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November 25 2017

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  Metal Slug 3 - ©SNK 2000 (Page 2)

Sound

Metal Slug 3 features some very good new music tracks, although it does re-use some of the music from the older MS games. I was always impressed with the musical content in Metal Slug 2 and X; while it featured some of the (great) military-style music that played throughout the original game, SNK also injected some new life into it by putting some other excellent musical styles on some of the missions. It was quite a good mix, and I would rate some of the tracks as absolute classics. I'm pleased to say that the new music in this game continues that proud tradition.

There are a lot of very classy new tunes; the highlights for me are the desert stage which is similar in theme to stage 1 from MS2/X, as well as the music at the start of the final stage which is suitably epic. Best of all has to be the zombie stage though. It features some great heavy guitar music, which is perfectly suited to this section and really gets you into the mood to blow the flesh eaters into tiny pieces!

For your listening pleasure, here's a couple of music samples in MP3 format that you can check out. Right click to save them:

Stage 2 Zombie Music - MP3 Format, 59 Seconds, 623k
Stage 4 Desert Music - MP3 Format, 48 Seconds, 490k

Most of the sound effects remain the same, but there's a few new ones added here and there. The sounds don't usually get too repetitive, especially with all the different types of enemies you get to fight, although the death screams of the arab guys on stage 4 did annoy me a little bit for some reason.

Ignoring the re-use of some older music (which was some damn fine stuff anyway), the sound is very well done overall, and as with the other MS games it does a great job in enhancing the atmosphere of the game.


Stages

Here is a list of the six stages and bosses in the game, along with screenshots and some basic tactics to use in getting past them. If you have not played the game before you would probably be best to skip this section so you don't spoil the surprise. I won't go in depth about EVERY route through the game though, as there are far too many to mention here. For more detailed coverage, check out one of the FAQ's (see below).

Thanks go out to SpoonMan for providing many of the screenshots in this section!

Stage 1



Before you do anything, make sure you jump up and shoot down at the water a few times... if you shoot the right spot you will reveal some bonuses. You'll be fighting some strange enemies right from the very beginning, as your first opponents are a bunch of giant crabs. After you get past the first couple of waves of them, you will reach a fork in the path where you can choose to either crawl under the steps and jump in the submarine for an underwater adventure, or go upwards which will lead to even more alternate paths.

If you do go upwards, you'll fight some insects, before getting to choose whether to jump down onto a boat and take a trip along the river, or go upwards and through a teleporter. This path is probably the hardest... look out for the flying piranhas and also the super-sized orange crabs, which take a lot more shots to kill.

Stage 1 Boss: Giant Crab Vehicle



Whichever route you take, you'll end up at the same boss, but it does alter which slug you get to use. If you took the boat route, you'll find a box on the boat which contains a Bronze Tank, but in the other ones you'll get the Slug Mecha. The Slug Mecha is the same as it always has been, except during this area its cannon will fire out a little bomb that hits the floor and runs off (it has legs!) towards your enemy.

Whichever Slug you are in, just keep moving to the right and firing at this huge crab like machine with your turret and cannon shots. It will constantly advance towards you and shoot fireballs, as well as making a quick dash forwards to try and kill you. Whenever a fireball is shot out, just stop moving or move a little to the left to avoid it, but don't go too far or you will fall into the water and die. Every now and then a POW will come out from the right of the screen, so rescue them quickly and grab whatever powerup they drop while you have the chance.

It won't take long to finish off this boss at all. Now it's time to kick some zombie ass!

Stage 2



This might only be the second mission, but it is a damn hard one. The majority of enemies that you'll be fighting here are zombies, and they take a LOT of shots to kill... some can take around 10 shots with the pistol. Use any weapons that you pick up wisely, use grenades to take out a zombie quickly if you need to, and be sure to avoid their vomit as it will put you into a zombiefied state.

If you do get turned, it isn't all bad though - as mentioned earlier in the review you can't be shot by normal soldiers in this mode (but other zombies can kill you), and pressing C makes you vomit a MASSIVE stream of blood that covers the whole screen in front of you and is very powerful. Grab one of the many first aid kits littered around the stage to turn back into a human. The civilians on this stage can actually be dangerous as well. If a zombie happens to barf over one of them, they will turn into one of the undead too, so be careful of that.

A little way in you can rescue a smartly dressed executive guy who will give you the Thunder Cloud if you wait for a while, which is highly recommended as it will help you a lot. Continue on up the hill after getting it and if you shoot the cage you find you will be able to get the monkey... if you do get him you will lose the Thunder Cloud though. After you get past a tricky section where you have to take out some helicopters, you'll see a cave labelled "Iceman" - shoot the ice out of the way and go through if you want to access a bonus area with the very fun elephant slug and a horde of violent sasquatch... otherwise just carry on to the right. There are a lot of POW's waiting to be rescued in the cave though, so for top points go in there, just make sure you don't get killed!

