The Pinnacle of 2D Shoot'em Ups
Continuing work on my "ultimate gaming machine", with my classic arcade and console games emulated through HyperSpin (see my previous post), I took time away from continued set up to finally beat one of my all-time favorite games, Metal Slug!
Even by today's standards, the action is over the top, being a cartoon style homage to every '80's action film and side-scrolling action game of the past. I have no clue what the plot is, other than there is someone very bad out there with an army to back him up and a bunch of POW's that must be rescued. And every now and then you get to shoot a flamethrower or drive a tank.
The game is amazingly difficult if you are attempting to play it through without using a "continue", but luckily I don't care about that, and have unlimited "continues" since emulation frees me from being a slave to the number of quarters I have left in my pocket. If there is any fault to this game, it's that the difficulty becomes so unfair toward the end of the third level that it's obvious the game was designed to eat as many quarters as possible back when it ruled the arcades. The last level is especially guilty of this... I must have died every 2 minutes.
In the end though, I got to shoot a bunch of bad guys, rescue some bearded prisoners of war, drive a tank, and blow up a lot of structures. Good times. The art style and huge amount of animations for all of the characters helps to make Metal Slug something truly special. I plan on playing through the 5 sequels to get a better idea of how the series has evolved, and complete one of the finest shooter franchises in the history of video games.