Saturday, 30 June 2007

2D to 3D done well

So, as promised, and after almost 48 hours of pure expectation, here I am to talk about the latest addition to my (tiny) PS2 import collection. Yes, the title I'm going to talk about is a PS2 game, and yes, it's an imported one. And finally, yes, it's a Metal Slug game, which explains my previous post.

So, without further delay, ladies and gentlemen (are there ladies visiting this blog?), I present to you:



(uh, the expectation, I can't control myself xD)

Metal Slug 3D!!!

Oh yeah! You heard me, it's Metal Slug 3D!

Ok, so now you're thinking, is it any good? Well, I'm happy to say that it's pretty damn good actually, especially if you're a fan of the series. Of course, you can't expect the quality of the "great PS2 games", but if you're interested read on, for I'm about to tell you exactly what is good and bad about this game.

But first it's time for a little introduction. Although I'm, as I said before, a huge Metal Slug fan, I never knew this game existed until some days ago when I was browsing racketboy for SNK related articles and, by luck, stumbled across a news article talking about some MS 3D. I immediately searched the net for more information about this unexpected title and it was just a matter of time before I had the game in my hands.

I was a little reluctant about it, though, because we all know what regularly happens when a good 2D franchise jumps to the 3rd dimension. If they wanted to add a fresh look to the series they could've just make a traditional 2D MS with 3D backgrounds, or even a totally 3D but cel-shaded game, but that's not what happened, with this title being in the most pure (and raw) 3D.

Fortunately the result is actually pretty good, although it could still be better if some cel-shading was used. Anyway, it's great to see that the development studio really tried to capture the feeling of the original games and convert it to a 3 dimensional world. Almost all the little details that become trade marks of the series are here, like the exaggerated amount of blood that spills when you kill an enemy soldier, the vehicles that bounce whenever you shoot them or your own metal slug bending his caterpillar tracks when you jump.

The characters available are the most well know from the series (Marco, Tarma, Eri and Fio), the weapons are all exact replicas of those present in the previous titles and even the narrator is the same, yelling the weapon's name whenever you pick up a new piece.

There are some things that I miss, though, like the destructible parts of the environments, the character's transformations (zombie, fattie, etc...) or the animal slugs. The whole story and the way it's told is also a lot different from what we're used to. Unlike the classic games, where the story had a lot of humour involved and was light-hearted, in this game it has a way more serious tone and it's told by some FMV's and several cut-scenes that sometimes take way more time than they should in a fast-paced action game.

Now, let's talk about the gameplay. In it's core this is just a brainless action game, where you just have to shoot everything that moves, with that being the traditional Morden soldiers and they're vehicles, like thanks, trucks or an occasional helicopter. The action is so fast-paced that, if it wasn't for the great lock-on system, it would have been really hard to hit anything without being shot to death first. Thanks to your friend lock-on, though, you just have to press R1 and then smash "square" to shoot mercilessly and slaughter a whole battalion in a matter of seconds (like in the previous games the regular enemy soldiers die with just one hit).

While in a Slug the things are a bit harder to control, with your slow tank being an easier target, but the fire-power kind of makes up for that. There are also two sections where you control a plane or a submarine, just like in some of the 2D games, which is really a neat addition that is going to make every fan smile.

But not everything is about recovering old things, for there is space for some new additions too. For a start, every character has its own abilities, like the amount of energy, accuracy, etc.., which can be improver either by spending the experience points you gain in each mission or by winning some medals.

But probably the most important addition is the customizable Slugs. Yes, that's right, now you can build your own Slug! You just have to complete the game with a good score to unlock the various parts you can change, like the whole core of the tank or just the cannon or the machine guns.

When you finish the game you also unlock a special grenade called Monolith (you throw a small monolith to the ground and then a giant one falls from the sky and pwns everything) and a mini-game where you control one of the POWs (you still have to rescue them along the levels).

So, I think I've already said everything worth mentioning about this game. Although it's not perfect, I was pleased to see the commitment of the team behind this game in recovering almost all that was good about the old games and converting it into 3D. The result is a pretty good game that any old Metal Slug fan simply must own.


fatherkrishna said...

Jesus! It was well worth the wait! Stunning review! I've never played any Metal Slug games, but you can guarantee I'll be hunting out this title and it's fore runners as soon as possible.

In fact I wasn't even aware what the "Metal Slug" was, but obviously now I know what it refers to!

And you're right, 2D to 3D conversions can be disastrous, but from this review it sounds like they've pulled it off.

Nebachadnezzar's reviews always inspire me. Its been a while since I played anything on the PS2, the last game being RE:CV Gun Survivor.

I now think I'll have to dust it off and play the PS2 anthology Virtua Cop and become more familiar with VF4.

The Saturn Junkyard is always happy to host reviews of games on other consoles, as long as they link in some way to our beloved Saturn...

There are so many possibilities to expand the repertoire of this blog, than if we simply stick to the (admittedly impressive) Saturn back catalogue.

So again I'll commend the legendary Nebachadnezzar! Thank Segata Sanshiro for his presence here, and raise a glass to Metal Slug 3D and to Portugal! Cheers!

Hex said...

Brilliant!!! The new features sound awesome. That is the best news that I've heard since I found out that Tomb Raider Anniversary is coming out for the 360...

And there is at least one lady who reads this blog. :)

fatherkrishna said...

*FK hurriedly tidies up the Saturn Junkyard, clearing away the thousands of beer cans and take away cartons, dusts off a chair and pulls it out courteously for Hex to sit down...*

My dear Hex! A thousand welcomes! It is so great to have a lady here in the 'Yard! the assumption that gaming is just a male occupation needs to be quashed!

May I apologise if in the past, we have used phrases like 'my brothers' or 'hey guys'. Finally the 'Yard challenges gender stereotyping. Hurrah!

Now that you've made yourself known, please give us your valued feedback whenever you are able. Great to see you here! FK :)

NebachadnezzaR said...

Thanks for such kind words. I'm a little shaken right now (when I thought that, after what happened to me yesterday, things couldn't get any worse, well, guess what, they can...) but seeing that you consider my article worth the wait makes me feel a little better.

And welcome, Hex. It's always good to see a female presence here :)

The Elderly said...

excellent review, thank you Nebachadnezzar graphics look ace customisable slugs and shooting everything that moves yep right down an elderlies ally....