The Metal Slug series of games is over 10 years old now but I only came across them for the first time last year through MAME, the arcade emulator. The games are run and gun shoot em ups with great hand drawn graphics, and frenetic gameplay. You can read about the first game on Wikipedia.
Metal Slug is a series of run and gun video games first released on Neo-Geo arcade machines and game consoles created by SNK. It was also ported to other consoles, such as the Sega Saturn, the PlayStation, the Neo-Geo Pocket Color and more recently, the Game Boy Advance, PlayStation 2, Xbox, Xbox 360 and Nintendo DS. There is also an anthology of the first 7 games in the main series (including Metal Slug X) available for the Wii, PlayStation Portable, and PlayStation 2.
They’re great fun to play, and with an Xbox 360 controller hooked up to my computer the experience in SDLMame was as close to perfect as it could be. When I saw Metal Slug Anthology for the Wii in Gamestop and for only 25 Euro last weekend I had to buy it! All those games in one package, on one CD? How could I resist? Unfortunately I should have checked the reviews first. Metacritic gave it 73%, but the first user review points out the huge flaw that makes all the games totally unplayable.
Once you’re in a game, the default control has grenades set to motion control. If you’ve ever played a metal slug, you’d know that these games are hard, and require split second reactions. There isn’t time to shake the controller up and down. Fortunately there’s 1 control setup that uses the gamecube controller. But with just 3 buttons, it’s baffling why they couldn’t have used 3 buttons on the wiimote.
There are a number of different control configurations, but all are just as hopelessly bad as each other and I don’t have a Gamecube controller. A shame really because they’re arcade perfect conversions. As they should be. Credits for the game include M68k emulation so I presume the exact same code is running on the Wii. Why oh why did they screw it up with a crap control system?
If you really must play Metal Slug, the first game in the series was also released on the Wii virtual console and supports the classic controller. There’s also SNK Arcade Classics Volume 1 but besides Metal Slug it doesn’t seem to be a good value compilation.
Even though the control system is all messed up in the Wii version of Metal Slug Anthology, I’m glad I could support SNK in some small way. Back to SDLMame for me though.
Update! This morning I played Metal Slug on the Wii using a knock off Gamecube controller and it rocks. Sure, you still have the lengthy loading times at the start but otherwise the controllers are fine. Here’s the controller screen and a shot of my “Gameexpert” Gamecube controller. Bought that in Zavvi at a knock down price!