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Metal Slug 3 (Xbox) artwork

Metal Slug 3 (Xbox) review

"Not only does Metal Slug 3 offer the player an outrageous run-n-gun experience, it also shows the player the harsh and depressing reality of war…well, not really. Unless you count giant crabs, zombies, mutated Venus flytraps and eels called Wanda as the reality of war. If you do, then Metal Slug 3 may be the most realistic war game you will ever play. On the other had, if you do think this, I recommend you visit a psychologist, or, better yet, wait for four years so I can give you a free..."

Not only does Metal Slug 3 offer the player an outrageous run-n-gun experience, it also shows the player the harsh and depressing reality of war…well, not really. Unless you count giant crabs, zombies, mutated Venus flytraps and eels called Wanda as the reality of war. If you do, then Metal Slug 3 may be the most realistic war game you will ever play. On the other had, if you do think this, I recommend you visit a psychologist, or, better yet, wait for four years so I can give you a free session.

Metal Slug 3 is actually the fourth game in the famous series (SNK pulled a “Capcom” here!) and is considered to be the greatest out of the six games. That may be true, I cannot really say much because the port of MS3 over to the Xbox was my introduction to this famous series. With this Xbox port, we are given a splendid three-in-one package that includes the original MS3 arcade game, a competitive mini-game known as “Fat Island” and a tremendously hard sub-game called “Storm the Mothership.”

Five missions may not sound like a plethora of levels but these ones are packed with hidden passageways and most importantly, alternate pathways. You drop down from the sky and with your handgun blazing, you run along the beach, blasting the hell out of a endless troop of gigantic crabs. A bearded man creeps out of the trees, in the midst of battle. You watch nervously as he sticks his hands down his trousers and whips it out. The “it” is a heavy machine gun wrapped in some sweaty underwear (What were you thinking?), which is a lot better than your handgun at mowing down troops of foes. As you continue along the beach you notice that path begins to branch. Will you plunge into the sea to do battle with more creepy crustaceans? Or will you proceed on foot to battle giant wasps? Your choice doesn’t matter, because all of the roads lead to the exact same place: a giant ugly walking mesh of crab and machine.

The hairy POWs have plenty of weapons stored in their boxers. As well as the HMG, you can also find a drilling Laser gun, a spreading shotgun and the dominating RAWKIT LAWNCHER. These babies are perfect for “thinning out the numbers” of a certain species of crab or for mowing down countless enemy soldiers. You can even collect even better guns like Iron Lizard. This sends a smiling rocket towards any nearby foes. This drops many rather innocent looking bouncing balls that hop around and blow up in the enemies FACE! You also have a rather limited supply of grenades that can be used to dish out more damage but they cannot be replenished easily. If you find ammo crates floating around, then you can stock up quickly but if none are available, the only way is suicide.

MS3 also gives you the ability to use vehicles, a feature that has been enhanced more than any previous game in the series. Instead of the usual slugs, such as tanks, planes and submarines, you can also use the new animal slugs. Yes, your soldier can now ride on camels, ostriches and even an elephant to reach other destinations with ease. Each animal slug has an unlimited machine gun for you to plough through enemies. The elephant can even be upgraded to shoot fire or lighting form his trunk, as well as the machine gun. However, slugs of the animal variety are quite rare and a few only appear once in the game, so happy hunting! Unfortunately, the slugs are annoying to use because you have to use the two analog sticks together. One of them is to move and the other is to rotate the gun around so you can shoot in other directions. It’s a real pain in the ass to do, and often you’ll find yourself in the shit if many enemies are coming at you at once.

MS3 is packed with additional power ups and tricks. Warp gates are hidden in various levels and will conveniently transport you to new locations. Some levels even have zombies lurking around that can turn you into one of the living dead with a well-thrown ball of ooze. As a zombie, you will notice that your movement is extremely slow but your grenade power is greatly improved. Instead of chucking a hand grenade, the zombie will puke out a huge jet of blood that completely wipes the screen clean of any hostile forms. Some other special things are only available on one level, like the little ape that follows you around with an Uzi. He sucks, but I can’t think of anything funnier than an ape with a gun. You can even find women carrying large backpacks, filled with goodies or a hidden warrior disguised as a POW. This guy looks like a normal beardy, but helps you out by firing beams of light from his hands. Fat and angry Yeti can even turn you into a snowman; this looks funny, but you won’t be laughing when that Yeti kicks your icy ass around the cave.

If you have the skills to clear the arcade mission, you can also unlock the two other previously mentioned sub-games. Fat Island is a two-player game that has two giant characters fighting over food. Whoever collects the most food and gains the most weight is the victor, but be wary. If soldiers kill you, you will re-spawn with a little less weight than before, so you had better be sharp and eat quickly in order to survive this lard-fest. Storming the Mother Ship is a little more on the interesting side as it allows you to control one of the enemy soldiers as they try to wipe out a group of aliens. In this insanely tricky game, you can select a soldier and take your growing squadron of men into the battlefield, dusking it out with countless aliens and robots. The death toll will be extremely high so make sure that all of your soldiers are in front of you to take the bullets. If you die just once, it is game over.

One thing that was changed in the European version was the credit system, which was butchered terribly in the NTSC version of the game. You start each game with nine shiny credits, each holding four lives. One shot will strip a life away in this version but one significant change is the ability to pick off exactly where you left off from before. If you’re reading this in America, then you are stuck with the fascist and unfair system that throws you right to the start of the stage every time you die. Thank God for my precious and sexy PAL version that allows me to pick off from the exactly the same spot as my death. I hope all you NTSCer’s have fun restarting each level repeatedly when you die.

Metal Slug 3 is a brilliant shooter packed with a great mix of personality, humour and blood pumping action. The carnage never stops in MS3 as the alternate paths and special power ups that lie hidden in the dark corners of each level lengthen the lifespan and the tongue-in-cheek approach to war is packed with charm. MS3 is an Xbox essential, something that MUST be in your games collection. However, if you don’t like it, then my offer still stands.

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Community review by goldenvortex (August 13, 2005)

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