Review by HPFreak623

"Great Arcade Feel and Difficulty Make for a Nice package overall."

The Metal Slug series has always been deemed as impossibly hard. Having never played a game in the series before I had no idea of the difficulty. I thought perhaps it was blown way out of proportion, that no game could be as hard as people have claimed in this day and age. It seems though as games further in visuals their story and difficulty seem to suffer, but Metal Slug 7 doesn't waver from the difficulty the series has a reputation for. I haven't been challenged this much since Contra III on Super Nintendo. If you're a fan of the series, you'll know what to expect in terms of difficulty. I can't make a direct comparison due to lack of experience, but even on easy or normal you'll feel as if you're playing through the hardest mode possible.

Getting into the game, you're presented with the main menu which will give you five different options: Main Mission, Rankings, Combat School, POW List and the Options menu. Rankings do nothing more than just show your ranks and high scores. POW List is merely a list of all the POWs you've rescued (that is, if you can rescue them). Options include your standard array of options: BGM volume, SFX Options., control changing, etc. Where you'll spend all of your time is in Main Mission since that's where you'll be playing the game. Combat school is a place to train. The only thing is, in order to train and obtain all the training mission, you have to beat the levels in the main game to unlock more. The training is a list of missions to accomplish that have specific goals. They can range from simply running through a level as fast as possible, to having to collect all the coins you see. They're really quite hard and should keep a perfectionist—or someone extremely bored—busy for a while.

There are seven main missions in total, each with a boss at the end. The game runs like a typical arcade game. You have your three lives along with your set of continues. A timer and score fill out the rest. When you get a game over you can even insert your initials which are saved. After you pick the difficulty—easy, normal or hard—you can then choose one of six characters. Each one has their own unique play style of sorts. Some start with a better weapon, some have half ammo, one even is allowed to take two hits instead of just one. You'll find which one you prefer to play as you do so. Each time you have to use a continue you have the option of changing the character you're using. The levels are for the most part, boring. They're linear and quite unimaginative. Level four has a bit of a platforming element to it which is a positive. It should have had more of it throughout the entirety of the game however.

The controls are responsive and work well. You have the ability to map the controls how you want them so you'll find something that works for you. This is an action game with near nonstop action, so incorporating touch screen functionality wasn't important but they added it in anyway. They should have left it out though, it's rather pointless. The touchscreen only allows you to see the map and scroll through the map for that section. It's not as useful as it sounds since it doesn't show you anything, not where the POWs are until you've rescued them, nor where the enemies are. What the point of it is I don't know, but it was useless during my time with the game.

Music and sound effects in MS7 are clear and clean. You'll hear the grunts and moans of the enemies and yourself dying. Gunfire and explosions bring the essence of the game to life and it helps suck you into the war zone. The music is rather repeating and boring though. You may end up turning the BGM down to zero and playing your own music.

There are not many cons I can find with the game with the exception that there should have been multiplayer, local or online. Also there are a few times where the action will get so hectic that the frame rate drops noticeably, but picks right back up to normal speed. Perhaps if they made the levels not as linear and added more real story elements, then this might be a more solid package. I wasn't even sure why I was killing all the enemies, but this made it feel more like an arcade game than anything else.

With Metal Slug 7 you're in for a challenge. It's a game that could keep you busy for a while with all the training and impossibly hard levels. The arcade feel allows for quick pick up and play action which is good for a bus ride or a break at work. Responsive controls and clean sound helped the game a bit. They're not needed but more story elements and multiplayer would have been a nice feature, otherwise this is decent.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 02/08/12

Game Release: Metal Slug 7 (US, 11/18/08)

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