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Metal Slug 3 (Xbox) artwork

Metal Slug 3 (Xbox) review

"Marco Rossi. Tarma Roving. Eri Kasamoto. Fio Germi. "

Marco Rossi. Tarma Roving. Eri Kasamoto. Fio Germi.

Utter these forbidden names amongst Morden's army and you'll be sure to get a face full of fists. Mention that they'll have to fight them on their next mission, and you'll see the smart ones quit. The dumb ones, however, will experience hell on earth like it's nobody's business. The lucky ones will be instantly killed off from a distance with a single bullet, but the unlucky ones that happen to get up close and person will receive much worse. Some will get their throats slash, others will be blown to pieces from a missile, and then the very unfortunate ones will slowly be burned alive by a flamethrower. Oddly, after these insane acts of violence, soldiers will keep attacking them, thinking that they could take down this supposedly immortal group.

Well, the good news is that you're on the winning side.

Add in zombies, mummies, bizarre creatures, and many, many gears of war into the mix, and what you have is Metal Slug 3, probably the most popular game in the series. And when you play through it for the first time, it's not surprising why. Contra on Crack 3 thrusts you into a world that doesn't want you to live very long: giant crabs dance their way towards you in hopes of chopping a blood vessel, piranhas with wings will lunge out of the water to greet you, and happy-go-lucky snowmonsters will turn you into snowmen in hopes of whacking you with a bone. Of course, there's always the welcome sight of Morden's soldiers who'll attack in groups, believing they could easily end your life... Yeah, it's hard to keep a straight face after that last sentence.

Thankfully, you have a wide range of weapons you could use in your attempt to reach the epic, final mission. Ripping an entire group of soldiers in half with a laser gun never gets old, teaming up with a gun-toting orangutan in diapers is a sight to see, and you can always count on your trusty Metal Slug, the little tank that could, to plow through any dangerous situation. Even then, you will get hit quite a lot in MS3, because that's just how chaotic the action will get. However, not every hit you take will result in a lost life, there are some moments that'll give you "second chances"... and humorous ones at that. Manage to get vomit on you in the zombie-ridden second mission, and you'll witness your player fall to the ground, only to slowly resurrect as a slow-moving zombie. A slow-moving zombie that can vomit a giant beam of blood across the screen, that is.

MS3 is a fantastic 2D action game that you really should try to play. Its chaotic and humorous take on the run and gun genre, not to mention the addictive gameplay, will keep you coming back for more.

Just make sure the Xbox version isn't your first time playing it...

While it's wonderful that this port manages to get rid of the slowdown that reared its ugly head every 5 seconds in the arcade and NEO-GEO versions, I can't say the same for another change: the continue system. Now, you probably already know this, but almost every single arcade game in existence allows you to continue where you last lost after plunging a few quarters in. SNK Playmore changed this in the Xbox version by pushing you to the start of a mission after hitting start. I can understand why they did this, because the game is quite short, and they just wanted to prolong the experience. However, they almost entirely destroyed the fun aspect by doing so. If you want to successfully make it to the end of the game on your limited amount of continues, you basically have to pick the easiest paths along the way. You wish you could take the more risky paths and experience their wacky moments, but it's forbidden in this port. Flat-out suicide. Then there's the final stage, which is one of the greatest moments in the series, but you can't enjoy it that much here due to the silly new system. There's so much chaos, mayhem, and destruction going on that, completing it with your three lives requires you to be next to perfect. This port demands it.

Now, back when this originally came out on the Xbox, the change was something you could easily deal with. I mean, think about it, arcades were basically dead at this point, so finding the arcade version to play was almost impossible. The other option was buying the NEO-GEO version... that cost like 500 bijillion dollars, which was normal for a NEO-GEO cart. So, that left us casual players with the Xbox version, which cost $40. It was the most accessible version at the time, so we dealt with it. However, time went on, Metal Slug 4&5 was also released for the Xbox, with unlimited continues, which made us realize how crappy the Xbox version of MS3 really was. Metal Slug 4&5 may not have been as great, but hell, at least you didn't have to worry so much when you lose in that title. You were actually having fun with that game. And now? Now we have Metal Slug Anthology (ironically, it isn't on either Microsoft console), which includes Metal Slug 3, as well as the option to use unlimited continues.

So what does that make the Xbox port?


pickhut's avatar
Community review by pickhut (May 26, 2007)

Pick any sci-fi game from the 1980s and you're likely to spot an Alien reference.

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