Metal Slug (series)
The original Metal Slug logo
|Platform of origin||Neo Geo MVS|
April 19, 1996
Metal Slug XX|
December 23, 2009
Metal Slug (Japanese: メタルスラッグ Hepburn: Metaru Suraggu) is a series primarily of run and gun video games created by SNK. Spin-off games include a third-person shooter and a tower defense game. Originally created for Neo-Geo arcade machines and game consoles, the original games have also been ported to other consoles, with several later games created for various other platforms. The games focus on the Peregrine Falcon Squad, a small group of soldiers who fight against a rebel army, aliens and various other forces intent on world domination.
The gameplay of the series is characteristic of run and gun games: large numbers of enemies and a player character with extremely powerful weapons. In most run and guns, contact with an enemy leads to annihilation. In this series, however, contact results in the opportunity to perform a melee attack and the opportunity for the enemy to perform a melee attack of his own, if he has one. The player's melee attack is also much stronger than most shots. This leads to the players ability to run in and use melee attacks to take down a number of enemies, and the ability to quickly defeat enemies that can take plenty of damage, such as the mummies in Metal Slug 2.
The player starts with only a simple handgun; as the game progresses, the player may pick up new weapons. The player can only use one weapon at a time. When a new weapon is found, it replaces the previous one. Similarly, when ammunition runs out, the player reverts to using the handgun, which has unlimited ammunition. A new system was implemented with Metal Slug 6 allowing players to carry and switch between the handgun and two other weapons.
The SV-001 (SV being an abbreviation for "Super Vehicle") or 'Metal Slug' is the main vehicle of the Metal Slug franchise. It is a small, cartoonish silver-gray tank. The tank is armed with one cannon and twin vulcan cannons. The vehicle can jump and crouch. Crouching opens a hatch on the top of the tank through which grenades can be thrown. The grenades are independent of the cannon's ammunition system. The vehicle can run over infantry and perform a suicide attack, with the driver jumping clear and the tank ramming into and exploding upon the target. The vehicle can take three direct hits before it is destroyed. The enemy chaser variant has a shield that must be destroyed before the vehicle can be destroyed. It is propelled by caterpillar treads. Over time, these specifications changed into any vehicle armed with a vulcan cannon and a cannon variant suited to the role of the vehicle, and propelled suitably for that vehicle's environment. In Metal Slug 6 (and the home version of Metal Slug X, 3, 4, 5), the playable character Tarma can lock the vulcan cannons into one position and fire continuously.
Metal Slug games typically have 6 levels. The exceptions are Metal Slug 3, Metal Slug 5, and Metal Slug 6, which have 5 and Metal Slug 7 which has 7. In several of the arcade and console versions, the game would have the blood censored, showing white blood instead of red. However, there is a code to disable this censor.
Metal Slug 1 through to 5 were created for Neo-Geo, though some of these titles were later ported to platforms including the Sega Saturn, PlayStation, Virtual Console, PlayStation Network, PlayStation 2, Xbox, Xbox Live Arcade, iOS, Android, Windows Phone and also for PC via Steam. Subsequent main games and spin-offs were created for platforms including Nintendo DS, Neo Geo Pocket Color and Game Boy Advance. A collection of the first seven games in the main series, including the Metal Slug X remake, Metal Slug Anthology, is available for the Wii, PlayStation Portable, and PlayStation 2, with a similar collection, Metal Slug Collection PC, being available for PC, while a revamped version of the seventh game, Metal Slug XX is separately sold from the collection. A spin-off tower defense game, Metal Slug Defense, was created for iOS and Android. Another spin-off game, Metal Slug Touch, was created just for iOS in 2009, though was removed from the App Store in 2012.
The first game's story involved the Peregrine Falcon (PF) Squad, a small but skilled team of soldiers serving under the Regular Army's special operations division, who fight against the army of General Donald Morden in order to prevent a massive coup d'état and the creation of a New World Order. Later games featured characters from the Sparrows Unit, which is under the control of the Regular Army's intelligence division. Beginning with Metal Slug 2, the PF Squad also battles an alien threat to Earth (the Mars People), as well as several other supernatural threats including yetis, zombies, ambulatory Venus flytraps, giant crabs, and mummies. These outlandish elements were removed from the fourth game to return to the feel of the original title. The fifth moved to the motif of modern guerrilla warfare, leaving only traces of the series signature quirky humor and paranormal enemies, with the exception of the final boss. Metal Slug 6 returned to the plot of the first three installments, bringing back Morden's Rebel Army and the Mars People. Metal Slug 7 has less outlandish elements with the Mars People replaced by an alternative universe of Morden's Army with futuristic equipment and weapons.
