Metal Slug Advance
Metal Slug Advance I bet that is going to be great! Is what a buddy of mine said when this game was released many years ago. To be fair that is not that unfair of statement as this was released in 2004 and Metal Slug was known for being a 2D powerhouse so how exactly would the rather modest hardware of the Game Boy Advance handle it? Well, SNK knew exactly what they were doing and they did a fantastic job.
Send In The Recruits!
Metal Slug Advance has a fun story, but let’s face it you do not play Metal Slug for the story. Basically, a new team of recruits are working hard when Morden invades, takes some of the recruit’s hostage and he in general needs putting back in his place. Walter Ryan and Tyra Elson are the two playable characters, ready for action!
One thing that you have to give the game a ton of credit for is the presentation. I feel that SNK managed to squeeze all that they could out of the Game Boy Advance with this game. It clearly does not look as good as some of the other Metal Slug games that appeared on consoles such as the PlayStation, Saturn and of course Neo-Geo. However, this is an amazing looking game and one that just oozes charm and personality as all Metal Slug games do.
The sound design is also very impressive. While the soundtrack is catchy and fits the action very well. It is the sound effects that I thought really rocked that tiny GBA speaker.
Bury My Card At Wounded Knee
The gameplay of Metal Slug Advance is pure Metal Slug action all the way just on a much smaller scale. You go from point A to point B killing enemies, taking on bosses, getting cool weapons and of course riding in some badass slugs along the way. This is as good as you could get at the time when it came to handheld Metal Slug action.
That is not to say, Metal Slug Advance did not feature its own things. The game has an interesting health bar system that makes it more suited to quick “on the go” style of gameplay. The biggest addition to the gameplay is the card system. As you play the game you can collect cards. You can get these by saving POWs and shooting them in the background. These cards are very collectible, there are 100 and they can give you information about characters from the series and also buffs and items. The game is a little on the short side, but you can play it many times even if it does lack the replay value of the main games in the series.
I love what SNK did with Metal Slug Advance. It is not quite the full Metal Slug experience, but I have had a great time with this game for many years now. It is a fun handheld Metal Slug experience and it is very impressive what they were able to get out of the GBA.
- Metal Slug on the go!
- The story is pretty fun
- The visuals look fantastic
- It has that awesome Metal Slug personality
- The card collecting aspect is very addictive
- It is a tad on the short side
- Some might not like the grind of collecting all 100 cards
Download Metal Slug Advance
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
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.