(SNK Playmore for PSP)
By Mike Delano
The PSP is an old school gamer’s dream. The large, bright LCD screen is the perfect way to relive the arcade experience of playing games on a big, pixel-perfect screen. The watered down console versions of old couldn’t compete with the presentation of their arcade counterparts, not to mention the fact that most gamers back then weren’t exactly the AV heads they are in today’s HD culture.
Sure, the PSP’s d-pad and analog nub are crap for fighting games, which dulls the excitement for potential PSP versions of more than half of the SNK catalog, but it’s fine for action games. And as 2D action games go, there aren’t many more satisfying than the Metal Slug series. A non-stop blast-a-thon with a great sense of humor and a perfectly-suited comic book art style, the series peaked with its third installment, but any of the six games are ideal for a quick run-through, and newbies are unlikely to care about the rendered backgrounds in Metal Slug 6 or be blown away by the introduction of branching paths in Metal Slug 3.
The biggest draw here is having the complete series, perfectly emulated, on one disc, rendering the previous one or two-game installations on the Playstation or Xbox useless (for those with a PSP). There are some hiccups: The loading can be a pain (especially the mid-level freeze-ups), and the pre-game interface isn’t quite as sleek and smooth as it could be. But assuming your local 7-Eleven has retired its Neo-Geo arcade cabinet, this is the ultimate Metal Slug experience.