Metal Slug Advance
Metal Slug Advance is a run and gun video game developed by Dream Vision Games and published by SNK Games in 2004 as an exclusive of Gameboy Advance. Despite being a canonical part of the legendary Metal Slug saga, this is the only game released for this platform.
One of the great innovations of this game is the absence of the main characters of the saga, led by Marco Rossi. Instead, Walter Ryan and Tyra Elson are in charge of advancing the adventure. The story is quite simple: the two new recruits are sent on a survival mission, but they quickly come across General Morden's troops. Because of this unexpected scenario, both must cross enemy lines and stop the plans of Morden, a constant enemy in the Metal Slug franchise.
To achieve this objective, the main characters must travel through 5 fairly extensive levels with different themes. As usual in this type of game, at the end of each level a different boss awaits them.
Similar, but different.
Despite maintaining some characteristics from previous entries, such as gameplay style, type of weapons and even recycling enemies and hostages sprites, the creators of Metal Slug Advance experimented with several modifications. Firstly, they took the lives out of the game and replaced it with a health bar, similar to other arcades like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or The Simpsons Arcade, which instead, being depleted would force the player to restart the level from the last checkpoint. Although it seems simple, this was a controversial decision. For the first time the game departed from the classic formula of dying on first impact inspired by the classic Contra (1987), title to which the developers of the saga admitted to have parodied in the classic Metal Slug.
On the other hand, another great change was the incorporation of a card system, which are 100 and are scattered as secrets around the maps. These cards not only give the player some easter eggs or mentions to characters from previous instalments, but also provide them with weapons, secret levels and power-ups for the campaign mode. This idea already proved to be very useful in games such as The Legend Of Zelda (1986) or even contemporary as Harry Potter (2001). It also worked in Metal Slug Advance, so with a lot of secrets and interesting rewards, it generated a great replay value for the players.
Regarding the graphic and audio aspects, the GBA version decided to keep the core that gained so much affection from the fans, especially with the classic sound effects, but they also made some small alterations. The first of these is in the camera, which unlike the rest of the saga, this was a little more attached to the player. Another detail that is usually ignored are the colors, in this case a warmer palette was chosen where the yellows and oranges dominate. This brings an industrial and even rustic feeling, which goes along with the excess of machinery and war weapons that the player encounters during the adventure.
Loved by some, hated by others
The reception was varied, critics acclaimed it for effectively implementing so many changes and still feeling like the same classic arcade game. On the other hand, the older fans did not think the same, many complained that this entry lost its essence and did not support the change of characters, so it earned the title of "the black sheep of the franchise".
Whether you are on the side of the fans or the critics, the truth is that Metal Slug Advance is a game that does not fail to be entertaining. Hidden among other more popular releases, it is a raw gem for gamers or casual players, waiting to shine again.
Download Metal Slug Advance
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP