Let's Talk Metal Slug (with Galvatron!)



<Ragey> eyyy


<Galvatron> helklo


<Ragey> s'up


<Galvatron> I command you to wise fwom your gwave!

Where the action is.


<Ragey> welcome to your doom




<Ragey> So I was just reading Sydlexia's 100 best NES games and for whatever reason it gave me the idea of a JOINT WRITING BETWEEN US where we TALK ABOUT METAL SLUG


<Galvatron> I'M IN


<Galvatron> so anyway metal slug yeah what about


<Ragey> I was thinking maybe just our first experiences with the series and then we go and talk about the games one by one and then we conclude with whatever message and baba boom


<Galvatron> yes, now is the time to slag of MS5 some more!


<Ragey> Except now with two opinions!


<Ragey> And maybe we can sneak in some dissing of the Metal Slug community!


<Galvatron> oh lordy


<Ragey> So uh wanna start now or should we SO PROFESSIONAL and PLAN FOR A WHILE


<Galvatron> Let's not.


I n t r o d u c t i o n

<Galvatron> So, where did you first play Metal Slug? Or even hear of it, for that matter?


<Ragey> Good question, Galv'. I first heard of it via a package of sprites I found on a Mario site; no idea what they were doing bundled with Mario sprites but I ignored it up until 2003 where I was hearing a lot about the game, and decided to play it for myself by purchasing Metal Slug X for the PlayStation. I liked it, despite the whole slowness and awkwardness of the port.


<Galvatron> We were on the way back from holiday from Jersey and the ferry was delayed several times so it would be a couple of hours late. But the little check-in place had a tiny arcade with some Midway driving game, Namco's Crisis Zone and a NeoGeo with two games on it: A Bust-A-Move game and the original Metal Slug.


<Galvatron> Me and my brother played it and quite liked it, despite getting killed quite early on (I don't think we got past the first mission) but my brother said that we should definitely get it for Kawaks when we got back. Yes, that's right, screw buying them and keeping SNK happy, lets get illegal! But for some reason we just completely forgot about it and didn't remember about them at all until about a year later, in around March 2004 when a friend of hours gave us this CD with a version of MAME and all six Metal Slug NeoGeo games.

The elusive cabinet.


<Ragey> I've never actually seen a Metal Slug arcade unit, although apparently my brother and a friend played Metal Slug 3 once while out on a caravan journey. I'm jealous, despite the fact if I were to play it for reals it would cost cash monies to continue.


<Galvatron> Yeah, we were quite lucky to get to play it at all in an arcade. The closest "arcade" to me is at my local Warner Village, and last time I went there all they had was a cash converter unit, a pool game and one broken Time Crisis.


<Ragey> The only arcades I know of are in Belfast Airport (where the only decent things are Time Crisis 3 and House of the Dead 2 and some crappy racing game), as well as some bowling alley which used to have Marvel vs. Capcom and some good stuff, but now only a generic racing game and Time Crisis 2 with a faulty second gun.


<Galvatron> Pure brilliance. And they wonder why arcades are all dying out. I'm almost surprised they didn't make Metal Slug 6 a home console only release.


<Ragey> They totally need to do a Metal Slug that's made specifically for consoles, and I'm not talking Metal Slug 3D. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Onto the topic of the games!


M e t a l   S l u g

<Galvatron> Metal Slug is one of the best games, I think. I like the fact that it isn't completely over the top, all the crazy weapons they introduced later on like the laser and iron lizard aren't there, plus there are no daft enemies like the aliens or armoured busses. Just more generally realistic enemies like thousands of mindless grunts and more traditional tanks and planes.


<Ragey> I like the more zany aspect of the later games, but I appreciate how the first one remains serious but still has a comical atmosphere. And I'm disappointed at how some things in it didn't carry over to the others, like the soldiers jumping onto the Metal Slug and such.

Rubber ring-equipped soldiers. Classic.


