There are a number of good things about Metal Slug Anthology: seven of them, to be exact. The Metal Slug games are all classics, even the slightly wonky Metal Slug 4 and the changed-for-change’s-sake Metal Slug 6.
The series offers 2D platform-shmup action at its finest, excellent presentation with oodles of quirk, and some of the nicest pixel work to be found anywhere. So if you take all seven games and bundle them into one package, you should have a winner on your hands.
Unfortunately, this is not the case. Metal Slug Anthology suffers from what is becoming an increasingly worrying trend with Wii games: added waggle for waggle’s sake. The Wii controls are all completely throwaway, and their inclusion raises some interesting questions:
• Why would anyone thinking that waggling the Wii remote in a game that requires as much precision as Metal Slug is a good idea?
• Why does the game support the now hard-to-find Gamecube controller and not the on-shelves-everywhere classic controller?
• Why does the Gamecube pad fail to support the digital pad when a game like Metal Slug is something that requires pinpoint digital control?
• And how could seven fantastic games be completely and utterly ruined by bad decisions such as these?
And that’s really the problem. It’s easy to get past the occasional load time that shouldn’t be there. It’s easy to get past the fact that Metal Slug 4 isn’t as great as Metal Slug 3 and that Metal Slug 6 is a bit toodifferent for its own good. However, it’s not easy to stomach that to effectively play a Wii game you either have to already own a Gamecube pad or you will have to trawl Trade Me for one. Nor is it easy to accept that even this potentially expensive and laborious requirement is crippled by the oversight to allow digital control.
Essentially, it’s not easy to accept that this game is ruined by the controls that shouldn’t even be there in the first place.
And that’s a shame, because with good controls, it would have been almost an essential purchase for Wii owners. There are even some super-nifty additions, like being able to unlock bonus content and save the game during play. But ultimately, this is an example of how to take an excellent product and ruin it. When you’re not in control, you make unforced errors – and in a game like Metal Slug, that usually means the beginning of frustration and the end of your fun.
Consequently, Metal Slug Anthology can really only be recommended to Metal Slug fans that want the entire series, including Metal Slug 6, which isn’t available outside the anthology. Even then, they might want to look at getting the Wii version if they don’t own a PSP or PS2. Everyone else should probably just avoid this game – it’s a disappointment even if you are a Metal Slug fan.