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Metal Slug X – Neo Geo AES

Metal Slug X – Neo Geo AES

Metal_Slug_XPlatformNeo Geo Advanced Entertainment System

Developer: SNK


Release Date: March 1999

Genre: Run n’ Gun

Nerd Rating: 8.0  / 10

Reviewed by Rhutsczar

The Metal Slug franchise has always had a special place in my gaming repertoire, as it is one of a few games that my entire family would play, even my parents (woah!). That’s important as it makes this short list, which consists of MLB games, Metal Slug, and Tekken 3. (that is a weird list). This time I played through Metal Slug X, which is actually a remake/re-issue of Metal Slug 2. Let’s check out the changes together.

The new S.P.A.R.R.O.W. squad appears!

The new S.P.A.R.R.O.W.S squad appears!

First off, a little back story. I do spoil the party of the story, but the game is 15 years old now. Spoils abound. So I know the Metal Slug franchise is not one to be keen on an interesting story, so I am going to make it quick. It has been two years since the events of Metal Slug, and we find our heroes, Capt. Marco Rossi and Lt. Tarma Roving, celebrating from the defeat of antagonist General Morden from the original game. As it turns out, a new army is planning to attempt a second coup d’etat with the help of Morden, who is still alive. We have two new characters who enter the fray from the S.P.A.R.R.O.W.S Special Ops squad, Sgt. Eri Kasamoto and St. 1st Class Fiolina Germi. What do they discover when they finally reach Morden? He partnered with aliens…yes aliens.

Once aliens enter the story, most of the time I just put the controller down and leave the game unfinished. When a developer adds aliens to the story, I feel that it is just a complete cop out. You couldn’t think of anything even remotely better in the way of storytelling, so you just decide to go with the obvious aliens answer? Fortunately, in Metal Slug X, it actually works. The aliens are designed well, giving the Metal Slug treatment to our traditional Hollywood aliens. This also gives a change of pace for the player, as you actually ally with the remainders of the Morden army to battle the alien invasion.

images (1)

Chaos! Brought to you by Metal Slug X.

In regards to the games controls, no major additions have changed between each iteration. The game uses a simple control scheme, with a joystick for directions/movement and the other buttons for types of attack/jumping. One button to shoot, one button to jump, and one for grenades. For its time, I found that the controls were actually well designed for the age. A nice balance of simplicity as well as complexity.

Metal Slug X continues the design and graphics used in all other entries in the Metal Slug franchise. Due to its variety of backdrops and level design, X has a very World War II feeling to it. This, along with its cartoon-ish graphics, stay true in Metal Slug X. Plus if they were going to change it, I don’t think X would actually feel like a Metal Slug game after all.

Metal Slug X adds quite a number of technical upgrades from its flawed predecessor Metal Slug 2. I did play the original version just to compare, and I can actually see a difference. Metal Slug 2 suffered from slow frame rates, which made the game incredibly difficult to play once the amount of enemies got out of hand. Maybe it was also just my copy, but in between levels, Metal Slug 2 also took an extended amount of time to load each stage. I did not encounter any of these problems while I was playing Metal Slug X.

I found the aliens!

I found the aliens!

These technical upgrades also expand to the soundtrack as well. Much of the soundtrack was remixed and altered from Metal Slug 2 so that X and 2 wouldn’t share the same soundtrack. Instead of the normal chip tune music that was popular in games during the same time, Metal Slug X takes a different approach. The music is primarily made up of hard rock, almost metal genre songs. A stand out song from the soundtrack is “Judgement”, Just listen to this one and tell me you don’t want to keep rocking out. This helps solidify X‘s identity of being its own game.

Thankfully, technical upgrades were not the only tweaks made for X. Plenty of new features were added as well, for mostly aesthetic purposes. New weapons were added, such as the Iron Lizard, Enemy Chaser, and Drop Shot. There are also stronger/upgraded versions of the Heavy Machine Gun, Shotgun, and Flame shot. These new weapons help the players battle new enemies in ever increasingly amounts along with the increased difficulty. Lets just say that playing through X is much harder than 2.

Luckily, Metal Slug X keeps the comedic yet chaotic aspect the is well known throughout other entries in the franchise alive and well. X doesn’t take itself too seriously, which even makes the game even more fun to play. If you pay attention, many of the soldier enemies that you murder are comically portrayed as mindless peons. They are often sunbathing, roasting food over a fire, lounging around talking to each other, or doing other menial military tasks. This is even taken overboard by the hilarious announcer yelling at the top of his lungs “MISSION START!” or “FLAME SHOT!” Its great and we love the game for it.

Chaos! Brought to you by Metal Slug X.

When the Metal Slug comes in.

Just another little interesting tidbit for you all. The titular “Metal Slug” is actually a satirical design of a large gray military tank. The tank is armed with multiple artillery rounds and is a game changer once the player finds it. It only appears every few levels, making it one of the rarer items in the game. The tanks also increase your life, allowing you to take three hits before the tank explodes but still includes your one hit and instant death formula. I will take four hits over one any day.

Metal Slug X was a nice refreshing version of a timely run and gun classic. This time around, the developers decided to not tweak the game too much, but fix what was needed. Metal Slug X fixed many of the loading and small frame rate issues that the original Metal Slug 2, while also upping the difficulty this time around. If you want to sit down a play a little Metal Slug X is the entry I recommend. For a quick comparison, be sure to check out my other review for another run and gun classic, Sunset Riders.

Written by Rhutsczar

Hello everybody! Thanks for reaching the end of whatever my newest/current addiction is above me. I’m pretty sure it’s an RPG, since it’s my favorite genre I try to find the most underrated and niche games possible. Anyway if you like what you read and would like to check out more, follow the links below. Also be sure to check out the RBG over on Beyond Bacon!.

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  1. Try Gunstar Heroes or Gunforce 2!

  2. Fellow Baconeers, have any other run and gun games I should check out?


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