If this Android port represents your first contact with SNK Playmore's long-running run-and-gun series, you may well wonder what happened to the first two games.
It's a valid question. Metal Slug 3's predecessors are fine arcade blasters in their own right, but SNK Playmore has clearly decided to kick things off in the best possible fashion - this third entry is widely regarded by fans as the cream of the crop.
Run and gun for fun
All the usual trappings are here - there are legions of enemy soldiers to slay, piles of military hardware capable of wiping out a small country, and enough explosions to make the forthcoming Hollywood flick The Expendables 2 look like a cartoon about sharing.
However, the Metal Slug series has rarely played by the rules, and you're faced with some unpredictable opponents as well - alien forces, plague-spreading zombies, and reanimated Egyptian mummies to name but a few.
Visually, Metal Slug 3 has lost none of its capacity to delight, despite being over a decade old. While the 2D visuals exhibit a little bit of blurring - due to the fact that the developers have had to upscale the graphics to fit on the Xperia Play's screen - they're packed with character and charm.
The challenging gameplay is bolstered by branching pathways and an incredible level of variety in terms of level design - there's a genuine urge to make your way to the next stage purely to see what sights and sounds it holds.
However, what really allows Metal Slug 3 to shine is the presence of the Xperia Play's physical controls.
When we reviewed the iOS version recently, we lamented the touchscreen interface - that issue is resolved by the Xperia Play version, which gives you the ideal control system for Metal Slug 3's chaotic action.
While its old skool charms may be lost on younger players, Metal Slug 3 will thrill seasoned arcade pros with its visual charm and tough gameplay.