Metal Slug 3
|Metal Slug 3|
D4 Enterprise (Virtual Console)
|Genre(s)||Run and gun|
|Mode(s)||Single-player, 2 player Co-op|
|Arcade system||Neo-Geo (708 Mbit cartridge)|
|Display||Raster, 304 x 224 pixels (Horizontal), 4096 colors|
Metal Slug 3 (メタルスラッグ 3?) is a run and gun video game developed by SNK. It was originally released in 2000 for the Neo-Geo MVS arcade platform as the sequel to Metal Slug 2/Metal Slug X. The music of the game was developed by Noise Factory. The game was later ported to the PlayStation 2, Xbox, Xbox Live Arcade, Virtual Console, Microsoft Windows, iOS, Android, Wii, PlayStation Portable, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, and Nintendo Switch. The game added several new features to the gameplay of the original Metal Slug and Metal Slug 2, such as new weapons and vehicles, as well as introducing branching paths into the series. It received generally positive reviews.
The gameplay mechanics are the same as in previous Metal Slug games; the player(s) must shoot constantly at a continual stream of enemies in order to reach the end of each level. At this point, the player confronts a boss, who is usually considerably larger and tougher than regular enemies. On the way through each level, the player can find numerous weapon upgrades and "Metal Slug" tanks. The tank is known as the SV-001 ("SV" stands for Super Vehicle), which not only increases the player's offense, but considerably adds to their defense.
In addition to shooting, the player can also perform melee attacks by using a knife and/or kicking. The player does not die simply by coming into contact with enemies, and correspondingly, many of the enemy troops also have melee attacks. Much of the game's scenery is also destructible, and occasionally, this reveals extra items or power-ups, although most of the time it simply results in collateral damage.
During the course of a level, the player also encounters POWs, who, if freed, offer the player bonuses in the form of random items or weapons. At the end of each level, the player receives a scoring bonus based on the number of freed POWs. If the player dies before the end of the level, the tally of freed POWs reverts to zero.
A new feature in Metal Slug 3 is the branching path system; in most missions, there are forking paths from which the player must choose one, each with their own obstacles, and each of varying length and difficulty. All paths eventually lead to the same boss battle, but the player may have different equipment, and may have rescued more or fewer POW's depending on their choice of path.
Several new vehicles were introduced into the game:
- The "Slug Driller" can be found in the underground part of Mission 4. The drill is capable of mowing down every enemy in front of it and can also be extended. Additionally, the Driller can increase its height, making the player unreachable to enemies.
- The "Slug Mariner" gives added firepower when underwater. It fires high-mass rounds which sink to the bottom, as well as torpedoes.
- The "Elephant Slug" is an elephant strapped with a Vulcan cannon. By picking up a battery or a chili pepper, the elephant can fire a bolt of lightning or a fireball from its trunk, respectively.
- The "Ostrich Slug" is similar to the "Camel Slug" in Metal Slug 2/Metal Slug X, although it is faster, can jump farther, and can turn around.
- The "lv Rebel Armor" is a rebel-produced vehicle that can be captured and used by the player. It comes equipped with a heavy machine gun (though in Mission 5 it comes equipped with a flame shot instead), which is interchangeable with other handheld weapons. It also has a grenade launcher, a melee claw attack, and jump jets. The second player can stand on top of the Rebel Armor, and can receive a boost.
- The "Slug Copter" appears alongside the "Slug Flyer" in the airborne portion of the Final Mission. Its Vulcan cannon can fire in all directions, unlike the Flyer. It is also armed with gravity bombs.
- The "Astro Slug" is used jointly by the players and the Rebel forces. Booster rockets carry it into space, where the player can make use of its weaponry. Like the Rebel Armor, the Astro Slug can use infantry weapons through ports on its sides. It fires rockets as a secondary weapon.
