Review by YanDaMan263
"The final Metal Slug game goes out with a bang!"
Metal Slug 6, rumored to be the final installment in SNK's classic Metal Slug series, is finnaly out. Wether this rumor is true or not is irrelevant. As I'm sure if fans demands are enough, more will come from SNK. Being the potentially last game of the serie, SNK went all out in this game, and the results are far from dissapointing.
People will inevitably say that the graphics for these games are outdated. However that is hardly a bad thing. Those who've played any previous Metal Slug games should pretty much be clear on what the graphic is like, charming handrawn 2D sprites in beautifully handrawn backgrounds. Metal Slug 3 was the peak of the series. Fans complained that Metal Slug 4 and 5 seems too rehashed from previous existing backgrounds and enemies. This game however, almost 90% of the art, background, and enemies are all new and original. Metal Slug always had some of the greatest animations ever for a 2D sprite based shooter, and this game is no exception. You can see enemy tanks blow up, or aliens being dissemboweled into pieces, all smoothly, without any sign of frame skipping. The new bosses are all visually impressive as well.
The soundtrack of this game are mostly original. Many of the tracks sound like a remix of an old track at the beginning, but later sounds totally different from what you were expecting. At the same time, they still have that fitting Metal Slug like sound to it. The sound is pretty much the same as the olds, with the screaming of the grunts, to the shrieking of the aliens, to the explosions of vehicles, to your own character's scream of demise that you will most likely hear alot of. Its all there. There is nothing much new in this department, but thats because they work with this game, and fans really cant imagine this game sounding any other way. The only weird thing here is Clark's voice when he dies, there's nothing wrong with it, but those who played The King of Fighters will probably laugh the first few times they hear it, as it sounds nothing like him from KoF.
No surprise, almost all SNK classics are flawless in the gameplay department. This game is definitely a huge step up from the predecessors. If you are not familiar with the gameplay of Metal Slug, think of Konami's Contra series, but with much smoother and responsive controls, and 10 times more challenging. The game is a 2D sidescrolling shooter. You shoot stuff, collect points, pick up new arsenals, shoot some more, and most importantly, trying to stay alive.
As far as story goes, I do not understand Japanese, but as far as I can tell, it seems Morden's troops and the Mars people are now buddies, allies. Yes even after the Martians pretty much abducted Morden 2 times and all. All seemed to go according to his plan to wipe out our heros when, surprise, more aliens shows up, a new, more dangerous and ferocious specie. They pretty much make the Martians look like helpless little babies and well, now the Earth is threatened again and another desperate alliance was formed, between you, Morden, and surprise, the Martians! I guess the enemies of yesterday really can become the friends of today. Time to cleanse the planet of these unwanted guests. Can't we get all get along with the martians? I guess so.
Metal Slug 6 introduce 2 new characters, the nolstalgic Ralf Jones and Clark Still from the Ikari Warriors, or most better known, the King of Fighters. Both of these soldiers even comes with their trademark moves. Ralf can unleash his devastating Vulcan Punch attack by holding up + the special attack button, while Clark can utilize his Super Argentine Backbreaker on anything beside machines, well minus the breakbreaking part that is. The SAB will earn you big points and will double for consecutive usage of up to 16000 points. The vulcan punch is a powerul close range attack that can destroy tanks in instants. Ralf, being the tough guy that he is, takes two hits to be killed instead of one like everyone else. To counterbalance this unbalancement, Ralf only get half of the ammo for guns and grenades he picks up.
The other characters also all attain new abilities. Each character now has stats, Power, Defence, and Speed. Power is the power of your melee attack, defence is the amount of damage you take while inside a vehicle, and speed how fast you can excecute your melee attack in succession. Marco pistol is more powerful than everyone elses, Tarma excells in defence, making him a tank while inside a Metal Slug. He also can rapid fire and shoot faster in vehicles than anyone else by simply holding the shoot button down, while other people would normally have to tap the fire button and have wait time inbetween each bursts. Eri can throw grenades upward and even up to two times the distance by pressing forward+Triangle, not only that but she starts with double the amount of grenades and gain two times more grenades that she picks up. Fio automatically starts with a Heavy Machine Gun clip, even when she dies. She also gets 1.5X more ammo than the other characters (or in Ralf's case, 3 times more than him), this makes her the best choice for newcomers. Clark is the points hogger with SAB. Ralf, beside his already mentioned benefits, also have the highest speed rating, which results in him being able to use melee attack incredibly fast, making him the best close range character. This is a great change to the series, as now each character are actually unique and plays differently to a style of your liking. Marco being power, Tarma machines, Eri grenades, Fio long range, Ralf close range, and Clark for points.
