The vast majority of people interested in Metal Slug 7 have already played a Metal Slug title and are wondering if it technically transitions well to the DS. It does, especially in the audio department. The characters, animations, screams and tunes are so close to the typical Metal Slug experience that anyone playing it will immediately feel they have been given a legitimate Metal Slug experience. The hokey horde of goblin-nosed soldiers and their nose-picking, donkey-laughing, “oh-my-God-a-chick-in-cargo-pants-with-a-pistol-run-billy-run” antics have been copied and pasted into the DS in full essence. The look and sound of Metal Slug is here.
The Metal Slug standard is followed and it does try to be a sequel—there are new slugs (vehicles), and new quirky challenges oblige us again; examples include pumping a pump so you can outrun an orange ball of flame in Indiana-Jones-style, and a level where you float down a long passage in a parachute. A couple of bosses are unoriginal, but most of them retain the distinct Metal Slug challenge. The enemies are mostly pasted from other slug games, especially the soldiers and vehicles. The DS’s small screen may be the reason why the creativity and difference factor is not as high as it could be, but it’s still solid and true-to-form as you play it.
An important thing to note is that somewhere in the development process, Metal Slug 7 lost its soul. Unlike the rest of the family, this Metal Slug is a tricky fellow who shows up at a family reunion and has convinced everyone he is a relative when he is in fact merely showing up for the free food and alcohol. The exact moment that 7 lost its birthright is when it was determined that it would have no multiplayer capabilities at all, which is one of the stupidest decisions I’ve ever witnessed. For why do people play Metal Slug? Do they play it so they can get the highest score? Is there pure joy in its action? Is it like Donkey Kong, Pac Man, or Geometry Wars?
If you’re not convinced Metal Slug 7 could possibly go the Geometry Wars route by trying to pass itself off for its sheer joy of unsocialized, brainwashing play, check out this list of features:
—You can start the game at any level that you reach. If you make it to level 3 and die, you will be able to start a new game at level 3. It is not actually challenging to get to the end of this game. It will take you not hours of mastery, but 90 minutes of perseverance; fewer if you’re highly-skilled.
—It asks for your initials to keep track of scores, just like in an arcade game. Only Metal Slug 7 has no online or multiplayer capabilities, so the score stays inside just the cartridge. It can’t even get the score system part of Geometry Wars right!
—There is a training mode comprised of two parts; one involves tons of dialogue where a cute (by anime conventions) officer pretends to have a conversation with you and then tells you to train. The training involves playing points of the levels, made available as you beat them; they have different objectives, sometimes. If you beat them all, she’ll open up more to your implied come ons! I did not beat every single challenge, so no word on what she actually does if you fully impress her. The master and servant or leader and soldier ways in which she talks are covertly sexual. Maybe you find interaction with cute anime characters interesting, and you’ll buy Metal Slug 7 just to see this, which would ironically be a more justifiable reason since it’s the kind of feature you will most definitely want to work toward alone, unlike the rest of the actual game.
So there it is: Metal Slug 7 is supposed to make the player think “sure it takes an hour to beat it, but I’ll play it a lot, again and again.” But this is not why people play Metal Slug!
It pains me to spell this out: Metal Slug is played for the challenging uphill climb on the way to the thrill of victory, especially when it is the thrill of victory with a friend who didn’t use up all the continues. But hey, if you want to play the same Metal Slug over and over again just to best your own score without showing it off to the world, or if you want to win over some drill sergeant by beating timed challenges, you can be pleased with the drastic differences all you want, by your lonesome self.