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  Metal Slug X - ©SNK 1999

Click here to view the image gallery for this game -->

Game Stats
1 or 2 player

Platform Shoot 'em up

506 Megs
Japanese Name:

Metal Slug X

Released On:


Reviewed By:
Top Reviews By This Author:
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This is an in depth review, and as such reveals a lot of information about each stage and all the end of level bosses, as well as a few tactics to use in beating them. Although there is no real storyline in the game, if you have not played it before and would rather not know everything about it, I suggest you don't read the "stages" section of the review. I would not want to spoil the experience for you, so I thought it better to mention this before you start reading!


It's no secret that the Metal Slug series has always been a favourite of mine, and one that I consider to have some of the most entertaining pieces of software that can be found on any system. After the first MS game made me a believer and the second turned me into a worshipper, I wondered where SNK would be able to take the series next. Like most MS fans I had been waiting patiently to get another slice of Slug action, but I must admit that I was a little disappointed when I found out what Metal Slug X was going to be.

To put it simply, MSX is pretty much just a remixed version of Metal Slug 2, and not a "true" sequel. Admittedly this sounds like a cop out on SNK's part, and initially it didn't really have be jumping for joy... but after thinking about it for a while though, it didn't bother me quite as much. Afterall, it wasn't as if SNK had never done anything like this before. Way back in 1993 they bought us Fatal Fury Special, which was a "remixed" version of FF2 with extra characters etc... and that game eventually turned into one of my favourite games on the Neo Geo. So long as SNK could do something similar with this game, I knew that I was going to be happy...


While the changes made to MSX are probably not as significant as the ones in Fatal Fury Special, I'm glad to say that they are sufficient enough to make the game worth playing. SNK have moved a few things around, made the stages look a little different (more on this later), added some new weapons, and generally tightened up the gameplay a little bit. It certainly seems a little more challenging in certain areas of the game that were a breeze to get through in MS2. You'll probably need to be a hardcore fan to notice some of the aspects that have changed, but there are a few things that most people will see right away.

One of the most obvious is that certain weapons have been put into places where you would not have found them previously. The first example of this is when you are blowing up the missile launchers mid-way through the first stage. On MS2 you would find a heavy machine gun at this point, whereas in MSX you'll find an enemy chaser (new rocket launcher style weapon). Also, you will not find the "fireball" POW in this section, but you do see him later on in the game. There are many other examples of this kind of change in every stage, so you will need to adjust your tactics a little bit if you are have played Metal Slug 2 a lot.

The locations of the Slug vehicles has been altered too, and I really do think that this is a very positive change, and one that addresses a big problem that people had with MS2. While some new Slug vehicles were introduced into that game, you only got to use them in one particular area each; for example, the Mecha Slug was only used to defeat the boss on stage 2, which was a crying shame as it was very cool. SNK obviously took note of this complaint and you now get the opportunity to use it for a good length of time on the fifth stage as well. They also give you a choice of what vehicle to use in many places, so you are not always stuck with using the same one anymore. For instance, where you would normally find a Camel Slug in stage 1, in MSX you'll find both the Camel Slug *and* the Tank! This also adds another dimension to two player games, as it means you and a friend can sometimes both be in vehicles at the same time.

There's another big change that affects a number of the stages in a good way. Remember "big" mode from MS2? While you only became fat on stage 4 in that game, it happens much more frequently here, provided you eat enough food of course. Big mode makes your weapons more powerful, and because you find it on more stages now, you get to use powered up versions of many more weapons... such as the shotgun for instance! The shotgun is already powerful enough, but when in big mode it is even more so and has a bit more range. Awesome... get ready to watch those bad guys disintegrate!

As I mentioned before, SNK has attempted to add a little bit more challenge to certain areas, and perhaps a little more variety. They have basically shifted a few of the enemies around, and added some new ones here and there. On the first stage they have removed the Harrier boss and replaced it with the stage 5 boss from Metal Slug 1 (the armoured carrier). They didn't totally remove the Harrier though, as it turns up later on as a sub-boss on stage 3. On stage 2 there is a new enemy type as well - the mummified dog. Just like their humanoid bigger brothers, these undead canine foes breath out purple mist that will turn you into a zombie, but are smaller meaning they are a little harder to shoot

There are plenty of other locations where you will find these kind of changes, which means that even Metal Slug 2 veterans will be kept on their toes, at least for a short time.


