(Neo Geo)

Metal Slug 4 (Neo Geo)

Game Review

Metal Slug 4 Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Corbie Dillard

Fourth time a charm?

If there's one thing that can be said with any degree of certainty, it's that SNK's Metal Slug series always remained fairly consistent over the course of their releases. The gameplay remained pretty much the same, with little more than a few tweaks here and there for good measure. Metal Slug 4 was developed by Korean firm Mega Enterprises and came onto the arcade scene in 2002 (during SNK's bankruptcy and prior to the company's rebirth as SNK Playmore), which might lead you to assume it's the black sheep of the family. The game has arrived on the Wii Virtual Console, and despite the troubled nature of its development, it offers fans of the the previous three releases plenty of explosive action to enjoy.

When it comes to gameplay, not much has changed over the years in the Metal Slug titles. You'll still spend the majority of your time running and gunning, while occasionally tossing an explosive and tackling a boss fight. You'll still have the ability to upgrade your weapon's fire-power by picking up power-ups, and as usual the titular "slug" vehicles play a big role in the experience. You will have to keep an eye on your vehicle's power gauge as if you take on too much damage it will begin to destruct, forcing you to bail out mid-battle — which, it has to be said, only adds to the fun.

Level design remains strong in Metal Slug 4 and there's plenty variation in each of the stages. You're going to be on foot a lot of the time, but there are a host of vehicle-themed spots in levels that will mix things up, not to mention the craft you can commandeer which come equipped with a wealth of fire-power. You can even charge the vehicles into a barrage of enemies with a quick press of the button for maximum carnage.

Play controls have always been very responsive in the series, so its no surprise that the developers pretty much left things as they were for this fourth release. Moving around is quick and easy, as are the shooting and explosive mechanics. Vehicles add a more intense element to the game and require you to keep an eye out for enemy attacks. No matter how long its been since you last played a Metal Slug game, it's always a bit like riding a bike in how quickly and easily you'll feel right at home with the game again.

Visually, Metal Slug 4 does a fantastic job of pushing the esteemed Neo Geo hardware — there is some really great colour variance and detail in the various backdrops you'll see throughout the adventure. While there's not a lot of depth to the scrolling, it's still sharp and detailed enough for you to overlook this shortcoming. The character and enemy animations are good enough — albeit a bit overblown and silly at times — but given the solid degree of variety in the different areas, it's easy enough to forgive.

There's a lot of great music to be found in the game and it never diverts too far from the synthesized chip tunes Metal Slug fans have grown to love over the years. The groaning noises from killed enemies do get monotonous, but they're nothing fans of the series won't already be familiar with.


If you can get past the fact that the Metal Slug releases have changed very little over the years and just enjoy Metal Slug 4 for what it is, you're likely to find a lot of run-and-gun action and variety to take in. The visuals are sharp and the soundtrack is exactly what you'd expect, so long-time fans should be perfectly satisfied with the game from this perspective. The new additions are minimal, but there's still something to be said for the simple, yet highly explosive action the experience offers up. Sometimes you just want to blow stuff up and you'll have plenty of opportunity to do so in this intense 2D shoot-fest.

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User Comments (25)



ThePirateCaptain said:

Great review Corbs. I really enjoyed playing through Metal Slug 4 both solo, and with a friend. You can play as a monkey with Uzi's? Yep, the game is just that awesome.



Omega said:

I bought Metal Slug 1 not long ago. I can't help but I wasn't that impressed. Games like Contra III / Super Probotector or Mega Turrican are much more my cup of tea. Don't like the World War 2ish setting.



Shanksta said:

I would buy this if I hadn't already bought the Metal Slug Anthology around the time the Wii launched. Really fun game though



WaveBoy said:

The uncolorful World War 2ish settings and 'few changes' the series has been known for has always been the main turn off for me. I've beaten 1,2 and 7 and I think that's about it for me. 3 would be the only other entry i'd dive into considering it's supposed to be the holy He-man grail of Megal Slug.

Plus it's got killer crabs, zombies, you name it. Unlike 1 & 7 which were practically void of any imagination.



shonenjump86 said:

Not my favorite in the series, but its alright. My favorite character to use in Metal Slug is Eri, but she not playable in 4 .



Omega said:

@WaveBoy: Thanks for pointing this out. If 3 has some phantasy elements in it, I'll maybe give it a shot one day.



Ryno said:

Have the anthology, maybe I will get around to actually playing these games some day.



JebbyDeringer said:

How can the WW2 setting be a turn off? That's very...odd. Anyway 4 while still a good game was a let-down for those of us who played the games in order. I played 4 when it came out and it was not nearly as good as 3. Going back though it's still a good game.



Expa0 said:

Played this in anthology. I like it better than 3 and 6, but 1, 2 (or X rather) and 5 mop the floor with this. I also like both Trevor & Nadia better than Eri & Tarma. Though Marco is still my fav.



cheetahman91 said:

This one's alright, but it's my second least favorite Metal Slug game (6 is my least favorite). It felt like more of the same.



Mk_II said:

tip: buy the Metal Slug Anthology disk instead... all the games for just a few bucks.



pikku said:

@Mk_II Unless you want to play with the classic controller, which is strangely absent from Anthrology. (I'm assume that you can for the VC version)

Unfortunately the wiimote waggling for grenades seemed a little finnicky for me at least.



Omega said:

pikku wrote:

Unless you want to play with the classic controller, which is strangely absent from Anthrology. (I'm assume that you can for the VC version)

Yes, you can play all Virtual Console games without exception with the classic controller.



grenworthshero said:

Metal Slug 4 is my favorite one of all. I haven't played 7 yet, though. Three was pretty amazing, but I thought 4 took everything from 3 and tweaked it just a little bit better. Though the ending to 3 was pretty epic.



KeeperBvK said:

Fairly consistent? The MS series had some serious ups and downs, with this one being the worst offender by far. An 8 for this is definitely quite a bit too high.



gojiguy said:

I can imagine the AES versions of these games are impossible to beat, no?



WaveBoy said:

How is it odd for somebody to be turned off by a WW2-like setting? Some gamers would rather get lost into a colorful fantasy based world rather than a grimey drabbish brown and grey post appocolyptic setting. Different strokes. You dig it or you don't. Nobody is 'odd' for thinking either way.

Anyways, I'm more of a contra kind of guy, but Metal Slug 2 was a pretty damn good game...If only it wasn't plagued by so much slowdown. Should of waited for 'X' which fixes this issue! X and 3 are the only Metal Slug games i'll ever need.



KeeperBvK said:

How is Metal Slug's setting grimey, drabbish or grey?
It's extremely tongue-in-cheek and more of a parody of WWII settings.



Omega said:

WaveBoy wrote:

Some gamers would rather get lost into a colorful fantasy based world rather than a grimey drabbish brown and grey post appocolyptic setting.


Also, however, games like Metal Slug are in my opinion kinda morally questionable. I like Contra III (aka Super Probotector) better. Although Contra has a post-apocalyptic setting too, it's inspired by fantasy movies like Terminator and not making fun of WW2.



ICEknight said:

This is possibly the worst Metal Slug ever. It's not so much that the Metal Slug series hasn't evolved a bit, it's that this specific title is just a copy-paste job from previous entries.

I cannot understand the favorable review, unless the reviewer hasn't finished the previous games in the series.

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