<Galvatron> I don't mind the craziness of the later games, but the first one is the only one to not be that over-the-top. Plus it may be the shortest game but I think that's one of the things that's great about it, it doesn't go on for ridiculous amounts of time, unlike say the last mission of Metal Slug 3.


<Ragey> Yeah, it's a decent length. It's also the only one where the Flame Shot can't destroy a tank or helicopter in one or two hits. Realism!


<Galvatron> Also it's got one of the best sound tracks, in my opinion. The theme used in the first level is just the start of a great score, and it just gets better and better from there.


<Ragey> Totally. One of my nags about it is that some of the bosses are a bit dull. Level 4 and 5's bosses are pretty forgettable in my view.


<Galvatron> I thought 4's was ok but yeah, the final boss was a bit of a let down, just a small helicopter which wasn't even that difficult to destroy. SNK seemed to learn from this, since all of the later games have you fighting several bosses at the end.


<Ragey> Yeah.


M e t a l   S l u g   2

<Galvatron> The problem with trying to talk about the sequel is that all you can really say is "play Metal Slug X instead". It did have some good new ideas, and it gave male MS community members something to fap about, but Metal Slug 2 has just been replaced by MSX.


<Ragey> Yeah. There really isn't much to say about it without talking about X as well.


I can't say it enough, play Metal Slug X instead.

<Galvatron> Although it probably is worth playing through just to see what they later changed in MSX. It's just with the large amount of slow down isn't really worth putting up with just to see that they changed a level's time setting from day to night.


<Ragey> That, and it just doesn't feel complete. It feels empty without the silver aliens, mummy dogs and having the level 3 mid boss as level 1's main boss. Well, not empty about that last one. More wrong.


<Galvatron> Yeah, I wonder if they would have bothered to make MSX if they didn't have MS3 ready? Because it seems one of the main reasons they made it was to store a ton of MS3 sprites on there.


<Ragey> Both as a bug fix and to prepare for MS3, it seems. To actually say something about this game, it's okay, but play Metal Slug X instead.


M e t a l   S l u g   3

<Galvatron> And MS3. The best of the series, so they say. What's your view?


<Ragey> The amount of alternate paths they packaged into it is awesome, and the new Slugs are pretty rad. Probably the most complete and fulfilling of the series.


<Galvatron> Yeah, that's one of the best things about MS3, the sheer size of it. None of the future sequels came close to offering so many routes. It's a great game, the only thing I can bitch about is the last mission, it just goes on for far, far too long. Other than that it's one of my favourites.

Swimming is cool. Unlike flying through space. Space isn't cool.


<Ragey> The length does add a sense of epic quality to it, but yeah for casual playing it's a bit of a bore. Plus that space shooter segment gets old real fast.


<Galvatron> Yes, that part especially, at it's worse when you actually get inside the alien ship. As soon as your on foot again it's OK, though.  In my opinion, they should have just ended the series after MS3, it couldn't get any better after this. It ended beautifully, they didn't need to bring it back.


<Ragey> And it had the second best ending of the series.


<Galvatron> Yes, because it had an actual ending! Wow! But don't you think that was enough for the Metal Slug series?


<Ragey> It had progressed far enough, with the fast-paced arcade action as well as the more exploring type gameplay of Metal Slug 1st and 2nd Mission.


M e t a l   S l u g :   1 s t   &   2 n d M i s s i o n

<Galvatron> I've played them, but never really got into them. I find the arcade games much more playable. I actually have 1st Mission and completed it several times, but I didn't really find it to be that good.

The plane sections are rather crap.

On foot is where it's at.


<Ragey> 1st Mission was okay at most, but the crappy controls hurt it a lot. 2nd Mission made them better and also included new stuff, like the Missile Pod, the Metal Slug equivalent of Contra's Spread Shot. Except with rockets.


<Galvatron> Awesome. I have played 2nd Mission, but not really to any extent.


<Ragey> It's probably not for everyone but I like it a lot. SNK should rerelease it for the GBA or something.


