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Platforms: iOS and Android (reviewed)
Metal Slug is one of SNK's classic sideways scrolling arcade shooters. The combination of its run and gun gameplay, strong character animations and sense of humour made it hugely popular when it was released in the arcades back in 1996. Other games in the Metal Slug series have made their way to the Android platform, but this is the first time the original has been converted for Google's OS.
Thankfully it's a very faithful conversion, even to the point where it has retained its 4:3 aspect ratio, with the result that there are black bars at the side of the screen on most larger Android devices. Cleverly, though, the on-screen controls do make use of this spare space, so you don't end up blocking so much of the action with your thumbs.
The gameplay is pretty straight forward. You run from left to right gunning down foreign solders out to make mince meat of you. Along the way you'll come across POWs that offer up rewards when you free them. You also get to pick up and use new weapons, such as flame throwers, and also get to drive tanks around and inflict some extra damage on your enemies. At the end of each level you have to take on and beat a boss to progress to the next mission.
The game may be old, but it's still a lot of fun to play. Enemies come at you thick and fast, while the varied terrain you fight over and the different weapons and vehicles you get to use all help to hold your interest.
Naturally this version of the game includes the standard Arcade mode, but there's now also a Mission mode so you can choose individual missions to play again and again rather than just having to play through all the levels in a linear fashion. However, you do have to have completed the levels first in Arcade mode to open them up for play in Mission mode.
SNK has also retained the multiplayer mode. However, this works via Bluetooth so you can’t team up with friends over the internet for multiplayer carnage -- you've basically got to be sitting next to each other to play together -- which is a bit of a shame.
It's also worth nothing that the games is essentially emulating the original code, so if you're using a slower phone (we tested it on a LG 4X HD and had no problems) you may experience some stuttering and slow downs.
If your phone is up to the job, this is a faithful conversion of Metal Slug and a lot of fun to play for those who love run and gun style games.
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