Metal Slug Anthology, PSP

It’s been a while since this came out but I finally got my hands on it so I’m happy and I want to share my thoughts.

I am fanatical about Metal Slug. I used to alternate throwing my money at it and the Attack of the Martians pinball machine (if my memory serves me correctly) in my student union until the morons decided to jack them for an air hockey table which lasted about two minutes. From this time at uni I have a lot of fond memories of Metal Slug and beer and not very many memories of classes. When the collection was announced for the PSP, I was suitable enthused. The prospect of getting seven Metal Slug games on one UMD was a dream come true.

For me, Metal Slug represents gaming purity of the old school variety. The joy of bashing buttons until your fingers bleed and the joystick comes off in your hand just doesn’t come from most modern games. They require actual thought instead of zombie-like focus and instinctual twitching and I miss that.

The Anthology consists of Metal Slugs one through six and Metal Gear X. Thankfully they thought to miss out the God-awful Metal Slug 3D because they actually wanted to shift some units. I must warn though if you’re not a fan of platform shooters then this will get real old, real quick. Despite having all the addictive properties of crack cocaine, the Metal Slug games are very formulaic. Not that this is a bad thing because SNK have hit on a brilliant formula.

Now to the actual UMD. Ignition have packaged the Anthology in layers of unskippable, static, intro screens. It felt like an ice age had passed before I actually got to choose which game I wanted to play. Thankfully, once you’re in, the PSP’s standby helps you to forget the horror of the wait in favour of perpetual bombs, guns and explosions.

I gleefully selected Metal Slug from the menu and settled down with a beer to reminisce. The beer was welcome because I was faced with another wait, this time because it took forever to load. Once in though I was treated to a smooth port of one of one of the best arcade shooters ever made. The only complaint I would have is that the game wasn’t expanded to take full advantage of the PSP’s wonderful wide screen as it remains in 4:3 and bookended with two black bands.

Problems aside, once I started playing the game I was happily transported back to the days when Metal Slug took priority over algorithmic foundations class (I feel sleepy just thinking about it.) Metal Slug Anthology is an excellent chance for fans to have access to an overdose of the Slug in one portable package. Sadly though, it is very much a release for the fanboys and maybe those platform shooter fans who have never been introduced to the wonders of the series.

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