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Long read: The beauty and drama of video games and their clouds

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Metal Slug 3 on Xbox

In the States anyway. Oh well, at least we've still got MSX.

We're a bit late with this one, I know, but nevertheless I'm thrilled to inform you all that SNK plans to ship Metal Slug 3 on Xbox in May 2004. In North America. D'oh! With the proposed PS2 release supposedly shelved (or at least decidedly inactive), this will mark the game's first appearance on a major home console since its arcade debut in 2000. It should look like this.

Even better news for American Xbox owners, the game will support Xbox Live leaderboards, allowing ardent Slug fans to compete against each other for the first time and achieve moderate fame and glory (certainly more than they would displacing "FKR" from the high score table at their local arcade).

What's more, SNK claims the Xbox port will feature new, original missions for those who clear the game under certain conditions, but even without them it's still a top game. SNK's Ben Herman says it's a "faithful arcade adaptation", and that's good news, meaning all the beautifully detailed background illustrations survive untainted, and players will get to enjoy the underwater levels and quirky vehicles (Slug Copter, Elephant Slug, Rebel Armor, etc) as they were intended. Excellent news for camel enthusiasts, too.

Along with Metal Slug 3, earlier this year SNK also announced plans to bring SNK Vs. Capcom: SVC Chaos to Xbox and Xbox Live. Unfortunately neither game is on any publisher's European schedules right now, but if anybody from SNK is reading this, just let me know how many copies I'd have to buy to justify a PAL conversion. Please?

Oh, and if that doesn't work, us European types can still enjoy SNK's side-scrolling shoot-'em-up thanks to PSone title Metal Slug X. If you can find that lying around anywhere - and it should be pretty cheap by now, given it was only £19.99 when it launched - then we'd encourage you to pick it up.