Metal Slug 4 & 5 Review


If Metal Slug 4 & 5 sounds like two games, it’s because it really is two games. Open up the game box and you’ll see two game discs staring back at you. As we sit near the dawn of the age of $60 games, two games for about $40 is a welcome sight. Of course it would be nicer if you couldn’t finish both games in less than two hours total, but more on that later…

If you’re familiar with the Metal Slug games, then you should know that Metal Slug 4 and 5 are identical to their NeoGeo arcade counterparts. Both games are side-scrolling shooters straight out of the era of 2D graphics, and they certainly look the part as well – the graphics will remind you of those in the arcades (remember those?) of, oh, say 10 to 15 years ago. You select from one of four different characters (although there’s not really any difference between them) and then proceed to fight off a near endless stream of enemy soldiers, ninjas, witch doctors, zombies, and more, punctuated with the occasional boss battle. Along the way you’re supposed to rescue “prisoners” by running up to and touching the Robinson Crusoe looking fellows that periodically show up, but there really is no overriding goal outside of destruction and survival and no background story to speak of.

Metal Slug 4 & 5 is all about the adrenaline rush of chaotic combat as bullets, bombs, and smart missiles come at you from all directions. You’ll be able to duck under or jump over the shots you can’t maneuver past, but your primary mode of defense is to put up a very good offense. To do so you’re armed with a gun with unlimited ammo and a pocketful of grenades. Occasionally you’ll find special weapons or they will be given to you by a prisoner. These weapons include rocket launchers, shotguns, and machine guns, and they will all increase your firepower as long as their ammo holds out. Like a guy at a dorm party when the beer runs dry, once a gun’s ammo is gone it simply disappears. Once in a while you’ll have the opportunity to hop into a mini vehicle such as a tank. These vehicles are the “slugs” in the game’s title and will provide you with extra protection and greater firepower.

The protection afforded by the slugs is not that big of a deal in practice. The reason is that the game gives you unlimited continues, so there’s no real penalty for dying. The game is built for the arcades and as such is designed to make you die often and to let you keep playing as long as you can plunk quarters into the machine. Since there’s no quarter slot on your Xbox, you can simply select the “Continue” option and keep going. Make use of your continues and you’ll soon learn that arcade games are actually quite short. In fact, you’ll complete each game in under an hour.