The Metal Slugs franchise is a side-scrolling, run and gun action game that originally marketed as an arcade game but is also available to be played on the pc with the aid of an emulator. I chose to focus on Metal Slug 6 as it has the most diverse range of characters, each with their own unique sets of skills that sets it apart from its predecessor. The objective is to clear the 6 stages known as missions by gunning down enemies with the aid of weapons and mounts known as “slugs”.
Lens 7: Elemental Tetrad
The player selection of Metal Slug 6 showing all 6 characters, the largest of any Metal Slug Franchise
Mechanics: The game mechanic features a 2d side scrolling movements with various different weapons and vehicle/animal mounts known as “slugs” to aid the player in clearing the various missions with a boss at the end of every mission. Players will be instantly killed when hit by enemy fire and hence have to elegantly dodge every incoming projectile while finding the right opportunity to gun down their adversaries. The player can choose to play under a strict time limit or no time limit at all. The game also supports 2 players where you can tag a buddy along to help tackle the challenging enemies and bosses. Differentiating itself from its predecessors are the unique skills that each character have and the ability to carry and switch between 2 types of weapons.
Aesthetic: The sprites and animation of Metal Slug is one of the best I’ve seen and it adds value to the gaming experience since 2D side-scrolling games generally does not have a wide variety of actions that player can do which means good sprites and animations are key in creating a more versatile and lively 3D world on a 2D plane. The shadings and colors used also matches the military and war theme that Metal Slug encompasses which helps players to be better immersed in the game. Coupled with great background music and catchy blast sound effects made the overall aesthetics of the game a pleasing one indeed.
Story: Bringing back the Martians and Rebels found in Metal Slugs 2, X and 3, instead of teaming up against the Rebels to fight against the Martians, we formed an alliance with both of them in order to bring down an even greater threat in a nostalgic yet refreshing storyline.
Technology: Player tracking projectiles and AI baked boss attack patterns were used to kill the player. The game was initially built for arcade machine Atomiswave platform but has expanded to be compatible with playstation2 as well as PC with the aid of an emulator.
Lens 4: Curiosity
A Donkey Slug which is one of the many other Slugs that player can take control
Although the world of Metal Slug is linear, there are branching paths available for the player to take for them to experience different enemies and mount different Slugs. This gives the player the option to explore the beautiful worlds that are populated and designed with the iconic Metal Slugs art style. There are also several Slugs with different gun patterns available for the player to control, together with various gun drops that make player anticipate the type of power that they can obtain to take down the enemies. All these new contents that can be found as the game progresses makes the game refreshing and exciting which motivates them to carry on to the next level and clear the game.
Lens 27: Skill
The controls are very simple, basic movements up, down, left and right, jump, attack, and bombs. However to master the game is not as simple as it seems. Although one can argue that the game does not really need skill to complete as long as you have sufficient credit to top up your lives to mow down the game, the true skill comes from being able to dodge every single incoming bullets and lasers while gunning down all enemies and not utilizing a single life. This requires practice in accurately identifying enemy attack patterns and weak spots which gives the game a more rewarding sense of accomplishment for the player if they managed to run through the game while losing as little lives as possible.
Lens 37: Cooperation
2 player Cooperation gameplay to take down the first mission boss in Metal Slug 6
Although the game can be cleared in a single player, it is always more fun in my opinion if it is played together with others. Cooperating with another player to kill enemies not only makes it easier to clear the levels and bosses, but also helps us forge better relationships as we share resources and slugs to take down the common enemy programmed by the game. As the total gameplay of Metal Slug 6 and other Metal Slugs series rarely exceeds an hour, it also serves as a good casual game that can be introduced in a party to break the ice amongst strangers.
Lens 3: Fun
What makes Metal Slug a fun game is probably the simple mechanics wrapped up in a beautiful art style that has a slight animation to every detail from the minor vibration of the vehicle to the expressions and actions of the players and enemies which really brings the flat 2D world to life. The sounds made by the enemies when they are hit or killed are also very catchy and pleasing to the ear that makes you feel a slight rush every time you manage to hit or kill your enemy. The boss battles are also epic and challenging which gives a sense of achievements after every battle.
Overall the game is a fast-paced and exciting game that I would recommend to others as it is easy to pick up and does not take up much time to finish all missions. The art Style of Metal Slug is also very iconic and the way shadings and highlights were used in the game really brings forth a semi-realistic world that cannot be found elsewhere.