Episode 4: Metal Slug

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Metal Slug Notes

Introduction: Irem Corporation

Irem was a video-games company founded in 1974 under the name IPM. They specialised in manufacturing arcade cabinets, changing their name to Irem Corporation, Irem standing for International Rental Electronics Machines. Later in the mid 80’s, they changed the abbreviation to Innovations in Recreational Electronic Media. During this time, they became well known for their R-Type series.   (Metal Slug Wikia)

GunForce: Battle Fire Engulfed Terror Island or simply titled as GunForce – 1991, Arcade

Genre: Run & Gun

Publisher: Irem

Ports: SNES

Is a side-scrolling action shooting game produced by Irem for the arcades in 1991. The game was later ported by Bits Studios and published by Irem to the Super Famicom exclusively in Japan in 1992.

Story:  Parachuted out of a bomber, the player has landed into hostile territory to defeat the enemy who is threatening Mother Earth.

Notable Releases in 1992:

Notes:

Gunforce 2 had many elements which were carried over to Metal Slug. You had a variety of weapons to pick, you could ride a good amount of vehicles such as tanks, jeeps, walker robots and a hovercraft. Your mission was to rescue prisoners, although here they are women instead of bearded, starving POW’s. Both games use the same graphic designs, even with similar explosion effects. Some of the sound effects are the same as Metal Slug, such as the enemies grunts, which are the same grunts used by the Rebels.

From Irem to Nazca

During the 1990’s, a group of programmers from Irem started creating various arcade games who all shared the same graphics style and design. This group, formed by Akio, Susumu, Tomohiro and Kozo amongst others, created games such as Cosmic Cop (Armed Police Unit Gallop in Japan), Undercover Cops, In The Hunt (whose Playstation conversion was, ironically, pirated and sold under the title Metal Slug Submarine) and especially Gunforce 2. During this time, Irem was facing financial problems, which ended with Irem Corporation closing forever in 1994 (Irem would come back in 1996 as Irem Software Engineering Inc, now making only home console games). The aforementioned group of programmers, frustrated with Irem’s inactivity at the time of crisis, left Irem and created their own company named Nazca. They decided to create games for the Neo-Geo MVS arcade system, starting with the golf game Top Players Golf.      (Metal Slug Wikia)

Nine of the original Nazca staff (including Meeher, Akio, Susumu and development manager Kawai) answered questions from an undated text interview that was translated and included in Metal Slug Anthology.

Because the common use of pseudonyms in arcade titles to avoid rivalry between corporations, details of its staff remains scarce.  They are was considered part of SNK’s in-house band, the “Shinsekai Gakkyoku Zatsugidan“.   (SNK.wikia.com)

Key (Founding) Members: info from SNK.wikia.com

Listed in Random Order (not a complete list of works!):

  • Takushi Hiyamuta (credited with names such as “HIYA!” and “HIYA-UNIT”) – Composer up to Metal Slug 3
  • Meeher
  • Akio:  Graphic Artist
  • Susumu:  Graphic Artist
  • Kawai
  • Kazuma Kujo, credited as KOZO

List of Metal Slug Games (Wiki)

Title Details
Metal Slug

Original release date(s):

  • NA: April 18, 1996
  • JP: April 19, 1996
Release years by system:

1996 – Neo Geo

1996 – Neo Geo CD

1997 – Sega Saturn

1997 – PlayStation

2008 – Virtual Console

2010 – PlayStation Network

2012 – iOS/Android

2015 – Steam

Metal Slug 2

Original release date(s):

  • JP: February 23, 1998
  • NA: April 2, 1998
  • EU: November 28, 2008
Release years by system:

1998 – Neo Geo

1998 – Neo Geo CD

2008 – Virtual Console

2011 – PlayStation Network

2013 – iOS/Android

2016 – Steam

Metal Slug 3

Original release date(s):

  • JP: March 23, 2000
  • NA: September 17, 2001
  • EU: November 12, 2004
Release years by system:

2000 – Neo Geo

2003 – PlayStation 2

2004 – Xbox

2008 – Xbox Live Arcade

2012 – Virtual Console

2012 – iOS/Android

2014 – Steam

2015 – PlayStation Network

Metal Slug 4

Original release date(s):

  • JP: March 27, 2002
Release years by system:

2002 – Neo Geo

2004 – PlayStation 2

2005 – Xbox

2012 – Virtual Console

Metal Slug 5

Original release date(s):

  • JP: November 14, 2003
Release years by system:

2003 – Neo Geo

2005 – PlayStation 2

2005 – Xbox

Metal Slug 6

Original release date(s):

  • JP: February 22, 2006
Release years by system:

