[floatleft]http://www.snackbar-games.com/images/reviews/metalslug3/cover.jpg[/floatleft]Metal Slug 3 is a port of the fantastic Neo Geo game that has been a franchise favorite of many gamers for many years. The Xbox is an unlikely candidate for the port since most shooters end up on the PS2, but I am grateful that it came out in the first place. I have been an avid fan of Metal Slug for many years and I have regrettably not kept up with the series in recent days. I imported a copy of Metal Slug for my PS1 many years ago and have not had a Metal Slug fix since I sold my PS1. Enter Metal Slug 3 for Xbox.
The nice thing about the shooter genre is that it can take on many forms. Metal Slug is essentially the same type of game as Ikaruga and the R-Type games, but they are presented much differently and I think it gives the genre a nice variation that keeps it fresh. Metal Slug would have to be my favorite series by far in the shooter category.
In Metal Slug 3 you battle your way through 5 frustrating missions in an attempt to defeat the evil General Morden. I say attempt because in all likelihood you will not actually defeat him. What I am trying to say is that this game is hard. I am not sure if it is actually this hard or if I lack the skills to make any reasonable progress on games in this genre despite my love for them. I say that in jest because Dots and I did make it to mission 5 and I am getting increasingly closer to completing it on my own, but not without a little colorful use of the English language.
[floatright]http://www.snackbar-games.com/images/reviews/metalslug3/ss01_thumb.jpg[/floatright]The graphics are just like the original from what I can tell. Simple cartoonish 2d backgrounds with 2D sprite based characters in the foreground. Nothing spectacular, but then again this is a port of an arcade game that came out about 4 years ago.
The game does feel a little on the short side with only 5 missions and anyone that may be an expert at shooters could possible beat this game in one sitting. Once again, it’s an arcade port and arcade games typically don’t take an abundant amount of time to beat otherwise nobody would attempt it. (by nobody, I mean most normal people)
When SNK picked the Xbox for the port I have to wonder if they actually considered that the Xbox control had triggers that typically work very well for shooting applications. If so, they just opted to ignore them. MS3 allows for some minor control tweaking but my hands got very tired from hitting the fire button. No you can’t hold it down and fire, you must push it very rapidly and with it being the X button, it got very tiring. I would have loved to see a fully customizable button map setting, but you only got to customize a few of the additional buttons that were used in-frequently.
[floatleft]http://www.snackbar-games.com/images/reviews/metalslug3/ss03_thumb.jpg[/floatleft]If you have played any Metal Slug game before then you are familiar with the style of gameplay you can expect. You play 1 or 2 player co-op and basically run through the level shooting everything that moves and many things that don’t. As you progress through levels there are many different paths to take, some are obvious and others are not. You will be accompanied by special vehicles to make the trek easier. Some of them include METAL SLUG, Camel Slug, Rebel Armor, Slug Mariner, Ostrich Slug and more. There are 10 scattered throughout the game. As you complete each level, you are allowed to start from there in later games so it isn’t like you have to complete the entire game on 4 men like some games I have played recently. Continues do dump you back at the beginning of the level though, even if the other player is still alive you have to wait until they die to join back in.
Despite the complaints I have with this game being ungodly hard and the button configuration MS3 is an awesome port from the arcade. It delivers the original arcade experience in the comfort of your home. I would definitely recommend MS3 to any fans of the series or anyone looking for that next shooter. Before playing I recommend getting a stress ball and taking a chill pill since things may get a little crazy.
As I finished writing this I noticed that Metal Slug 4 & 5 are due out in January on a single disc for both [url=http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/click?id=TEq8vCphy*Q&offerid=13850.242311&type=2&subid=0]PS2[/url] and [url=http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/click?id=TEq8vCphy*Q&offerid=13850.243660&type=2&subid=0]Xbox[/url] in addition to [url=http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/click?id=TEq8vCphy*Q&offerid=13850.240861&type=2&subid=0]Metal Slug Advance[/url] which should be out in mid August. While most fans prefer earlier games, it will be a treat to see these awesome arcade shooters make it to home consoles.