Just before you get to the boss, you'll have to deal with some very dangerous zombiefied versions of Mordens troops who will jump at you and explode on impact... either turning you into a zombie, or killing you if you are already one of the undead. Blast them as quickly as possible, but keep your distance.

Stage 2 Boss: 6 Flying Aliens



This boss consists of two forms, the first being the harder of the two. Six aliens will be flying round in a circle above you, so keep blasting them while avoiding the projectiles that they fire. If you want to be really flash, you can get to this boss while in zombie mode and use the vomit breath on the boss... although this is very risky. I suggest using the vomit breath once or twice to take out about 4 or 5 of the aliens, and then grabbing one of the first aid boxes that will hopefully be there.

Once the aliens are dead, you will have to shoot at the big pod that appears in the center of the screen. Just keep aiming up and shooting, but when the laser starts aiming at you, wait for a second and then move out of the way. A large tombstone type object will drop down, which will slowly sink into the ground - but you should shoot it to get it to sink more rapidly. If you only shoot these tombstones a couple of times you should be able to jump on top of them, which will give you enough height to be able to throw grenades at it. Lather rinse repeat, and it'll be over in no time!

Stage 3



This stage starts off with you jumping into the water and going for a little swim. There are a number of different routes you can take in this one, as there is a pipe near the start that you can swim into which will take you to an area with a couple of submarines for you to use, while there is another pipe that gets lowered down at a part where you have to blow up a gate that is in your way. If you see a pipe, just swim into it and you will go through automatically.

If you take the pipe that gets lowered down, you will end up outside, where you will gain access to the Ostrich Slug, which is very fast and can jump a long way. You'll be fighting nothing but Mordens men here, and it is a little remeniscent of the final stage in MS2/X. If you take one of the other routes, you will eventually end up in a factory which you will have to fight your way through to get to the boss; again, there are a number of pretty obvious different routes through this section. Before you reach the end of it you will get the opportunity to use another mecha type vehicle, or the "Double Jump Slug". While in this thing, it will actually use whatever ammo you happen to be carrying at the time as it does not have its own gun turret.

Stage 3 Boss: Giant Robot



This boss can be a bit of a handful. Start off by jumping on its tracks and shooting at the head, as well as jumping and throwing grenades when you get the chance. When it fires missiles at you, avoid and shoot them down as quickly as possible, If its head turns away from you and its eyes start to light up, run and jump as quickly as possible to the opposite side of the screen or you will be killed by a laser attack which moves VERY quickly. When it takes out a large missile from its chest, it will throw it at the ground and a couple of big fireballs will shoot upwards and fall back down.

This one can be a bit tough, but persevere and you'll be looking at a big pile of scrap metal very soon. It's worth bearing in mind that it's possible to get here with the Double Jump Slug, which might make things a bit easier as you can survive a few hits at least.

Stage 4



This stage opens in familiar territory, with you returning to the desert. There is so much more to it than just sand though, and it is in fact one of the most varied stages in the game. After venturing a little way through the desert you will reach a choice of routes; you can either go inside a building where a lot of Mordens troops are running out from in horror at something that is happening in there, or you can go across the rooftop. On both of these routes you'll have to kill some man eating plants, and you'll also find a number of cranks that you can turn to open up other alternate routes.

During one route you'll end up underground and up against slugs and giant snails, and you'll also find the Drill Slug which is a good laugh to use. Just be sure to make use of the B button to raise the cockpit up and down, as this will help you avoid some attacks. Another path takes you into even more familiar territory: the tombs. Yep, time to fight some mummies again! There is even a number of ways you can get through the tombs, so you are really spoilt for choice here!

If you happen to reach the route which is populated by a bunch of arab guys, then get ready for the hardest section of the stage... I suggest you avoid it unless you fancy a real challenge, as it is not easy at all to get through it without dying!

Stage 4 Boss: Flying Head



This boss doesn't go down easily and it will take you a LOT of shots to put it down. It has a number of different attacks, but provided you are careful it isn't too hard to avoid them. Just don't get too greedy and be sure to stop shooting and get the hell out of the way when you need to... if you try to carry on attacking for too long you will be toast.

If it starts to fire the red laser beams, you can stand in one spot and then quickly move as they start to head towards you, If it fires the yellow laser beams, these shoot out seemingly at random so you'll just need to avoid them as they come. If purple flames start to come out of the mouth and it moves to one side of the screen, run to the opposite side so you are well out of the way, as it will fly across the screen shooting a purple beam. When it starts to launch out some blue dragons that fly around the screen, stay still and keep shooting, but when they shoot up into the air and come crashing down, jump out of the way so you don't get caught in the blast!