<Galvatron> And this is now a perfect time to bitch about MSA.


M e t a l   S l u g   A d v a n c e

<Ragey> MSA tried to mix 2nd Mission's exploration and collecting with the fast-paced gameplay of the arcades. It didn't do good in my view.


<Galvatron> It looked okay from the early footage I saw. But the end product is just lacklustre. If they'd put in more levels, and more of the stuff they showed off in the preview videos it could have been good. Plus it really could have done with an arcade mode, which removes the life bar and cards and makes it play more like the NeoGeo games, but they would have had to tone down the cheap AI dramatically.

If this were the arcade game, this situation would be simple. Since it isn't, your enemies are equipped with limitless grenades and rockets. Whoo.


<Ragey> The AI is a serious downfall. They're a shower of bastards.


<Ragey> I mean seriously, tone it down on the grenades and rockets, guys.


<Ragey> Also get out of town missile launchers.


<Galvatron> And now, by the looks of it, they've gone and cancelled the GBA version of Metal Slug 1, which could have been my fine alternative to MSA.


<Ragey> The game does become more arcade like once you get the cards, as well as becomes easier, but it's not a very good design where the game needs totally finished before it becomes fun.


<Galvatron> It does seem that the series went rapidly down hill after MS3, every other game after that has been kind of poor.


<Ragey> None of them feel complete anymore.


M e t a l   S l u g   4


<Ragey> MS4 wasn't praised much upon release, but I honestly never saw much wrong with it. Yeah, it was a step downwards in terms of cohesive plot and epic last level when compared to 3, but if compared to 1 it holds up pretty darn good. Riding enemy vehicles is awesome.


<Galvatron> I saw it as a disappointment, but after recently playing though MS5 I didn't think MS4 was that bad at all anymore. It may have some stupidly designed sections but at least it's still fun.


<Ragey> Yeah, some of the new things weren't magnificent (new characters were kinda bleh and the medal thing was rather pointless) but it held up good and I can play it all the way through and enjoy it, as long as I avoid the muthatruckin' mummies. Something that can't be said for MSA or MS5.


M e t a l   S l u g   5

<Galvatron> I never knew Metal Slug 5 was that bad until I completed a couple of times a few weeks a go. It's awful, it just seems like they tried to remove everything that was great about Metal Slug. I don't like the new slide move, the robot enemies don't really fit in that well, and why they tried to make it sound like the slug gunner is so great I have no idea, I thought it was a slow moving easy target.


<Ragey> MS5 tried to turn things around the series, but with it being hastily rushed out and incomplete they failed rather badly at that. The Slug Gunner is better in it's tank mode, the Car Slug is in no way interesting, the Spider Slug is crap, the slide sucks, and it's just an awkward mess. There's no balance.

You're given a Drop Shot for this segment. Yep.


<Galvatron> That was possibly the game's biggest problem; it's just extremely rushed.


<Ragey> If they had actually taken the time to finish it then it probably could've been decent. Emphasis on probably.


<Galvatron> Yeah, instead, we've just got masses of unused sprites to look at and wonder what they were going to be used for.


<Ragey> Attention it doesn't deserve in it's released state.


<Galvatron> Makes me almost glad they cancelled the Xbox version over here.


<Ragey> They could've used those console ports to actually finish it, but no. Just another table of items and what points they award. Whoopty doo!


<Galvatron> Yeah, completely pointless "extras".


P o r t s   a n d   o t h e r   g a m e s

<Galvatron> I mean, for the Saturn and PS ports of the earlier games you got given new modes with extra missions, but the PS2/Xbox ports just don't care anymore.


<Ragey> At least MS3 had those whopping two extra missions.


<Galvatron> I suppose, although it still didn't even compare to what they'd put in in the previous games.


<Ragey> Yeah. MS6 looks like it's trying to apologise for 5 by bringing back the old enemies but also trying to revive the whole big plot thing.

