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  • Accidental Innuendo: Some games introduce the option to tone down the Gorn or force on the option for Western markets, by replacing the blood with what's supposed to be sweat. Dirty-minded players may mistake it for a fluid best left unmentioned here.
  • Author's Saving Throw: Metal Slug 5 addressed many of the complains players had about 4, such as giving Nadia and Trevor the boot and making Eri and Tarma playable again, as well as introducing quite a lot of new backgrounds, sprites and unique bosses in order to give the game a more original feel instead of reusing assets from previous games.
  • Awesome Art: The amount of detail in the sprites is unprecedented. The games do run at only 30 FPS as a result (with the first two outright chugging along when the enemies and their shots start flooding the screen), but it's a fair compromise for the amazing animation of the series' many characters.
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    • The design of the machinery also deserve mention. Not only does it look incredibly detailed in-game, with all its visible moving parts in place, the concepts are also a sight to behold.
  • Awesome Music: In spades.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: The sinking gun hitting the fishman in the end of Metal Slug 3. Was supposed to be subverted in Metal Slug 4, where fishpeople where planned to be the main enemies of the game or enemies exclusive to an underwater city mission note , but went under due to the staff losing interest in the idea and by SNK's bankruptcy at the time.
    • He does make an appearance as an April Fools' Day unit in Attack, over a decade after the fact.
  • Breather Boss: Some of the mid-level bosses, encountered halfway through the game, are actually considerably easier, especially compared to some prior bosses.
    • Shoe and Karn from the first game; while they're Dual Bosses that attacks together, individually they have pathetic health (for a boss), especially if the player have a Slug at their service. Although they appear together, Shoe and Karn each inhabits a single platform and are only a threat at their respective positions; so players only need to fight one while avoiding attacks from the other (preferably starting with Karn at the bottom, first). Their forward-facing cannons are only a threat on their respective elevations, while their slow-moving rockets could be dodged by leaping aside; once Karn is defeated, the players can spam their Slug's cannon (or grenades if they don't have a Slug) at Shoe from underneath while dodging its missiles without worrying about the cannons, which is made easier since there's a platform right beneath Shoe the players can stand on and lob their attacks.
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    • Dragon Nosuke from 2/X, sandwiched between Aeshi Nero and Big Shiee, both being bosses that force the player(s) to be constantly on the move; in comparison the Nosuke is a Stationary Boss whose attacks (80% of them) can be avoided by taking cover underneath it. Occasionally, Nosuke will unleash its slow-as-molasses flamethrower on players trying to take cover underneath it, but players have plenty of time to flee to the other side of the screen, before returning fire. The entire boss fight is just a matter of running back and forth, in and out of the Nosuke's bottom, until its defeated.
    • Big John from 4, who attacks with an easy-to-avoid descending claw and a fireball launcher, one at a time, compared to previous bosses who repeatedly spams missiles and/or cannons all over the place. In the later half of the fight once its robotic head is exposed, Big John will then release a single missile (which can be easily shot or jumped on) besides siccing those oh-so vulnerable rebels and some zombifying bubbles on the players. The latter attack actually works against Big John's favour, because players, upon being zombified, can use the awesome zombie blood puke to deal severe damage on Big John, an advantage they have on NONE of the other bosses.
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    • Fall Mecha from 7/XX, whose attacks consist of releasing easy-to-destroy turrets from above the players, while launching slow-moving cannons from a hatch below. It comes after the especially exhausting Crablops boss from Mission 3 (who spams attacks all over the player) and before the Union (which require players to constantly jump in between three segments).
  • Complacent Gaming Syndrome: Players going for a one-coin run often repeatedly enter and exit of a Slug to take advantage of the invincibility frames given during such actions. Unlike most examples though it is Difficult, but Awesome, as one wrong button press could lead to the use of the Slug's ramming explosive attack.
  • Contested Sequel:
    • Metal Slug 3. As beloved as it is to most gamers, there is some point of contention concerning its length; some welcome the epic length of the game compared to other titles, but others feel that it succumbs to Ending Fatigue (the final mission alone takes up about half the length of the game) and as a result is very brutal in difficulty compared to other games.
    • Metal Slug 5. Either you love it for both introducing an entirely new set of enemies and (mostly) abandoning the more outlandish elements of the previous sequels, its rocking soundtrack, and its inventive level design, or you hate it for straying too much from the lore with most of the enemy style clashing with the previous games as well as the complete lack of humorous elements. The only real consensus is that it's better than 4.
