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Metal Slug is a series of run and gun video games first released on Neo-Geo arcade machines and game consoles created by SNK. It was also ported to other consoles
The gameplay of the series is characteristic of run and gun games: large numbers of enemies and a player character with extremely powerful weapons. In most run and guns, contact with an enemy leads to annihilation . In this series, however, contact results in the opportunity to perform a melee attack and the opportunity for the enemy to perform a melee attack of his own if he has one. The player's melee attack is also much stronger than most shots. This leads to the ability for the player to run in and use melee attacks to take down a number of troops, and the ability to quickly defeat enemies that can take plenty of damage like the mummies in Metal Slug 2.
The player starts with only a simple handgun; as the game progresses, the player may pick up new weapons. The player can only use one weapon at a time. When a new weapon is found, it replaces the previous one. Similarly, when ammo runs out, the player reverts to using the handgun, which has unlimited ammo. A new system was implemented with Metal Slug 6 allowing players to carry and switch between the handgun and two other weapons.
The SV-001 or Metal Slug is the main vehicle of the Metal Slug franchise. It is a small, cartoonish silver-gray tank (SV is short for "Super Vehicle"). The tank is armed with one cannon and twin vulcan cannons. The vehicle can jump and crouch. Crouching opens a hatch on the top of the tank through which grenades can be thrown. The grenades are independent of the cannon's ammo system. The vehicle can run over infantry and perform a suicide attack, with the driver jumping clear and the tank ramming into and exploding upon the target.
The vehicle can take three direct hits before it is destroyed. The enemy chaser variant has a shield that must be destroyed before the vehicle can be destroyed. It is propelled by caterpillar treads. Over time, these specifications changed into any vehicle armed with a vulcan cannon and a cannon variant suited to the role of the vehicle, and propelled suitably for that vehicle's environment. In Metal Slug 6 (and the home version of Metal Slug X, 3, 4, 5), Tarma can lock the vulcan cannons into one position and fire continuously. The "slug gunner" is considered the epitome of slug evolution.
The first game's story involved the Peregrine Falcon (PF) Squad, a small but skilled team of soldiers serving under the Regular Army's special operations division, who fight against the army of General Donald Morden in order to prevent a massive coup d'état and the creation of a New World Order under General Morden. Later games featured characters from the Sparrows Unit, which is under the control of the Regular Army's intelligence division.
In the games following the first, the PF Squad also battles an alien threat to Earth (the Mars People), as well as several other supernatural threats including yetis, zombies, ambulatory Venus flytraps, giant crabs, and mummies. These outlandish elements, were removed from the fourth game to return to the feel of the original title.
The fifth moved to the motif of modern guerrilla warfare, leaving only traces of the series signature quirky humor and paranormal enemies (except for the final boss). Metal Slug 6 returned to the plot of the first three installments, bringing back Morden's Rebel Army and the Mars People. Metal Slug 7 has less outlandish elements with the Mars People replaced by an alternative universe of Morden's Army with futuristic equipment and weapons
Metal Slug 3 and Metal Slug 5 are the only games in the main series that have only 5 levels, while the rest of the games have 6 levels each.
Metal Slug 5 also featured a "slide" move which could be performed by holding down and pressing the jump button.
The Rebel army features a possible reference to the Nazi Regime, due to the similarity of the Rebels logo and the Nazi Swastika.
In many of the arcade and console versions, the game would have the blood censored, and instead of being red coloured blood, it would be white. However, there is a code to disable this censor.