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Metal Gun Slinger

version: jp - year: 2002 - developer: atmark - publisher: open sesame - format: gba, cartridge - condition: good - rarity: hard to find

The Western setting feels fresh, although levels tend to look too much alike


Speed-runs provide an interesting diversion


Bosses are the strong point of the game


and they get better as you progress !

Review - MetalGun Slinger is a 2D action/platformer with a heavy emphasis on shooting developed by unknown (and maybe defunct) software house Atmark.

Aside from the cool-sounding name, what's on offer is a traditional platformer with a few neat ideas which make it worth playing.

For one thing, the Western setting mixed with the attractive manga artwork is refreshing considering that not many games seem to use it. Also when exploring a level, you'll sometimes come across wanted fugitives. Capture four of them and you'll be rewarded with an extra health star. This bounty system is a welcome addition and motivates the player to explore levels more in-depth.

On the negative side, it should be noted that levels tend to lack variety. Backgrounds are drawn very simply and they tend to look too similar. Even enemies seem to repeat themselves too much, so MetalGun Slinger risks to become monotonous after awhile. To break the lurking monotony, speed levels provide a good diversion although in all honesty, they don't manage to put much pressure on the player.

At this point, it would seem that MetalGun Slinger is another average platformer to be avoided, but stick to the game long enough and you'll discover that the real “meat” is to be found elsewhere, specifically in the very inspired boss encounters and in the deep fighting system. It's during boss encounters that you'll start appreciating the depth of the gameplay system, which is based on extremely cool special moves and “magic” attacks which you normally earn by defeating bosses.

You'll quickly learn to jump, roll in the air and take out enemies in slow-mo before you even touch the ground! Oddly enough, bosses seem to come out from a SCI-FI setting and actually don't seem to belong much to the game's Western setting. Despite this slight inconsistency, they look very inspired and they are very fun to fight. The game's difficulty isn't very high though and once you learn the special moves, you'll breeze through the game, and it will take you about 3 hours play (don't worry, there's a very handy save feature). The last boss is not only awesome to look at, but it maybe is the only tough challenge as it has two forms and you won't be given the chance to replenish your health or magic points between the two fights.

In the end, MetalGun Slinger is a surprising little action game which was never released outside of Japan . It's unfortunate because although not a classic, it's still capable of providing a good amount of old-fashioned fun. Worth discovering.

Bottom line: An interesting and obscure action game exclusive to the GBA. 6,5/10











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