    • Metal Slug 6. Most point of contention are concerning about how short the game is compared to the previous games as well as reduction to special weapon ammo (see Scrappy Mechanic below). Either way though, it is generally agreed that it is where the series got out of its Dork Age.
  • Demonic Spiders:
    • MH-6S Masknell helicopters tend to be a very big pain to fight. They fly, have a great amount of health for a flying enemy, and depending on their firing pattern can be irritating to avoid, forcing you to keep moving around to avoid damage. What makes them much more dangerous than other vehicle enemies is that they tend to appear in areas that are chock-full of ground enemies, making a dicey situation nearly lethal when you have to avoid aimed/directed attacks from above too.
    • The zombie clones in the final level of Metal Slug 3. They take significantly more damage to kill than the regular clones and regular zombies and the blood vomit attack that was helpful to you when you were able to use it is a nightmare for you to dodge when they use it. There is a way to beat them easily — stay at the left edge of the screen and keep using your melee attack until they stop coming. They can't use the blood vomit if they don't fully enter the screen, and by doing this you prevent them from entering the screen.
  • Dork Age: The Noise Factory era (who developed 4, 5, and Advance) is the point where opinions were widely split, specifically regarding the games' level design, mechanics, and the reuse of assets from previous games.
  • Ending Fatigue: Metal Slug 3. Mission 5 (of 5) goes on for an insanely long time, and in fact takes up half of the game. It could've been split up into several missions to lessen this trope.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Hyakutaro Ichimonji, who many fans consider the biggest badass of the series.
    • Allen O'Neal is fairly popular, mainly because of the Boss Banter.
    • Fio for various reasons.
    • The Mars People are one of the more popular enemy types (and one that's pretty recognizable even by non fans).
    • Nadia and Trevor have a fair bit of popularity for characters that are only playable in one game before Defense (and for being Suspiciously Similar Substitutes to Eri and Tarma).
    • The Drill Instructors. Their popularity, however, is extremely small compared to the other darkhorses above.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: Due to the setup of the captured characters and their rescuers in Metal Slug 3 and Metal Slug 6, Marco/Fio and Tarma/Eri are mainly the "go to" couples (although any combination of the four are supported).
  • Fanon Discontinuity: Sets of players tend to either ignore anything after 3 (as it was the last game produced by the original team), any of the spin-offs, or just the two story-heavy mobile tower-defense games.
  • First Installment Wins: There is a noticeable portion of the player base that maintains that the first game is the best, largely due to the more grounded military theme (the humor is more Black Comedy than the wackiness of the sequels), lack of bullet-sponge enemies that are not vehicles, small amounts of Padding, and generally more fair difficulty. Many of them also rank 7/XX near the top of the list for similar reasons.
  • Fountain of Memes: The announcer, as seen below.
    • Allen O'Neal also counts.
  • Game-Breaker:
    • The Shotgun. HUGE range and absolutely devastating against everything. Hell, some players will gladly trade a fully loaded Heavy Machine Gun for it. Sadly not in 3D where it's useless for long-range attacks.
    • "Super Devil Mode" in the Combat School versions of Metal Slug 1, 2 and X. It turns your player character's pistol shot into Metal Slug cannon shells (1 and 2) or Super Grenades (X), allowing you to tear every level in Survival Attack mode into tiny pieces. Just make sure not to get mummified or pick up a weapon crate. Of course, you only get these after getting the highest ranks in Combat School and beating Survival Attack mode itself.
    • The Black Hound in Advance, once unlocked. Its main weapon is essentially an infinite-ammo Enemy Chaser with good rate of fire.
    • Leona snaps Metal Slug XX like a twig.
    • Playing as Ralf on Easy in 7/XX removes a large chunk of the challenge note . Metal Slug 6's Easy Mode at least mitigated this by ending the game prematurely.
    • Monolith weapon in Metal Slug 3D, when you beat the main story once. Throw a stick to summon these alien monoliths to crush enemy tanks from the sky? Check. Infinite supplies? Check. And you can spam everywhere without worrying about numbers.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff:
    • Much like The King of Fighters, Metal Slug, thanks to being included in SNK's affordable 100-in-1 arcade boards, became widely popular in Mexico and Latin America in general. In any video or article regarding Metal Slug, there will be a hefty amount of Spanish comments.
