Today marks the 20th Anniversary of SNK’s Metal Slug series. The first game launched in U.S. arcades on April 18, 1996. That said the franchise sort of began much earlier than 1996. In 1987 SNK released Guerilla War on the NES and in arcades. It’s a top down shooter similar to many military inspired games of that time, but it featured elements that would return in Metal Slug. For example, freeing prisoners and the outright absurd, over-the-top nature of the gameplay.
Each Metal Slug game centers on a group of heroes, known as the Peregrine Falcon Strike Force, out to save the world from the power hungry General Morden. It’s a generic setup, but the great thing about these games is the level of escalation Morden goes to. What starts off as a simple run and gun action game against a horde of soldier’s turns into a fight against mechs, monsters, aliens, and so on.
While each entry may be short, as is the case with most arcade adventures, they’re also infinitely repayable because of this. Throw in a second player and the chaos becomes even more fun. The amazing pixel art, variety of weapons, tight controls, and the aforementioned bizarre stories is why this series deserves a comeback. Sadly, the last official entry in the series was Metal Slug 7, released on the Nintendo DS on November 28, 2008 in the U.S.
The accompanying video retrospective compiles most of the games in the series discounting ports, remakes, and the recent iOS Metal Slug Defense game. Oh, and the only game in the series to not have released here which was Metal Slug on PS2, a third-person action game. With all that said, please enjoy this brief retrospective on why it remains one of this writer’s favorites series and why it needs to be both remembered and revived. Happy 20th Anniversary Metal Slug!
Metal Slug Retrospective (only includes original platform of first release)
- Metal Slug (Arcade 4/18/96)
- Metal Slug 2 (Arcade 2/23/98)
- Metal Slug 1st Mission (Neo Geo Pocket Color 5/27/99)
- Metal Slug 2nd Mission (Neo Geo Pocket Color 3/9/00)
- Metal Slug 3 (Arcade 3/23/00)
- Metal Slug 4 (Neo Geo 6/12/02)
- Metal Slug 5 (Neo Geo 11/14/03)
- Metal Slug Advance (GBA 11/12/04)
- Metal Slug 6 (Arcade 2/24/06)
- Metal Slug 7 (DS 7/22/08)
Special Notes: Check out the Metal Slug video retrospective on the accompanying YouTube Channel, ReActionExaminer.