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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Ryan's Review of Metal Slug XX for the Xbox 360

Hey guys, today I am going to be posting my review on the Xbox Live game, Metal Slug XX (also known as Metal Slug 7).

Overall Score (based on my experience): A-

By the way, here is a short video from Youtube showing off the first 2 levels in the game.

Overview and story (warning, this section contains spoilers, as I have played the game already and don't know if you have or not) -

Side by side comparison: doesn't General Morden from the Metal Slug Series look eerily similar to the former dictator, Saddam Hussein (long before he was executed several years back)?

Saddam Hussein
Picture of Saddam Hussein (found on Flickr)
Stock Photo of General Morden from the Metal Slug Series (picture found at http://www.gamekult.com/blog/bigbossff/)

Metal Slug XX (aka Metal Slug 7 for the Gameboy DS system) is the latest addition to the hit Metal Slug series and presumably takes place after the events of Metal Slug 6 (which was featured in Metal Slug Anthology for the Playstation 2 as well as the Nintndo Wii).  In Metal Slug XX, the evil General Mordin (the Saddam Hussein look alike that is the main antagonist of the series) is back and is up to his old tricks again, and even recruits soliders from the distant future to his cause and it is up tp Marco, Fio, and all of the other Metal Slug crew to foil Mordin's schemes once again.  Unlike many of the previous installments of the series, were Mordin is merely a pawn of a more sinister plot (such as the alien invasions that took place in Metal Slugs 2, X and 3, a corrupt business man in Metal Slug 4, a shadowy terroist organization in Metal Slug 5, and now mutant man eating insects in Metal Slug 6), Mordin is officially the main villian once again and will also fuction as the final boss character you fight (a first in the series since the first Metal Slug game).  It is also worth mentioning that the super solider, Allen (the Mr T look alike from Metal Slugs 1-4 that you fight) is back and will once again challenge the heros in a fight to the death, this time in a mech warrior style duel in one of the levels of the game.  Also, like in Metal Slug 6, there are several players available (along with a downloadable character if you are willing to pay a little extra) and each of them have their own unique moves and abilities.  Marco can shoot 2 handguns machine gun style when you hit the y button (based on default controls).  Fio (the lady with the orange hair and hat) is automatically equipped with a machine gun instead of the regular hand gun and can't lose the machine gun whenever she dies like the other characters do whenever they die in the game.  Eri has an extra arsenal of grenades and can throw them in almost any direction (up, down, diagonal, straight, etc) and can be extra useful against tough enemies (like boss fights, especially the one at the end of level 4 as you will find out as you play the game) as well as crowd conrol (and there are plenty of times where you will be outnumbered).  Also, the game is 7 missions long (which is actually longer than the average Metal Slug game, which is usually 5 or 6 missions long, which varies by game throughout the series) and it does come with a built in level select feature, which can be useful if you don't want to (or can't) play through the entire game in one setting (which is roughly about 2 hours along if played on the medium difficulty).  Like previous reviews, I will rate this game in a letter grade format (where an F is the worst and an A is the best) and you are free to agree or disagree with me.

Gameplay - B

Metal Slug XX plays out much like any other title in the series.  The game is a classic 2D style shooter that plays out much like a typical Contra game, where it is a side scroller shooter where you you go through the levels, shooting bad guys, avoiding bullets, as well as using special vehicles (scattered in various stages) as you play through each level (mission).  Most of the missions are big and fairly long and have a huge boss or boss machine that you have to fight at the end.  Like all Metal Slug and Contra games, one hit kills you (unless if you are driving one of the many vehicles in the game, in which case it usually takes several hits to kill you) and you do get 3 lives before you get a game over (though the game does come with a continue system).  You can also do 2 players and the Xbox 360 version does come with an Xbox live mode as well (though I haven't played it yet).  The game also comes with a "combat school" where you replay through the different missions of the game and try to meet certain goals (such as getting 100% accuracy when shooting enemies, not gettign killed, etc) for extra achievements and bragging rights.  By the way, I have read other reviews for this game, and I am actually surprised that some people find this game to be too short, even though it is actually 7 missions long (most Metal Slug games are only 5 or 6 missions long) and does take a little while to beat.  Of course, if you are looking for a much longer game, you might try other shooters like the Mass Effect Series, the Call of Duty series, etc). 