    • The series is also popular with South Koreans. Metal Slug 4 was developed by Mega Enterprise (a South Korean company) and several mobile games were exclusively released for South Korea.
  • Goddamned Bats: Bazooka soldiers and equivalents, especially those descending via parachute or on jetpacks (in 7/XX). While they take one hit to die, they're often positioned out of range and their aiming angle is far better than most other enemies. Those descending via parachute also tend to be quick on the draw meaning that you'll have to avoid at least one bazooka bullet flying at your position.
  • Good Bad Bugs:
    • The AES version of Metal Slug 5 had an un-dummied, incredibly easy-to-access debug menu which allowed to play any part of any stage on demand, plus a bunch of test areas full of free weapons, vehicles, unused stuff and a sprite/animation viewer.
    • Turnaround Cancelling is a trick that revolves quickly turning a character around back and forth after doing an action which skips the cool-down animations for that action. This is mostly used in Tool-Assisted Speedruns to increase the number of shots per second. However, a similar animation cancelling trick can be done without tool assistance; Leona can spam her Moon Slasher multiple times quickly by holding Up and the Special Button and alternating the shoot and grenade buttons. Use this against bosses and you're golden.
  • Growing the Beard: While the first game is still considered fun, it's the second game where the franchise really grew its legs and incorporated many of the Super Sentai-esque hallmarks of the series with the introduction of female player characters like Fio and Eri, more insane weapons and vehicles to use, transformations, and both supernatural and extraterrestrial enemies.
  • Heartwarming Moments: After you beat the Invader Queen at the end of 6, she dies in a colossal explosion that hits you and you seemingly fall to your death... But then, depending on the route you took, you are saved by either General Morden or Rootmars, coming to your aide for helping save them and their soldiers from the Invader Queen.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: A popular Fan Nickname for the Invaders from 6 was "Venusians", a pun based on their conflict with the Mars People. 14 years later, and evidence suggesting the possibility of life in Venus had been discovered.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • The announcer from X to Advance heard whenever weapons are picked up or the level is beaten.
      • RAWKET LAWNCHAIR!
      • SHAWTGUHN!
      • HEVEE MASHEEEN GUHN!
      • MISHOWN COMEPLEET *ending theme*
    • Allen O'Neal is no slouch in this department either.
  • Moe:
    • The amount of blood spilled, flesh torn and bones crushed is usually proportional to the cuteness of your mech.
    • There's also Fio, the series' resident Moe character.
  • Most Wonderful Sound:
    • "You're great!" Gained from rescuing at least ten prisoners in a single-player game or more prisoners than your friend in a two-player game. Compounded by the fact that your prisoner released count drops to zero whenever you die, it does feel more congratulatory than usual.
    • "Mission Complete!" followed by the Mission Complete theme.
  • Narm Charm:
    GAME OVER — PEACE FOREVER!
    • The hammy, Engrish-spouting announcer is one of the most iconic parts of the series.
  • Overshadowed by Controversy: Non-fans tend to know about Metal Slug 4 because the president of Mega Enterprise (who developed the entry with permission from SNK), Lee Sang, was charged of misdemeanor by the South Korean police who attempted to arrest him, and escaped to China, rather than anything about the game itself.
  • Porting Disaster:
    • An interesting case in which any perfect port of Metal Slug 2 is accused to be terrible due to its glaring slowdown issues while any other port that fixes the slowdown is considered superior.
    • The Western Xbox port of Metal Slug 3 is notorious for the fact that using one of the finite continues kicks the player back to the beginning of the stage.
    • The PS1 port of Metal Slug 1 suffers from choppy animation and mid-level loading (stopping the game and resetting the music).
    • Subverted with Terrifying 9/11, a bootleg GameBoy Color port of Metal Slug 1 note , which is fully functional despite its shoehorned The War on Terror imagery.
  • Replacement Scrappy:
    • Trevor and Nadia, as they replaced series' regulars Tarma and Eri in Metal Slug 4. The latter two actually appear in order to justify stage transitions (they're driving the vehicles that pick you up at the end of every level), but that's just not enough.
    • The announcer of XX is considered to be unimpressive compared to the previous ones.
