It seems like Metal Slug Anthology has come out on just about every console known to man, even though it really has only been released for three systems. But for true Metal Slug fans who haven’t yet picked up the game, the wait was well worth it, as the PS2 version of the game delivers the best overall performance – and closest to the arcade itself – of any of the game’s versions.
Metal Slug Anthology features every Metal Slug game that was playable in the arcades, from the original all the way up to Metal Slug 5. Tagging along this time is Metal Slug 6, which is made available for the first time in this compilation and doesn’t feel at all out of place among its fellow Metal Slug games, even though the plot does differ from past Metal Slug games, but in a good way.
The box of the PS2 Metal Slug Anthology promises an arcade-perfect port of each title, and SNK does not fail to deliver that promise. Looking at Metal Slug Anthology on my TV screen makes me feel like I’m looking at the screen of an actual Neo-Geo cabinet. There’s no problem with the PS2 pulling off the graphical power needed for each Metal Slug game, and the sprite animation looks crisp, even on a regular TV set. All of the original sounds and background music from the arcade versions have also made the journey, and there are no issues with them.
The non-stop loading that plagued the PSP version of this game is nowhere to be found, and other than a short five second or so wait between each mission, there are no problems with in-game loading times to be seen. Each of the seven games flows flawlessly with no slowdown problems other than the ones that were a part of their arcade counterparts. All of the hacking, slashing, shooting and exploding that defines the Metal Slug series is here, and it’s all done as you’d expect it, with Metal Slug 6 as no exception.
While it’s no arcade-style controller, the DualShock is a close fit and does a great job of emulating the arcade-style layout. The PS2 version also doesn’t suffer from having too many different control schemes, like the Wii version did. Using the analog sticks and PS2 button configuration becomes pretty second nature after only a few minutes, though at times controlling the Metal Slug tank itself can feel a bit awkward. Still, it’s pretty basic pick up and play action that should satisfy hardcore gamers and casuals alike.
The fact that you’re getting seven similarly-styled but uniquely different games all in the same compilation ensures that you’ll get a lot out of Metal Slug Anthology. Adjustable difficulty levels and the option to switch off free-play can also add a new challenge for the gamer that craves a more difficult experience.
Though there’s no new content that’s not available on the Wii or PSP, the PS2 version of Metal Slug Anthology is the best of the bunch and a must-have for all Metal Slug fans. The fact that most of the issues in the other versions have been ironed out for the PS2 make this the cream of the crop, as is the fact that the box doesn’t lie: these are arcade-perfect ports of the Metal Slug games. I do wish there was more extra content than just Metal Slug 6 and some nice galleries you get to unlock, as this is supposed to celebrate the series’ 10th anniversary, but what’s there is great. SNK’s collection of this classic franchise really raises the bar for what a single-disc collection of games should be.
Metal Slug Anthology is rated T (Teen) by the ESRB for Blood and Violence. This game can also be found on: PSP and Wii.