While there aren't any totally new Slug vehicles introduced, quite a lot of new normal weapons have been added, in addition to super strength versions of the old ones. Here's a list of all the weapons now on offer:


Standard issue! The pistol is exactly the same as it was in MS1 - infinite ammo and it can only shoot left and right or directly up when you are standing, and down while you are jumping. It cannot fire diagonally at all.

Close Combat:

When in close combat, your character does more than just pull out a knife like they did in MS1. Marco has two different animations for using the knife, while Tarma also kicks out at his enemies sometimes. Eri and Fio punch or pull out a blade of their own and slice their enemies with it. It is also funny as hell to see Tarma duck down and launch a boxing glove on a spring at his foe! There are other animations too, so killing people up close is pretty damn cool!


Again, these are standard issue - you start each life with 10 and can find more during each stage. They work just the same as they did in MS1, although they do not work quite as as effectively against the bosses as they did in that game.

Stone: (New Weapon)

A new type of secondary weapon, where you throw big rocks at your enemies. Fun to use, but not exactly the most powerful! :-)

Fire Bomb:

Fire bomb is another name for "molotov cocktail", and is basically a more powerful version of the grenade. When it hits the floor the resulting explosion spreads out for a few feet. Especially useful when taking care of an army of the undead. ;)

Heavy Machine Gun:

The same weapon that it was in MS1, no difference here. The Heavy Machine Gun is more powerful than the pistol and fires at a much faster rate, as well as being able to fire diagonally. As with most weapons in Metal Slug however, you cannot fire diagonally constantly; basically if you are firing to either the left or right and then press up (or up and then left/right), you will fire a few shots in a diagonal direction in between.

Big Heavy Machine Gun: (New Weapon)

Bigger shots than the normal heavy machine gun, and more powerful.

Flame Shot:

This gun unleashes a blast of fire that is very powerful, although the range is shorter than it was in MS1. It will set enemy soldiers on fire, which sounds nasty but is actually very funny to watch (especially with their comical death screams). Best used for getting rid of large groups of those soldiers, and quite a lot of fun too!

Big Flame Shot: (New Weapon)

Bigger and more powerful than the standard flame shot.

Rocket Launcher:

The missiles that the rocket launcher fires have a lot of power, and also have a slight homing ability which is very handy. They are dropped in fairly strategic locations and are great for taking out tanks and other enemy machinery… but are still great fun to annihilate foot soldiers with too. Same as it was in MS1.

Big Rocket Launcher: (New Weapon)

Bigger missiles than the standard rocket launcher that do more damage.


Still my favourite weapon in Metal Slug, and as well as being one of the most powerful. It has a very short range, but still disintegrates almost anything that gets in your way.

Big Shotgun: (New Weapon)

The shot from this doesn't look quite as tall, but it reaches much further across the screen. Absolutely awesome whenever you get the chance to use one!


Very powerful and fires a constant beam that goes the whole way across the screen, although you can only fire left/right/upwards, or down when jumping. It does not fire diagonally. You don't tend to find many of these, but when you do it is a blast to use (literally).

Big Laser: (New Weapon)

Same as above, but the beam on this is MUCH wider!

Iron Lizard: (New Weapon)

Shoots small rockets that look like planes, which shoot across the floor. Good for dealing with mummified dogs.

Enemy Chaser: (New Weapon)

Similar to the rocket launcher, but not as powerful. It does have a better homing ability however, hence the name.

Drop Shot: (New Weapon)

Drops bombs that bounce across the floor. These are especially helpful on stage 3, as you can bounce them over the obstacles that enemies are hiding behind.

Super Grenade: (New Weapon)

Quite powerful rockets that fire directly left/right/up/down. Similar to the rocket launcher but doesn't have a homing ability.

Fireball POW:

Not a weapon per se, but I thought I'd mention this guy anyway. When rescued this POW will follow you and launch Hadoken style fireballs at your enemies. He is not found on stage 1 anymore, but he does appear later on in the game.


Metal Slug 2 only has one new(ish) vehicle, and that is the Bronze Tank. As I mentioned above however, MSX does let you use some of the vehicles more often. Here's a list of everything you can expect to find throughout the course of the game:

Tank Slug:

Basically the same as it was in Metal Slug 1 and 2. As before, you are still granted a couple of seconds of invincibility when jumping in and out of the tank, so you can still use this to your advantage! :-)

Bronze Tank: (New Vehicle)

Found on stage 3 just before you get to the boss. Pretty much the same as the normal silver Slug Tank, but it moves faster and can jump higher.

