Arcade ports are coming back into fashion. Recently OutRun 2 showed that arcade ports can still be quality games and with extra additions can avoid the possibility of a lack of longevity and gameplay. One of the most famous arcade series is Metal Slug, a game from SNK which really does not follow the traditional game mechanics and somehow still remains to be one of the most popular and famous arcade franchises around. Metal Slug 3 has come to the Xbox and while it may not offer the lengthiest gaming experience around, while it does last it offers some great gaming.
The one thing that is a little puzzling about the Metal Slug series is that overall there is no story to it. As you progress through the levels, small tidbits of storyline occur but really the levels are thrown together without much plotline development and this is what really proves that the game is all about the gameplay making that the most crucial aspect of the title. The thing is, it comes through with flying colours and you really won't care about the weak storyline that the game contains until perhaps you finish and begin wondering just why you had to do what you did during the game.
Metal Slug 3 is a sidescrolling shooter. You choose from four different characters, and its more about who you like aesthetically than each one giving an advantage. At one point in the game you are forced to choose a new character but otherwise you can stick to the same one if you so desire. After each credit is gone, you can choose a new character to carry on with. Basically with this character you run either right or jump up or down to defeat enemies within time limits before taking on a boss character.
The game contains five missions and can be completed rather quickly, but only by using a 'cheat' which the developers have included for the Xbox. You can adjust the maximum number of credits you have and once all the credits and lives are gone, the game will force you to restart the entire game. However the developers have included a level select, so if you just want to continue on from where you were with maximum credits you can. You will also come across some vehicles which can help you such as a submarine, jet fighters, helicopters among other things which help you.
Once the game is complete you can choose which mission to play through again but also there is a game mode where you actually become an enemy commander. We won't tell you why this happens or when because its a massive spoiler but it is one of the more interesting aspects to the game and one of the hardest as well. Another thing to try out once the game is finished is a mode called Fat Island which is actually multiplayer. In Fat Island the aim is to get your character as fat as possible in a time limit and you do this by picking up fruit.
The game shows why sprite graphics still work well for arcade games. Lots of action can be occurring on screen without a hint of frame rate drop and even though the game really is 2D it looks great as do the various levels you play through. That's one thing where Metal Slug excels, you play in a wide variety of environments and the game even has a branching path so replay value is definitely here. Sound effects are fairly good and the music is what you typically expect from an arcade style game.
While Metal Slug 3 does not offer the most gaming around, it does offer some fantastic gameplay. The additional extras extend the games longevity a little bit but really this is a game you buy to play over and over again every so often. Metal Slug 3 is a great arcade game.