Friday, 6 April 2012

Metal Slug 1st Mission - Neo-Geo Pocket Color

   Well, isn’t this the little undiscovered gem of a system, the Neo-Geo Pocket Color (NGPC) is quite the surprising treasure of a 16-bit handheld. It’s a real shame that this system never really took off, and it’s such a crying shame that it only received such a small library of games. But one thing the system can boast, much like my console favourite the Saturn, its library is one of quality over quantity.

   Metal Slug 1st Mission is a perfectly playable handheld Metal Slug game within the series, everything you would expect from this game is there in terms of its gameplay. Noticeably the graphics are very much lacking of course as it’s a 16-bit system, so it can’t hope to match the graphical prowess of its arcade or console versions. The graphics do look the same stylistically and in its art direction, and if you were to show screenshots of the game to anyone remotely familiar with the games they will instantly recognise the game to the series in which it belongs, though they may not know from what system it originates. But for what it does 16-bit wise, especially on an old handheld, it really does looks great.

   Gameplay wise, it feels exactly like any other versions of the games, something you wouldn’t think possible from such a system, but it honestly does feel perfectly at home on the NGPC, thanks in no small part to the systems little analog stick. If it wasn’t for the thumb stick, I’d highly doubt that this game would feel so much at home on the handheld as its this control input method that gives so much fluidity and freedom to the movement of the character, something which is needed in this awesome run ‘n’ gun platformer.

   I must admit, I wasn’t expecting for the game to pack such a powerful punch either, as it manages to include almost all the things that make this game so appealing in the arcade and console versions. You get different weapon variants, storm through levels in tanks, ride zip lines, fly jets and of course skydive, and you can expect to do all these wonderful things within the first 15-20 minutes of playing the game, now that’s what I call action packed!

   The AI in the game is quite competent to with enemies doing their utmost to avoid your bullets and trying their hardest to shoot you, or at least overwhelm you by sheer numbers, at least in the case of the later levels anyway. The game will seem easy enough at first, but as you crank through the levels, expect the difficulty to increase somewhat, with the game becoming more challenging with every step.

   There is not much else I can say about this game, accept it really is a great game on a fantastic handheld. If you have ever played a Metal Slug game, than you can expect all the goodness and run ‘n’ gun platforming in this version with plenty of destruction and bullets all the way through, its Metal Slug, its everything you’ll expect it to be.


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