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The Antstream Arcade Guide #6: Metal Slug

Greetings, brave retro gamers!

Retro games can sometimes be tricky and puzzling – in a good way. But don’t panic if you’re struggling – we are here to help! Each Antstream Arcade guide will include tips and help on how to play and beat a particular game from our catalogue. We have almost 1500 brilliant retro games on Antstream Arcade – so we’d better get cracking!

The Game: Metal Slug

Publisher: SNK

Developer: Nazca Corporation

Year: 1996

System: Arcade


The legend begins here! SNK invigorated the run ‘n’ gun genre in 1996 with the ludicrously over-the-top and maniacally fun Metal Slug. Metal Slug’s story revolves around the Peregrine Falcons, a squad of elite soldiers fighting against the rebellious New World Order army of General Morden. Across each of its horizontally-scrolling levels, the PF squad encounters the well-armed hordes of the rebellion, rescuing captives and facing off against dangerous bosses.

Did you know?

Early versions of Metal Slug were quite different from the final game, lacking the variety of characters and trademark humour.

The Aim Of The Game

There are six missions in Metal Slug. Across each, the player eliminates enemy soldiers and vehicles while rescuing prisoners. At the end of each level, there’s a unique boss, culminating in General Morden himself at the end of the Final Mission.

The Heroes

There are two playable soldiers in Metal Slug, Marco Rossi and Tarma Roving. Player one takes control of Rossi, with player two playing as Roving. They have identical abilities: both can jump, fire their pistols (or whatever weapon they have) in many directions and use a knife when things get up close and personal.


Both soldiers wield a powerful pistol and possess a cache of grenades. These can be upgraded or added to by picking up icons left by freed prisoners or inside wooden boxes.

Heavy Machine Gun

Icon: H

A good all-round heavy machine gun capable of taking out huge amounts of enemies. It is limited to 200 ammo.

Flame Shot

Icon: F

Unleashes a lethal shot of flame that’s particularly useful against enemy soldiers—30 ammo.

Rocket Launcher

Icon: R

Powerful and swift, these rockets also home in on their targets. Best against vehicles and is limited to 30 shots.


Icon: S

Limited in range but capable of destroying anything in the close vicinity of the soldier. 30 ammo.

Points Bonus

Icon: medal, chicken, frog, teddy bear and many others

A sweet points bonus between 10 and 5000 points.

Grenade/Bomb Box

Icon: Box

Useful against soldiers, vehicles and end-of-level bosses alike. The grenade box holds ten extra grenades.

Gas Canister

Icon: Gas canister

Picking up a gas canister while driving the Metal Slug tank will restore its health to full. On foot, it’s 1000 points.

Metal Slug

Icon: n/a

This small but tough eponymous tank has decent firepower and movement. Jump in when you see it!

The Enemies

Allen O’Neil

O’Neil is a mid-stage boss in Mission 3 and a tough cookie to crack. Jump over his cannon fire and get under him if you can.

Bazooka soldier

These parachute soldiers are especially lethal to vehicles. They are easily taken out with one shot from the Metal Slug or soldier.

Shield Soldier

Their shield repels most gunfire – get behind them to execute or close enough to use the knife.

Rebel Soldier / Fanatic

The standard grunt of the rebel army: common and weak but awkward when in high numbers.

Type-2 Di-Cokka Tank

The commonest of the rebel tanks. Fires a single shot from its cannon. Can be troublesome if you’re out of bombs.

Flying Tara

A compact aircraft that drops a large bomb on the players. They disappear into the screen to load another bomb.

R-Shobu – Enemy Chopper

A semi-regular attack helicopter that drops bombs on the player. Fast and deadly, they become more aggressive as the game proceeds.


There are several variants. The sidecar has an extra rebel armed with a rocket launcher; others attempt a ‘suicide’ collision; another has an oversized missile strapped to their back.

Boss Rush

Your guide to the end-of-level bosses in Metal Slug.