Marco Rossi and Tarma Roving were the only playable characters in the first game, and each was reserved solely to the first and second player, respectively. From the second installment, characters can be chosen independently, and Eri Kasamoto and Fiolina "Fio" Germi were added to the cast. These four are typically considered to be the quintessential Metal Slug team. In the fourth game, Nadia Cassel and Trevor Spacey made their debut, replacing Eri and Tarma. They have not returned in later games, however, as they were created by the Korean-based Mega Enterprise and due to Playmore retaining intellectual rights to all SNK titles. Eri and Tarma returned in the fifth game. The Game Boy Advance edition of the game features two new characters specific to that title: PF squad trainees Walter Ryan and Tyra Elson. The King of Fighters/Ikari Warriors characters Ralf Jones and Clark Still have appeared since Metal Slug 6, and their King of Fighters teammate Leona Heidern is available as an extra downloadable character for Metal Slug XX, a revised edition of Metal Slug 7.
General Donald Morden is the main antagonist of the Metal Slug franchise. He is depicted as a rambling madman wearing a beret, eyepatch, and bomber jacket. He appears in every game except Metal Slug 5. He apparently mends his ways by the end of Metal Slug 6, as he (or Rootmars depending on the players chosen route) rescues the player(s) after they are knocked off a wall by an explosion caused by the alien end boss. His army is the main force of opposition in the Metal Slug games, with the exception of Metal Slug 5 and 6. He commands the Rebel Army, and in Metal Slug 4 he was thought to be behind the Amadeus Terror Syndicate. He once again returns to his roots of attempted world domination in Metal Slug 7, this time with the help of the Rebel Army from the future, also being the final boss for the first time since the original Metal Slug. Like the main characters, General Morden appears in various SNK games as a cameo, especially in the SNK vs. Capcom: Card Fighters Clash series.
Allen O'Neil, a sub-boss, appears in all of the games except Metal Slug 5 and 6. He returns in Metal Slug 7. He uses an M60 machine gun, a knife, and grenades. Despite the fact that Allen is clearly killed at the conclusion of every encounter, the game makers have humorously brought him back in each new iteration of the series. Allen's son, Allen Jr., appears in Metal Slug Advance as the recruits' drill sergeant but later reveals himself as a double-agent for the Rebel Army. He can be fought in the final mission as an optional boss.
The Mars People are aliens that are in a plot to take over Earth in the Metal Slug universe. They resemble squids, using their tentacles as a form of movement, and a strange fighting style which involves gas and a laser pistol. In Metal Slug 2, they appeared as enemies near the climax of the game, with their mothership appearing as the final boss. They appear again in Metal Slug 3, abducting Morden and one of the members of the Regular Army in the final level (which ever one the player uses will be abducted), only for the Regular Army and Morden's army to take the fight to their mothership and defeat them, and their leader Rootmars. In Metal Slug 6, the Mars People, Morden, as well as his rebel army, and the Ikari Warriors, join forces with the Regular Army to fight a new alien invader who, ironically, feed on the Mars People. In Metal Slug X they appear as enemies early in the game. Mars People also are the first characters from the Metal Slug series who appear in a fighting game: first in SNK vs. Capcom: SVC Chaos as a hidden (but playable) character, and later in Neo Geo Battle Coliseum as an unlockable playable character.
The aspect of the Metal Slug series was to create a simple, but exciting side-scrolling shoot-em-up game with a very easy control scheme (one joystick and three buttons). The same team that created Metal Slug for the Neo-Geo previously created several games for Irem which have very similar graphics and gameplay, such as GunForce (1991), In the Hunt (1993) and Gunforce 2 (1994). Because of this, some fans refer to Gunforce 2 as "Metal Slug Zero".
Some of the stock sound effects from Irem titles were used in the Metal Slug games. The music was composed by Takushi Hiyamuta (who is credited as Hiya!), a key member of the Nazca Corporation, which was acquired by SNK in 1996. The first 3 titles were developed by the Nazca team before SNK declared bankruptcy in October 2001, leading to the disbandment of the original team. Anticipating the collapse of SNK, the company Playmore was launched August 2001, which became known as SNK Playmore in 2003, the year after Metal Slug 4 was released. Development on the series has since continued without the original staff.
- Official Metal Slug website
- Official website of SNK Playmore, developer, distributor and main licence holder of Metal Slug