In his review of the game for the Xbox, IGN's Hilary Goldstein scored it 6.8 out of 10, feeling that as an arcade shooter, the game stood up well, but as an Xbox title, it was weak when compared to other games on the system;
He said that "If this game were $20 or even $30 it would merit a better score and better recommendation. This is not a $40 value unless you absolutely must have this game on your Xbox. When this game drops in price (and it will), that's when you'll want to snatch it up for sure." He scored the Xbox 360 version 7.4 out of 10, feeling that the game was good for what it was, but somewhat dated when compared to other titles;
He said that "Before you purchase Metal Slug 3, you need to ask yourself how much you value ten dollars. This is a short experience that, even with a few playthroughs, won't last you long. Metal Slug 3 is a lot of fun, but this should be a $5 download. Especially when original, awesome-looking shooters such as Omega Five are storming Xbox Marketplace."