MS1.jpg['Parallax Memories' is a regular weekly column by Matthew Williamson, profiling classic '16-bit' games from the Sega Genesis, Super Nintendo, and other seminal '90s systems. This week's column profiles SNK and Nazca Corporation’s run-and-gun action platformer: Metal Slug]

Marco Rossi, Reporting for Duty

In a pizza parlor somewhere outside Appleton, WI there is a Neo-Geo machine with a monitor in heavy need of repair. One of the available four games was Metal Slug. Although just there to pick up a pizza pie for carry-out, I decided to play one credit. 20 minutes later I returned to the car with a cold pizza and a smile.

Aside from the Contra series, I mainly return to one other place for my gun toting action: Metal Slug. This slap-stick action game was developed by Nazca; which is comprised of ex-Irem employees (look to Gunforce and In The Hunt for influences on the series). What they created is a perfect blend of action and humor inside one of the most detailed and rich games for the arcade scene, and because of that the team was absorbed by SNK.

MS2.jpgRegular Army Recruit

You start by picking either Marco or Tarma of the Regular Army Peregrine Falcon special-forces unit. The Regular Armie's tanks have been seized by the Rebels and the Peregrine Falcon special-forces unit uses their back up plan: the Super Vehicle-001 “Metal Slug.” Thrown into midst of a fight against the Rebels army, you must shoot, slice, and bomb your way through them.

Initially all you have is a trusty pistol or knife, but throughout your mission you can pick up a selection of different weapons from enemies and recaptured prisoners of war. As a member of the special-forces you’re also trained in the operation of the Metal Slug, which the Regular Army has placed in strategic locations. With a huge cannon on the front and a Vulcan cannon you can take out most anything in this tank. If not you can always launch the tank at the enemy as a last ditch effort.

MS3.JPGDown With The General

Your main goal is to defeat and capture General Morden, the leader of the Rebel Army. On your path to victory there are six levels, all of varying location. Each boss is unique and challenging to fight. Levels contain many humorous and deadly surprises such as; old bearded POWs, man-eating fish, and rocket-launching scuba divers. All the levels are masterfully detailed with good upbeat music to keep pace.

After getting a Neo Geo this was one of the first games I tracked down. Everything in this game is balanced and well executed leading to many repeat plays through. While I could only get to General Morden—never beat him—with one credit, I’ve seen it done. My last attempt, after not playing the game in over a year, was in that pizza parlor: I was glad to know I still had a little bit of skill.

[Matthew Williamson is the creator of The Gamer's Quarter, an independent videogame magazine focusing on first person writing. His work has been featured on MTV.com, 1up.com, Chatterbox Radio, and the Fatpixels Radio Podcast.]