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Saturday, February 15, 2014

Metal Slug 3 Steam Review Guns, Zombies, Camels with Laser Guns

Metal Slug 3

I was recently watching an episode of Game Center CX known as Retro Game Master in these parts, a Japanese show hosted by a comedian, Shinya Arino, who plays through old-school games; trying to complete them. A moment of the show is dedicated to visiting arcades around Japan and on this visit he ended the segment by playing Metal Slug. It was a sentimental ending as he played it with his AD, remembering how many times he had played Metal Slug in the past and commenting that SNK had good distributors.

Mission Start! Oh, those big beautiful words. Why does no one have a alarm clock that says that when they wake up? Metal Slug 3, you beautiful 2D run and gun shooter, you're everything right with video games. Why even Mercenary Kings, coming sometime this year to Steam; hopefully, is a professional quality fan-made new-age version of you made by famed gaming artist Paul Robertson and friends.

The screams of the soldiers, the way Rocket Launcher has an Arnold Schwarzenegger accent every time I pick you up. Why are you so much fun to play?

Metal Slug drops you into a world with a gun and bombs. You may use these to blow away your enemies in a most delightful fashion. Choosing from 4 different recruits, two boys and two ladies; I like Eri, they don't have any different characteristics in game-play. The only difference is in your ability to make many of your enemies sad they decided not to call in sick. This is done through a three step process called weapons, vehicles and transformations that powers you up to be the Rambo of 2D shooters.

Weapons are both practical and other worldly-fun. Heavy Machine Gun greatly increases your fire power, allowing more enemies to be taken down then with your simple pistol. It's the most common power-up in the game. Rocket Launcher fires powerful rockets breaking up enemy ships. Then you have the Laser. Three beams of light have come together to blast away entire enemy groups. How about the even rarer mini storm cloud that will for a time send lighting bolts at your enemies? How about a mini-satellite killing your opponents? That's only some of the many weapon upgrades to get.
Crab Battle!

They were what was missing from Titanfall, if you read my preview of the game recently; a lack of new weapons made it the same shooter I've played a million times. Metal Slug has a Shotgun and even a Flamegun, but it also has a gun that shoots missiles with tiny wheels that drive up and kill enemies. It doesn't have the titans, the giant robots from Titanfall. Oh, wait..

Metal Slugs, yeah Metal Slugs. If you think about the games name it is weird, perhaps it was Japanese translation to English from the first game or some weird story we don't know, but Metal Slug refers to the many vehicles, including a camel with laser guns you can jump onto and start shooting enemies. In fact, there is even a robot suit at one point of the game to climb into just like in Titanfall. You'll also have the option of a submarine, jet, helicopter, giant drill and more. Of course there's a tank, the original Metal Slug vehicle and more travel options with cannons to fire and unlimited ammo that looks like laser blasts.

Transformations finish your stock of powers. I nearly forgot how great it is to become a zombie. You can take more hits and of course instead of throwing bombs you''ll spew out blood killing enemies. The effort that went into this zombie concept alone shows how much time an effort went into making the game. When you die as a zombie, as any character, you die a little differently and melt away, sometimes your head falls off.

Your head might fall off if you haven't played a shooter from more than ten years ago. One shot or slice from an enemy and your dead. There's plenty of lives/credits to make it so far in the game and with mission mode, where you can choose a level if you've reached it, you have a greater chance at beating the game.

Creativity continues with different branching levels for certain replay value, sometimes a level may have more than one direction to go through and on the way you might encounter even stranger enemies than the soldiers you were fighting. Damn you, underworld race of snails! I mentioned zombies, but enemies get weirder and boss fights will have you pondering where the developers came up with such ideas. One boss fight seems to be a combination of: Aliens, E.T., 2001 and Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

The Metal Slug series has always served up an amazing screen of 16 bit mayhem and it can be seen again here. In my current play through I have yet to even encounter mummies and turn into one. Man I miss being a Mummy. You jump so weird.

This newest version plays fine on both keyboard or if your like me with a connected controller. I noticed no problems during my playthroughs, it's like playing on arcade machine.

You can get lost in the backgrounds. In the ocean, in the air, in the ruins of a city. Different locales to get lost in. Details you might miss if you're too busy trying not to get hit.

This game was only two player when it came out and remains that way. You can play online together with a friend on Steam or at home. I did not have a chance to see how online co-op played, but so far I haven't heard of any complaints.
Metal Slug returns again to be played through Steam. Metal Slug 3 has been put on the market before on all the last consoles and even on phones. This new iteration is worth your time if you've never played the game, are a fan or want to have easy access to it on any computer you own. Truly, the insane fast fun nature with bizarre enemies, over-the-top weapons and vehicles and Japanese humor set it as the king of what a games should be, fun.

I could go on and on about each element that adds it to the being one of my favorite series. You can get fat in this game. Yeah, you can become a fatty. If you eat enough items and there's a lot of food; lot's of pork, you'll get fat. Your character becomes a tub of lard and it's better to jump then to walk, because you're so fat. What other game does that? Which game makes fun of itself to let you get fat.

Hey Titanfall, I want my character to get fat if he eats too much and if my character gets too fat, maybe he can't double jump anymore or even climb into his robot. How about overweight robots? That's how still-not-out Titanfall would have completely won me over with something that stands out.
You can shoot enemies with a gun in any game, but in Metal Slug 3 you can be a fat girl with a partner riding a camel with laser guns behind you while you shoot a gun. There's a monkey in a diaper who fires machine guns at your enemies for crying out loud.

Reviewer was given copy by publisher for review purposes.