Also available on Switch and Windows
Review written by Stephen Deck; originally published 02/01/2022 on Teacher by Day, Gamer by Night
Metal Slug 1st Mission was a good handheld adaptation of the Metal Slug series, but it very much felt “good” rather than “great.” That’s almost completely remedied in Metal Slug 2nd Mission. Pretty much everyone about the game is improved here, and it’s one of the best examples of a sequel done right that I’ve played lately. As a disclaimer, the screenshots are from the Switch release included in Neo Geo Pocket Color Selection Vol 1 since I can’t capture screenshots from my actual Neo Geo Pocket.
The first major change worth noting is that there are two playable characters, a dude and a chick. You’ll get some different story tidbits throughout the game depending on which character you pick, and while I haven’t played through the game enough times to test this fully, what stages you play seems to depend at least in part on your character of choice. There are just over three dozen stages, and they seem to be mostly split down the middle with a few shared between the two. Considering that the previous game had seventeen stages, that’s a big improvement. The game also looks and sounds significantly nicer with better graphics, sound effects (including some great explosion sounds and a lot of voice work), and music.
One of the improvements between 1st Mission and 2nd Mission that will most often benefit players is the improved weapon diversity. In addition to the airplane and the titular Metal Slug, there’s also a submarine that you use in a couple of missions. Your array of weapon drops is expanded as well with some truly awesome weapons like the flamethrower and missile launcher, two of the most powerful weapons in the game. You’ll need the added firepower, too, as the bosses seemed to take way more damage to destroy compared to the previous game. You’ll also have aliens to contend with in the latter half of the game in addition to the regular human enemies.
Metal Slug 2nd Mission is a huge improvement on the previous game in pretty much every way. There’s still a lot of slow down when things get really busy on screen, and this is especially common when you’re using the missile launcher, but even with the slow down, it’s an extraordinarily fun game that definitely surpasses my expectations. The Neo Geo Pocket is pretty much the best handheld for arcade titles up until the DS or arguably the 3DS, and that definitely shows with games like this. Metal Slug 2nd Mission pushes SNK’s little handheld to its limits, and it definitely deserves your attention.