The Many Incarnations of Metal Slug

This article is part of a series I call “The Many Incarnations of… ”, a column which will chronicle the different game titles that have been released over the years featuring a central character or theme. Pac-Man is here to provide “color commentary,” and Professor Pac-Man is on hand with interesting tidbits of trivia about each game!

Metal Slug

From the Story: 20XX A.D. After years of preparation, General Morden begins his coup d'etat to seize control of the world from its current leaders.
With his blitzkrieg of insurgency carried out by his forces and the support of effective sympathizers propping him up throughout the world, the major cities of the world fall into his grip within a mere week after Morden gave the order to attack and lose all capabilities to resist.
The world is lost in a collective bat of the eye. In the face of the General's revolt, a small band of survivors from the quickly overrun Government Forces begin to form a resistance and struggle to rebuild their troop strength while biding their time till the opportunity to stop Morden arrives. Then, disaster strikes. The secret factory of the resistance shatters into pieces with a deafening blast. An attack by the General's revolutionary forces! They have finally been discovered! This truly lops off the head of the resistance's vanguard force that still lack sufficient military strength, and leaves a number of new, all-purpose METAL SLUG tank prototypes smoldering in the ruins or ready to fall into enemy hands. There can be no hesitation now. The Special Forces Squad Peregrine Falcons (a.k.a., PF Squad) of the Government Forces receive their orders: "Pinpoint the General's Revolutionary Force's lead position with a small unit and take it out! The stolen METAL SLUGs must be returned and kept secret or, if no other options are available, be destroyed." The two soldiers selected for this mission, Marco and Tarma, know they must not fail. The battle to subdue the General waged by these two alone begins... 

Wow! Now if that doesn't sound like a prelude to a great series I don't know what does! Hey Prof, what's the etymology ( I learned that word from the Professor) of 'Metal Slug'? Wocka! Wocka!

From the desk of Professor Pac-Man: I'm glad you asked Pac-Man, the lead designer of the game wanted to create an armored (metal) fighting vehicle that could crawl on the ground like a 'slug', which is similar to a snail but without an outer shell protecting its body. 

Metal Slug 2

From the Story: Two years after the end to the Great War… General Morden's coup that brought the world to the brink of total destruction and chaos is all but over with the counteroffensive of the Government Forces. The leading agents for the battle's success, Marco and Tarma, have since been promoted. Savoring the peace that sprung from their efforts, they now strive to rebuild the Special Forces Squad Peregrine Falcons. Then one day, Marco and Tarma are summoned to the Government Force's Office of the General Staff. Apparently the activities of Morden's factions are escalating. The influence of Morden's revolutionary army has already been eradicated, but those sympathetic to his condemnation of the rot among the General Forces' leaders and governments worldwide are surprisingly numerous and this has led to an endless series of fitful, small-scale uprisings. Yet recently these have become more organized and calculated. A comprehensive analysis of data from around the world suggests these clearly indicate the existence of some plan for a large-scale operation. And there is only one man capable of planning, executing, and leading such a massive operation. That would be Satan's stand-in, General Morden! Even though two years have gone by, the shadow of Morden still remains. But not even Morden could have prepared a second coup in such a short time. Could he really be alive? Moreover, if he was alive, when and how would the coup break out? And what is the secret behind his apparent ability to pull a coup together in this short period of time…? Marco and Tarma are entrusted with a secret mission to thwart the insurgent forces and nip this second coup in the bud. It will be nasty business to wage this series of preemptive attacks on insurgent operations with a small squad of elite troops and crush all opposition. Naturally the highest secrecy is required. Even their bosses are not informed of the full mission so as not to let any information leak out to Morden's forces. More important, this must stay secret to prevent people who still now trembled with fear at the mere mention of Morden's name from falling into wholesale panic…. It's a mission that could be called tougher than the previous Great War, but the two promptly accede to the task. If Morden is alive, he's not going to stay that way for long! The two hunger for battle, but there's an unexpected catch to all of this. This mission is to be carried out jointly with the Intelligence Agency's Special Ops Squad S.P.A.R.R.O.W.S. The two who presumed PF Squad would handle this alone voice their objections, but HQ will have no bellyaching. This is a product of the complexly interwoven wishes of the Intelligence Agency squaring off against the combat forces and power plays among the top brass that Marco and the others have no reason to understand. At any rate, the generals insist this be carried out in spite of the vagueness behind it. The day for the operations arrives. It comes with the two agents from S.P.A.R.R.O.W.S. They are the two young women Eri and Fio. "Sergeant Eri Sakamoto, reporting for duty. You can call me Eri." "Uh, it's an honor to meet the two heroes of the Great War. I'm Master Sergeant Fiolina Germi of S.P.A.R.R.O.W.S. This is the first time I've taken part in such a large-scale operation, but I'm ready. I'll do my best. You can count on me." "Aw, man, Marco. These chicks are gonna mess things up!" "Can it! We're burning daylight here. Let's move out!" And so the mission to put down the coup two was set into motion. Can Marco and the gang prevent a second coup? Is Morden really still alive? And just what is the insurgent army's terrifying secret? The battle has again begun!

