If you want to find out what is the latest Metal Slug game, look no further than this list of Metal Slug games in order of release.
The legendary run-and-gun franchise created by SNK has been around since the mid-1990s and plans to make a comeback in 2023.
In this list, we’ll break down the series’ release history across multiple consoles, handhelds, and platforms.
By the end, you’ll have a much better understanding of the newest Metal Slug game and where the series is heading in the future.
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Metal Slug: Super Vehicle-001
Release Date: April 19, 1996
Platforms: Arcade, Neo Geo, PS1, Sega Saturn, iOS, Android, Windows, Switch
The Metal Slug series kicks off with the release of Metal Slug: Super Vehicle-001, an original arcade run and gun title that was later ported to consoles.
Set in 2028, it has players assuming control of soldiers Marco Rossi and Tarma Roving as they battle the Rebel Army to prevent General Morden from staging a coup d’état against the worlds’ governments.
Gameplay is reminiscent of side-scrolling action games like Contra while benefiting from fluid hand-drawn animations, fast-paced combat, and over-the-top humor.
Upon release, Super Vehicle-001 would become a hit in arcades, remaining one of the top ten highest-grossing titles before making its way to home consoles.
Metal Slug 2: Super Vehicle-001/II
Release Date: February 23, 1998
Platforms: Arcade, Neo Geo, iOS, Android, Windows, Switch
A sequel to Metal Slug titled Metal Slug 2: Super Vehicle-001/II was released 2 years later in arcades.
Following the defeat of the evil General Morden, the story sees the villain regaining power by aligning himself with other rebel factions, forcing Marco and Tarma to bear arms yet again.
However, this time they’re joined by Sparrows Intelligence Unit soldiers Eri Kasamoto and Fiolina Germi as they try and dismantle Morden’s support, including an unlikely alliance with aliens.
Metal Slug 2 was initially well-received but ultimately faced criticisms surrounding its slowdown and bad performance, leading SNK to release an improved version soon after.
Metal Slug 3
Release Date: March 23, 2000
Platforms: Arcade, Neo Geo, PS2, Xbox, iOS, Android, Windows, Switch, PS4, Xbox One
It would be another two years before the release of Metal Slug 3, which sees the Peregrine Falcon Strike Force and Sparrows uniting once more to destroy all remaining rebel strongholds.
Things take a sudden turn when the soldiers encounter a series of strange events leading them to believe that the aliens with whom Morden once allied himself have returned.
To save Earth, the Strike Force forges a temporary alliance with Morden’s remaining troops to save their captured comrades from the alien’s mothership, Rugname.
Following its release, Metal Slug 3 was met with positive reviews for its gameplay, story, and overall performance.
Metal Slug 4
Release Date: March 27, 2002
Platforms: Arcade, Neo Geo, PS2, Xbox, Switch, PS4, Xbox One
Metal Slug 4 retains many of the same gameplay elements as previous entries, with the addition of new enemies, bosses, weapons, vehicles, and a bonus combo system.
Set during the year 20XX, the story centers on a mysterious and deadly cyber virus that threatens to attack and destroy every nation’s military computer system.
With Eri and Fio out on assignments, Marco and Tarma team up with newcomers Nadia Cassel and Trevor Spacey to investigate a wealthy terrorist organization known as the Amadeus Syndicate.
Much like its predecessors, Metal Slug 4 performed well in arcades and would go on to receive mixed to positive reviews with its home console versions.
Metal Slug 5
Release Date: November 13, 2003
Platforms: Arcade, Neo Geo, Windows, PS2, Xbox, Switch, PS4, Xbox One
Serving as the final Metal Slug game released on the Neo Geo, Metal Slug 5 takes place amidst a series of ongoing wars that call the Peregrine Falcon Strike Force into action.
Tasked with developing the next generation of Metal Slugs, the group’s efforts are momentarily thwarted when a disc containing secrets is stolen by a mysterious group called the Ptolemaic Army.