Mission 1: Tetsuyuki / Bomber

Description: A giant flying warship that crash-landed some time ago; now used as a ground base for the rebels.

How To Destroy: Move to the far right and unload all your grenades into the vulnerable cannon to quickly destroy this first boss.

Mission 2: Hairbuster Riberts / General Morden

Description: A heavy bomber with an escaping Morden on board. Launches rocket missiles at the players.

How To Destroy: With the platforms raised, jump up and down on them to give yourself space against the rockets. The platforms also act as a shield against bombs.

Level 3: Tani Oh / Experimental Tank

Description: A powerful machine that fires a devastating laser beam from its twin cannons.

How To Destroy: The laser cannon briefly flashes before firing – watch out for this while dropping grenades and dodging mines.

Level 4: Shoe & Karn / Twin Tanks

Description: A pair of medium-sized tanks that attack the players in tandem. They use their main cannon while a soldier fires a rocket if you’re behind it.

How To Destroy: The key is to get above and slightly behind the bottom tank, drop a pile of grenades before focusing on the other.

Level 5: Iron Nokana / Multi-purpose Assault Vehicle

Description: This large vehicle’s firepower focuses on the front with a cannon and missile launcher. Watch out for the hidden flamethrower underneath.

How To Destroy: Destroying the first part reveals the flamethrower underneath. Focus on this; then, you can stand underneath the Iron Nokana and blast away.

Level 6: Hi-Do / Helicopter Gunship

Description: Two massive rotors; heavy armour; mini-guns; heat-seeking missiles; and one desperate general!

How To Destroy: Stage by stage. After the first explosion, it’ll fire bursts of missiles, then bombs. Stand underneath and rain fire above, hopefully destroying any bombs heading your way.

General Tips

The Metal Slug tank is always a good bet when it appears. Jump in and wreak havoc, but don’t forget to jump out when it’s about to explode!

The basic pistol is a dependable weapon for some sections but don’t try to tackle a whole level with it. Also, it cannot fire diagonally.

The most powerful hand weapon is the shotgun. It even instantly wipeouts shield soldiers.

Try and save grenades for the end-of-level boss.

Metal Slug’s origin is as an arcade game, so points are critical. Watch out for various animals, foods and other icons that reward with point bonuses when picked up.

A shot or knife slash frees prisoners – don’t forget to make contact to collect your reward.

If you’re wielding a heavy machine gun, try and conserve ammunition by using the knife against lone enemies.

Enemy vehicles are quite often harmless – well, apart from the bits that spout bullets!

Don't waste ammo when you get a special weapon – you could need it.

Don’t forget that the Metal Slug – rather improbably – can jump.

The freed prisoner bonus at the end of each level only counts if you haven’t lost a life since releasing them.

High Score Chasing

Metal Slug is an excellent game for high-score addicts. Watch out for bonus items such as frogs, chickens, medals and pigs – each bestows the player between 500 and 1000 points. Over on the Antstream Arcade Metal Slug podium, user Turrican is leading the way with an incredible 2,000,095 points. Romek and comboace trail behind with 1,955,716 and 1,796,639, respectively.

Metal Slug Challenges

There are seven fun Metal Slug challenges on Antstream Arcade:-

Once Chance To Slug It Out: A high-score challenge with one life and no upgrades.

Made Of Metal: Survive for as long as possible on a boat.

Tanks, But No Tanks: Score as many points as possible without using a vehicle.

Apocalypse POW: Save as many POWs as you can.

Metal Marathon: It’s the PF versus the big bosses – how many can you defeat?

Up Close And Personal: Take out as many soldiers as possible with just your knife.

Slug On Wheels: Play for as long as possible inside the Metal Slug.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our latest Antstream Arcade Guide – stay tuned for more helpful hints soon. If you’re still trying to get a high score in Metal Slug, why not head to the Antstream Arcade Discord server and see if someone can help you further? You can find us at:

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