Sunday 23 August 2015

Super Vehicle-001: Metal Slug (PS1 review)

Developer: Nazca Corporation
Publisher: SNK
Released: 1997

Super Vehicle-001: Metal Slug is a run 'n' gun game and this PS1 version was only released in Japan.

It consists of three modes, the main one being Arcade Mission which has six levels. Your standard attacks include a pistol, knife and grenades but rescuing prisoners rewards you with additional weapons such as a Shotgun and Flame Throwers. Each level is short but challenging as you're outnumbered by heavily armed enemies at every turn. The action is slower paced than some other run 'n' gun games which can be quite jarring to start. Most of the levels are side-scrolling and at certain points you can jump into a huge tank and fire off bullets in all directions which is very satisfying! Level 3 changes things up and includes a vertically-scrolling area with some tricky platforming. It's a nice change of pace while reminding me of the Waterfall level in Contra (1988, NES). You're constantly kept on your toes with the impressive amount of carnage of screen but the action frequently pauses while the disc loads. The art style is stunning with a ridiculous amount of detail that's backed up by awesome theatrical music. Combat School mode has two options, the first being Pin Point which challenges you to complete individual missions with just three lives. Survival is the same except you only have one life and you're challenged to rack up as many kilometres as possible. They're okay but nothing too exciting or different from Arcade Mission. Another Story mode is a collection of four mini-games where you need to help prisoners escape from an enemy camp. Examples include tying up a foe and avoiding rockets while running in a tank suit! They're mildly amusing but do feel a little tacked-on.

Despite the annoying loading times Super Vehicle-001: Metal Slug is an enjoyable run 'n' gun title with solid gameplay and a good range of weapons. It's more strategic and slower-paced than some other games in the genre and while I wish it had more variety it's still a fun shooter, especially with two-players.

Random trivia: A sequel called Metal Slug X was released on the PS1 in 2001. Unlike the original (which was Japan-only) it was also released in North America and Europe.

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