Metal Black

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Metal black logo.png
Metal Black
Metal black flyer.jpg

Arcade Flyer

Developer: TAITO
Music: Yasuhisha Watanabe (YACK)
Program: Naoya Kuroki, Takashi Seguchi, Takamasa Hori
Art: Takatsuna Senba, Ohno Wepokichi
Release date: 1991
Previous game: Gun Frontier
Next game: Grid Seeker

Metal Black is a 1991 shooting game developed and published by TAITO for the Taito F1 Arcade System. It is "Project Gun Frontier 2", sharing that game's development team - though there are only minor connections between the two games. Originally conceived as a Single Screen "Darius 3", it was spun off into it's own project when it was deemed to have too dark an atmosphere. The game is most notable for it's surreal visuals, soundtrack, and it's "Beam System", where instead of bombs, the player charges up their main laser, of which the power can be used to release a strong beam, which can be dueled with boss enemies.

For replay videos, visit the Video Index.

Gameplay Overview

The player pilots the Black Fly, a ship with no options, traditional bombs, or means of powering up other than by collecting Newalone particles, which float around the stages and spawn during the game's boss fights. Collecting these particles powers up both the main shot of the Black Fly, and also enables it to fire a Super Beam, which at max power has a screen clearing bomb effect. However, consuming the beam energy also powers down the player's main shot. The beam's duration can be increased by picking up particles during it's duration.

The game's bosses fire attacks which resemble that of the Black Fly's but are pink - for the simple laser attacks that resemble the standard shot, these can be cancelled, but for larger beams, these can be counterattacked using the Black Fly's own Super Beam, which initiates a beam duel.

Notably the Black Fly's shot spawns at around the mid point of the ship and at high power, has a large hitbox, enabling the player to hit enemies just below and above the ship in a pseudo-melee attack. This technique is known as "Scraping".

The game also features bonus stages which take place from a first person perspective, where they most lock onto enemies as fast as possible and fire missiles, though the player is in no danger in these stages.

Under default settings, Extends are given at 70,000 Points, and then Every 150,000 points afterwords (Starting at 220,000).


  • A: Fires the main beam attack. When held, it fires at a fast rate which decreases over time, so Autofire or repeated tapping are neccessary. Also fires the Missiles in bonus stages.
  • B: Fires the Super Beam attack. At power levels 1-5, this forms a simple, powerful beam that deals high damage and can pass through all obstacles, as well as duel against boss enemies' beam attacks. When power is at MAX, it has a screen-wide bullet clearing effect when pressed, and if not held down, fires energy in all directions for a number of seconds, until it reaches Power Level 3 and reverts to a beam. The beam can be activated earlier if the button is held down.


Unlike the game's precursor Gun Frontier, Rank is simple and appears to mostly be tied to survival time. The effects of Rank are far less than that of Gun Frontier. (Further info may be neccessary)



See (Template Page)/Strategy for stage maps, enemy and boss descriptions, walkthroughs, and advanced play strategies.

This section details some particular strategic information about the game and its gameplay, such as hidden 1UPs and some basic scoring tricks. For anything particularly deep or highly complex, you can probably leave it in the Strategy page.

(Currently evaluating whether or not this specific section should even include information outside of the separated Strategy pages. Worth thinking about as a community.)


In 2042, a phantom companion star suddenly appears in Jupiter's orbit, Raining meteorities upon the Earth, whilst simultaneously, an alien force known as Nemesis invades the planet, decimating the earth forces with their beam weapons powered by energy known as "Newalone". In the face of almost total destruction of Earth, a peace treaty is signed. Project Metal Black - a military endeavour that uses the aliens' own Beam technology, is frozen permenantly. In 2052, a rogue pilot - named in supplemental materials as John Ford - commandeers a Black Fly ship, the result of the Metal Black project. He takes the fight to Aliens, in violation of the treaty, in an attempt to save what remains of Earth.

Development History

Metal Black was spun off from a concept for Darius 3 (Sometimes referred to as Darius 2-2 or Darius 3rd Stage) produced by Takatsuna Senba following the release of Darius 2 in 1989. Senba notes that this project was not what lead to Darius Gaiden, though some of the designs that he created in design documents for Darius 3 were used in Gaiden - though some were used in Metal Black itself.

Darius 3 - metal black enemies.jpg

The Game was developed simultaneously alongside Dino Rex, a fighting game also produced by the same team (Senba refers to them as "Sister games"). Both games had troubled developments, with substantially reduced budget and tight deadlines compared to that of Gun Frontier - which itself was made on a comparatively low budget. Whilst Metal Black was quite well recieved, Dino Rex was panned, and Senba resigned shortly after the release of Metal Black, and has never returned to game development.


  • Metal Black was the primary inspiration for G.Rev's first original STG, Border Down. Hiroyuki Maruyama was a massive fan of Metal Black, and with G.Rev being formed of mostly ex-Taito staff and the music again composed by YACK, the game can be considered a spiritual successor of sorts.
  • A number of Metal Black's music tracks have appeared in other Taito games following it's release, notably "Dual Moon" in Taiko No Tatsujin, which replicates the background moon of stage 2 in it's note pattern.


See (Metal Black)/Gallery for our collection of images and scans for the game.

References & Contributors

  1. Takasuna Senba's Web Blog - detailed history of Metal Black/Dino Rex's development | Having links handy is even better, when available.
  2. Darius Odyssey (Book) - Details Regarding Darius 3, images.
    1. And while you're at it, make yourself a little profile page (if you want, of course)! As a contributor, you deserve to be recognized for your efforts.