Metal Slug is without doubt the headline game for the Neo Geo. A killer app in more ways than one, Metal Slug redefined platform shooters, doing for the genre what Gran Turismo did for computerized racing.
You play cooperatively as one of two little round soldiers, initially equipped with little rapid-fire pistols and a somewhat gruesome machete. This situation is soon rectified by the inclusion of some high-grade military weaponry including rocket launchers, flame-throwers and heavy machine guns.
Then there’s the vehicles. You can enter laser equipped tanks which can take many hits before they blow up. You then also get the added bonus of just running over your enemies, saving you the trouble of having to shoot them
The idea of the game is to shoot everything in site as you try to get to the end of the game, rescuing bearded hostages on the way. If you get shot once, you lose a life, it’s as simple as that.
The reason Metal Slug has been elevated to such status by gamers is the detail, humour and technical prowess with which it is constructed. Everything moves and is animated where possible. Almost everything can be blown up. Rather than just set the characters on inert platforms, developer Nazca really went for an immersive environment that fills you with uncertainty as you realise that floors may give way at any time and walls can tumble down revealing hoards of enemies.
The game is pleasing violent throughout and littered with blood, guts and generally disturbing imagery. There are over 20 different scream samples in Metal Slug.
Some games will live forever, in some form or other. Metal Slug will be around in some form or other, for as long as videogames exist.