Soldiers Marco and Tarma are joined by Eri and Fio of Sparrows on a mission to retrieve the disc and dismantle the Ptolemaic Army before they can carry out their evil plans.
Metal Slug 5’s release was met with mixed to positive reviews from critics and the game is held in high regard among fans of the series.
Metal Slug 6
Release Date: February 24, 2006
Platforms: Arcade, PS2, Windows, PS3
Set one month after the events of Metal Slug 3, Metal Slug 6 sees Marco and Tarma reuniting with Eri and Fio alongside new allies Ralf Jones and Clark Still of the Ikari Warriors.
Together, the quartet overtakes Morden’s rebel outpost where they discover he has rebuilt his alliance with the Martians who are now facing an invasion themselves.
Joining forces with both the rebels and Martians, the soldiers face off against this new threat dubbed the Invaders, eventually defeating the Invader King and rescuing the captured Martians.
One of Metal Slug 6’s most notable additions is a new game mechanic called the Weapon Stock System, which allows players to equip two gun power-ups at the same time.
Metal Slug 7
Release Date: July 22, 2008
Platform: Nintendo DS
Positioned as the seventh and final main installment of the Metal Slug series, Metal Slug 7 is also the first Metal Slug game to release without an arcade version.
Following the events of Metal Slug 4, 5, and 3D, the game sees the Peregrine Falcon Strike Force, Sparrows, and Ikari Warriors tracking Morden’s army to a remote military fortress.
Things take a sudden turn when a strange time portal opens up, revealing high-tech soldiers from the future pledging their support and advanced technology to Morden’s cause.
Leveraging the Nintendo DS’s touchscreen, Metal Slug 7 allowed players to see a layout of each level’s map, including the location of power-ups and captured prisoners.
Metal Slug: 1st Mission
Release Date: May 27, 1999
Platforms: Neo Geo Pocket Color, Windows, Switch
Originally released on the Neo Geo Pocket Color, Metal Slug: 1st Mission is the first spin-off Metal Slug game in the series.
As such, it features similar gameplay with an increased number of missions and noticeably downgraded graphics to account for the handheld’s hardware.
The story is set in 2027 and sees players taking on the role of Hero, a Peregrine Falcon Strike Force soldier tasked with investigating illegal military weapon sales and a possible coup d’état.
Metal Slug: 1st Mission includes five difficulty options and after beating the game once, players will unlock a second, female playable character.
Metal Slug: 2nd Mission
Release Date: May 22, 2000
Platform: Neo Geo Pocket Color
A year later, a follow-up to 1st Mission titled Metal Slug: 2nd Mission was released on the Neo Geo Pocket Color.
While the gameplay remained largely unchanged, the graphics and controls had been improved since the original handheld spin-off.
The story picks up where 1st Mission left off as the Peregrine Falcons are tasked with rescuing hostages and dismantling a group of “Phantom” insurgents led by rebel army Lt. Colonel Macba.
The game has received a lot of retroactive praise following its release and is widely regarded as one of the best Neo Geo Pocket Color games of all time.
Metal Slug Advance
Release Date: November 12, 2004
Platform: Game Boy Advance
Released exclusively on the Game Boy Advance, Metal Slug Advance is recognized as canon to the Metal Slug series.
In it, players follow a group of new Peregrine Falcon recruits undergoing survival training when a large blimp housing General Morden’s troops appears over the island.
With several of their comrades captured, recruits Walter Ryan and Tyra Elson set out to infiltrate Morden’s new base and save their peers.
At launch, Metal Slug Advance was met with generally favorable reviews and is considered to be one of the best GBA titles ever released.
Metal Slug 3D
Release Date: June 29, 2006
Metal Slug 3D is a Japan-exclusive spin-off that introduces 3D graphics to the Metal Slug series for the first time.
The game plays an interesting role in the franchise’s history due to its exclusivity and the fact that none of the original Metal Slug team was involved in its development.
Story-wise, it takes place four years after the first Metal Slug where the Peregrine Falcons squad is tasked with defeating General Morden after he joins forces with technology leader Oguma.
