When it comes down to underrated 2D run and gun games from the early 00’s one of the few titles that comes to mind is Metal Slug 4 from 2002. Metal Slug 4 was developed by Noise Factory along with Mega Enterprise and published by Playmore and initially received an arcade release; before appearing on the PS2, Xbox and Neo Geo AES in countries such as Japan and North America. The plot for Metal Slug 4 was intriguing especially considering the fact that it followed the events from its ’00 predecessor Metal Slug 3 . The timeline for Metal Slug 4 is set one year after Metal Slug 3 and focuses on players trying to stop a threat in the form of a wealthy terrorist organization known as the Amadeus Syndicate. Players discover that the Amadeus Syndicate has aligned itself with General Morden’s Rebel Army following the release of a deadly cyber virus. The gameplay for Metal Slug 4 saw some unique improvements which added to the overall quality of the game itself. In Metal Slug 4 players were given a scoring meter which allowed them to receive rewards for destroying enemies within a certain time period.
It should also be noted that Metal Slug 4 saw the inclusion of different characters from its ’00 predecessor Metal Slug 3; as Trevor & Nadia replaced Tarma and Eri. Metal Slug 4 provides players with six action packed adventurous levels with an unexpected twist within the plot towards the end of the game. The discovery of android duplicates of Morden within an underground facility along with finding out that Allen O’ Neal is one as well. After defeating Dr. Amadeus the game provides players with different ending depending on whether or not they escape the bonus explosion stage in time towards the end. Metal Slug 4 made for a great 2D run and gun despite the fact that its prequel Metal Slug 3 from ’00 was widely regarded as the best within the series. Seeing how the 2D run and gun genre of gaming had faded in popularity after the the early 90’s; it was quite surprising to see a game like Metal Slug 4 being somewhat of an attraction during the early 00’s. The Neo Geo MVS arcade cabinet always seem to have the best quality in terms of gameplay and visuals back in the day. Metal Slug 4 was so popular that it was eventually featured on multiple game consoles during the 00’s & 10’s decade.