A lot of the vehicles are used to access new paths throughout the level, offering variety to what is generally a pretty linear experience. Many of these shortcuts are right out in the open and easy to stumble into, but there are a few that you may not even notice even after beating the game a few times.
In the arcade Metal Slug 3 was an extremely difficult game that required you to use a number of continues in order to fully complete the game. Unfortunately the same seems to apply here with this Xbox version. Problem is SNK only gives you four continues to work with. And since you continue at the beginning of the level (as opposed to where you died) it only makes the experience that much more frustrating. The early levels won’t take much to blast through, but once you hit level four and five the difficulty goes up exponentially. It’s not impossible, but SNK certainly didn’t make it easy on the average gamer.
The Metal Slug series has always had a number of small flaws that, while simple to fix, have never been addressed and are readily apparent in this Xbox port. It won’t take long before you realize that none of the characters can aim diagonally, something just about every other game of the genre has featured since 1993. Aiming is nearly impossible since you can only shoot side to side and up and down, but yet the enemies come from all sides and directions making this flaw noticeable in just about every level of the game.
I also don’t think it’s too much to ask for a few more moves for the character to be able to perform. No matter which soldier you end up with, the most you will ever be able to do is jump, duck, shoot, throw grenades, and use your knife when things get close and personal. It’s a shame this port couldn’t have added a slide, a dash, or perhaps other techniques common with the genre. Those little things could go a long way to stave off the game’s eventual repetition.
Thankfully SNK has given more attention to Metal Slug’s fire power. Not only does Metal Slug 3 come equipped with ten devastating weapons – from lasers to rockets to homing missiles – it manages to spread them out so you are still finding new items even late in the game. Each of the weapons comes with brand new character animations, and a few may even make your jaw drop when you see their devastation for the first time. Metal Slug 3 packs enough huge explosions to impress even the most ardent 3D gamer.
Although there’s a lot to do and see, Metal Slug is a relatively short experience. To add some replay SNK has added a few bonus features, includes a simple, albeit fun, multiplayer level called Fat Island. The object is simple, by killing the soldiers you collect an assortment of food, whoever breaks the scale first is crowned the winner. In a lot of ways this mini game reminded me of the spirit of the original Mario Bros., just with a lot more of the ultra violence.
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