Not enough explosions. WHERE THE ACTION AT


<Galvatron> I really would like to play it, but I have no idea if it's heading for PS2 or not. The videos I've seen do look quite good, and a while lot better than Metal Slug 5. I just hope Ignition bring it out over here on something other than PSP and the Wii.


<Ragey> Yeah. And MS3D looks interesting but also a bit lacklustre.


<Galvatron> Again, I'd love to play it, but by the looks of things it's going to stay a Japanese release only, sadly.


<Ragey> There's no outer-Japan love for Metal Slug. But in it's current state, can you really blame them?


<Galvatron> Not really, hopefully this new anthology will pick up some interest.


T h e   M e t a l   S l u g   c o m m u n i t y

<Ragey> The Metal Slug community, like the Sonic community, seems to give no focus to the actual gameplay in their sites and spend more of the time bashing them, as well as drawing the characters' tits and providing music and typically stuff that really isn't all that interesting if you want to be introduced to the series.


<Ragey> And sprites and sprite comics.


<Galvatron> Lets get personal, although since I'm a nobody in the MS communities I can get away with it. My main complaint is that I can't think of a single site which bothers to cover missions of the games in any detail.

No comment.


<Ragey> That's a main problem, and let's face it, the text-only FAQs you find on the internet are crap, no matter how much unnecessary ASCII maps they put in.


<Ragey> Then again, it seems to be a trend nowadays for sites to provide lots of music and totally useless information and no actual game information. I know of only one Mario walkthrough, and none for Mega Man, Sonic or the like.


<Galvatron> Plus it doesn't help that the majority of members of MS communities are wackos.


<Ragey> And it doesn't help that the majority of those wackos hate each other.


<Galvatron> And have an obsession in getting sprites and mutilating them into new characters or putting them into crude positions.


<Ragey> And it doesn't help that they lack spriting skills. Or English skills. Or even anger management skills.


<Galvatron> So it's official: MS communities suck at everything. So what else have we got left to discuss here?


I g n i t i o n   E n t e r t a i n m e n t

<Galvatron> Oh yes, they're probably a swell bunch of guys really, at least they released MS3 and the onwards games on PS2 and the like.


<Ragey> Which is a good thing. But seriously guys, we coulda passed on Metal Slug Advance, and throwing us into a wild goose chase over when will a game actually be released is just ridiculous. It's not like you needed to do anything.


<Galvatron> Playmore seem to just think it's fine to release rushed out games, in the case of MSA and MS5. I just hope Metal Slug 6 will be up to scratch.


<Ragey> Ignition killed Phil Mitchell. :{



<Galvatron> But he came back to life and gave them the head flush special, along with Playmore.


<Ragey> True, but they'll be back. They always will. I sleep with one eye open because of that fact.


<Galvatron> Playmore seem to be doing fine with other series though. The King of Fighters games have gone from strength to strength, and KoF XII is going to have completely new sprites at last. I think it's about time they re-did the MS sprites too.


<Ragey> I think the problem is that everything they've done to Metal Slug after the third one hasn't made people happy. People bitched about Nadia and Trevor, the slide moves, and the new sound effects in MS6.


<Galvatron> And yet if they'd ended the series after MS3 everyone would bitch and whine and want a new game, eventually. I think I could have lived without any more sequels after 3 but a lot of people couldn't.


<Ragey> It's the sad truth and can apply to everything.


C o n c l u s i o n

<Galvatron> So, I think we can wrap this up now.


<Ragey> Yep.


<Galvatron> Overall what are you favourite MS games?


<Ragey> I like MS1, MSX, MS3, MS4 and MS:2M most, but if I had to choose just one it'd probably be MSX.


<Galvatron> MS1, MSX and MS3 for me.


<Ragey> They're the universally loved ones.


<Galvatron> Because they're the best, most likely, improving each time.


And we end with a joke.




on the day i put this up the MSDB closed. extra hilarity am i rite