First of all, Tarma, having a couple of chicks around doesn't have to be bad. After all, where would I be if I hadn't chomped into Ms. Pac-Man? And the plot thickens... Wocka! Wocka!

From the desk of Professor Pac-Man: The alien enemies, together with the final battle and ending sequence, are a deliberate pastiche of the Sci-Fi blockbuster movie, 'Independence Day'.

Metal Slug X

From the Description: The Metal Slug series advances further with Metal Slug X that adds a variety of elements to the Metal Slug 2 game system like the wealth of weapon items like the Iron Lizard, which chases down enemies wherever they may run to, and the “Drop Shot” that lobs bouncing shells. Thanks to the completely overhauled placement of enemy characters like bosses, this game offers a map that can't be cleared in a single sitting even by those who breeze through the previous title. And characters can also change in this title – pick up too many food items and you'll pay for it big time, tubby! 

X - Isn't that 10? Then why is it listed between 2 and 3? Just because it's a remixed/upgraded/spin-off version of Metal Slug 2 – that gives them the right to call it the pseudo-third title in the series? What the heck is pseudo anyway? Wocka! Wocka!

From the desk of Professor Pac-Man: If you pay attention (better than Pac-Man did in class) you can see up to 5 different sets of 12 characters, enemies and vehicles artwork images during the credits. And to answer your question Pac-Man, the word “pseudo” means “false”.

Metal Slug 3

From the Story: The war of rebellion undertaken by General Morden, attempting to impose a new order on the world, is now a chapter for the history books, and the status quo and tranquility have been restored around the globe. The resurrected Morden attempted to enact his new plans for a coup but his plans were foiled thanks to the lightning-fast surprise attack of the Government Forces who got wind of the plot in advance… Marco and Tarma of the Peregrine Falcons, who distinguished themselves in the trouncing of Morden's insurgent forces, have once again had their requests for discharge denied and continue to participate in missions leading the Falcons. Although General Morden himself has been designated as missing, remnants of his army still lie in wait in various regions throughout the world, and Marco and Tarma's abilities and experience will be required to destroy their strongholds. In the midst of a fierce battle with these remnants, Marco and Tarma could not help but feel Morden's influence and a third try for world domination. The fiend still lives. And he has not given up. Meanwhile, the Special Ops Squad S.P.A.R.R.O.W.S. in the Intelligence Agency of the Government Forces has been investigating a rash of mysterious events parallel to their pursuit of General Morden. From the trivial snatching of livestock to unrelated incidents like the disappearance of important world figures and the abnormal enlargement of living creatures, all taken together point to one possibility. There is another menace behind all this that can't be General Morden. In light of this the Intelligence Agency proposes another joint mission with S.P.A.R.R.O.W.S. and the Falcons in a high-handed manner. Their request asking for members of S.P.A.R.R.O.W.S. to participate in the land assault on the desert island on which remnants of Morden's army are hiding is approved. This is because the Intelligence Agency insists the results of their analysis shows there must be some common link between the remnants of Morden's army and the mysterious incidents, but naturally the top brass of the Government Forces laugh this off. All things being normal, any connection between the large creatures that have mutated abnormally and Morden's forces would have been laughed off by the upper echelons. But considering the previous achievements of the Intelligence Agency's operations so far, the request is tacitly approved… The squad leader Marco, fearing upheaval in the chain of command, naturally voices his fierce opposition, but, as always, he is respectfully blown off and the landing operations are launched. Marco shrugs in disbelief. Tarma waves it all off. Eri turns her back to it all in resignation. Fio smiles nostalgically to greet her old pals. The prelude to a new battle that no one saw coming begins to play quietly, but it is difficult to make out its faint melody. But soon, however, it is sure to conclude in a crescendo of unprecedented intensity.

I just have one question: Who names their slimy, man-eating, overgrown, toothy excuse for an eel Barbie? Wocka! Wocka!

From the desk of Professor Pac-Man: This was the last game in the Metal Slug series developed by SNK. Many of developers who worked on Metal Slug originally worked for Irem, and as a result the underwater stages are a graphical tribute to Irem's 1993 classic, "In the Hunt". 

Metal Slug 4

From the Story: 20XX Fear of cyber terrorism plunges the world into panic. A warning of the outbreak and effects of the computer virus "White Baby" made to override the main military systems of countries around the world appears on the Internet…. Given this statement, the quickly convened Conference on International Cyber Terror Countermeasures resolves to annihilate the terror syndicate "Amadeus," increase the security of the world's military systems, and to fortify defenses of military installations…. Not only does this involve a battle over the net, the body also moves that the Special Forces Squad Peregrine Falcons (PF) be deployed to wipe out "Amadeus." The Special Forces Squad PF is a special arm of the Government Forces trained to be able to handle any situation possible. According to the most reliable reports among all of the intelligence provided from countries around the world, "Amadeus" is about to attack communication installations within a certain country in a few hours. Tarma and Eri are dispatched on a mission to protect researchers developing a "vaccine" for the "White Baby" computer virus. In the meantime, four others―Marco, Fio, and the new recruits Trevor and Nadia― are deployed to execute a mission that will annihilate "Amadeus". A satellite picture sent prior to the sortie shows a number of figures believed to be members of "Amadeus." The face of one of the figures shocks everyone present… This picture shows Satan's stand-in himself, General Morden! Situation? Critical! Which will happen first? The birth of "White Baby"? The Special Force's annihilation of "Amadeus"? And just what is the relationship between the terror syndicate "Amadeus" and Morden…? 

