Game Reviews

Metal Slug X

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| Metal Slug X
Metal Slug X
| Metal Slug X

Many people who have been in a firefight - whether soldiers, police officers, or whoever - will relive the experience at unexpected times.

No virtual firefight is as intense as SNK's Metal Slug series, and we're experiencing an unexpected flashback right here with Metal Slug X.

It's essentially a slightly tweaked version of Metal Slug 2, which only hit iOS itself a couple of weeks ago.

Two's a crowd

You'll be distinctly unsurprised to hear that we think exactly the same of Metal Slug X as we did Metal Slug 2. But a virtual soldier always does his duty, so let's go through a few formalities.

As before, this is a side-scrolling platform-shooter firmly entrenched in a previous age of madcap blasting and rock-hard difficulty. You play as a single soldier pitched against a whole army, with only a pop gun, a bunch of grenades, and some ludicrously potent power-ups to defend yourself with.

Movement is handled with the same virtual joypad and three-button setup as before, and it continues to be a barely competent intermediary between your twitch reactions and your character's actions.

You'll still mis-press a button at the most inopportune time, failing to duck an incoming bullet or lob a grenade at a boss when the opportunity presents itself.

Same old thrills

Yep, Metal Slug X can be as annoying as Metal Slug 2. But it's also just as thrilling.

SNK's original level design remains a thing of exquisite beauty. It throws memorable set-piece after memorable set-piece at you, alongside quirky bonus pick-ups and power-ups.

Get hit by a mummy's breath in the early stages and you'll turn into a shuffling mummy. Eat too much food and part of the way through the game you'll find yourself turning into a fat version of yourself - chunkier and deadlier than before.

Then there are the temporary-use vehicles that make you feel ridiculously overpowered for the briefest of moments - our favourite being the Harrier Jump Jet-a-like.

Definitive version

Differences? To be honest, there's nothing meaningful. Apparently some of the enemies and bosses have been tweaked and swapped around to keep experienced players on their toes. There are a couple of new weapons, too, with a bouncing bomb gun being the most interesting.

It's claimed that slowdown has been improved, and I have to say that I didn't encounter any major performance issues on my iPad 3.

But, ultimately, this is the same game as Metal Slug 2. The same great shooter that doesn't quite fit on the iOS platform.

There's still plenty of fun to be had with Metal Slug X, but if you bought Metal Slug 2 on our recommendation earlier in the month don't bother repeating yourself.

Metal Slug X

Unsurprisingly, this Metal Slug 2 remake has all the same strengths and most of the weaknesses - which is to say it's a cracking platform-shooter with iffy virtual controls