SNK
SNK NeoGeo
Action/Shooter
1-2
05.25.04

Metal Slug 3


READY...GO…and so begins Metal Slug 3. From the start of the game, as you're dropped on the beach to fight off mutant crabs and what appears to be Nazi soldiers, your faced with the feeling of being caught off-guard! What I mean is that this beautiful 2D game shows up on your system and you're expecting an easy cakewalk of a game, but instead what you're treated to is a beautiful 2D game that most definitely isn't easy. Sure, it might start out okay and kind of easy, but take a few steps, and soon you'll realize this is twitch gameplay at its finest. There's patterns to be found and easy ways to trick the enemy AI as you run through the levels, but what happens when enemy AI gets so stupid that it actually doesn't make sense? Well that's the case at times. Basically, it seems that you have to play like a blithering idiot to even proceed, because playing smart sometimes just doesn't work like in most games. Taking your time pays off in this game, but it just leads to unnecessary deaths. Plus, the fact that this game is plagued with…oh I don't know…the worst continue scheme ever. You have anywhere between 3 to 5 lives at the start of the game. Say you're on level two at the boss, and you just lost your last guy. So you hit start to continue and kill it off with your fresh supply of guys right? Wrong. You continue just to find yourself back at the beginning of the level. Now this would be fine and dandy if you didn't just realize that by the time you get to the third boss the same thing is probably going to occur forcing you to restart the level again (as well and the same for the fourth and fifth). It just seems like it was added in to make the difficulty that much harder. Did it work? Yes. Is it good? No. As it stands this game is amazing with hand drawn sprites, crazy action, and killer explosions, and hell, just plain mindless fun! Is it just that it's plagued with the final fight syndrome? No matter how much fun you're having, your second and quite possibly third time through a level can get to the point of frustration that makes you not want to play it anymore. You'll turn it off only to be greeted with the first level all over again. That is, unless you go back to level select and start from the last level again, but then you'll probably be playing the level over again from dying of cheap deaths yet again. Oh well, a good game marred by repetitive nature.

Graphics

There's not much to say about the graphics besides the beautiful sprites, backgrounds, and explosions. There's also weird over the top enemies and bosses, and even weirder vehicles you can commandeer, such as a walking tank ala metal gear to a fire-breathing elephant. The backgrounds are chock-full-o surprises. The enemy designs are awesome, and I can't really explain it, but the level of detail given to the game is amazing. All in all, good graphics for an aging game.

Gameplay

The gameplay is pretty easy. You have jump, shoot, grenades, and that's about it. The game responds very fast, with what seems like no lag between you pressing a button and the on-screen corresponding action taking place! The controls do vary a little depending on if you're in what's known as a metal slug or not. These include a tank, a sub, a plane, a camel, an elephant, and so on. Each has a secret attack that is quite pointless as it usually involves you jumping out of it while it self-destructs. Other than that, they are quite easy controls with great response time.

Is it hard? Yes. Does it have to be? That's the question. The game (at points) is extremely difficult with wave after wave of enemies coming at you from both sides, and either above or below you all at the same time. Yet, somehow you'll survive the onslaught. Then, again later on it'll be just one enemy who from out of nowhere pulls out a rocket or grenade and easily picks you off! To you it might be different, but to me it seemed pretty cheap and the whole continue thing will definitely get on your nerves. Otherwise, Metal Slug 3 is quite a tough game that you will feel good about beating. So, I guess its okay in that sense (you know, the one of achievement).

Sound

Not much to the sound besides themed music for every level and boss. There are some great gunfire and explosion sounds. The sound effects and music are the same basic original audio found in the Neo Geo arcade cabinets.

Replay Value

The replay value is fairly high for a game of this type considering you can open up some new levels that are there just for fun. Even a cooperative game can take place in which two players try to beat the game. So, it's a game you can have fun with alone and curse your controller when you die. Or you can do it with a friend or loved one. It's a game you'll pull out to play more than once. So don't worry, it won't replace the BMX XXX doorstop you got going on at your house.

Bottom Line:

This game is arcade perfect to the original Neo-Geo arcade game. I suggest this be added to your Xbox collection if you haven't had the chance to beat it in the arcades. There's also minimal Xbox Live support, but you can post your scores online. There are only 5 main levels, but there's also few Xbox Exclusive levels that can be unlocked. Although Metal Slug 3 can be described as a basic side-scrolling shooter, this game is an arcade classic. I would recommend this game if you drink a lot of coffee and have an itchy trigger finger!

Related Links:

Official SNK Neo Geo Website

-Kohl Campbell




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