Guerrilla War was an early shooter by SNK that predates many of the ideas present in Metal Slug: prisoners to rescue, grenades and gun upgrades, tanks, and hordes and hordes of guys to shoot. There’s also an element of humor here – something you would expect considering the setting as Fidel Castro and Che Guevara’s overthrow of Cuba, making it jokingly referred to as “the Che Guevara Game”. In fact, the game was even called Che in Japan. This seems fitting, considering all the things going on in Cuba at the moment. The game was originally released in the arcades but later found its way to the NES where it took the system to the limit in terms of object display while still maintaining a smooth framerate (though suffering from LOADS of flicker). And the funniest thing? Castro’s rise to power is inevitable. It is impossible to lose the game because you can simply hit ‘Continue’ at the Game Over screen to keep fighting for liberty! Viva la Revolucion!
Jake Kaufman, aka Virt, created an epic rock medley of the themes from the game for Dwelling of Duels, coming in fifth place in the November-December 2004 Duel. Part of this might be due to the game’s relative obscurity in the music scene – as well as stiff competition – but the mix isn’t bad, following Virt’s tradition of making long, epic rock medleys of classic games (particularly NES titles). There’s a nice synth break at 5:00. I suppose the game really just suffers from a soundtrack that doesn’t have many particularly memorable melodies – and the ones that are there don’t seem that inspired (notables include the Stage 1 theme (0:00), Boss theme (4:40), and end boss theme (6:20)) . Thankfully, the game holds out with pure shooting action, which is really where it’s all at. Not as good as his Contra mix, but still a fun piece.
The original game, made in 1987, has no credits. The 1989 NES port has the enigmatic composer names Kenny, Oh Chan, and Tarkun. We’ll just have to label it as ‘SNK Sound Team’ for now.