Difficulty - C

If you are a typical player when it come to games like Metal Slug and Contra, you will probably die ALOT in this game, even on easy mode.  Like other games in the series, one hit usually kills your character (btw, if you play as Ralph, you can usually take 2 hits before dying) and the levels do get progressively harder as you play through the game, especially levels 4 - 7 where death is nearly impossible to avoid unless if you have extremely good reflexes and can predict the enemies' movies (though I have seen Youtube videos of people playing through games like Metal Slug XX where they never die, let along get a game over, which is definitely an impressive feat to accomplish).  And there are places, where you are bound to die alot, especially in a section in level 4 where you battle man eating plants, soldiers and overhead man eating plants at the same time.  Also, I found the final level to be extra challenging, especially towards the end. By the way, if you have special weapons, you usually lose them when you die (with the exception of Fio's machine guns).  Luckily, when you almost inevitably run out of lives, the game does come with a continue system where you can continue in the mission and you do get infinite continues in the game as far as I can tell (which can be a good thing or bad thing depending on how you look at it).  Obviously, if you are looking for a much more challenging Metal Slug game, I recommend you get yourself a copy of Metal Slug 3 for the original Xbox (now that one is extra brutal as far as lives and continues are concerned, especially on the final mission) or even Metal Slug Anthology and turn off the unlimited continues mode (which is on by default, at least in the Playstation 2 version).  Anyways, the game is challenging, but it is definitely beatable (though you will probably go through lots of lives and continues by the end of hte game).

Sound-  A

Personally, I loved the sound and background music in the game.  Also, like in many of the newer installments, the boss music has changed again (at least for the regular bosses), though they did bring back the classic final boss theme at the final boss (the one from Metal Slug 2 when you fight the mothership).  Also, the voice acting and narrating is pretty nice too.

General - A

Personally, this game was pretty fun for me and where there are some things I didn't like, I definitely recommend this game to any of you who are into arcade style shooters and are a fan of the Metal Slug series.  Also, old time fans of the Metal Slug series will be pleased to see some of the recurring themes this game has to offer, including:

1) General Morden returns and is the main villian this time around.  Also, for the first time since Metal Slug 1, you will fight him as the final boss, and this time it is a much more epic boss fight and comes in 3 stages (unlike the anti-climatic battle against him in the first Metal Slug game).

2) Allen is back for the first time since Metal Slug 4.  If you missed him from Metal Slugs 4-6 you will be delighted to hear that he is definitely back and once again he will challenge you to a fight to the death once again (this time in a classic mech warrior style boss battle).

3) The final boss music from most of the Metal Slug games is back as well. 

Anyways, that is all for now.  You can find Metal Slug XX on Xbox live if you are looking for it and it is relatively cheap to download.  By the way, I have not played Metal Slug 7 on the Gameboy DS yet, so I don't really know how the two versions compare, though if you have played the other versions, feel free to share your experiences with them.

Things I like to see in the sequel (assuming they make another Metal Slug game):
1) Some next gen elements (such as 2.5D graphics and comic book style feel similar to that from Mega Man X8 and Castlevania Dracula X Chronicles).
2) Cut scenes and voice acting (that would be cool, especially if they have good voice actors for the characters).
3) 10 levels would be ideal
4) Some roleplaying elements might be cool as well (kind of like how it is in the Mass Effect series).
5) They should also have more stages with alternate routes and exits (like how it was in Metal Slug 3 where most of the levels had alterate routes that yu can take for some extra variety and replay value).
6) Aliens would be nice to have again, like the ones from Metal Slugs 2 and 3.
7) Cater to both casual gamers and hard core gamers (such as making so people can choose to have limited continues or unlimited continues as was the case in metal slug anthology).

Have you played Metal Slug XX yet?  Feel free to share your experiences in the game.  Did you like the game, did you not like the game?  What would you like to see in Metal Slug 8 (whenever they release it) and no I don't work for SNK, so I wouldn't know anything about the sequel, though I am assuming another sequel is in the works.

Other games you might like:
Metal Slug 7 for the DS - this is the gameboy ds version of this game
Metal Slug Anthology (Playstation 2) and Metal Slug Anthology (Nintendo Wii) (there is also a version for the PSP as well).  Metal Slug Anthology is definitely a must have fore Metal Slug series fans (though sadly they did not make a version for the Xbox 360, so you will have to get a Wii or Playstation 2 if you want to play that game) and features Metal Slugs 1-6 along with Metal Slug X (which is basically an alternate version of Metal Slug 2), and also has special artwork and interviews that you can unlock as you play the game.  The game collection also caters both to casual players and hardcore gamers with variable difficulty modes, variable starting lives, as well as the option to either have unlimited continues (which is on by default) or limited continues (up to 20 continues) if you think you are up to the the challenge.