Metal Slug is a long-running run and gun series developed by SNK Playmore. With its fast-paced action, hand-drawn animation, and adventure movie look, the franchise has spanned over a dozen titles across numerous systems since its debut in 1996. Metal Slug, while most known for its arcade and console games, has also grown into other mediums like as comics, miniatures, and even an anime OVA. It is still one of SNK’s most profitable and well-liked properties after more than 25 years.
Metal Slug Origins and Early Games
- The original Metal Slug game was released in 1996 for SNK‘s Neo Geo MVS arcade cabinet. It was developed by Nazca Corporation and distributed globally by SNK, and it helped popularize the burgeoning 16-bit run and gun genre. Players took command of one of four troops from the mercenary team Peregrine Falcon on missions against the rebel army and their armed vehicles.
- Metal Slug offered frantic action throughout a variety of stylish levels populated with adversaries, obstacles, and intricate 2D sprites. Power-ups and weaponry such as flamethrowers, rocket launchers, and leaping kicks provided further diversity. The namesake Metal Slugs, gigantic armed vehicles that could be seized for deadly firepower, were perhaps the most memorable.
- Metal Slug’s distinctive movement and attacking sprite effects helped it stand out. Metal Slug 2 in 1997 and Metal Slug X in 1998 introduced enhanced gameplay, new characters, and stages while maintaining the bombastic tone. All three games were a huge hit in arcades. Ports to the Neo Geo system and compilations on other platforms like as PlayStation aided in the series’ global distribution.
Expansion and Innovation
- When SNK transferred development to their own workforce, the series was given fresh life. Metal Slug 3 became the most graphically sophisticated entry yet in 1999, with improved animations and FMV cutscenes. It also had explosives that threw foes about like rag dolls.
- Metal Slug games that followed added experimental mechanics to the formula. Metal Slug 4 introduced branching routes and numerous endings in 2001. Metal Slug 5 introduced continuous scrolling stages set within an anime-style story mode in 2002. Metal Slug Anthology, released in 2005, contained the first six games.
- Metal Slug XX, a spin-off for the PSP, maintains the run-and-gun gameplay while adding online and mission mode. In 2009, Metal Slug Defense for iOS transformed the strategy genre by combining it with Metal Slug’s environment. Licensed games such as the RPG Metal Saga and the beat ’em up Metal Slug Attack were also released.
Revival and Legacy
- After more than a decade of no new mainline games, SNK published Metal Slug 7 for iOS/Android in 2011 to commemorate the series’ 15th anniversary. Its genuine run and shoot gameplay received great acclaim. Metal Slug 3 was included in SNK Playmore’s SNK Arcade Classics Vol. 1 collection for PlayStation Network and other platforms in 2012, introducing the game to new audiences.
- Metal Slug Anthology was released on Steam in 2013 and included online leaderboards. Mobile apps like Metal Slug Defense have contributed to the property’s popularity among younger fans. In 2015, a Metal Slug XX remake was released. Fans still enjoy competitive speedrunning and community competitions focused on the game’ unique multiplayer warfare to this day.
Gameplay and Design
- Metal Slug’s basic gameplay is running and shooting your way through bite-sized stages while mowing down hundreds of adversaries with an array of weaponry. Players can choose one of four playable characters from the Peregrine Falcons, each with their own set of abilities. Levels include fixed horizontal scrolling across gorgeous pixel art backdrops that are rich in detail and motion.
- Enemies include foot soldiers, mechs, vehicles and giant end-level bosses. Blasting foes rewards cash for buying power-ups at shops located before boss fights. These include health kit, grenades, rockets, machine guns mounted on jeeps called Metal Slugs, and power-ups that grant invulnerability or extra firepower.
- Metal Slug’s DNA is built on style, inventiveness, and spectacle. Levels include outrageous set pieces and action sequences, such as navigating a tank through a city and jumping into an aerial aircraft ship. Hidden passages lead to additional routes and rewards for further research. Easter eggs and fourth wall gags lend a touch of levity and charm.