There are 2 difficulties to choose from when playing Arcade. Easy and Hard. Easy is aimed for novice of the serie to get used to the gameplay. Enemies takes less hit to defeat and everyone starts with unlimited heavy machine gun ammo as their default weapon. This makes gameplay totally easy in the hands of Metal Slug veterans. Hard is without these benefits. Easy mode does not let you play the final mission however, you must play on hard in order to play it and truely beat the game. The weapon system also changed. You can now carry two different types of guns at a time, and you can switch between the 2 anytime until they either run out of ammo or you die. You can even switch back to your pistol and conserve the ammo for bosses, assuming you dont die before you get there. By pressing the L1 button, you can toss your gun so that player 2 can pick it up. One new weapon is introduced in Metal Slug 6, the [Z] is the Sonic Sword, which is a powerful close range attack that has slightly more range than your standard melee attack. On the note of weapons, the ammo you get is about 2/3 of what you use to from previous Metal Slug games. Meaning you get 100 machinegun ammo instead of 150, 20 enemy chasers instead of 30 e.t.c. There is also a meter that builds up as you shoot things, and once maxed, anything you kill will drop gold coins until the meter runs out.
The PS2 version of Metal Slug 6 also comes with a new mode, and the reason for the delay. Combat Camp is a mode where you create a profile, and you are given certain mission objectives to do while playing through one of the 5 missions of the game. Since I do not understand Japanese, I cannot enjoy this mode as much as those who do know the language. From what I played so far, I seemed to have infinite ammo for everything and kept having to do the first mission. These are only the first 3 however, as I'm sure the later ones will be more challenging depending on the task, which I cannot read to understand it. One of the missions I received so far is to collect 80% of the items in stage 1. This is harder than it sounds, as the closest I've gotten is 73%. This forces you to find every hidden nook, kill all enemies, save all prisoners e.t.c. This mode do seem to add more fun, gameplay, depth and replay value to this otherwise short game however. Since you could beat Arcade mode in under an hour. With the infinite life factor and all.
Replay Value: 9/10
As I mentioned, it will take roughly an hour or less to beat arcade mode on hard. However, this type of game stays fun no matter how long you play it, and you will find yourself replaying arcade mode over and over, each time with the goal of dying less than your previous game as you play to get better at the game. Veterans of Metal Slug will still be going for score attacks by conquering each stage without dying once with as many prisoners as they can. Methods to increase your score are still there, such as using Clark's SAB to rack up points on grunts or aliens, using melee attacks on grunts/aliens earn you 500 points instead of 100 per hit. And collection gold coins in huge amounts will double each time, from 10 points up to 6400, though this is very strict, as it means you must defeat hordes of enemies and make them drop coins before picking all of it up at once. If this is your first time playing, you will probably find yourself dying very frequently, using up to 20 continues by the end of the game. As you replay and get better, the continues will decrease, and you will find yourself eventually learning every enemy pattern, appearance spots, and even conquer stages without dying.
Buy of Rent:
This is a game that I would recommend any fans of shooters or classic arcade type games to buy. Metal Slug fans on the other hand, this is a must buy, as it is definitely the best Metal Slug game SNK ever made, with a fresh new engine. With such a high replay value, this game is one that you will alway find yourself having the will to play it again at some point. This game is however, only out in Japan, with no plans of a USA release anytime soon, or at all. If you are an importer however, you should give this game the consideration.
Final Score: 9/10
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 09/18/06, Updated 09/04/07
Game Release: Metal Slug 6 (JP, 09/14/06)
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