As many people know the 2D run and gun genre of gaming was popular mainly during the 90’s with games such as GunStar Heroes, Mega Man X, Contra III: Alien Wars, Sunset Riders and many others. It should also be noted that 90’s was the same decade the Metal Slug series began when SNK developed the very first game back in ’96 for the Neo Geo Arcade System. By the time we got to the mid 90’s the 2D run and gun genre of gaming was starting to decline in popularity; but despite the growing popularity of 3D from the mid 90’s onwards the Metal Slug series was still appealing to many casual gamers along with hardcore fans of the run and gun genre. Despite, the very first Metal Slug game coming out in ’96 a majority of gamers would argue that the best installment within the series came towards the start of the new millennium. Metal Slug 3 from ’00 was initially developed and published by SNK had received an arcade release that same year before appearing on the Neo Geo AES worldwide. Following its Neo Geo release Metal Slug 3 appeared on the PS2 in ’03 before coming to Xbox during 2004.
Metal Slug 3 is quite possibly one of the best run and gun video games of all-time as pertained to gameplay. In Metal Slug 3 players had the opportunity to utilize various assault vehicles throughout different levels of the game including a Slug Mariners, Ostrich Slugs, Elephant Slugs, Astro Slugs and others. Players were also allowed to engage in melee combat through actions kicking or utilizing a knife to destroy their opponents who were also skilled combat as well. As players plow through various enemies within each level of the game they have the ability to obtain numerous upgrades to their weapons before confronting a boss at the end of each stage. One of the most interesting features about Metal Slug 3 was its branching path system; players could take multiple paths in order to complete each level and included different sets of challenges depending on which route they took. The action within Metal Slug 3 was nonstop and saw players complete missions underwater, in the air and even in space as they gained access to various equipment that would allow them to do so. One of the more realistic elements of Metal Slug 3 is for players to become zombies after being infected by toxic chemicals which had an adverse effect their character’s movements. Becoming infected by toxic chemicals in the zombie state lead to death and made players think more strategically while trying to complete various levels within Metal Slug 3. Despite, not doing too great in sales the early 00’s was a time period where 2D gaming along with the run and gun genre were no longer mainstream; first and third person shooter games had become increasingly popular throughout the 00’s decade. If Metal Slug 3 were released anytime between the early to mid 90’s there is no question that the game would of became far more successful than it did in ’00.