Review by acidspunk

Reviewed: 10/01/03

SNK didn't make this! And it shows

As of the bankruptcy of SNK, many of it's titles' rights were bought by other companies such as Playmore, Eolith and Mega Enterprise. What this means is that the games that used to be developed by SNK for it's NEOGEO arcade hardware are now being developed by those other companies and the Metal Slug licence ended up in Mega Enterprise's hands. Is this a good or a bad thing, you ask. Read on.

-=Gameplay=- Metal Slug has always been about addictive gameplay. Shooting stuff is always fun, and this part of the game remains unchanged. There are a few new additions to the series such as two new characters and a double machine gun. You can also hijack enemy vehicles such as tanks and trucks for your own use and there's a new crawling vehicle that works the same way the camels did in previous games (one shot and you die). But for every good thing in the gameplay there's also a lot of stuff that could be better. The bosses, for instance. You'll find early level bosses that are harder to beat than later level bosses. Also, in most games, difficulty keeps rising as you make progress in the game. In MS4 this is incredibly unbalanced, as you may find situations in early levels where you are cornered by shots and enemies and is VERY HARD to escape enemy fire. Gone is the variety we had is MS3 in terms of level design, where you had underwater levels and outer space galaga-like shooting levels.

-=Graphics=- The graphics haven't changed much since the original Metal Slug. We've got the same old super deformed characters with goofy animations, and that is definitely not a bad thing. In fact, the graphics are very nice. The worst part about MS4's graphics is that there's a lot of rehashed backgrounds and enemies. In MS3, SNK came up with a lot of new ideas for enemies and backgrounds, and such is not the case with MS4. Lack of imagination? More like rushed launch if you ask me.. Ok, so the bosses are nicely done (most of them), but that doesn't make up for the rest of the graphics. The general look of the game yells UNINSPIRED.

-=Sound=- As for the sound, nothing new. It's the same old sounds with some new tunes. Explosions, shots, screams... All very nice indeed.

Closing Comment
This is hardly on the same level as Metal Slug 3. It looks worse, doesn't play as good and is not as challenging. But it's not a bad game. If you have to decide which Metal Slug to buy, I'd strongly recommend that you pick Metal Slug 3. It's the best in the series and the last you'll see with an SNK touch. If you have never played Metal Slug before or you've finished all games in the series before this fourth installment, then pick this one up. It may not have the SNK feel or the same level of thought and overall care put into it, but it can stand on its own as a good game nonetheless.

Addictive gameplay
Two new characters
New Vehicles
One new weapon

Rehashed backgrounds and enemies
Unpolished end level bosses
Lack of game balance

Overall score

Rating:   3.5 - Good

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