As with Metal Slug 2/Metal Slug X, the player can transform into various different states. In addition to the mummy form from the previous game, other forms include:
- When doused with infectious material, the player becomes a zombie. While medication is available to reverse the effect, the zombified player can make use of a devastating (but slow) vomit attack that covers most of the forward area. The player cannot crouch or jump high, but is immune to attacks from enemies (except zombified enemies). If a zombified player comes into contact with infectious material, they will die.
- Underwater, the player equips a Scuba set with a bubble helmet. Rather than grenades, the player uses a bomb-launching system with the ordnance affected by gravity.
- When flying, should the player lose their vehicle, they rely on a backup jet pack that can fire heat seeking missiles.
- When in space, if the player loses the Astro Slug, they must depend on a jet pack and a breathing apparatus. Explosives are contained in the pack, and when fired they cause a massive fireball.
Several years ago, the evil General Morden was foiled in his attempted coup d'état against the worlds' governments by the Peregrine Falcon Strike Force. After forming an alliance with an alien race in an attempt to stage another coup, Morden was betrayed and taken prisoner by his new found allies. His rebels troops then formed an ad hoc alliance with the Strike Force, and ultimately, the aliens were defeated, although Mordern himself was apparently killed.
Instrumental in defeating Morden during the first coup were Cpt. Marco Rossi and Lt. Tarma Roving. Rossi (now a Major) and Roving (now a Captain) also led the fight against the Mordern during the second coup, this time joined by two members of the Intelligence Agency's Special Ops Squad S.P.A.R.R.O.W.S.; Sgt. Eri Kasamoto and Sgt. 1st Class Fiolina Germi.
Several years have passed since that time, and Morden is officially listed as missing by his surviving followers. Determined to wipe out every remnant of Morden's powerbase, the army send Rossi and Roving to destroy all remaining rebel strongholds, one by one. During the fighting, however, Rossi and Roving come to the conclusion that the enemy is too well organised, and perhaps Morden is not as dead as was initially thought. Meanwhile, the S.P.A.R.R.O.W.S. come across a series of strange events which lead the army to conclude that the aliens with whom Morden once allied himself have returned.
The Peregrine Falcon Strike Force and S.P.A.R.R.O.W.S. are once again united, and sent to defeat this new threat. After various battles against Morden's forces, the heroes are shocked to face off against Mordern himself. However, after defeating him, it is revealed that it was really an alien in disguise, and the real Morden has (once again) been taken prisoner by the aliens. The aliens then abduct the player character and leave Earth. At this point, another character takes the player character's place. Once again, an ad hoc alliance is formed between the Strike Force and Mordern's troops so as to save their captured comrades. The rebels launch an armada of rocket ships to attack the alien mother ship, Rugname. After a long battle through the ship's interior, the Rugname starts to collapse due to the amount of damage it has sustained. After destroying the ship's core, the Strike Force must fight their way through armies of clones of their captured team mate, some of whom have turned into zombies. Eventually, both the captured member of the Strike Force and Mordern are freed. As they escape, however, they are confronted by the aliens' leader, Rootmars. A battle ensues in Earth's atmosphere, which is won by the Strike Force, who leave Rootmars' body in the ocean. Upon seeing Morden and his men celebrating, the player character throws his/her weapon into the water in disgust.
In the PS2 and Xbox versions of the game, once the arcade mode has been beaten, there are two additional mini-games: "Storming the UFO Mothership" and "Fat Island".
- "Storming the UFO Mothership"
This mode allows the player to control one of General Morden's soldiers as they attempt to rescue fellow soldiers and attack the UFO forces. The player can choose between the "Riot Shield Soldier", "Bazooka Soldier", and "Grenade Soldier". The player is given a single life, which is balanced by the number of reinforcements from fellow soldiers.
- "Fat Island"
Two players compete to gain the most weight in a limited amount of time by eating various foods. They start out at 100 kg and must finish at 200. If players lose enough weight, they will return to normal size and subsequently to a mummy state.
In 2006, Metal Slug Anthology (titled Metal Slug Complete in Japan) was released for the Wii, PlayStation 2 and PSP. This compilation includes the original Metal Slug, and all of its arcade sequels (including Metal Slug 2 and Metal Slug X) up to Metal Slug 6. The games are emulated versions of the originals, with none of the additional game modes or content introduced in the other home versions.