This General Morden guy would fit right in with the likes of Blinky - you just can't seem to get rid of him. Wocka! Wocka!

From the desk of Professor Pac-Man: Following the fall of the SNK Corporation, MEGA Enterprise, who still had co-ownership of the Metal Slug titles, decided to create the next game in the series with some additional improvements. A new plot and characters gave the game a new mode of play, while new systems were introduced, such as the “Metallish” system that allows players to rack up additional points.

Metal Slug 5

From the Story: The laboratory developing the next generation of METAL SLUGs comes under attack and a data disk containing METAL SLUG secrets is seized. Marco and Tarma are ordered to retrieve the disc and rush to track it down. Meanwhile, Eri and Fio, who are investigating the paramilitary organization Ptolemaic Army that is raiding historical ruins, succeed in tracking it down at an ancient ruin known as the "Corridor of Fire." They storm the site and attempt to overtake them, but they are repulsed by the natives and giant METAL SLUGs. This incident makes it clear that the enemy behind the pilfering of METAL SLUG secrets is the Ptolemaic Army. The Government Forces decide to carry out a second assault on the "Corridor of Flame" using an elite force of PF Squad and S.P.A.R.R.O.W.S. members to retrieve the secrets and destroy the paramilitary organization!!

“Corridor of Fire”, “Corridor of Flame” - this game is getting hotter by the minute!
♪ It's getting hot in here, so take out all those foes. ♪ Wocka! Wocka!

From the desk of Professor Pac-Man: This episode introduces a new 'slide' move to the series by holding down the (B button). Players can also make a sliding shot by pushing the (A button) while sliding.

Metal Slug 6

From the Story: A farewell to arms―it was all supposed to have finished with that final battle. Morden's third attempt at world conquest was over. But his whereabouts still remain unknown. But even after with the remnants of Morden's army neutralized, our heroes' requests for discharge from the service were still refused. For a brief moment, there was peace. But the frequent chatter of late intercepted by the expanded and consolidated Intelligence Agency suggests this peace will not last long. Decent intel includes testimonials from people who have seen UFOs, aliens, and giant creatures. Fortunately, there have been no reports of damage or injury, but one can't help feeling the mars people, maybe even Morden, is behind all this. And finally intelligence officers acquired conclusive proof: A group resembling Morden's army had hid themselves in a mountainous region and was gathering weapons and building installations. Yet there were still doubts: General Morden was nowhere to be seen, the objectives of the group were unclear, and whether this group was in fact Morden's army remained inconclusive. Although it was concluded that this could not be a military group by any standard, those at HQ, particular sensitive to anything concerning Morden, however, quickly summoned the usual four: Marco and Tarma from PF Squad and Eri and Fio from S.P.A.R.R.O.W.S. Only moments away from deployment, no one attempted to voice their opinions.
They stood face to face with two new but yet somehow familiar faces ready to join their team. "It's not that we don't trust the four of you," the commander spoke, "but word from the top dictates that you'll be working with these two private contractors for this operation." "Ralf Jones here. Let's get this baby done!" "Clark Still. It will be my honor if I can be of assistance to all of you." With their newly furnished weapons in hand, this new team began their parachute drop into hell. This is the last time! 

“This is the last time!” Yeah, that's what Namco said in '87 after they released Pac-Mania, but guess who's still here and chomping strong! Wocka! Wocka!

From the desk of Professor Pac-Man: Ralf and Clark first appeared in "Ikari Warriors" even before the King of Fighters series.

Beyond the Arcades

1999 – Metal Slug 1st Mission
2000 – Metal Slug 2nd Mission
2004 – Metal Slug Advance
2004 – Metal Slug Mobile
2004 – Metal Slug STG (Japan Only)
2004 – Metal Slug Slot Machine
2005 – Metal Slug Mobile Impact
2005 – Metal Slug: Allen's Battle Chronicles Part 1 (Japan Only)
2006 – Metal Slug: Allen's Battle Chronicles Part 2 (Japan Only)
2006 – Metal Slug 3D (Japan Only)
2006 – Metal Slug: Soldiers (Japan Only)
2006 – Metal Slug: Survivors (Japan Only)

The Professor said the average life span of a slug is 2-3 years. Obviously he wasn't talking about 'Metal' Slugs! Wocka! Wocka!

* This article is only a listing of known unique game titles. It does not cover clones of released titles, nor will it list the various platforms the titles have appeared on. It is not meant to be an all-inclusive reference listing, and should be viewed only as the recreational offering it was intended to be. Game descriptions, game titles and registered trademarks mentioned herein are properties of their respective owners.

First Published November 2007