SNK’s arcade classics have felt right at home on the Switch. Nintendo’s little wonder is perfect for playing in short bursts on the go. While the flagship fighting games may take centre stage, it’s SNK’s Metal Slug series that will probably be more familiar to many.
The premise is simple, blast your way through an army on your own or with a friend. Only you stand between the evil dictator and world domination. The story for Metal Slug is pretty pointless but that is not why you play it. You come for the fast-paced arcade action, the beautifully bold pixel art and the military inspired music that rallies your inner Stallone!
You pick up various weapons from hostages and crates that are scattered throughout the stages. The big guns are fun with the rocket launcher and shotgun standing out. Each weapon upgrade has limited ammo so use your shots wisely and grenades should be saved for bosses or tougher foes. During the stages you find Super Vehicles that grant devastating fire power until they take a few hits. It is satisfying running over soldiers with your tank or destroying a timber building with machine gun.
There are not enough superlatives for how arcade perfect Metal Slug is. It regularly finds itself in top shooter lists and its accolades are well deserved. It is the little touches and attention to detail that sets it apart from its contemporaries. The surprised soldiers who jump in vein onto your tank, the fish that swallows you up if you tread in the water. These are just two examples of the little things that make Metal Slug memorable.
So how does this king of retro play on the modern Switch? All things considered the emulation is almost perfect. The same slow down that plagued the Neo Geo version is present but this adds to its charm. There is no noticeable input lag and it controls well in docked and handheld modes.
You can select between Japanese and Western versions which is a nice touch as the latter has less gore. The music also changes in places depending on the version you select. This port also includes a cave mode, that gives you a set time to score as highly as possible. If that was not enough the standard high score mode is pure fun if you don’t want the time pressure.
There are only five stages that each take a few minutes to complete. You should be able to finish this in one sitting, especially considering the added save states and infinite continues. This may seem short but this game was originally intended as a coin muncher and it is tough in places. The short length does, however, make it perfect for a quick blast while on the bus.
We would not say rush out to download Metal Slug but if you’re an arcade blaster fan you will get something out of this one. Do not expect to be playing for hours but those who seek to one credit games will enjoy this challenge. It also makes a great two player party game due to its easy pick up and play nature and very amusing set pieces.