(SNK, 2001)

War, it's a terrible thing to watch on TV and even worse to live out. What better way to take the ugliest out of war then by adding some comic relief to the action, eh? SNK's cartoonish war shoot 'em up: Metal Slug has been going strong since it first debuted in 1996 for the Neo Geo and many gamers have already played these great games over systems like the Xbox and PSOne. Unfortunately, some gamers may have over looked the Neo Geo Pocket editions of the series because of their limited 16-bit graphics and one-player only action. That's a shame because they are missing out on some the best games of this awesome shooting series I believe. So that means this Game of the Month is SNK’s underrated Metal Slug 2nd Mission.

The story begins after the fall of Colonel Bildegaarn in the first mission, a new group who call themselves the Phantom have seized control of a huge island and they have taking several hostages as well. To insure their victory over their enemies, Phantom is even trying to get in contact with aliens. If they managed to get help from the aliens the two could be unstoppable. Soldiers Marco and Fio are here to challenge the odds to save those hostages and put a stop to this new war.

That's right! The big difference over Metal Slug 1st
Mission (also for the Neo Geo Pocket) is that you can now select between a man and a women now. Although this may not sound like much, each soldier can pick up different weapons on their levels so you may prefer using one character over the other. You can find several cool weapons like Heavy Machine guns, Rocket Launchers, and many more by either beating enemies or by rescuing hostages.

Saving the hostages are not only important for finding some weapons and bonus points but once you save them, the game will have their name on file and they will even drop a few hints but there's a catch. The problem is if you too low in rank some hostages won't even give you the time of day. It really gives you a reason to go back to the main game to see if you can raise your level or see if you find another alternate path that leads you to more of these prisoners of war. To increase the replay value even further you can also go to the game's Office mode where a cute but firm female Commander will let you try out some difficult but fun Time Trial missions. There is definitely no shortage of things to do here.

The game can have a lot of enemies attacking you at once and most of the bosses are quite huge too but Metal Slug 2nd
Mission can still have some problems with slowdown and flickers when there is too much on screen. The music and sound effects also remade faithful to the series but they are not as crisp as the Neo Geo games of course. Although the graphics and sound are above average, they are not really the strongest part of the game here.

Here is one of the main reasons why I believe the Neo Geo Pocket is vastly underrated system. I can tell SNK poured their heart and soul into this project to ensure the player got their money's worth yet I bet there are only a handful of people out there reading this that actually played this awesome game. This juiced up sequel is still filled the same carnage of the bigger brother Slug titles but you still get a bunch of side-quests too to freshen things up too. Metal Slug 2nd Mission mixes great action with tons of hidden extras that will have shooter fans coming back for more.

*Uncommon NGPC game
Battery back up game

Overall rating: 86/100
Find this game on eBay here!

For 1 player only
Rated (E) for Everyone
graphics: 7/10
sound: 6/10
gameplay: 9/10
replay: 9/10

(Ryan Genno)

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