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The player guides one of the heroes: Marco, Tarma, Eri, or Fio, as they blast their way through side-scrolling levels with a unique theme, filled with countless enemies and bosses. The player has to free hostages and can ride bizarre vehicles such as camels, elephants, tanks, and robots.
Metal Slug 3 plot
Several years ago, the evil General Morden was foiled in his attempted coup d’état against the worlds’ governments by the Peregrine Falcon Strike Force. After forming an alliance with an alien race in an attempt to stage another coup, Morden was betrayed and taken prisoner by his new found allies.
His rebels troops formed an ad hoc alliance with the Strike Force and the aliens were defeated and Morden was killed. Instrumental in defeating Morden during the first coup were Cpt. Marco Rossi and Lt. Tarma Roving. Rossi (now a Major) and Roving (now a Captain) led the fight against the Morden during the second coup, joined by two members of the Intelligence Agency’s Special Ops Squad S.P.A.R.R.O.W.S.; Sgt. Eri Kasamoto and Sgt. 1st Class Fiolina Germi.
Several years have passed since that time, and Morden is listed as missing by his surviving followers. Determined to wipe out every remnant of Morden’s powerbase, the army send Rossi and Roving to destroy all remaining rebel strongholds, one by one.
During the fighting, however, Rossi and Roving come to the conclusion that the enemy is too well organised, and perhaps Morden is not dead as was initially thought. Meanwhile, the S.P.A.R.R.O.W.S. come across a series of strange events which lead the army to conclude that the aliens with whom Morden once allied himself have returned.
The Peregrine Falcon Strike Force and S.P.A.R.R.O.W.S. are once again united, and sent to defeat this new threat. After various battles against Morden’s forces, the heroes face off against Morden.
After defeating him, it is revealed that it was an alien in disguise, and the real Morden has been taken prisoner by the aliens. The aliens abduct the player character and leave Earth. At this point, another character takes the player character’s place. An ad hoc alliance is formed between the Strike Force and Morden’s troops so as to save their captured comrades.
The rebels launch an armada of rocket ships to attack the alien mother ship, Rugname. After a long battle through the ship’s interior, the Rugname starts to collapse due to the amount of damage it has sustained. After destroying the ship’s core, the Strike Force must fight their way through armies of clones of their captured teammate, some of whom have turned into zombies. Both the captured member of the Strike Force and Morden are freed.
As they escape, they are confronted by the aliens’ leader, Rootmars. A battle ensues in Earth’s atmosphere, which is won by the Strike Force, who leave Rootmars’ body in the ocean. Upon seeing Morden and his men celebrating, the player character throws their weapon into the water in disgust.
Metal Slug 3 gameplay
The gameplay mechanics are the same as in previous Metal Slug games; the player must shoot constantly at a continual stream of enemies in order to reach the end of each level. At this point, the player confronts a boss, who is usually considerably larger and tougher than regular enemies.
On the way through each level, the player can find numerous weapon upgrades and “Metal Slug” tanks. The tank is known as the SV-001 (“SV” stands for Super Vehicle), which increases the player’s offense and considerably adds to their defense.
In addition to shooting, the player can perform melee attacks by using a knife and/or kicking. The player does not die by coming into contact with enemies, and correspondingly, many of the enemy troops have melee attacks. Much of the game’s scenery is destructible, and occasionally, this reveals extra items or power-ups.
During the course of a level, the player encounters prisoners of war (POWs), who, if freed, offer the player bonuses in the form of random items or weapons. At the end of each level, the player receives a scoring bonus based on the number of freed POWs. If the player dies before the end of the level, the tally of freed POWs reverts to zero.
A new feature in Metal Slug 3 is the branching path system; in most missions, there are forking paths from which the player must choose one, each with their own obstacles, and each of varying length and difficulty.
All paths eventually lead to the same boss battle, but the player may have different equipment, and may have rescued more or fewer POW’s depending on their choice of path.