Metal Slug 7
Ignition Entertainment, SNK Playmore
Available for the Nintendo DS
While I have never been introduced to the world of Metal Slug before, thousands of fans of the series can tell you that this is one of the best 2D side-scrolling shooters series ever produced for a gaming system. The first Metal Slug was produced for the NEO-GEO system and published by SNK back in 1996, and since then there have been at least 7 sequels and numerous remakes, anthologies and off-shoots of the series. SNK Playmore is still keeping the series alive even now with the newest instalment and my first taste of the franchise, Metal Slug 7. Let’s see if it lives up to the legacy.
In Metal Slug 7, you are given the task of catching General Morden and his army, in order to prevent them from taking over your government. You must choose from one of 6 characters to play with: Marco, Fio, Tarma, Eri, Ralf and Clark. Each has their own special abilities, so you will have to choose which one suits your style of play. On each level, you must run through shoot enemies and dodging bullets in order to save prisoners of war and earn power-ups for your character.
Character movements in the game were fluid and accuracy which was extremely helpful in a game like this where timing is everything. The environments and characters were beautifully detailed and designed in the original Metal Slug style. The enemies and bosses movements and attack styles were varied and perfectly designed to keep you on your toes throughout the game.
For first timers looking to check out the Metal Slug series, keep in mind this is a tough as nails game that will push your gaming skills to their limits. I spend more time cursing and dying in this game than getting to the next level. Also don’t expect anything here but a single player experience as there are no co-op or multiplayer options in the game.
Rating: 7 out of 10
Available for Nintendo DS
Despite the fact I own a pink Nintendo DS, I’m not a girlie girl and generally don’t like extreme girl games like Barbie Horse Adventure or Hello Kitty: Big City Dreams. However when duty calls and I’m given a game to review, I review anything damn it from Gears of War 2 with its heavy blood and gore to this week’s review, Princess Debut with its dancing and dating games. Hold my comic books and action flicks, I’m going in!
In Princess Debut, you play as the Sabrina, a pretty young schoolgirl that dreams of someday meeting princess charming and being carried off into the sunset on a white horse. Luckily for Sabrina, she’s in a fairy tale videogame where her closet is a doorway between worlds and she meets her twin, a princess from the Flower Kingdom who can’t dance and has come to Sabrina’s world in hopes of finding someone to take her place for the next 30 days in preparation for the royal ball. Sabrina agrees to make the switch and your dancing days begin!
Once in the Flower kingdom, you must help Sabrina learn how to dance via her giant bunny instructor and several princely dance partners you meet later. Dancing is performed by moving and tapping your stylus along the DS touch screen in time with the display. The better you do this, the better you dance. As you perform each dance and progress in the story you will earn new dance types, songs and costumes to wear. Also Sabrina will have a chance to talk and flirt with her possible dance partners, the princes which are important because you do have to pick one of the princes for her before the day of ball.
The game play was very simple to follow along with and would be easy for any young girl to play, but as an adult I found it a bit too easy. The storyline is cute and I think anyone would enjoy casting off reality for an hour or two and romancing a prince at any age. The whole game was bright and cheerful from the anime style characters to the ballroom style music.
The style of dance and music choices didn’t change up enough to keep the practice sessions interesting enough and the 3D models of the dancers seems to have no collision detect whatsoever, so Sabrina’s dress was always taking over her dance partner’s leg. The days were short, so you didn’t have a lot of time to do anything in the story before Sabrina was tired and needed to sleep.
All in all, this is not a bad game for young female gamers looking for a cute princess story but I wouldn’t suggest it for an older audience.
Rating: 6 out of 10
Empire Interactive, Now Productions
Available for Nintendo DS
With the success of major crime dramas and CSI shows, video games are now getting in on the action with various mystery and crime solving titles. Unsolved Crimes brings you into the world of the police and the CSI with its own point and click style, crime game.
In Unsolved Crimes, you take the role of a rookie detective as part of the New York police department homicide division. An aspiring model, Betsy Blake, has disappeared and a social outcast and loner is the prime suspect. You and your partner must solve a series of crimes leading up to the disappearance of aspiring model, Betsy Blake, who just so happens to be your partner’s sister.
Unsolved Crimes is very much like other crime games: your character is given their case file, a bit of background on the case and then a location to start information gathering. From there, you can interview witnesses or suspects, examine evidence, take notes, search locations for new clues and talk to your partner. As you perform each task, the picture of what took place in the crime becomes clearer and you will eventually put all the pieces together to solve the crime.
If you look at Unsolved Crimes for its mystery solving game play alone, then this is actually a fun game and fans of crimes shows will love figuring out the clues and catching the bad guys for themselves. I actually had the first crime solved halfway through because I remembered matching evidence from an episode of CSI: Vegas, so some CSI fans may find this game a bit too easy if they’re a crime show addict like me.
However if you look at the rest of this game from the bad grainy graphics to the poor drawn environments, then you might be running back to your copy of CSI: the Game. Even for a game running on a handheld, the graphics and sound were poorly thrown together and really didn’t add anything to the experience or atmosphere of this title. It looked like someone sand-blasted NYC before I got there to investigate.
Though I did managed to finish this game, there are better crime solving titles out there and I would recommend you check those out first.
Rating: 4 out of 10