Hearing that Bitmap Books was creating a book called Metal Slug: The Ultimate History was music to my ears, a game series famous for its stunning pixel art and a book publisher famous for their stunning book designs, mouth-watering stuff.
First impressions are spectacular, Bitmap Books constantly achieves such high standards, the cover is beautiful and sets the mark for the rest of the book. The first section of the book opens with the history of The Metal Slug series creator, SNK, it’s a story about the challenges, the ups and downs that the creators faced.
The next section covers the games developed between 1993-1994. These were In the Hunt and Gunforce II. These games clearly laid the foundations for the Metal Slug series, the pixel art style that carried forward is very evident in the screenshots that are shown. From a personal point of view this section was the most fascinating read, I didn’t know that much about in In the Hunt, somehow it passed me by on the Sega Saturn, but that’s what these books should be about, right? Learning and expanding your knowledge of the gaming industry is something I am constantly doing and this book, like all of Sam’s previous books, have in some way helped me along that path.
The next section is dedicated to every Metal Slug game ever released. Each game is presented with a range of the stunning concept art for the game characters, enemies and so on. Titbits of info is scattered throughout these pages shedding light on the process that brought the game to life. As you read on, each subsequent game is presented with information that focuses on the challenges that the team faced at that time, building a story of how each game was eventually created, this adds so much to the book, the sheer amount of info Sam and the team have collated here is impressive.
What jumps out is the quality of the imagery within the book, that is due to SNK offering unprecedented access to its vast archives of high-resolution concept artwork and illustrations.
The book also contains 11 exclusive and incredibly detailed interviews with key members of the development team, including Kazuma Kujo, Takushi Hiyamuta, Andoh Kenji and Takeshi Okui, the latter two of which have never spoken about the series previously. These interviews add a depth to the book as we learn more about the truths behind Metal Slug Zero and much, much more.
This stunning tome is spread across 452 pages and measures ins at 210mm x 297mm, it’s a big heavy book as you can see by those stats. Special Pantone ink used throughout and lithographic printing its used to bring you the best looking book Bitmap Books could possibly create. A must own, it really is that simple.
Without a doubt, Metal Slug: The Ultimate History is a fantastic book that chronicles the history of a popular series of game. Fans of the series, or gaming fans in general, would enjoy this book.