What makes a great zombie? That really depends on who you ask. Some will say that the Romero-based ghouls are the best; shambling creatures devoid of thought, driven only by their hunger. These beasts-once-human are analogous of the very society that birthed them: mindless consumers who care only about that next meal. Others have fallen in love with the Rage-virus-infected, speed-boosted animals made popular in recent years. More machine than man, these devices of unending torment are as relentless as they are senseless; they’ll break down anything and everything just for a simple taste of grey matter.
Me? I just want zombies that vomit rivers of blood.
Thankfully Metal Slug 3 exists to give me just that. After hearing about the abilities of the zombies in Mission 2 of MS3 from Topher Cantler in an old Retroforce GO! episode, I had to experience them for myself. And I was not disappointed. Not only were the zombies and the zombie abilities you gain incredible, the level isn’t half-bad.
As with most Metal Slug levels, this one begins with your character of choice parachuting on the outskirts of an army base. Something feels different this time; as you land, a horde of terrified scientists run by…but from what? That’s when you see the first of many undead horrors. These zombies are in a class all by themselves. Instead of chasing down their prey for food, these creatures want you to be more like them. So they’ll vomit and spray brain matter all over you in an attempt to do so.
They also blow up quite spectacularly.
Yes, turning into a zombie is as simple as getting drooled on, but epic nontheless. As the level goes on, various townspeople are at risk from zombification, and must be protected. Unlike the usual captured soldiers from the Metal Slug games (who are still present), these people can become a problem (read: zombie) if not rescued from the hordes of slavering undead. If they get retched/erupted upon, they turn into the zombies you’re trying to destroy.
What’s even MORE foul is that you, too, can be transformed into one of these awful creatures. Except when it happens to you, you become a FUCKING BADASS. What, has the Army come out of hiding to destroy your new zombie form? Sucks to be them: you are completely impervious to any, ANY Army-based weaponry. Which is great when you fight a squadron of helicopters late in the level. The only way you can be killed is by getting attacked by another zombie. So as long as you keep the undead masses in check you’ll be fine. The fact that you’re invincible doesn’t grab ya? Oh how about UNLEASHING A TORRENT OF BLOOD FROM YOUR FACE.
YOUR FUCKING FACE.
The biggest draw of this level is this power: replacing your grenades when you turn is the ability to vomit blood which literally covers the entire screen, destroying everything in fucking sight. Literally everything; there isn’t a single enemy who is immune to your Sickle-cell-stream of death. This level has a lot of noticeable power-ups like that that are difficult to find elsewhere in the game. Monkey partner armed with a machine gun who joins you in battle? Check. A self-contained stormcloud that you get for rescuing the President from certain doom? Check.
Aside from the whole living dead aspect, my favorite part of this level is the final boss fight. After blasting and vomiting your way through the level, you come across an alien crash site. The air grows thick and cold as you approach the site (represented by the fact that you can see your character’s breath). Then, as soon as you arrive, six horrible, grotesque alien beings appear out of fucking nowhere to try and destroy you. They begin rotating around the alien artifact coming out of the ground, bombarding you with energy blasts from their eyestalks. If you’ve kept your zombie form up to this point, you can unleash your vomit to dispatch them quickly. Just watch out: zombie form makes you much slower, and these fuckers are fast.
Also, they’re goddamned fucking ugly.
With the alien menace defeated, the artifact begins to rise out of the ground, and the thing gets down to business. Your task is to defeat the machine/UFO/whatever by blasting the top of it with everything you’ve got. Your attempts to destroy it are met with opposition, of course. The machine makes obelisks drop out of the fucking sky along the path of a beam of light. You can either shoot these obelisks to destroy them A.S.A.P., or use them to leap up and shoot the hell out of the glowing top of the thing. Success in this section is all about speed. The more damage you do to the device, the quicker it spits out obelisks.
With the alien menace finally defeated comes the close of one of my favorite Metal Slug levels. This level distances itself from most MS level by being more fantastical with the inclusion of zombies and aliens (which, granted, are the main focus of MS3’s story). Also, there’s no need for you to use one of the titular Metal Slug tanks. Why would you, when you’re the fucking unded with one of the greatest zombie powers in gaming?
(On The Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness Ep. 1)
(Super Mario Bros. 3
The Milkman Conspiracy
Ye Olde Royal Odeon
(Guitar Hero 3)
The Homerun of Death
(Mario Party 3)
Report 5: Evil In The Galaxy Revealed!
(Space Channel 5)
(Mega Man X)
(Skies of Arcadia)
Chainsaw Hedgemaze Mayhem
(Zombies Ate My neighbors)
Temple Of Ice
(LoZ: Phantom Hourglass)