2006 – Atomiswave

2006 – PlayStation 2

Metal Slug 7

Original release date(s):

  • JP: July 17, 2008
  • NA: November 28, 2008
  • EU: February 27, 2009
  • AUS: October 29, 2009
Release years by system:

2008 – Nintendo DS

Remakes

Title Details
Metal Slug X

Original release date(s):

  • NA: March 18, 1999
  • JP: March 19, 1999
  • EU: August 1, 2003
Release years by system:

1999 – Neo Geo

2001 – PlayStation

2012 – Virtual Console

2013 – iOS/Android

2014 – Microsoft Windows (Steam)

Notes:

  • A revised version of Metal Slug 2
Metal Slug XX

Original release date(s):

  • JP: December 23, 2009
  • NA: February 23, 2010
  • EU: June 25, 2010
Release years by system:

2009 – PlayStation Portable

2010 – Xbox Live Arcade

Notes:

  • A revised version of Metal Slug 7

Metal Slug – 1996, Neo Geo

Genre: Run & Gun

Publisher: Nazca Corporation, SNK

Ports:

1996 – Neo Geo CD

1997 – Sega Saturn

1997 – PlayStation

2008 – Virtual Console

2010 – PlayStation Network

2012 – iOS/Android

2015 – Steam

Story:  The evil General Morden and his rebel army has launched a coup d’état on the world’s governments, and all attempts by the armies of the various countries to curtail his growing power fail. His most recent attack has given him access to a new form of all-terrain combat tank dubbed “Metal Slug”. In a last effort to stop Morden, Cpt. Marco Rossi and Lt. Tarma Roving of the Peregrine Falcon Strike Force are sent to locate and eliminate his powerbase, as well as reclaim or destroy any Metal Slugs they can find so as to keep the technology out of Morden’s hands. (Wiki)

Notable Releases in 1996:

Notes:

Arguably the best Run & Gun games ever made.  

NeoGeo’s Metal Slug version received very positive reviews.In a retrospective review, Neo-Geo.com scored the game 9 out of 10

Excellent hand drawn sprites with great animation.

Music is solid.

Game is fun and rewarding.  Very rare now in the US.

 

Metal Slug 2 – 1998, Neo Geo

Genre: Run & Gun

Publisher: SNK (acquired Nazca)

Ports:

1998 – Neo Geo CD

2008 – Virtual Console

2011 – PlayStation Network

2013 – iOS/Android

2016 – Steam

Story:  Two years have passed since the end of Metal Slug, when Capt. Marco Rossi and Lt. Tarma Roving of Peregrine Falcon Strike Force defeated and apparently killed the evil General Morden, who had staged a coup d’état against the worlds’ governments. Since then, various factions sympathetic to Morden have been in operation, but have always been considered insignificant.  Recently, however, they have begun to act in unison, and army intelligence concludes that the only way this could happen is if Morden himself is in fact still alive and is attempting a new coup.  (Wiki)

Notable Releases in 1998:

Notes:

A lot of Slowdown in this one.

Upon their initial appearance, both Metal Slug 2 and Metal Slug X received generally positive reviews.

Excellent hand drawn sprites with great animation.

Music is solid.

Game is fun and rewarding.

Metal Slug 3 – 2000, Neo Geo

Genre: Run & Gun

Publisher: SNK (acquired Nazca)

Ports:

2003 – PlayStation 2

2004 – Xbox

2008 – Xbox Live Arcade

2012 – Virtual Console

2012 – iOS/Android

2014 – Steam

2015 – PlayStation Network

Story:  One year after the events of Metal Slug 3 (timeline wise, also after the Metal Slug 6, which takes place after the 3) the world is trembling under the new threat of a mysterious but deadly cyber virus that threatens to attack and destroy any nation’s military computer system. With Tarma and Eri unable to help due to their own assignments in the matter, Marco and Fio are called in to investigate the situation and are joined by two newcomers, Nadia and Trevor. In their investigation, the group discovers that a rich terrorist organization known as Amadeus is behind the nefarious plot and has allied with General Morden’s Rebel Army. They head into battle against Amadeus’ forces, hoping to destroy the cyber virus before it gets the chance to wipe out the entire world’s military computer system. (Wiki)

Notable Releases in 2000:

Notes:

Upon its initial appearance, Metal Slug 3 received generally positive reviews. Most of its subsequent ports and re-releases have also seen good reviews.

Excellent hand drawn sprites with great animation.

Music is solid.

Game is fun and rewarding.

