The Metal Slug series was famous for being fast, furious, and funny. The games could also get pretty difficult and drain you of all your quarters in the arcade, but at least you'd have a good time with your friends, even if only for about half an hour or so. Does the port of Metal Slug 2 blow us away? Or is nostalgia not enough to warrant a purchase?
This game is as simple as it's always been, which is where the port's strengths and weaknesses lie, because while it does serve up the same great scrolling action that fans remember, it does little else to improve the package. What you get is a no-frills port of the game with no bonus content in sight.
That might be enough for some folk, especially die-hard fans who want to have Metal Slug with them on the run, but new fans are going to find it hard to justify a $3.99 purchase for about 20-30 minutes of play.
For those who might not be familiar with the Metal Slug series, it's a side-scrolling shoot 'em up starring a squad of specialists from the Regular Army. They battle everything from enemy military forces, aliens, zombies, and more. Metal Slug 2's adventure is fairly normal in that the enemies are (mostly), human and the boss is a madman named General Morden, the first game's antagonist who is bent on world domination.
You'll run through six different levels, shooting up army dudes, mummies, planes, tanks, and a whole assortment of baddies with deathwishes and very poor aim. Each level has its own unique personality and funny little details in the background that give character to the environment. An example would be all of the food lying around in the fourth level, which makes you fat if you eat too much of it. This also happens to be one of the best, and funniest, power-ups in the game because it supercharges your shots and turns your army knife into a fork. There's nothing like seeing a big fat guy slicing up enemies with a fork.
You'll also jump into many different vehicles that will help you on your lone wolf mission to destroy Morden. It's awesome to jump around in a walker or hop around in a tank, blowing everything up into tiny pixels, but it'd be even better if it was easier to do. The controls, unfortunately, are a little sub-par when it comes to a run-and-gun game like this.
Along with the directional pad, you'll only need four buttons: Fire, Jump, Grenade, and Pause. That's it. Super simple in theory, but the execution in this port is lacking. Precision is key when it comes to Metal Slug, and it can mean the different between destroying an enemy above you for taking a brightly-colored grenade to the face.
The virtual d-pad does nothing to help one's accuracy and trying to jump while firing can be a chore. The end result is a bunch of deaths and restarting, which lowers the fun factor by a lot. The only upside is that you're able to move the placement of the buttons, so you can try to tweak it so that your setup works best for you.
The game is fun, yes, but the fun can only last for so long. You can play with a friend, but that requires Bluetooth, meaning that it can't be played with others via WiFi. This is a huge mistake, since playing with another person is half the fun of Metal Slug games.
The lack of true multiplayer wouldn't be so bad if there were other modes in the game to stretch out the experience, but you only get the Campaign and a "Mission" mode. "Mission" is in quotes because it's basically just a glorified level select menu. Even the addition of a time trial, survival mode, or boss mode would've made the purchase worth it, but as it stands, it's a pretty hefty price to pay at $3.99 for something you'll play for less than half an hour.
If you're a die-hard fan, then the five sushi roll rating is just about right. But if you're a casual player looking to check out Metal Slug for the first time, then you should subtract two rolls, because you're better off taking $4 worth of quarters and heading to the arcade.