Metal Slug: 1st Mission
Format- Neo Geo Pocket Color
Genre- 2d platformer/shooter
Although i’m not the biggest fan of rock hard shooters in general, the Metal Slug series is a major exception to that rule.
For the most part they’re incredibly slick and superb looking action titles, with explosions and bullets flying all over the place. The character and vehicle animations are just another bonus – Metal Slug is the only game i’ve found that’s made a tank adorable.
I can usual overlook the difficulty of the games as well, due to their arcade infinite lives sensibilities.
So you might imagine that a Neo Geo Pocket game would be a rather pointless venture. Lacking home console/arcade machine style power, the game’s graphics would be blunted and the game would be nothing more than a muted mess.
I like 1st Mission though. It gets a fair bit of stick for being a underwhelming entry in the series by many, good for the NGP but little else.
It’s better than that though. The game still retains the basic thrill of spraying loads of ammo across the screen, with the bullets rotating to give a quite cool off-the-cuff nature to the game.
Enemies are still animated enough to be amusing, and the levels are a fairly varied bunch, with vehicle missions thrown in at regular intervals.
In fact the game’s main problem is how it structures its levels. Various circumstances (usually involving dying at a certain point) can leave you in random levels over and over again, such as the jail stage.
Level progression is not set along a linear path, and although this might be an interesting concept for a home console iteration, here it just feels frustrating. Especially as I only pick up and play it every now and then – it’s not a structure that’s ideal for a portable system.
Still, this is one of my favorite NGPC games, although I haven’t yet played the sequel. That will be rectified soon enough though. Another bonus for potential buyers of 1st Mission is that it is one of the easiest and cheaper titles available on SNK’s admirable portable system.