Metal Slug 4 – 2002, Neo Geo

Genre: Run & Gun

Publisher: Mega Enterprise

Ports:

2004 – PlayStation 2

2005 – Xbox

2012 – Virtual Console

Story:  Determined to wipe out every remnant of Morden’s powerbase, the army send Rossi and Roving to destroy all remaining rebel strongholds, one by one. During the fighting, however, Rossi and Roving come to the conclusion that the enemy is too well organised, and perhaps Morden is not as dead as was initially thought. Meanwhile, the S.P.A.R.R.O.W.S. come across a series of strange events which lead the army to conclude that the aliens with whom Morden once allied himself have returned.  The Peregrine Falcon Strike Force and S.P.A.R.R.O.W.S. are once again united, and sent to defeat this new threat. After various battles against Morden’s forces, the heroes are shocked to face off against Mordern himself. However, after defeating him, it is revealed that it was really an alien in disguise, and the real Morden has (once again) been taken prisoner by the aliens.  (Wiki)

Notable Releases in 2002:

Notes:

First Metal Slug not developed by the original members, but instead by Mega Enterprise, a Korean Developer.

Reused many backgrounds from previous games.

Metal Slug 4 was positively received by players with users scores of 7.8 for PS2, 7.3 for Xbox, 8.1 for Neo Geo

Excellent hand drawn sprites with great animation.

Metal Slug 5 – 2003, Neo Geo

Genre: Run & Gun

Publisher: Noise Factory

Ports:

2005 – PlayStation 2

2005 – Xbox

Story:  A special disc that contains deep and intricate secrets about the Metal Slug project is stolen by a mysterious group called the Ptolemaic Army, whose speciality lies from within archaeological excavation and espionage. Marco and Tarma of the Peregrine Falcon Strike Force follow in hot pursuit against the group and in the process are joined by Eri and Fio of SPARROWS. Together once more, the quartet investigate the shrouded objective of the Ptolemaic Army, who over time grows more powerful as they are joined by a mysterious masked man and his followers. At the end of the game, the Ptolemaic Army summons a giant demon as the final boss, which after a long battle is forced to leave Earth thanks to the heroes. (Wiki)

Notable Releases in 2003:

Notes:

The biggest difference from previous titles is the addition of the slide move, which allows the player to evade and maneuver in a new fashion.

Metal Slug 5 incorporates a wealth of new environments and backgrounds and features a more Heavy metal influenced soundtrack.

Metal Slug 5 received mixed to positive reviews from critics.  It received very positive scores from players, with an average of 8.1.

Excellent hand drawn sprites with great animation.

Metal Slug 6 – 2006, Atomiswave (Neo Geo)

Genre: Run & Gun

Publisher: SNK Playmore, Sega

Ports:

2006 – PlayStation 2

Story:  Once more, the presence of General Morden looms over the world. Marco Rossi and Tarma Roving of the Peregrine Falcon unit and Eri Kasamoto and Fio Germi of SPARROWS are ordered to investigate, and they are joined by two new allies named Ralf Jones and Clark Still. Together, they proceed into the mountains where Morden’s Rebel Army has established an outpost. After destroying their latest war machine in a long hillside battle, the soldiers confront Morden and discover that he has rebuilt his alliance with the Martians. However, it is revealed that the Martians themselves are being invaded and eaten by a new race of aliens called Invader and they have turned to Morden for help.  (Wiki)

Notable Releases in 2006:

  • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess – GameCube
  • The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion – Xbox 360
  • Gears of War – Xbox 360
  • Okami – Playstation 2
  • Company of Heroes – PC
  • Guitar Hero II – Playstation 2
  • Final Fantasy XII – Playstation 2
  • Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter – Xbox 360
  • GTR 2 – PC
  • Medieval 2: Total War – PC

Notes:

The Metal Slug, Type-R Metal Slug, Slug Flyer and a Slug Gunner prototype make an appearance in the game, as well as some new ones.

Each character now has unique abilities: Marco’s basic gun does more damage, Eri can throw bombs in multiple directions, and so on. Some characters also have special attack techniques that are activated through certain button combinations. Characters can now throw away one gun power-up’s worth of ammunition, to give to the other player or simply discard altogether. A secondary melee attack is also available. Conversely, the sliding technique from Metal Slug 5 has been removed, and players except Fio and Ralf only receive half as much ammo for special guns.

Metal Slug 6 introduces a new play mechanic dubbed the ‘Weapon Stock System’. Two gun power-ups can now be carried at the same time.

The score is now multiplied by powers of 2. The faster the speed at which enemies are killed, the higher the power, as a meter at the bottom of the screen shows. When it says “Max” enemies and destructible objects will drop coins for an extra high score.

Excellent hand drawn sprites with great animation.

Metal Slug 7 – 2008, Atomiswave (Neo Geo)

Genre: Run & Gun

Publisher: SNK Playmore

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