A big reason why the game was never released outside of Japan was due to the outpour of negative reviews from critics.
Metal Slug Defense
Release Date: April 30, 2014
Platforms: iOS, Android, Windows
Serving as the first mobile game spin-off in the Metal Slug series, Metal Slug Defense switches genres entirely, functioning as a tower defense game.
For this premise, the game transports players to the year 20XX where Morden’s remaining rebel troops as well as enemy Martians continue to wage war with the Peregrine Falcon Strike Force.
To prevent them from gaining a foothold, Peregrine military outposts are established around the world where players can issue commands using action points, or “AP.”
Players are rewarded with medals and in-game currency for completing stages and rescuing prisoners of war during each battle.
Metal Slug Attack
Release Date: February 14, 2016
Platforms: iOS, Android
Metal Slug Attack is yet another tower defense spin-off game to the Metal Slug series that was released two years after Metal Slug Defense.
As such, it features many of the same gameplay mechanics as its predecessor, with players engaging in 1-on-1 battles with enemy bases.
However, Attack steps things up when it comes to its world-building by introducing an interconnected storyline and wide cast of characters, vehicles, and weapons not present in previous games.
Despite these improvements, the game was shut down on January 12, 2023, following a restructuring of the SNK Company.
Metal Slug: Commander
Release Date: August 19, 2021
Platforms: iOS, Android
Next up on our list of Metal Slug games in order is Metal Slug: Commander, a card-based mobile spin-off to the series developed by SNK’s Hong Kong branch.
Set on the Syrubis Islands, the game sees players facing off against Morden’s rebel army once again, this time for control of a precious new resource called the Lubis Ore.
This plays out across a series of strategic battles wherein players assign units to different battlefield layers using card-based mechanics.
Unfortunately, Metal Slug: Commander suffered the same fate as Metal Slug Attack and ended service on November 30, 2022.
Metal Slug: Awakening
Release Window: June 2021
Platforms: iOS, Android
Harkening back to the series’ run and gun roots, Metal Slug: Awakening is a mobile Metal Slug spin-off published by Tencent Games and developed by its subsidiary TiMi Studios.
While it’s yet to officially release worldwide, several beta tests have taken place in select countries since June 2021.
Metal Slug Tactics
Release Date: TBA
Platform: Windows, Switch
Expected to release sometime during 2023, Metal Slug Tactics is the latest Metal Gear game in the series, albeit a spin-off.
Similar to previous outings, the game separates itself from the main series by switching genres to explore tactics-driven gameplay.
Drawing inspiration from classics like Final Fantasy Tactics and Fire Emblem, Metal Slug Tactics sees players leveraging units’ unique attacks and skills to gain the upper hand during battles.
It’s also being reported that the game will feature roguelike progression, boosting replayability and variety with each session.
Metal Slug X: Super Vehicle-001
Release Date: March 19, 1999
Platforms: Arcade, Neo Geo, PS1, iOS, Android, Windows, Switch
As mentioned earlier in this list, Metal Slug X is an upgraded version of Metal Slug 2 that addresses the slowdown and performance issues present in the original.
To achieve this, the game runs on a modified version of Metal Slug 3’s engine, which removed the slowdown problems altogether.
Additionally, Metal Slug X introduces several changes to Metal Slug 2’s gameplay and presentation, including new music, stage designs, vehicles, power-ups, and more.
In the end, the SNK’s efforts were worth it as Metal Slug X reviewed and sold quite well compared to the original.
Metal Slug XX
Release Date: December 23, 2009
Platforms: PSP, Xbox, Xbox One, PS4, Windows
Metal Slug XX is another example of SNK rereleasing a revised version of an existing game, in this case, Metal Slug 7.
The biggest changes were support for co-op multiplayer and additional downloadable content not present in the original.
Rather than rerelease the game on the Nintendo DS, it was published on PlayStation, Xbox, and Windows platforms.
And much like the Nintendo DS version, these ports were met with mixed or “average” review scores.