Camel Slug

Only found on the first stage and quite a lot of fun, but not really as useful as the Tank Slug. The rate of firepower is about the same as the Tank, but it does not have a cannon; you can however throw grenades while riding it. Obviously it doesn't offer you any protection though, so if you get hit once you will lose a life, unlike the other Slugs which have an energy bar. You can still trample all over enemies with it though :-)

Slug Mecha

This little mecha only used to be found at the location where you fight the 2nd boss, but you now get the chance to use it in the sewer section of stage 5 as well! It has 2 turrets on either side that fire the same sort of bullets as the Tank, and has a cannon that fires directly down. This is ideal for the second and fifth boss, as you will see, and also quite helpful against the mutants on stage 5. One interesting thing is that as it gets damaged the turrets on either side get blown off, one by one. If you only have the cannon left, then you are probably better off jumping out of it and firing your normal gun.

Slug Plane

Same as it was in MS2 really. Once again it has a similar gun to the one found on the other Slugs, but it also has a finite supply of missiles which can be fired one at a time. Unlike the other Slugs, you cannot jump in and out of the Plane unless you land it first. You can eject out by pressing A+B together, but this will destroy the plane as well, causing damage to any enemies that it might hit.

Status Ailments

A couple of status ailments can be inflicted on your character from time to time. These are pretty much the same as in Metal Slug 2, although big mode can happen much more often:

Mummy Mode:

This can happen to you while you are in the tombs on the second stage. It happens if you get hit by either the potions that the bats drop down, or the mummies breath. While in this mummified state you will be VERY slow, you will only be able to fire the pistol, and grenades will take an age to throw. If you get hit by a mummies breath or one of hte bats potions again, it will kill you. The only way back out of Mummy mode is to either die and re-spawn, or to pick up one of the "HUMAN" items that are littered about the stage.

BIG Mode:

This status ailment used to happen on only stage 4, but it now happens at many other points throughout the game. It is very funny and perhaps a little politically incorrect, but in some ways it can actually help. While it does slow you down a bit, your weapons become more powerful and also look very different. The most hilarious part of big mode is when you get close to an enemy soldier - instead of using a knife to kill them, you will use a fork!!!. Using the big shotgun while in big mode is super cool! :-)

You'll come out of big mode when you find a diet pill, or if you die and then re-spawn.


Metal Slug X has not changed massively from Metal Slug 2 in the graphical department, although SNK has done a lot to try to improve on an already excellent game. The most noticeable change is that the stages have been re-coloured, and some quite drastically. For example, stage 1 was originally set in the daytime, whereas now it is at night. On the flipside, the outside part at the beginning of stage 2 used to be set at night-time, but it is now daytime when you reach there. The inside of the tomb on stage 2 also looks different as it is coloured quite differently. Take a look at the two screenshots below to get an idea of what I mean:

Metal Slug 2 on the left, MSX on the right

There are many instances of this sort of thing throughout the game. In some cases I like the new colours a lot (like the tomb on stage 2), but on other stages I think I MAYBE prefer the old ones; either way it doesn't matter too much, as they still look awesome. A lot of other things have also changed or been added. One thing that will stand out a lot if you have played MS2 before is that you see the aliens a lot earlier then before - in fact, you see one of them flying across the sky in the background in the first few seconds of stage 1. In MS2 you only saw them in the later stages of the game.

The biggest improvement however is one that you might not notice immediately, but is still a very important one. This concerns the reduction of slowdown. The badly chugging framerate was one of the things that hurt Metal Slug 2 the most, and unfortunately it has always been the enigma of this series. SNK obviously did a lot of work on optimizing the game code here though, as MSX certainly doesn't chug along as badly as its predecessor. I did hear a few things before the game was released about there being no slowdown at all, but I never really expected that to be true. Let's face it, the Neo Geo's processor isn't fast enough to do this kind of game without any slowdown at all, but the clever programmers at SNK have done their best... and it improves the overall experience immensely in my opinion.

Click here to go to page 2 (Sound, Stages and Overall)

Back to Neo Geo Reviews -->

#1 | meday354 on May 02 2012 03:25
Great game! I REMEMBER MS X like it was yesterday, it brings back MEMORIES.

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