Metal Slug 3 (XBLA)
October 17, 2009

Because EmP and Boo hate me, they assigned me to play Metal Slug 3, due mostly to my extreme dislike of reading Metal Slug reviews. It was done to death one tournament a few years back, and then in the most recent Team Tournament, Boo and EmP both used horrible Metal Slug reviews against each other. This is the outcome of their revenge. I also received props for actually writing the review, but low marks for the review itself, understandably. It is a bad review. And now after being on the site for a little over a week, earning 58 hits, it will now sit on my Blog to soon become lost amongst the archives.



Life is all about choice. We are each in control of our own destinies. We choose our own careers; we choose to continue in this career, or we choose to quit and find something different. We choose which paths we want to take in life. We can choose not to take any path at all, and end it all by throwing ourselves off a building, or into the path of an oncoming train. On a lighter note, we can choose what video games we play. Unless of course we forfeit that choice to play something someone else wants to play. I did not choose to play Metal Slug 3. This particular choice was made for me.

Thatís the thing about choices - sometimes thereís no choice at all. Video games often deny us these basic rights to choose, forcing us down a set path from start to finish. Metal Slug 3, however, is not like that. It gives us a choice.

From the moment we land on the beach, armed with a gun and faced with hordes of enemy mutant crabs, we can choose to fight or die (or quit). We can free the hostages, castaways with long beards and no pants, to be rewarded with power-ups. If we choose not to free them, then we must continue onwards with the same basic weapon we started with.

After fighting mutant crustaceans for a short time, we are faced with our first real choice. Do we continue to take the fight over land, fighting more mutant crabs aided by their Nazi accomplices, or do we instead go underwater, blasting underwater mutant sea creatures from the relative safety of a submarine?*

* Until you choose to take too much damage and lose the sub.

Either path is much the same. You continue shooting enemies, rescuing castaways, and collecting power-ups only to lose them. There is so much incoming fire from enemies that you have to choose which attacks you want to avoid, as the rest will find a way to hit you. Unless you choose to have freakishly good reflexes, you will likely die a few times. If you choose to have only a few lives, which is the default setting, then the game will be over. But you can choose to have unlimited continues, so death means only a few seconds delay and a return to basic equipment.

The more observant among you may choose to notice that this game is very repetitive. Run, shoot, die, repeat. Over and over and over. But then again, you might be someone who instead chooses wilful denial, convincing yourself that you find this fun. In between all the carnage, you might choose to notice the colourful backgrounds and cartoon-style visuals. More than likely, youíll be too busy trying to stay alive to pay them much attention.

Whichever path you choose to take will lead you to the same outcome - a boss that destroys your path from under you, while shooting numerous missiles at you. You have to run, while firing off the odd shot. Linger too long on shooting, and the rickety wooden jetty below you will splinter and collapse, taking from you one of your precious (or not so precious) lives.

If you choose to defeat this boss (alternatively, you can give up) then you will reach the end of the level, and the end of the trial run. Microsoft also values the right to choose. You can download the trial of Metal Slug 3 (and any other XBLA game) for free, and play through the first level as many times as you like. It will cost 800 points to unlock the rest of the game, and the right to earn achievements. Whether or not you do decide to continue on is entirely up to you. This game might be your thing. Itís not mine. But thatís the beauty of choice - we can choose what video games we like. I chose to end my experience with this game at this point. I know that the rest of the game is quite short, and more of the same. Even enthusiasts of the Metal Slug series find the 800 point price a little steep.

There was one choice that was denied to me, however, and it is one that may enrich the gameplay experience somewhat - a friend to play co-op with. Then both of you can run, shoot and die to your hearts content.

Rating: 5/10

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sashanan sashanan - October 19, 2009 (05:15 AM)
I choose to find the choice gimmick taken just a bit too far, although the point is well made.

I've only played Metal Slug 3 once, and I did have a partner. Or rather, three or four of them, this was at a party and control of player 2 passed from guest to guest while I stubbornly kept the player 1 position and saw it through. Unlimited continues, obviously, since given the choice between a pointlessly difficult 20 second game or a pointlessly easy 30 minute one, the latter seemed more appealing.
zippdementia zippdementia - October 19, 2009 (12:35 PM)
I think that you could still make a case for this one if you just had it in you to play a little bit more of the game.

But hey, that's your choice.
jerec jerec - October 20, 2009 (12:04 AM)
If someone chose to send me 800 MS points and told me I had to choose to spend them on Metal Slug 3, I would.
EmP EmP - October 20, 2009 (02:49 PM)
Really? Hmmm.....

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