Metal Slug has to be one of the longest running 2D action shooting game series to date. This NEOGEO original game saw many sequels and attracted legions of fans. SNK Playmore, who has brought several NEOGEO arcade titles to mobile and handled gaming platforms, now has released Metal Slug 3, one of the most popular Metal Slug titles in the series, to iOS and Android. If you've spent many hours and quarters in the arcade when this game was still popular, you already know what it's like. The big question though is how the arcade game controls translate on a touch screen device?
The gameplay in this run-and-gun action packed game is as satisfying as the original arcade version. The non-stop onslaught of ground enemies, air units and sea creatures is as intense as ever. You will get all the original baddies including zombies, aliens, helis and parachuting bombs. The game takes you to all three terrain settings as well, ground, underwater and air with your favorite Slugs including Drill Slugs, Elephatnt Slugs, Slugnoids, Slug Mariners as well as the original Metal Slugs of course. All the power-ups are here as well: better weapons, ammo, health and fan fav: chicks, after you save the hostages and civilians. Characters from the arcade version are here too: Fio, Tarma, Eri and Marco. You can choose any of the teammates to start a mission or even make a selection in the middle of a mission when a character dies.
Since the game was ported by DotEmu, Metal Slug 3 keeps most of its arcade flavor in tact. That means you have 5 credits to continue after you die, and you have 10 seconds to continue. The difference though is you can't add more "coins" to go further after all 5 credits are gone, so it's game over. One nice thing about the ported version is that it offers not only the arcade mode but also a Mission mode where you can play individual missions once you've beaten the last one to hone your skills and make it to all eight missions with limited credits. The game offers 4 levels difficulty, and in addition to arcade mode and mission mode, there's also a multiplayer mode in cooperative play which makes it easier to fight the stage with friends. There is also Game Center support.
The controls in Metal Slug 3 are good but can't compete with the arcade experience. The directional joystick is a little too small on the iPad which means your finger can slip off the control easily. The action buttons mostly work well, and you will only lose the position once in a while without tactile feedback. The button positions are configurable, but you can only move them to where you want them on the screen, but you can't change the size of the buttons.
Graphics & Sound
Those who have played Metal Slug series know the unique graphics style the series is known for, and Metal Slug 3 translates the style onto mobile platform well. The graphics aren't as sharp as some of today's platformers or 2D shooters, but they are sharp enough for you to enjoy the gameplay. Action animations are smooth, no lags at all. The game's rich colors show through well on the iPad.
The game ports sound package from the arcade version with marching drums and upbeat music. The sound tracks are great for frantic fighting missions, and sound FX accompanies every action. The game has wacky voice tracks for each character as well. You can adjust the volume of the sound in game's settings.
Being a long time Metal Slugs fan, it's hard to turn down a chance to play it on iOS or Android devices. You couldn't take the arcade with you when the game came out, but now you can take the game with you anywhere, and the replay value is unlimited. Metal Slug 3 was one of the most popular titles in the series, and we're glad to see it alive again on another platform. The gameplay is frantic, graphics unique and it has ton of replay value.
Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):
Graphics: - 4.5 - Uniquely Metal Slug. It's not groundbreaking, but works for the game. Sound: - 4 - Great sound FX, good sound tracks and voice over. Controls: - 4 - Responsive and movable positions make it easy to use the touch screen controls. The joystick is a bit too small. Gameplay: - 4.5 - Non-stop action, multiple routes to complete a mission. Lots of replay value.
Playing Hints and Tips:
-Always use Slug machines. They are more powerful than weapons in your hands. -Save your grenades for the boss fights. -Use the Mission mode to practice if you need to get through a level in other modes.