At the 2007 Tokyo Game Show, it was confirmed that Metal Slug 3 would be released on Xbox Live Arcade on January 2, 2008. The game features upscaled graphics and co-op online gameplay, but it does not include the extra modes from console releases. This version was made backwards compatible on Xbox One in 2015.
Upon its initial appearance, Metal Slug 3 received generally positive reviews. Most of its subsequent ports and re-releases have also seen good reviews. On GameRankings, the PS2 version has a score of 76.78% based on nine reviews, the Xbox version 75.71% based on sixty-four reviews, the Xbox 360 version 78.46% based on thirteen reviews, and the iOS version 74% based on five reviews. On Metacritic, the Xbox version has a score of 76 out of 100, based on fifty-six reviews, the Xbox 360 version 78 based on twelve reviews, and the iOS version 76 based on five reviews.
In his review of the game for the Xbox, IGN's Hilary Goldstein scored it 6.8 out of 10, feeling that as an arcade shooter, the game stood up well, but as an Xbox title, it was weak when compared to other games on the system; "If this game were $20 or even $30 it would merit a better score and better recommendation. This is not a $40 value unless you absolutely must have this game on your Xbox. When this game drops in price (and it will), that's when you'll want to snatch it up for sure." He scored the Xbox 360 version 7.4 out of 10, again feeling that the game was good for what it was, but somewhat dated when compared to other titles; "Before you purchase Metal Slug 3, you need to ask yourself how much you value ten dollars. This is a short experience that, even with a few playthroughs, won't last you long. Metal Slug 3 is a lot of fun, but this should be a $5 download. Especially when original, awesome-looking shooters such as Omega Five are storming Xbox Marketplace."
GameSpot's Ryan Davis scored both the Xbox and the Xbox 360 versions 7.5 out of 10. Of the Xbox version, he praised most aspects of the game, but criticzed the excessive difficulty; "The fundamentals of Metal Slug 3 are all really excellent. You'll be hard-pressed to find another 2D side-scroller with such detailed environments and smooth animation, and the gameplay is the dictionary definition of frenetic. So, with all this going for it, it's a real shame that the brutal continue system introduced in the game's conversion to the Xbox makes the game overly uncompromising. If you are prone to throwing controllers out of frustration, you may want to approach Metal Slug 3 with caution". Of the Xbox 360 version, he argued that the game itself was excellent, but it was a somewhat dated experience; "Ultimately, the things that might prevent you from enjoying Metal Slug 3, such as the number of times it's been released on other systems, its relative price point, and the lack of extras, are peripheral to the experience itself. If these things don't concern you, then you'll have a blast."
Eurogamer's Spanner Spencer scored the Xbox version 7 out of 10. He praised the original game, but as an Xbox game, he found it somewhat wanting; "So short, so sweet. Two-player spins it out for a while, and there are Hard and Very Hard modes, but at £15 if you shop around Metal Slug 3 arguably transcends the usual rental recommendation. No lie, you'll finish the lot in a day. You can try and collect all the extras (Japanese radish and Chinese cabbage are all there for the taking), but there's no getting away from the fact that there's not enough in here to warrant shelling out full whack, no matter how perfect a slice of arcade action it may be." Patrick Garratt were more impressed with the Xbox 360 version, which he scored 9 out of 10, writing "what's really fascinating here is the fact that a vaguely ageing title appears to have found its niche market on a modern console - this is Metal Slug 3's ideal home, and you'd be a fool not to make it welcome in yours."
GameSpy's Darryl Vassar scored the Xbox version 4 out of 5, arguing "While each of the individual parts of Metal Slug 3 are unremarkable, they come together in a way that is greater than their sum. Metal Slug 3 is a fantastic game -- it's easy to pick up and play, has great character and depth, and is even better with a friend. There's a reason SNK has so many diehard fans, and this game should bring a few more into the fold."
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