Not the most difficult boss, but one that is a little bit time consuming.

Final Stage - Section 1



Hold on to your seats as this mission is the longest you are ever likely to see in a Metal Slug game! The beginning of this stage is without doubt one of my favourite parts, and has a an "epic" feel that really takes me back to the golden era of 16-bit consoles. You start off on top of a walkway with two sheds in front of you, and a slug is concealed inside each of them. If you are playing on your own I suggest you grab the Plane Slug and not the copter, as it is more effective in my opinion.

At the start you'll need to deal with the flying enemy soldiers, as well as some planes that will fire missiles at you. Take them out asap and make sure you shoot down any missiles that they fire. If you do lose your vehicle you'll get another chance to grab one later on, but try to hang onto it for as long as you can. After a while you'll swoop back down through the clouds and towards the ground. If you are not inside a vehicle, try pushing down towards the bottom of the screen and your character will start running very fast across the floor! Before long you'll be at boss number one:

Sub Boss 1: Jumbo Jet



You may recognise this boss as the one from stage 2 of Metal Slug 1. Make sure you avoid and shoot down the large missiles it fires, and be careful when it moves to the top corner of the screen as it will drop a load of bombs that will bounce across the screen (you can't shoot these down). Get ready for a little surprise though; instead of General Morden popping out of the door on the Jet, the bearded soldier ("Go home to mummy!") from the past three games does! Ignore his taunts and just shooting the jet (hopefully you are still in a vehicle). The best thing to do is to go under him a little and keep firing, then when he throws a grenade move up to avoid it... then move down quickly when he fires his machine gun.

When you have finished him off he'll fall from the Jet and it will explode. He'll drop his ammo belt, which you should quickly pick up before it disappears as it will give you a heavy machine gun.

Sub Boss 2: Mordens Helicopter



After this you will be back on terra firma, and almost immediately at the second boss. Metal Slug 1 fans will recognise the layout of this area as it is the same as the final boss from that game, and before long Morden will come swooping down in his chopper. This boss behaves the same way as it did in MS1 - it fires out multiple missiles that you can shoot down, drops bombs from the top of the screen, and also fires a machine gun. The main difference here is that there is a gun turret that you can use. Jump onto it and keep aiming directly at Morden (which will stop him from firing). Shoot down any of the attacks that he uses, but jump away from the turret when the machine gun starts to fire near you.

When Morden falls out of the chopper, he'll hit the ground in a shower of blood, but it is far from over yet. It turns out that the guy you were shooting at wasn't Morden at all and is in fact an alien. The real Morden appears, strapped to an enemy craft, which flys off into space... not only that but you end up getting kidnapped by the aliens as well! You will now take control of one of the other characters, and it is time to jump into a space shuttle and give chase!

Final Mission - Section 2



This section is a big departure from the usual Metal Slug style - it's a vertical scrolling shoot 'em up! You start off going up through space and chasing the ship that has your kidnapped friend on board (as well as Morden). The main targets here are asteroids and small enemy craft that come onto the screen at quite a fast rate, but luckily there are quite a lot of powerups around here. Remember that the space shuttle has double gun turrets when you pickup a weapon, so you must try to keep the shuttle for as long as you can. You'll eventually make it to the alien mothership, and you'll need to blow your way inside. Avoid the laser that charges up every few seconds and keep shooting at it.

Once that is done, you'll be flying inside the mothership itself. Occasionally there will be some large obstacles that block your path, so shoot them before they push you off the bottom of the screen and kill you. You will soon see a missile shoot up the screen which will crash through a barrier making a small hole... which you will use to get on board the ship properly.

Final Mission Section 3



We are now back on foot, and I hope you are ready for the most challenging section of the game. There are a variety of different enemies here, including the normal aliens and many more. The first ones you come across are some robots with a brain in a jar for a head. They roll onto the screen and shoot green hoop shaped lasers at you... to avoid them you will have to jump through the middle. When you get to a barrier with a bunch of aliens on top of it. Blow your way through to find General Morden being tortured... if it was up to me I'd leave him there, but you'll have to rescue him. Now, where is your captured team-mate???

Before you get a chance to answer that question, you'll find yourself up against an army of robot spiders. The small ones aren't too bad, but the large ones take a lot of hits to kill and they fire green blobs that bounce across the floor. When it fires these, stand near to it and let them bounce right over you. Take out the spider by standing underneath and shooting upwards, but when it explodes get the hell out of there or it will crush you! From now on you will be joined by some of Mordens troops who will help a little by throwing grenades etc, but most helpful of all is the "Satellite" weapon that you can find here. It will do some major damage to your enemies and is a lifesaver while it lasts.

