Metal Slug XX

When Metal Slug 7 came out for the Nintendo DS, we enjoyed it, even though something was missing. It wasn't the stage design, the wacky power-ups (gun-blasting monkey for the win) or the staggering difficulty. No, it was co-op, as you couldn't blast enemy forces with a friend. Fortunately, Atlus hopes to redeem that mistake with another version of the game, this time for the Sony PSP.

Metal Slug XX features all the crazy over-the-top shooting fun of the original Metal Slug 7 with a few bonus goodies. You're once again guiding a mercenary (you can choose from six characters) through enemy-filled stages shooting anything that moves while avoiding incoming gunfire, collecting power-ups and rescuing prisoners of war for bonus points. At the end of each stage is a boss waiting to pound you into oblivion with bullets, missiles, lasers and other weapons. The game does have adjustable difficulty settings, so if it's too overwhelming, you can take things down a notch.

If, on the other hand, you have skills, then you can put your expertise to the test in Metal Slug XX's new Combat School mode. Here, 70 various tests await, each with new enemies and challenges to overcome. This is a huge addition, giving you plenty to do outside of the main arcade game, which will take you about an hour or two to finish (on lower difficulty).

As we mentioned, Metal Slug XX also lets you play alongside a friend in AdHoc-supported multiplayer. If you both have a copy of the game, you can lay waste to soldiers, aliens and whatever unfortunate souls enter your line of fire. Along the way, you'll access special weapons, such as flamethrowers and rocket launchers. In addition, vehicles are also available, including the sturdy Metal Slug tank and, our personal favorite, a camel with a cannon mounted on the side. (Where does it keep the bullets? In its hump?)

With SNK Playmore handling the game's development (but not its publishing, for some odd reason), the visuals and audio should be vintage Metal Slug. The 2-D animation and rich level design will keep you peering around every corner for enemies, while salvaging whatever ammunition and grenades you can find. The variety of characters is also up to speed, with everyone from Rambo-like soldiers to adorable females lending a hand. (You can also add a seventh face, Leona, to the cast through the PlayStation Store for only a dollar.)

Most importantly, Metal Slug XX won't kill your wallet. Atlus will sell the game for $19.99, and will offer it on the PlayStation Store the same week, should you feel like downloading it. We won't have to wait long, as it'll declare war on the video game world later this month. Be sure to check back with Modojo to see if the game's firing blanks. Something tells us, however, that we'll like it as much Metal Slug 7. Perhaps even more.