Metal Slug (Virtual Console Neo Geo)
This is a bit embarassing. I actually originally downloaded this for the PAL Wii before purchasing a second-hand copy of the Anthology, so technically this is my 3rd time buying this game (not to mention all the quarters I sunk into it at my local laundromat in San Francisco). SNK has definitely gotten it’s money from me so far eh? Well it’s well-deserved as this is a cracking action game and one of a few games deserving of the label “classic” from the 1990s arcade scene. This is naturally the home version and in some ways the better for it because you have a cap on the number of continues per play and options you can set for the number of lives and difficulty to up the challenge if necessary. Just remember that when prompted to save and load data it’s talking about your last continue point and not your score and initials, which are automatically recorded.
No question that this is the version to get – though you cannot remap the controls, meaning you need to get used to the funky remapping from Neo Geo to Classic Controller. God knows why D4 decided to map the 1-4 buttons as A,B,Y,X, rather than following the NG controller layout (which would be Y,B,A,X on the CC), but if you can adjust your play style you’ll probably like it better than using 1 to shoot, 2 to jump and remote jerk to throw a grenade or whatever in the Anthology version.
Metal Slug 2 (Virtual Console Neo Geo)
A sequel that’s even better than its predecessor is a nice thing to see. This is epic in length, has new spaceborne villains and some groovy transformations thanks to poison-gas-breathing mummies. After their experience with Metal Slug it seems SNK got clever and compressed the audio making this game about half the block size of the first one and creating the tantalising possibility that the outrageous Metal Slug 3 could surface for download on the Wii. D4 please make it so!
R-TYPE II (Virtual Console PC Engine)
If you’re thinking this is a port of the arcade sequel to R-TYPE, think again. When released in the States and Europe the entire TG-16 port of R-TYPE magically fit on a single Hu-Card, but apparently when originally released in Japan this wasn’t the case and the game was split into two. As a result, my decision to re-purchase R-TYPE on my Japanese Wii due to a funny desire to have all my arcade-style Virtual Console games on one machine has meant I’ve effectively paid for it three times (I know, more money than sense and all that).
The good thing about splitting the game in two is that R-TYPE II starts out at a stage I’ve NEVER been able to reach previously (I’ve made it as far as the ships that make a web of little dots – the area after the ship boss you blow apart piecemeal). The bad thing is that starting this far into the game means it’s really really hard – so hard that after more than a dozen plays I couldn’t even reach the “first” boss.
It’s actually more challenging than Super Darius – and that’s saying something! The developers did try to compensate for this in a few ways: you get five credits rather than three for extra continues and the majority of power-ups you find are speed-ups to give you a hope in hell of dodging all the crazy enemies and lasers flying at you. Nevertheless I’m satisfied with it and it’s a quality release. If you’re like me and have a Japanese Wii for your VC jones, bite the bullet and get R-TYPE and R-TYPE II – twice the fun at twice the price!