Review: Metal Slug 3 Comes to Steam

Run and Gun games have always been a huge hit in arcades and classic consoles. Contra held the title of king of run and guns until Nazca released the original Metal Slug in arcades. While Metal Slug didn’t do much to change the genre, they did turn a genre that has been known for serious Schwarzenegger/Stallone type characters into some of the most goofiest action in town with some amazing visuals and gameplay on a 16-bit console.

The Neo Geo saw six Metal Slug titles in its life span, all of which are good in their own way, but none have gotten as much praise as Slug 3. Several factors made Neo fans love this game, one of which being how Slug 3 was the last official Neo Geo game before the original SNK went bankrupt. The other reasons are all about packing as much Slug action into one game that the Neo Geo could handle.

Slug 3 is known for being the longest Slug title, and possibly one of the longest arcade action games to beat. A couple of reasons include multiple branching paths and a final stage that’s longer than all the other stages put together. While it sounds like a huge chore, many don’t seem to realize how long it is thanks to all the the intriguing obstacles in the level. The amazing sprite work goes an extra mile in this with great animation on just about everything that you see. Dying in zombie form looks so good you might always want to die a zombie!

The port to Steam is being handled by DotEmu and not SNKPlaymore. DotEmu ported this to IoS and many of the changes from console to mobile have been added to the Steam version. Some of which include all new UI and new character portraits. Many features in the Steam version are very much like the Neo Geo Slug 3, with some annoyances. For starters, it seems as if several recurring sounds in the game have been sped up, mainly the “GO” and “CONTINUE” notifications, which is by far the worst sound in the Steam port.

The game offers offline and online co-op mode, which is great for those who don’t have anyone to play with at home. DotEmu has stated the game uses GGPO for online play. While many feel GGPO or rollback code is the best, it doesn’t seem to be the case with Slug 3. Testing with several people from all around the US has shown the same results with multiple desyncs and plenty of lag when too much is going on in the screen. There was only one run we had that didn’t desync on us, but the lag was very noticeable at times and led to both myself and partner dying multiple times. Offline co-op is obviously better, but after playing Slug 3 on MVS side by side with the Steam port there’s significantly more slowdown in the Steam version. Strangely, the game speed itself is a bit faster on Steam.

The plus side to all of this is that the game is constantly being updated to fix these issues. We could have a great port on our hands if DotEmu fixes some of these. While this may not be a purchase for purists, Slug 3 is definitely a must have for any casual slug fan, or side scrolling run-and-gun fan. The few issues with the game don’t outweigh the good. Slug 3 is still a great title to own, even if it’s a bit chopped and screwed.

Metal Slug 3 is available on Steam for $7.99

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