Thursday, August 25, 2016

Metal Slug - Lets Play & Review

Hello Dwellers & Welcome To The Basement...

Like many, I spent a lot of time in my youth pumping quarters into arcade cabinets either at a movie theater, bowling alley or even at an arcade at a mall... and lets face it, the reason why was because the games in the arcades were designed to be money sinks, much the same way games are today, particular with mobile games where you play to a point where you either have to buy more turns or choose to wait until later on to resume playing. It's a great business model, anyone that sees fault with that, obviously never figured out the 'supply and demand concept'.

But getting back on task, since the 80s, arcade games have been ported to home video game consoles and computers. Action adventure based games like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles would see the quarters replaced with giving the players a fixed number of lives to get through, because getting through an action adventure game would be incredibly easy with unlimited lives. It really wouldn't be until recent years where game developers realized that they could get a cash-grab by re-releasing the old arcade games  but because you couldn't get the quarters any more, now players had the unlimited lives and were able to beat it...  so they replaced the challenge with particular achievements and difficulty settings. A great example of this would be X-Men The Arcade Game.

Which brings me all the round to this week's game Metal Slug...Originally released for the Neo-Geo multiple cartridge Arcade system back in 1996, it's basically a run and gun action button mashing, quarter eating game. It's not quite just head to the right and take out everything in your path, cause enemies come from all over, behind you, above you and at some points even beneath you. You get a variety of picks ups to enhance your fireing power, most often by rescuing POWs. The slew of enemies you have to work your way through does make defeating the game without dying practically impossible... in can be done, but I sure as hell not skilled enough to do it on the default settings. You actually will get an idea of how many quarters it takes to get through the game... even if you have an idea of what's coming and how to deal with the various bosses.

Graphics wise, the game looks great on the PC these days (as I got it as part of the Neo-Geo Bundle Pack on Steam), the controls are responsive, D-Pad, left analog stick to shoot and aim, and use of the X A and B buttons to throw bombs, jump and shoot. The sound effects are crystal clear, nothing will jump out at year, and the music score set a great mood for an 80s Action Film.

The replay value is limited, there is an online mode, so you don't have to play by yourself, various achievements for getting through the six stages as well as rescuing POWs using Bombs and taking out the bad guys. The toughest achievement to get is to 'clear the game without using a continue', and as of this writing in regards to the STEAM Community, only 1.5% of players who played the game were able to do so. Again it's possible, but you won't see me being able to do that lol.

All things considered, this game is a fine pick up to have something to just play to either let out some frustration or have some time to kill. It's mindless fun... and you can keep your quarters.! 

Today's scribbles

Um... yeah.... guess some kind of aqua man lol

ELVIS: Aloha From Hawaii - From The Vault

(Notes: I spoke more freely with the video version, but still my original script for myself is below)

Hello Dwellers And Welcome To The Basement…
Lets’ Go Into The Vault… and Talk About The King… no not Jerry Lawler… but THE KING… Elvis Presley….

Born in 1935, and passing away in 1977…. Elvis left an impact on the world entertainment that many aspire to reach… he is without question one of the greatest performers of all time, he’s been often imitated but never duplicated…. And even though he passed away several years before I was born, thanks to the magic of home video, DVDs and digital distribution, people all over have been able to see just how incredible he was.

Which brings me, to The Elvis Aloha from Hawaii Deluxe Edition DVD Set, released in 2004, containing not only the concert that was broadcast live via satellite on January 14, 1973  (with the exception of the United States who didn’t see it until April 4, 1973…), but also footage of Elvis arriving in Hawaii, the rehearsal concert, the recording of five songs that would be used to ‘fill out the show’ for when it was broadcast in the United States plus the NBC version of the concert, where you can see how Americans saw it as opposed 3 months after the fact as opposed to everyone else.

In terms of being a near perfect time capsule, showing Elvis in all his glory following the 1968 Comeback Special…. And before his rapid decline over the next 4 years, as seen in the footage from the 1977 Elvis In Concert special that aired on CBS and later used for the This Is Elvis documentary in 1981.

The concert (regardless of the version you watch on this set), is pretty rapid fire, serving as a ‘Live best of...’ set, as it hits on songs (some done as part of a melody) from through his career to that point, including Burning Love, Hound Dog, Suspicious Minds, Can’t Help Falling In Love, Something, I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry, etc) Sometimes it seems like The King flubs a line or too, but that’s par the course with performing live and not lip syncing like a number of performers do today.  The band that supports Elvis for this concert is huge, consisting of three sets of background vocalists , Elvis’s own Taking Care of Business Band… and a 20+ piece orchestra to give the big full sound that was beautifully remastered so you don’t miss a thing while watching

Of course the big thing about the concert that stands out, is Elvis himself, clearly this is his last major iconic performance, though he would tour and be a staple in Las Vegas. You see a guy who is putting on a great performance, being charming, knowing he has the crowd in the palm of his hands, and just having that charisma , that showmanship and at the same time a humble demeanor that made him a national sensation in the 1950s. Not to mention that jumpsuit he wears is simply awesome. Really a must have for Elvis Collectors.

Now let’s break down the set itself, the case is a beautiful white fold out, with Elvis Alooha From Hawaii on the front and gold logo of the King on the back. Its a simple case that opens like a book and you flip a flap to see  both discs, that are just white and gold, fit snugly  in their case slots, plus a booklet that gives some background on the concert, some photos, and basically just being a nice companion piece for the DVD set.

The Menus are basic, Play All, Chapter Selection Settings, etc, and the footage itself is displayed in the 4:3 format it was recorded in, but depending on your DVD / Blu-Ray Player’s abilities, it can be stretched to fill out the 16:9 format and it looks decent.

Now where can you get this set? Well amazingly not on… with prices for new copies ranging from $36 to $150….  and that’s even included the single version released in 2006. Over on eBay you get some decent prices, I’ve seen some copies for sale below $30, but some well above that. And you can go to and the shop there to get it for about $40, which seems to be current official retail price. The funny thing is I don’t remember paying $25 for this new at Tower Records back when it came out.

Something kind of interesting over on (the official online store), they don’t have this version, they have the 40th Anniversary edition, which is sold at $15… quite a price difference, but that appears only to have a re-edited version concert itself plus footage from the 40th Anniversary of the concert from 2013.

9/22/2019 Sunday Night Overwatch