If this game sounds familiar to you then you more than likely owned it on the original Xbox. See Metal Slug 3, SNK Playmore’s much loved side scrolling shooter was realized on the Xbox late into the systems lifespan. At the time you more than likely paid more than the $10 (800 Microsoft points) you will have to give up to play this graphically enhanced version. Why would you bother to do this you may ask? Well sadly the Xbox version is not backwards compatible, and since Microsoft said that they are going to slow down, if not stop making games backwards compatible you have two options to play this fantastic game, one is to go out and buy a used Xbox system, or just purchase the this version off the marketplace.
If you have never heard of Metal Slug, well don’t feel bad. The Metal Slug series is more popular in Japan than in the States. If you take a trip to the land across the pond you will find “Slug” games in almost all the arcades. The popularity of the Neo Geo system in Japan also didn’t hurt this games’ success either.
Controls & Gameplay
Game play-wise, Metal Slug 3 is your classic side-scroller with a few SNK touches thrown in for separation. Your commando can single jump or duck to avoid enemy fire, and he or she comes equipped with both a machine gun and grenades as standard issue. Weapon upgrades given to you by haggard POWs, are really what make Metal Slug 3 fun, though, as rockets, lizard guns, lasers and enemy seeking guns make mowing through the droves of weird adversaries much more fun. Multiple paths to the side-scrolling affair also help to mix things up a bit, but sadly you cannot go back and try a different path from the one you chose originally.
The addition of the “slugs,” for which Metal Slug 3 was named, adds that certain something to this already crazy game. Slugs are essentially any vehicles that transform your foot soldier into a one-man wrecking machine. The great thing about the slugs is that they can take up to three hits before they are destroyed. Your fearless soldier on the other hand, barely gets hit once before he expires. Ahh, nothing like the difficulty of old school shooters right? Slugs also have a user-controlled self-destruct feature that enables a powerful, kamikaze-style attack that you can use when all else fails. Slugs can be anything from a small submarine to battle suits and even oddities, such as an electrifying elephant with a trunk packed with weapons.
Yes, you will pilot an elephant, but the weirdness in Metal Slug 3 continues with helpers in the way of a chimp with a machine gun and a diaper, or a rain cloud, as if the giant crab and zombie baddies weren’t trippy enough. The game play is up there among the better old school action games to come out on the XBLA and it translates well to the Xbox 360 controller to boot. A few shots tend to go rogue since the left stick is used for 360-degree aiming, as well as for character movement (as opposed to the popular right-stick radial-firing system of other XBLA games), but other than that, Metal Slug 3 is a solid port and a punishing difficulty level to satisfy most classic action game fans.
Visuals & Sound
As I said above this game was remastered in HD and looks better than ever. Most of the old school games that have come out on the arcade lately have an original mode and a enhanced mode, well this game is all enhanced all the time. For an old school side-scroller this game has a lot of subtle animations and detail in the graphics. From zombies spitting up on you, to the changing of the magazine on your unlimited ammo pistol the game always manages to impress. The sound in the game has been improved, but nothing really special is going on with it. Machine gun sounds, POW’s saying “Thanks”, and explosions are what you will hear more than anything.
Metal Slug 3 has achievements that are worth 20 and 40 points. That is the largest amount yet for any single achievement on the XBLA. The problem is unless you live and breathe these old school shooters, you won’t get all 200 achievements. The 40 point one alone is for making it thorough the last level without dying. As one who has beaten the game, I can say I don’t see how that is even possible. The last level is broken up into like 7 different levels! All more punishing than the last, if you can accomplish this I bow to your skills.
The great thing is that this game has multiplayer! Two-Player Co-Op baby!! Oh yea, no longer do you have to invite your friends over your house, having them eat up all your food and drink up all your beverages. Now you can shoot up some crabs with them from the comfort of your own house and them at their house. The downside to this is that none of the achievements are attainable if you play online. Also, just as with most arcade games, this one has the leader boards so you can see how you are doing compared to other people in the world.
Metal Slug 3 is a solid old school shooter, with some new school innovations (online Co-Op) It is well worth the 800 points just to blast around for a little while when you aren’t playing CoD4 or Halo 3. Also for those that might be afraid they can’t beat the game with the 3 continues they give you by default, there is an option to play with unlimited continues so you can just beat the game without care of dying. For all those achievement whores, out there you will be glad to know that you can still receive achievements using this option. So if you haven’t figured it out yet, go and buy this one.