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Video Game / Metal Slug Missions

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The cover for the first game.

Metal Slug: 1st Mission and its sequel 2nd Mission are two spinoffs of the popular run and gun series released in 1999 and 2000 by SNK for the Neo-Geo Pocket Color. While Marco's Unnamed Lookalike's adventure in 1st doesn't have much of a plot, 2nd details the first encounter between the Rebel Army and the Mars People as recruits Gimlet and Red Eye move in to stop their negotiations.

The two games make a good job in condensing the series' spirit to a pocket's size with the usual hectic action and detailed animation, but come with more platforming-focused and sometimes maze-like level design. Interestingly, both feature far more levels than the arcade games and have an unique route system: stages where you pilot a Slug force you to keep the vehicle until the end. Getting blasted out of it sends you into an escape mission and then a different and longer route, so there are various possible ways to get to the end depending of the player's skill.


While Metal Slug Advance can be seen as a Spiritual Successor to these two, the 2010 Metal Slug Team Mission mobile game is unrelated.

Those games feature the following tropes:

  • Absentee Actor: None of the characters except for Margaret in the main series appear in both games. The Hero in 1st is a Marco look-a-like, and Morden gets a brief mention in 2nd.
  • Ascended Extra: Margaret originally appeared in specific ports of Metal Slug 2/X as the Combat School instructor. In 2nd, she engages in the plot as Gimlet's mission command and also appears at the end of certain missions.
  • All There in the Manual: The manuals give a much more detailed description of the plot presented in the games.
  • Big Bad: Colonel Hilde Garn in the first game. Commander Kanan in the second.
  • Bowdlerise: The international versions changes the blood's color from red to white.
  • Cassandra Truth:
    • At the end of 2nd, Gimlet storms the enemy base to prevent the contact between the Rebels and the Martians. He requests backup from HQ but they ignore him, thinking he's gone shell-shocked.
    • Similarly, Red Eye gets bluntly rejected by Gimlet and Margaret after she gives intel about the Mars People. She gets redeemed after HQ confirms the happenings.
  • Collection Side Quest: 2nd keeps track of the prisoners you rescue. There are 100 in total.
  • Continuing is Painful:
    • Both installments have checkpoints and limited continues. Kindly enough, the default setting is 9 chances. 2nd also doesn't remove the prisoners you had rescued before dying.
    • Tequila cannot use continues, but any POWs he rescues are kept anyway.
    • Losing a Slug in both games leads to a different mission. In 2nd, this is considered as Mission Incomplete and does not count for the "Clear Mission" checklist.
  • Continuity Nod: The two games are prequels set before the Metal Slug series as the titular Slug is on the prototype stage (named the SV-000 in 1st and the Proto 2 in 2nd). It also establishes Red Eye as the first member of the Sparrows squad and the Mars People starting off as non-backstabbing allies to the Rebels.
  • Cranium Ride:
    • Certain enemy tanks must be used as platforms to get goodies that are otherwise out of reach.
    • The Rebels' helmets in 1st can used as platforms for a split-second before the Hero slips off.
  • Degraded Boss: The final boss of 1st shows up near the end of 2nd, but it lacks some of its moves and doesn't have its second phase.
  • The Dragon: Lt. Colonel Macba in both games. He also has a dragon of his own in 2nd named Lt. Wired.
  • Escort Mission: Failing a Slug level forces you to clear an escape mission and take a longer route through the game. This includes the Metal Slug missions in 2nd, even though it lets you keep going on foot after losing the tank.
  • Every 10,000 Points: Every 20,000 point milestone in 2nd is an extra retry.
  • Expy: Heroes and villains alike in those two games are clear lookalikes of characters from the main installments. The English manual for the second game even erroneously mixes Gimlet and Red Eye with Marco and Fio.
  • Fake Longevity:
    • Unlocking the Super Devil Rank (23/23) in 1st revolves collecting 23 Rank Medals in Very Hard. Multiple playthroughs are needed to collect them all.
    • Due to split routes and different character routes, at least eight runs are required to complete every mission in 2nd. This gets difficult as some routes require a Slug to survive.
  • Foreshadowing: Gimlet wonders if Morden was an alien in disguise. Metal Slug 3's main twist is that the Rebels were unknowingly controlled by the Martians using a Mars Person disguised as Morden.
  • Gameplay Grading: Both games rank you as you make progress. Rank is increased by collecting medals and hitting score milestones in the first game and by rescuing prisoners in the second. The better your rank in the sequel, the more hints you receive from the ex-POWs.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: The second game keeps track both of rescued prisoners and of the stages you managed to find. Clearing all 38 missions unlocks a third character who can freely select stages, which is helpful for finding any remaining prisoners.
  • Guide Dang It!: Good luck finding all those prisoners in the second game, especially considering all the possible mission paths one has to look through and the lack of a level select option until you unlock Tequila.
  • Hard Mode Perks: Going up a rank in 1st's Very Hard mode requires getting Rank Medals. However, Very Hard is the only difficulty that rewards the Super Devil rank. In this state, the character is invincible to everything except spikes, crushing, and falling off pits.