Sub Boss 3: Alien Queen



It's now time to face the penultimate boss, which I assume is meant to be the Alien Queen. Keep aiming for the head, but move as soon as one of the large energy balls shoots towards you. Just keep moving and you'll be ok, but watch out when it starts firing out the even bigger and slower moving projectiles. Quite simple really, but it can be a bit tricky.

Final Mission Section 4



This is where things REALLY start to get crazy. An army of soldiers attacks you, but whats this??? They are all clones of your friend that got captured, so obviously those alien scumbags have been doing some experiments on them! Don't let them get in too close or they will knife you! Thankfully a little help is at hand in the shape of our old taunting soldier friend... I guess that fall from the Jet didn't finish him off - how tough is this guy? You'll now find your imprisoned comrade - shoot the tank they are in to get them out while taking out the never-ending horde of clones.

Now there is an even bigger problem - after you've performed the rescue, the clones suddenly go into a zombiefied state. Although this means they are slower, they are no less dangerous and can now use the same vomit attack that you could use on stage 2! As you know, this covers most of the screen, so the only way to avoid it is to either kill the zombie before it gets the chance to do it, or to take cover next to one of the little sloped parts. There are a number of doors that you will need to break through by shooting the three locks on them, but while you are doing this make sure you keep an eye on the zombies advancing from the left side of the screen. At the end of this section you'll jump into a tank and be sucked back out into space.

Final Boss: Huge Alien



As you fall through space and back down towards earth, this alien swoops down and grabs hold of you! The best way to deal with it is to stay in the tank until it starts to charge up its ring laser. Just before it fires, jump back out of the tank and then get right back in when the attack is over. You'll need to get your timing right so that you don't get hit, but it won't take long to figure it out. Just make sure you are careful when you get back into it as there will usually be a bunch of green projectiles flying around that can kill you.

If the tank does get destroyed, just stand near to the brain and keep firing and throwing grenades. Whenever it fires the ring laser, just jump through the center of it. This alien has quite thick skin and does not die quickly, but after a while his brain will explode and you will have accomplished your mission. Now, how are you going to get back down to Earth without hitting the floor at 200MPH and leaving a real mess? ;-).

Congratulations - "MISSION ALL OVER"!


Overall

Many consider this game to be the finest in the series, and it would be extremely hard for any Metal Slug fan to argue otherwise. The only way anyone could really disagree with this is if they don't like the new enemies in this game. It is true that Metal Slug 3 almost totally moves away from its "World War II" roots and that you don't fight as many of Mordens troops as you once did, and also true that the new bad guys are very strange in places. However, it is something that you get used to after a while.

When I originally played it I did feel quite unattached to it as it was harder to feel a connection to a game where you are shooting a giant crab, as opposed to an actual human soldier. Once I had been playing the game for more than an hour it is something I grew accustomed to and I eventually began to love the new characters for what they are: excellently designed and very well drawn sprites that come to life with some beautiful animation. Given time, I'm sure that most people would warm to them and begin to appreciate the game a lot more.

When you look at the bigger picture however, it is impossible to ignore what has been achieved with MS3. SNK really went crazy when they made this game, and there are just so many different ways to get through it with such a good variety of stages that I dare anyone to not be impressed at least a little. As I mentioned before, all of these things really improve the replay value of the game, and even when you have finished it a few times you will want to go back to it to check out the stages you haven't seen, and to find secret paths. Add this to the desire amongst many Metal Slug fans to go back and try to beat high scores and to finish on as few coninues as possible, and you will probably find yourself spending a lot of time on it!

If I wanted to level any real criticisms at the game, there's only two things that irk me a little bit. First of is the difficulty level; it really is a lot more difficult than any of the MS games up to this point, and unless you have a lot of skill, you'll find yourself getting shot up over and over when you first start playing.... Heaven knows I did. This could possibly put some of the more casual players off, so unless you like to spend a lot of time practicing, you will get VERY frustrated. The only other fault in my opinion is that the final stage seems far too long... I like it the way it is, but they probably could have split it in two so that the game has six stages. I know it doesn't make a lot of difference, but while I was playing through it I kept thinking to myself "OK, how long IS this stage??? Surely it is gonna be over soon?". I'm very glad that SNK made it interesting to play through, because otherwise I might have become bored halfway through.

To sum it all up, despite a couple of minor blemishes here and there, this is one of the greatest ever 2D titles on any system, and definitely the most well-rounded game in this series. If you like the enemy sprites and don't mind the game having a slightly more freaky persona than its predecessors, you will love it. This is even more of a must buy than the others for run and gun fans, if not for all Neo Geo fans in general. An unmissable adrenaline rush of a game... if you don't at least try it, you are dead inside ;-)


Graphics: 9/10
Sound: 9/10
Gameplay: 9/10
Replay Value: 9/10

Overall Rating: 9.5/10





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