Walk right. Shoot everything.
Think of the greatest run and gun shooter you can. Contra, right? Yeah, most of us think of Contra. Hey, it’s natural. It was on the good ol’ NES back in the day, it was one of the ultimate co-op games allowing two players to get in on the fun of shooting everything to the right of you, and it was hard as nails. Hell, it was the source of the popularity of the Konami code. 30 lives is the only way most people can make it through that damn game. But we are not here to talk about Contra. We are here to talk about the game that picked up the baton Contra passed off and ran with it right down the track. Or road. Or… you know, the thing that runners run down. I’m not a runner. I don’t know these things. I’m gonna stop this analogy now. Metal Slug!
Yes, Metal Slug. If I were forced at gunpoint to describe this game in one sentence, it would be, “Contra with a tank.” That alone should perk your eyebrows. “Contra with a tank you say?” you say. Yes, I say, Contra with a tank. That is the titular Metal Slug. Most of the game is the standard run and gun. You move to the right. Everything that moves is your enemy. They must have bullets put into them. Or any of the other weapons you can get your hands on. Oh sweet, sweet flamethrower. And rocket launcher. And shotgun. And machine gun. And the tank. Let’s get back to the tank for a second. Did I mention there’s a tank? Partway through each level you find the Metal Slug. This is the part of the level where you know shit is about to get real. The game has deemed you need a tank. And the tank is awesome for three reasons. 1) It’s a tank. Tanks are strong. Tanks take more than one bullet to kill. That is a godsend in these types of games. There’s no Konami code in this game. By the way, one hit and you die. 2) You can shoot in all directions. Normally you can shoot left and right and up and down and kinda diagonal. It’s harder to shoot diagonally when you have to worry about that one hit and you die rule. But the tank’s machine gun just goes hog wild. You don’t have to worry about one hit and you die. Go nuts. Shoot wherever you want. It’s what the tank is for. 3) Cannon. Your tank makes things go boom. Which you will need because, again, shit. It’s getting real. Oh, and a quick four. 4) The tank can jump. Not very high, but it’s something. And it can duck. Man I love this tank.
But you know, a lot of games can boast that they have lots of shooting and tanks. So what puts Metal Slug over the top? It’s just the little touches. For example, you get items and points by rescuing bearded POWs from the enemy. They give you a little salute when you touch them and they give you a shotgun or flamethrower or what have you. Or what about when you flamethrower a bad guy and he runs around comically flailing his arms around? Actually, that’s kind of morbid. Funny, but morbid. There’s also the general cartoony art style that the game uses. It just doesn’t take itself that seriously. Metal Slug is like Contra if it wore one of those hats that has the beer on the side. It’s the party Contra. Oh, and the bosses. The bosses are big. Big bosses are good in these types of games. There are… man, if you could black out all the areas where you would die during a boss battle, most of the screen would be black. Which is why you need the tank.
Are there down sides? Sure. There are limited continues. Boo on that. These games are hard guys. That’s the least you could give us. But it does give you enough for you to make it to the end. You will have to work for it. So it’s not that bad… damn, this part is hard. Well, maybe if you don’t have friends to play with. That would be bad. Metal Slug is awesome with multiple people. Oh, but wait, you can play online. Well… um… nope. Go buy Metal Slug. It’s on the PlayStation Network now. Seven bucks. You’ll get plenty of bang for them. Your bucks, I mean.