  • Heroic Wannabe: Both Gimlet and Red Eye's end goals are to be known as heroes. While Gimlet is doing his best as a soldier, Red Eye tends to boast about being a hero and keeps getting into trouble.
  • 100% Completion: Two rewards present in 2nd:
    • Completing every mission unlocks Tequila. He is able to select any mission (including Mission 31st's three entrances) and has access to every weapon.
    • Rescuing every POW unlocks Hero Mode. The playable characters can throw infinite grenades and also replace their weapons with gloves that destroys almost everything in one punch.
  • Informed Equipment: For some reason, Tequila's animations don't change to account for his current weapon.
  • Life Meter: Unusually for a Metal Slug game, you can take more than one hit without needing to pilot a Slug. 1st Mission goes by the rules of the first Metal Slug, where damage amount depends on the source. 2nd, however, gives you a fixed HP (the max amount depending on difficulty) both on foot and on a Slug.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Discussed in 2nd when the Mars People show up and turn out to be negotiating an alliance with the Rebels. Upset with all the killing he's been doing lately, Gimlet comments he would've preferred the aliens to have been manipulating the rebels or for the Rebel Army to have been aliens in disguise all along.
  • Marathon Level: The first mission in either game introduces both the Metal Slug and the Slug Flyer or the Sub. If you play badly you will also learn the consequences for failing the vehicle areas, further extending the stage.
  • Meaningful Name: Lt. Wired uses a wire to climb and toss grenades.
  • Minecart Madness: 2nd has a couple of those towards the end, where crashing into anything is instant death and there's plenty of awkward jumps to be made. Remember you'll sometimes need to hold down on the D-pad to slow down.
  • Mission Control: Between missions in 2nd, Gimlet receives information from Margaret and Red Eye receives information from a generic Prisoner.
  • The Mole: Tequila from the second game is a mysterious spy who pretends to be a Rebel Army grunt and sabotages them by releasing all their hostages.
  • New Game+:
    • The S-Continue mode in 1st starts the game over but keeps your current rank and health meter.
    • Tequila has access to all missions. This allows him to rescue POWs without playing previous missions.
  • New Tech Is Not Cheap: Gimlet and Red Eye get scolded for destroying the Slugs and the prototypes as they're are not cheap to produce.
  • No-Gear Level: Upon getting captured in 1st, you have to break out of a Cardboard Prison with only your knife at hand. 2nd removes the Prison Camps but still features this mechanic in certain levels.
  • No Name Given: The protagonists from 1st are left unnamed; the 10th Anniversary site nicknames them as "Hero".
  • Nostalgia Level: The first Time Attack stage in 2nd is the first stage from 1st.
  • Not the Fall That Kills You…: Failing a Slug Flyer mission in the first game sends you into a parachuting minigame with a very unhelpful timer (except in Kids difficulty). If you release the parachute too early, you must dodge a barrage of insta-killing missiles until you land — which can be painfully hard. Release the parachute too late, and you'll fatally hit the ground before it fully deploys. The sequel replaces this with a Drop Pack stage.
  • Notice This: In the train-top and minecart levels for 2nd, a warning sign appears before incoming obstacles. Sadly this is not very helpful in the minecart levels, where you must find out via trial and error the correct timing for the jumps and when you need to slow down.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: Playing 2nd in Very Hard and Hero Mode reduces you to this. You also only get 1 HP in the Time Attack levels for this game.
  • Purely Aesthetic Gender: Clearing 1st once lets you play as a female soldier but she has no gameplay differences. In 2nd, however, Gimlet and Red Eye have weapons and missions that are exclusive to each of them.
  • Recycled Soundtrack: 1st uses music from the first game while 2nd uses music from Metal Slug 1 and 2/X.
  • Rise to the Challenge: The Escape Sequence before the final boss in 1st is a long climbing challenge under a time limit.
  • Sequential Boss:
    • The final battle of 1st starts with three bosses, leads into a timed Escape Sequence and ends with a dangerous showdown against Hilde Garns's mech. That has a short second phase made just to sucker punch you.
    • 2nd follows suit with 4 sequential bosses for its final battle.
  • Speedrun: 2nd has a Time Attack mode which gives you 1 HP and infinite ammo to clear some unique missions. Setting records awards you continues for your current playthough of the main game.
  • Super Prototype:
    • The SV-000 can turn directions and engage a Metal Slug Attack in midair unlike the finished product.
    • The Slug Sub has more versatile control than the Slug Mariner.
  • Title Drop: The events of the first game are called "First Mission" in-universe. At the end of 2nd, the higher ups decide to hide everything that happened from the public and write it off as a training mission. Gimlet remarks they should have called it a "Second Mission" instead. In Red Eye's story they do call it that, but then she's annoyed because it was her debut mission.
  • You All Look Familiar: Subverted. Prisoners appear as identical bearded blond dudes as usual, but if you go check the rescued prisoner list what you'll find is a Cast of Snowflakes. And some of those people are actually women!