an introduction to Metal Slug! If you played one of the other Slugs first and are yet to play MS1, then I still say give it a try as it is still a VERY solid game. Either way, run and gun shoot 'em up fans can't really go wrong


Graphics: 9/10
Sound: 8/10
Game play: 9/10
Replay Value: 8/10

Overall Rating: 8/10





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