When it comes to run-and-gunning, SNK's Metal Slug is up there with the best. The series always brings to mind fond memories of the Neo Geo (and subsequent collections), as well as days spent blasting away enemies from behind the wheels of a large tank.
Therefore, it's our great pleasure to be able to tell you that a new, home-brew Metal Slug game is in development for the Sega Mega Drive, Atari STE, and if all goes well, the Sega Dreamcast, too.
Masteries, the home-brew developer behind the project, recently released a beta on itch.io that replicates the first stage of the original game, while stating his intention to make a new 6-level Metal Slug adventure.
It's obviously an incredible undertaking, given the limitations of those machines, but so far things are looking super impressive, with the developer promising a steady "50 frames per second".
On itch.io, Masteries writes that the "Atari STE version makes usage of custom sprite routines, extremely efficient but memory-hungry ones. And a 3 voices digital audio mixer. Megadrive/Genesis is a completely different nightmare, while STE computer has 4 MB of RAM, the 16 bits console only has 64 KB of video RAM (around 52 KB available for scenario and sprites), that needs to allocate a 320x208 framebuffer, in order to display almost the same high detailed scenarios as NeoGeo version, and the [incredibly] huge amount of sprites at same time... without collapse... this console version is one of the most challenging things I [ever] performed."
If you want to check out the beta, you can do so now by downloading the roms from itch.io. And if you still have an Atari STE knocking about, you can even try to get the game working on real hardware. It all feels a bit like witchcraft to us.
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