Metal Slug Anthology
Awesome series in awesome value bundle.
PS2, Wii, PSP
Everyone's played Metal Slug by now, surely? Those that have know exactly what this is and why they should buy it. Those that don't should just sod off to the shops now and pick it up, seeing as it's been released at a budget price. You will like it. If you don't, you clearly have some mega-brain-wrong going on up there.
Metal Slug Anthology sees the whole 2D series so far on one shiny disc for all to see, with the latest number (6, fact fans) showing it's face too. That's a lot of arcade funs for less than £20. The Metal Slug games are much revered by the gaming public, and the mix of intense action, unforgiving difficulty and old school mechanics have made for one of the most endearing arcade series of the last decade - the tongue in cheek nature just tops everything off here, and a serious game this is not. Presentation-wise, at least. Turning into a fatty from eating too much and swapping the commando knife for fork-based melee action still raises something of a wry smile, even from my atrophied smiling muscles.
There are no major differences with the mechanics of any of the games on offer here, and the simplicity makes for a better experience, to be honest. Having to learn new things for each game would certainly put a damper on things, at the very least. Run, shoot, jump and grenade (or zomb-vom, whichever special you have at the time) your way through the dozens of levels, battling endless near-Nazi/undead/alien/giant enemy crab foes and a load of bosses that seem far too hard, initially at least. Oh, and rescue the identikit POWs = especially that one that skips around throwing fireballs.
And that's the entire formula. It's pure, massive fun. Over the top, stupid, very self aware fun. And if you don't love it you're clearly dead inside. Or you lost a loved one to an army of vomiting zombies, in which case you have my sympathies.
All of the games on offer maintain the series' distinctive art style, and each title is something of an emissary for the 2D cause - it's hard not to be drawn in by the beauty of the games, and the character shown by every single man, woman, child, zombie et al throughout is testament for how great the overlooked presentation style can be, with a little bit of effort.
I'm not saying it's better than all 3D games ever and that we should all still be playing nothing but Jet Set Willy on our steam-powered comput-o-matrons, but it's nice to see something presented so simply and with so much heart. Sound-wise... Hmm... It's fine. Functional. And "ROCKET LAWWWNCHER" still raises a giggle in the masses.
For about 15 sheets, this is one that no self respecting player of games should be without - the Metal Slug series is somewhat legendary throughout the world of gaming and this is the most comprehensive collection of the games so far. We ignore Metal Slug 3D, as that was shit.