Metal Slug is a popular video game franchise created by Nazca and now owned by SNK, who created the sequels to the original game.

With some exceptions, the games belong to the Run 'n' gun genre—sidescroller platform games with Shoot em' up elements, where the player must run through a stage while shooting at various enemies. The first game was released in 1996 for the Neo Geo MVS arcade platform.


In the first game, the players take the role of the Peregrine Falcon Squad soldiers Marco Rossi and Tarma Roving, and must face the villain General Morden and his Rebel Army, who wants to eliminate the governments and establish a new order, all of this fueled by his anger caused by the death of his son. Later on the series, Marco and Tarma are joined by S.P.A.R.R.O.W.S agents Eri Kasamoto and Fio Germi, as Morden makes an allegiance with an alien race and other military groups.


The game uses a standard 3-button configuration: a shoot button, a jump button and a grenade button. The player starts each mission with a simple handgun with infinite ammo and 10 grenades. Throughout the missions the player can find several weapons which are more powerful but have limited ammo, as well as ammo and grenades. At the end of a mission lies a large boss to fight.

During a mission, the player must destroy the enemies and their machinery, while rescuing the POW's who are scattered in the missions. When rescued, the POW's will reward the player with weapons, ammo or elusive items which gave bonus points for the player. Each POW rescued is counted at the end of a stage, giving extra points to the player. However, if the player dies during a mission, the POW count will be reset to zero. Many POWs and items are hidden in the missions, and they can be found by shooting at specific points of the scenery.

The player will also be able to use vehicles known as Slugs, which are equipped with a Vulcan with unlimited ammo and a cannon and protects the player for some hits. The player an leave a Slug anytime by pressing down + jump, as well as sending the vehicle to explode at the enemies by pressing shoot + jump. If the vehicle takes many hits, it will start flashing red, and the player must evacuate it before it explodes.

By default settings, a player starts a mission with three lives and cannot earn more. A player who loses all of their lives can continue by inserting more credits before time runs out. If they continue, then they select their character and pick up a dropped Heavy Machine Gun. After the game is over, a player who hit the games's high-score table can insert their 3-letter initial to the Best Tank Busters.

Later on the series, new movements and commands are added to the game. In Metal Slug 4, the Metal Slug Attack command has been put as its own separate button. In Metal Slug 5, the player can use a Mega Man-like sliding move by pressing Down + Jump. This move was excluded in the sequels.

Metal Slug 6 introduces three mainstay gameplay elements:

  • A new weapon stock system similar to Contra, where the player can carry more than one weapon at once, being able to switch between them by using a button, and also able to discard a weapon.
  • A revamped combo system where players are given multiplied points for destruction they ensue. When enough damage is given, coins worth an exponential amount of points pop out of enemies.
  • Each of the playable characters are given their own unique special skills, such as carrying more ammo or grenades or performing special attacks by using a button combination.


The main series of Metal Slug was created mainly for the SNK's Neo-Geo system. In 2006, SNK Playmore dropped the now 15-year old Neo Geo in favor of Sammy's Atomiswave arcade platform. In 2008, the series was taken to the Nintendo DS handheld platform. Many spin-offs have been created for other systems and mobile devices.

Main Series:


Tower Defense Spin-Offs:

Metal Slug Series
Main Series Metal Slug: Super Vehicle-001 | Metal Slug 2/(X) | Metal Slug 3 | Metal Slug 4 | Metal Slug 5 | Metal Slug 6 | Metal Slug 7/(XX)
Spin-Offs Metal Slug: 1st Mission | Metal Slug: 2nd Mission | Metal Slug Advance | Metal Slug 3D
Tower Defense Metal Slug Defense | Metal Slug Attack | Metal Slug Infinity
Mobile Metal Slug Mobile | Metal Slug Mobile Impact | Metal Slug: Allen's Battle Chronicles (Mobile 3) | Metal Slug Mobile 4 (UMS: Login) | Metal Slug Soldiers (UMS: Tank Conspiracy) | Metal Slug Fighters (UMS: Fierce Battle) | Metal Slug Warriors (UMS: Triumph) | Metal Slug STG | Metal Slug Mars Panic! | Metal Slug Tactics | Metal Slug M1 | Metal Slug M2 | Metal Slug 2013 | Metal Slug Team Mission
Pachinkos Metal Slug Type-A | Metal Slug SV-001 | Metal Slug 3 (Pachinko)
Compilations Metal Slug 4&5 | Metal Slug Anthology | Metal Slug Complete PC | Arcade Archives
Cancelled / Discontinued Metal Slug Zero | Metal Slug Touch | Metal Slug Revolution | Metal Slug Wars | Metal Slug XX Online
Other SNK Titles
Cameos / Crossovers The King of Fighters '99 | The King of Fighters 2000 | SNK Vs. Capcom: CHAOS | Neo-Geo Battle Coliseum | The King of Fighters: Maximum Impact 2 | SNK Vs. Capcom: Card Fighters Clash | SNK Vs. Capcom: Card Fighters DS | Days of Memories 2 | Neo Geo Heroes: Ultimate Shooting! | Battle Cats | RPG! Sister Quest | Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Ikari Warriors Ikari Warriors | Victory Road | Ikari III: The Rescue | Ikari: Leona Gekitohen
Irem Games
Irem's D.A.S. Universe

Air Duel | Undercover Cops | In The Hunt | Gunforce II

Books Metal Slug: The Ultimate History
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