Considering the tremendous popularity of the Metal Slug franchies its no wonder that there would be doujin games that heavily borrow its gameplay. Full Metal Sister Marilu tries to spice things up by having nuns fight against aliens and instead of driving a tank you get to pilot a mech called a Holy Jacket.
Aside from the similar name, you will see other things such as hostages, vehicles, different weapon types and boss battles at the end of a level. There is an addition of a story mode which is told through VN like cutscenes, which is a step up from the Metal Slug franchise. There is also an additional challenge mode which gives you your Holy Jacket at the beginning of every level, compared to the story mode in which you receive your mech for the first time at the start of level 4.
Unlike Metal Slug, here you must save all the prisoners before you can proceed to the end of the level were you have to battle a boss. Boss battles are pretty entertaining even though they go by the same old find a weakness in its attack pattern formula. They take a ton of damage unlike the standard enemies that take a single shot to bring down, so boss battles can really put your skill to the test.
In contrary to Metal Slug, here you don’t need to worry for absolutely every stray bullet. Your character can take a couple of hits before she is dies. Once your character drops to two remaining hits you will hear an alert which is a nice addition since you will be notified you when you have to start playing more cautiously. Piloting the mech gives you an additional, even larger, HP bar. You are also given the choice to enter and exit the mech whenever you please, which is pretty important if you want to bring your mech to the boss battles in once piece.
Killing enemies and destroying lights drops gems. Once you collect 100 gems a nun comes in with a parachute with some supplies. These supplies range from soda cans that restore your life to new weapons. If you time collecting gems just right you can get a real edge during the boss battles.
You will find multiple weapons, each having only a limited amount of ammo and then you go back to your original hand gun. The additional weapons are: machine gun, rocket launcher and armor piercing which pierces through multiple enemies. Like in Metal Slug you also have the option of throwing grenades, but as with special weapons your ammo is limited.
The game is extremely short and can be completed in under an hour. Considering there aren’t branching paths or secret sections there isn’t much replay value to be had from this title. Making things even worse is the fact that you have 3 lives and once you lose them all you can continue from the beginning of that stage, allowing you to breeze through the game with little effort.
The game looks quite good. The animations and effects, even though they are not on Metal Slug level, look pretty impressive for a doujin title. The game runs in a 320×240 resolution it’s easy to understand why so much detail could have been added. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for variety. There are only a couple of enemy types throughout the whole game and the levels even though good looking aren’t too distinct one from another which can be a letdown.
It’s hard to not compare this game to Metal Slug. Full Metal Sister Marilu is an interesting little game but it misses a lot of the wackiness found in the series its copying. The enemies could have used a bit more variety, the game could have had a few more levels or at least additional gameplay modes and harder difficulty levels to keep you coming back for more. Not to say that this is a bad game it just doesn’t come out better than the game it took its inspiration from. As it stands Full Metal Sister Marilu is a cute Metal Slug clone that’s fun to play, but has a lot of things missing that would keep you coming back for more.