  • Scrappy Mechanic:
    • Each game gives you the option of sacrificing your vehicle in a powerful attack. Problem is, it's activated by pressing both the jump button and shoot button, the most used buttons in Metal Slug, at the same time. As a result, it's very possible to unintentionally throw away a vehicle loaded with powerful weaponry and capable of taking more punishment than the player character right when you need said vehicle the most. Arcade versions of the games from 4 onwards, reassigns this command to the D button, which is unlikely to be prone to the same mistake as earlier games don't use the D button. Many of the console ports of the games allow you to reassign any button, thus allowing you to prevent this as well.
    • Metal Slug 5 introduced a Mega Man (Classic)-like slide move. Though it was useful at times, the problem with it was that it was activated by holding down and pressing jump. So most of the time when you wanted to jump and shoot downwards (a common tactic in this series to shoot things underneath you), you would slide instead, and probably die, or at least waste time. Thankfully, it was taken out of future installments. However, once Damn You, Muscle Memory! is overcome, the slide is an absolute blessing.
    • The "Metallish" combo system (where medals are given by shooting enemies and a fever time appears when collecting a special emblem) in Metal Slug 4 is regarded as very confusing. Not all of the time the player will earn medals, and the combo fever stops when a player goes into a Slug. It was revamped to a simpler combo system in 6 (where shooting enough enemies/obstacles will increase the score multiplier until coins spew out for a short time) and has retained since then.
    • Metal Slug 6 gives every character its own special abilities, which is neat weren't for the fact that with the exception of a certain character, overall ammo from picking special weapon is reduced significantly, making most players have to content with the pea-shooter pistol if there is no driveable vehicles.
    • You get points for rescuing POWs at the end of each stage, as well as being in a Slug at the end of the stage ("You're great!"). Problem is, this only includes POWs rescued on the life that you finished the stage with; dying will remove any POWs you had on your rescued list. This might be in order to reward players who get through an end-of-stage boss fight unscathed, and the series is known for very punishing boss fights, but it's infuriating if you're trying for a high score run to have a long list of rescued POWs only to lose hundreds of thousands of potential points, including the major bonuses for rescuing Ichimonji and Aikawa, to Yet Another Stupid Death.
  • Scrappy Weapon:
    • The Flame Shot in the first game, while useful for weeding out multiple Rebels, is close to useless for taking down machinery. The new version for 2 onward is worth picking up.
    • Drop Shot fires bouncing explosives. While great for hitting enemies around obstacles, they move slowly and they suck for attacking enemies across a gap and enemies above you.
    • Stone is well... a stone. That doesn't even explode on impact.
    • Sniper rifle in 3D. Unlike some Third-Person Shooters, there's no real sniper mission throughout the game, and the gameplay is Nintendo Hard and you need quick reflexes. Plus, mooks can spawn here and there, making sniper rifles useless. Unless you can shoot precisely, the sniper rifle isn't a good way to clear a mission.
  • Seasonal Rot: 4 is generally agreed to be the weakest in the main series. Reasons include recycling a lot of assets from the previous games (to the point that most bosses are a mishmash of previous bosses in both looks, mechanics and gimmicks), Eri and Tarma being inexplicably demoted to mission control NPCs and replaced with newcomers Nadia and Trevor, and the very few innovations being features that players didn't really cared for (The Metallish Combo System, transition cutscences between missions) or downright disliked (Nadia and Trevor again). It's rather telling that the only thing this game introduced that carried on in future installments was the Two Machineguns.
  • So Bad, It's Good: The game is very aware that it emulates trashy action movies and Super Sentai shows from the '80s and the '90s, and the effort put into the storyline is either non-existent, relegated to side materials (as shown in tower-defense games), or results in heavy dose of narm.
  • Special Effect Failure:
    • The player character is mostly composed of two separate sprites (the upper and lower bodies) to make the action more fluid. Occasionally, the two sprites merge when jumping, making the character really squat.
    • The Evil Spirit Incarnate's wings detach from its body when it readies its scythe.
  • Squick: The zombies infect civilians and the player characters by vomiting/spraying infectious fluids on them, accompanied by a disgusting-sounding "glorp" sound effect when they release the puke. Two variants (female zombies and one of the male zombie civilian types) actually puke the stuff up. The scientist zombies top that by pulling out their own intestines and squeezing them to expel the vomit.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The triumphant, heroic theme playing over the credits of the first game can come across as very jarring as the camera slowly pans over fields full of corpses and wreckages of tanks. Which you caused.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song:
    • The mission 3 music of Metal Slug 2 has a sax solo taken from the shooter Air Duel. The underwater theme of Metal Slug 3 is a remix of the stage 3 music of Air Duel.
