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September 21 2019

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  NGP - Metal Slug 1st Mission · ©SNK 1999 · (Review 2)

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Game Stats
1 or 2 players
(with link cable)

Platform shoot 'em up

16 Megs

Japanese Name:

Metal Slug 1st Mission



Reviewed By:
Top Reviews By This Author:
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Other Opinions - More Reviews On NG4L:
Review 1 - by Alex Green


Metal Slug 1st Mission was my third Neo Geo Pocket game. Anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE Metal Slug for the Neo Geo, so it was natural that this game would be one of my first purchases! While Metal Slug 1, 2 and X are some of the best platform shooters you will find on any system, 1st Mission is one of the best hand-held shooters you can get. Don't be fooled into thinking that its just another generic platformer like many of the ones available for the Gameboy Color (you know, the games that look as if they were thrown together over a weekend), because it is far superior to them.

When I first played it, I did have my doubts because the game wasn't quite what I was expecting... but thankfully it turned out that I was wrong, wrong, WRONG to doubt it. While the game differs ever so slightly to the original games on the Neo Geo, it is still the same game at heart. I could tell this as soon as I heard the familiar music on the first stage (which is faithfully recreated from the original). The first difference you will notice is that you don't die after taking just one hit, instead there is now an energy bar. Once the bar runs out its game over, but you do get lots of continues and a nifty save option which is very helpful.

The thing that makes the game interesting is the variety. Aside from the good level design and different routes that can be used to get through them, you can take control of two different vehicles, the jet and the Metal Slug tank. Taking control of these vehicles is pretty good fun, especially Metal Slug (which as I've mentioned before looks a lot like Bonaparte from Dominion Tank Police, which means its COOL).

Unlike the Neo Geo versions, you do not get a choice in whether you use these vehicles or not. The sections of each level that have vehicles MUST be completed with them. This is where SNK implemented quite a nice touch... if your vehicle is destroyed before you complete that section, you don't die, instead you are either captured by the enemy and put into a Prison Camp from which you must escape (if you are in the tank), or you have to eject from your plane and perform a parachute jump. Escaping from the POW camp with just a knife is actually pretty easy, while the parachute jump is a little harder because you have to open your 'chute at just the right time. Too early and you risk being shot down by the enemy, too late and there are obvious consequences (well, you make a pretty pattern over the floor)!

Like its arcade forefather, there is a choice of powerful weapons available that you can collect during game play. These include the Pistol, which is your standard gun and has infinite ammo, the machine gun, the shotgun and the rocket launcher. You also have grenades at your disposal and an extra powerful weapon can be collected for each of the vehicles too. The only downside to the extra weapons you collect is that they run out very quickly.

As great as it is, MS1st is not without faults. One of the main problems is the small difficulty in switching between your main weapon and the grenades, although this is more of a problem with the Neo Geo Pocket itself. Whereas in the arcade you used 3 buttons (jump, shoot and grenades) the NGPC only has 2 buttons, so you use A for normal shoot, and by pressing the option button you switch over to grenades. The B button is used for jump. This can be awkward to get used to, but because the game isn't as hectic as the Neo Geo version it doesn't cause too much distress. It would have been nice if SNK had included a 2-player link up option, but you can't have everything...

The Metal Slug series is well known for its detailed graphics, and SNK have managed to do a darn good job considering the limitations of the hardware. Many levels have some nice parallax scrolling (which shows off the fact that the Neo Geo Pocket is 16 bit) and there is a lot of variety in them too, with each stage looking different to last. I like some of the clever animation touches too, such as the enemy soldiers spotting you and then quickly pointing straight at you before shooting, which gives you the chance to dodge their fire. Unfortunately one unwelcome characteristic of previous versions has also been carried over: the slowdown! The slowdown is not terrible, so it isn't something to worry about too much. It certainly doesn't spoil the game.

If you are considering buying a Neo Geo Pocket, or if you already have one, then this game should be somewhere near the top of your shopping list in my opinion. Don't hesitate, go and buy it today!

Graphics: 8/10
Sound: 7/10
Game play: 8/10
Replay Value: 8/10

Overall 8/10

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Metal Slug 2nd Mission

A great sequel!

Back to Neo Geo Pocket Reviews -->

#1 | green beret on May 10 2015 11:53
Great handheld Metal Slug. Thanks for the review!

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