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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Metal Slug 2 (NEO4ALL) Review

Original release:

Game details:
1-2 players
Standard controller
VGA box

The following game was not officially released for Sega Dreamcast. It is emulated using NEO4ALL developed by chui. This is an evaluation of the emulation of the game as well as the game itself.

Using Team RDC's release you can play this game as though it is a commercial game with only a brief loading screen.

Let's get one thing straight right away; Metal Slug 2 runs like shit. It has always ran like shit. That's why Metal Slug X was created. Metal Slug X is even more unplayable on the Dreamcast though since it was not released for Neo Geo CD. RDC's version of Metal Slug 2 is overclocked in an attempt to make it more playable. This is largely a success. It runs well when there's not a large amount of action on the screen. Some levels run better than others. It's dependent on a lot of things; some levels have a lot of background animation, others have an obscene amount of bullets flying around. The game severely slows down in places, but the heavy slowdown usually ends when you clear out a few of the enemies. Understand that this game ran like shit even in the arcade. This is the best it's going to run until NEO4ALL is further developed; if you expect perfection and find it less than that then please don't bitch to us about it. We warned you.

Metal Slug 2 hasn't changed much from its predecessor. You'll find a few new weapons which only pop up once or twice as well as new vehicle options. The new weapons and vehicles are generally only placed in places where they'll be usable in a specific set piece, so they don't change the core game at all. In addition to the weapons, you can also be turned into a mummy and if you eat too much food, a fat person. Fat mode is annoying as it's typically unavoidable since there are several parts in the game where food pick ups are all over the screen. There are also new enemies in places which definitely adds to the depth of the game. One new enemy fires a rifle, and will take cover between shots which makes you actually stop and take cover instead of charging ahead guns blazing. Boss battles are a noticeable step down from Metal Slug; they're very tedious and very easy. They end up taking far more time than they should.

You'll also run into some situations where there's definitely no escape from death. They clearly weren't intentional as they were in later games in the series, but they're no less of a headache. It had been a while since I'd played a Metal Slug other than one, and there's a definite jump in difficulty here. It makes me wonder if it was really necessary. The game is much less enjoyable than the first Metal Slug because of it. You also get two more characters who change nothing unless playing as a female makes it a better game.

Happy Days meets American History X.

The graphics are a step up; this is good. The step up in graphics is why the game runs like shit; this is bad. Animations are definitely smoother than in Metal Slug and far more effort has been put into the backgrounds. The first level is a great example of the background efforts with all of the rippling awnings on buildings. There's a great tribute to John Woo in one of the levels; I'll let the Woo fans find it, though. This section has to be a negative overall, though. The Neo Geo hardware just couldn't handle this game.

There's a lot of recycled music here, which is another disappointment. There are a few new pieces, but nothing remarkable. Meh.

Metal Slug 2 clearly has lofty ambitions. The only problem is that the developers aimed too high. Set pieces replace straight ahead action segments, the larger scale bosses are much less interesting, the different Metal Slugs offer nothing new and the graphics were too much for the hardware. The game reaches and falls drastically short. Out of all of the Metal Slug games, this one is my personal least favorite.


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