    • The Desert theme from Metal Slug 3 bears more than an uncanny resemblance to Iron Maiden's Powerslave.
  • Tear Jerker: The ending of the first Metal Slug, which is notably less heavy on the wackiness than the sequels. As a paper airplane flies past the carnage you caused throughout the entire game with corpses everywhere, it flies past a girl praying at the grave of a rebel soldier. Subverted with the 2-players ending, which shows most of the soldiers are still alive.
  • That One Boss:
    • Allen O'Neal from Metal Slug and Metal Slug 2/X. Yeah, this guy is extremely hard to defeat if you don't know how to predict his attacks. He can shot with his Machine Gun and if you try to move to the other side he just use a grenade towards you!
    • Sol Dae Rokker from Metal Slug 3. Its only weak point is the small red jewel in its forehead and due to the boss moving constantly it can be quite difficult to shoot. The boss also levitates way above the player, meaning that you can't harm it with grenades. Most of its attacks aren't a big deal, but That One Attack where it spreads a flurry of yellow beams in random patterns is a nightmare to dodge, specially after the boss is enraged.
    • The Sandmarine from Metal Slug 5. While most of its attacks are easy to avoid, when it submerges/emerges it will fire a bomb volley and make hell literally rain upon you. You need extremely good reflexes to avoid the bomb spam and don't get cornered by this monster.
    • The bosses of stages 3 and 4 of Metal Slug 6 are much more durable and nasty than the first two bosses were. Both take ridiculous amounts of punishment and have nigh-unavoidable attacks. Expect to use a lot of credits.
      • The stage 3 boss, Brain Robot deserves even more special mention. Firstly: You're moving to your right, constantly, which means it feels awkward reaching around and shooting at the robot, not to mention the controls automatically face you to the right if you try to jump to the right to dodge something. This means it will take forever to kill it. Secondly: once it loses some HP, it will keep attacking non-stop with the electric brain balls that move forward, stop, then aim for you. Even with the obvious pattern you'll be killed repeatedly. It gets especially bad when it combines this with the "shock the floor" attack where the only safe spot happens to be a very small box you can stand on, meaning you either have very little space to avoid the balls, or land on the electrified floor and die instantly. The "vulcan fix" skill is very useful here (hold down the shooting button to keep shooting in a fixed direction). Also, don't even try to bait it into using its melee attack too much, or it will get pissed and keep swinging his electrified arms reducing the safe zone to a ridiculous minimum!
    • Crablops round two in Metal Slug XX. While 7 was kind enough to lend you a Slug Armor to fight the boss, in XX it was changed to a Slugnoid - the only Slug that undergoes literal battle damage and more than likely will end up useless after a few seconds of battle, forcing you to fight Crablops stark naked. With the head spamming fireballs, plasma beams and restricting your movement with rocks, and the legs decreasing your maneuverable space by lauching bombs and acid worms, prepare for a hard battle. And that's not even taking into account when you get to the lift and Crablops Turns Red.
    • Lieu, the final boss in Metal Slug 3D, is what you expect from a typical SNK Boss, but leverages that trope into a Boss-Only Level. They can fire projectiles on you very precisely when you can't aim at their hidden weak points. Not even a Slug Gunner can help you, and it's easily destroyed by Lieu when you ride on it.
  • That One Level:
    • The final mission of Metal Slug 3, which is the longest mission in the entire series.
      • To make things even worse, if you're playing on the Xbox port, you have limited continues, and if you use one, you'll start back all the way from the beginning.
    • 3D's final level is an entire Boss Bonanza of two Boss-Only Level and nothing else. No powerups to collect as well. Good luck fighting the SNK Boss in the second part.
    • The fourth mission of Metal Slug 6. More specifically, the beginning where multiple sets of Invaders start ambushing you from all sides.
  • Tough Act to Follow: Metal Slug 3 is often deemed as the best in the series and was the last game developed before SNK went bankrupt in 2000. The sequels since have been often compared unfavorably to it (even those created by SNK since their resurrection), especially 4 for recycling previous assets.
  • Ugly Cute: The Mars People. They're adorable, in a weird sorta way.

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