The Slugs of War. Review

Metal Slug 3 Info

genre

  • N/A

players

  • 1 - 2

Publisher

  • SNK

Developer

  • SNK Playmore

Release Date

  • 11/30/1999
  • Out Now

Platform

  • Xbox

rating

The Slugs of War.

Despite the wealth of technological advances we enjoy in every facet of our lives,

it’s incredibly hip to be retro. Take, for example, cars. Modern automobiles

are decked out with tons of fancy features, from GPS hookups to DVD players built

into the dash, yet the chasse designs recall vehicular classics – just witness

the Beetle, PT Cruiser or the Mini Cooper for a trip down memory lane.

Video games are no exception. Though games like Half-Life

2
and Halo 2 dominate hardcore gamer headlines, classics

like Monopoly and

RISK are

just as popular as they ever were. Perhaps that explains why SNK’s Metal

Slug 3
, a straightforward, four year-old arcade 2D shooter, somehow

actually got released for the most powerful home console on the planet. Unsurprisingly,

it still looks, sounds and plays like a game made in the mid-90’s, but this old

shooter has still some retro life left in it.

If

you’re not familiar with the Metal

Slug
series, just think Contra with goofy characters

and vehicles. You’ll choose from one of four soldiers – Marco, Tarma, Fio and

Eri (it makes no difference) – and take on the forces of the evil General Morden

while collecting power-ups from POWs along the way. From basic foot soldiers

to crazy plant monsters and the obligatory giant bosses, Metal

Slug 3
‘s relentless assault will keep your thumb working overtime.

Metal Slug 3 spans a mere five stages, but multiple paths add

some length. Rather than simply shooting your way from point A to point B, you’ll

be presented with warp tunnels, hidden caves and other opportunities to take

you off the beaten path. All paths eventually lead to the same giant boss, but

the different areas contain different obstacles. For example, traveling through

the ice cave will pit you against frost breathing yetis, while climbing the desert

pyramid will result in the attack of the aforementioned crazy plant monsters.

It’s not particularly

innovative, but it does add some replay value.

The weapons are pretty generic. Machine guns, shotguns and rocket launchers make

up every hero’s arsenal. The only things remotely interesting are the Mobile

Satellite and Thunder Cloud, both of which zap enemies from above.

At least the vehicles are a little more creative. The Metal Slug tank and the

Slugnoid Powersuit aren’t the most interesting ways to travel, but the Camel

Slug and the Elephant Slug make up for it. When was the last time you took

an elephant toting a cannon into battle?

But even from the back of a war camel, Metal

Slug 3
is a hard, hard game, due in part to its tough-as-nails continue system. Rather than pop you right back into the action, continues take you all the way back to the beginning of the level. The gameplay becomes a lesson in repetition as you repeat stages over and over in an attempt to memorize enemy patterns. There are far better ways to extend the life of a game than forcing players to endlessly replay the same bits.

The other problem with Metal Slug 3 is that it lacks the warning

label, “May Cause Thumbs To Fall Off.” The constant stream of enemies and the

lack of automatic weapons mean you’ll be mashing the fire button as

fast as you possibly can from start to finish. Old-school pain, all the way.

When you do finally manage to complete the game, a couple of rewards await you

aside from bragging rights. A pair of new modes open up, both of which are

pretty interesting. ‘Storming the UFO Mother Ship’ puts you in the role of

one of Morden’s soldiers, letting you choose from one of three troop types.

You’ll

need to rescue the others, though, since your specialization won’t get you

through every situation. The other bonus mode is called ‘Fat Island’. The purpose

here is to defeat soldiers and eat dropped food items like a half starved Fat

Bastard. Get in my belly!

Metal

Slug 3
does feature Xbox Live support, but only for online leaderboard posting. No actual Live play, sadly. Your best bet is to play through the main game or bonus modes co-op, which mercifully makes things a little easier.

The graphics are appropriate for an older 2D shooter, with nice colorful backgrounds

and a steady framerate. It also sounds fine, provided you don’t expect anything

more than typical 2D shooting bleeps, bloops and cheesy themes.

Metal Slug 3 does exactly what it’s supposed to do, and fans

of the series or of old-school, side-scrolling shooters in general will appreciate

it. However, it’s a little hard recommending a port of a

four year-old game for the full $40 price tag. Couple that with the ruthless

difficulty caused by the continue system and it becomes clear that this is for

hardcore shooter vets only.

REVOLUTION REPORT CARD

Rating5
Multiple paths
Bonus modes
Rough continue system
Killer on the thumbs
40 bucks for a four year-old?