The Let's Play Archive

Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War

by nine-gear crow

Part 5: Mission 5 - Operation Varsity, May 12th, 1995

“Flicker of Hope”

Mission 5: Operation Varsity – May 12th, 1995

Overview: As the Allied Forces push closer to the occupied Ustian capital of Directus, the Galm Team is called upon to cover an Osean paratrooper insertion into the mountain town of Solis Ortus. If the Allies are able to retake Solis Ortus, they will gain a key staging area for the liberation of Directus.

Guest Commentator: Let’s Play producing machine CJacobs joins me for this “calm before the storm” mission of Ace Combat Zero. You might remember CJacobs from “every fucking thing I’ve ever done on this forum that’s not Shadows of the Empire or White Knight Chronicles”. He’s currently working on a dual-LP of The Evil Within and Resident Evil 4. He's also currently co-commenting in Zain’s LP of Resident Evil 5.

He has also done LPs of Dead Space 3 (where Blind Sally, JamieTheD, and I tormented him for 10 hours), Spec Ops: The Line (where half our LP Skype group and I tormented him for 10 hours in FUBAR Mode), Resident Evil Revelations 2 (where I was barred from appearing because of what I did to him during Dead Space 3), and Max Payne 3 (where I don’t appear because he didn’t know me at the point).

He also created the third iteration of the Casual Games thread (aka the 2007-style LP thread), where he contributed Shovel Knight, and (because Artix forced him to) a pair of hellish runs through both Bubsy and Bubsy II.

He is a broken man.


Roughly translated from Latin, “Solis Ortus” means “sunrise.” It’s another example of Ace Combat being a little too on the nose, seeing as how this mission takes place at dawn.

According to Acepedia, Solis Ortus as a village is one giant stealth reference to American chess Grandmaster and all-around asshole Bobby Fischer, of Searching for Bobby Fischer fame. (NOTE: Neither Bobby Fischer, nor an actor portraying a fiction version of him appears in Searching for Bobby Fischer). Geographically, Solis Ortus appears to be molded off of the Philippines town of Baguio City. Baguio City was one of the places Fischer retired to upon fleeing the US. And, as we will see down in one of the Assault Records, one of the aces encountered in this mission flies by the callsign “Fischer.”

The more you know… about asshole chess Grandmasters

Manufacturer: Mikoyan
Role: Air Superiority / Multi-role Fighter
Manufactured: 1982-Present
Status: In Service
Primary Operators: Russia, India, Ukraine, Yugoslavia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Iran
Quick Facts:

This fighter was developed with the goal of overpowering the enemy in one-on-one combat. The ‘Fulcrum’ boats powerful engines and refined aerodynamics for superb maneuverability.

Missiles: 60
SAAM: 12
RCL: 10
XAGM: 12

C-130 Hercules
Manufacturer: Lockheed Martin
Role: Troop / cargo transport, gunship
Manufactured: 1954–Present
Status: In Service
Primary Operators: United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Italy
Quick Facts:

This mission is where the first of the game’s medals are handed out. Medals functioned as proto-achievements in Zero and were awarded for clearing certain story missions, beating the game on certain difficulties or Ace Styles, and pulling off feats like scoring certain numbers of gun kills.

As plot-medals are earned, I will post them here. The “sick cheevo” medals will be posted in bulk in the post-mortem post.

Medal: Guardian
Awarded for: Completing Mission 5 “Flicker of Hope”
Description: Awarded for excellent air support and keeping ground casualties to a minimum.

Albrecht Klos
35, Male, Belka
05.12.95 Operation Varsity - Shot Down
A-10A Thunderbolt II
Difficulty: Any
Ace Style: Any

Shot down during an aerial battle over Solis Ortus, he was later discovered by the Osean Bureau of Investigation in 2003. Suffering from memory loss, it appears that he had been living in seclusion within the city of Cinigrad. He is now residing with family.

Gunter Muller
33, Male, Belka
05.12.95 Operation Varsity - Shot Down
F-16C Fighting Falcon
Difficulty: Expert
Ace Style: Soldier

Known as The Iron Man, he was hit by Allied Forces during Operation Varsity, but despite receiving a severe wound to his midsection he returned to the front only a month later. He now runs a restaurant in Dinsmark, the capital city of the Principality of Belka.


Thomas Hein
33, Male, Belka
05.12.95 Operation Varsity - Missing In Action
Difficulty: Any
Ace Style: Mercenary

Detailed information regarding this pilot is unavailable.

Robert Gloden
29, Male, Belka
05.12.95 Operation Varsity - Shot Down
F-2A Viper Zero
Difficulty: Any
Ace Style: Soldier

He was assigned to the 9th Air Division 17th Tactical Fighter Squadron, but retired from the Belkan Air Force in 1996. He has since moved to the neutral nation of San Salvacion, where he runs a hotel next to the ocean completely removed from the events of the war.

Henrich Koenig
29, Male, Belka
05.12.95 Operation Varsity - Shot Down
F-20A Tigershark
Difficulty: Any
Ace Style: Knight

During the war, he joined Belka's extreme right-wing party, but disappeared when a cease-fire was declared. Investigation into his whereabouts continues.

Update: 05/97 Anonymous information states that he is now a member of the terrorist organization The Falcons of Dawn.

Axel Reichert
29, Male, Belka
05.12.95 Operation Varsity - Shot Down
MiG-31 Foxhound
Difficulty: Ace
Ace Style: Any

The Belkan Air Force 12th Air Division's top ace, he forged an impressive war record in conflicts throughout the world. He was given the nickname The Swan for having never taken a hit. After the war, he retired from service, and now works for a small nation as a mercenary suppressing any coup d'etat movements.

Tracks featured in Mission 5.



In the video, CJacobs mentions a music video featuring a “skeleton flying an F-16 or something”. The video in question is the music video for the Pearl Jam song “Do The Evolution” (video here). The song was featured on their 1998 platinum album Yield. The animated music video was co-directed by Kevin Altieri, a director on Batman: The Animated Series, and Todd McFarlane, he of Spawn and “Todd McFarlane’s massive ego” fame. The video was heavily inspired by the 1981 animated anthology Heavy Metal, which itself was based off of and featured animated adaptations of several comics featured in the French magazine of the same name. …I did an LP of Panzer Dragoon, by the way. That also saw its origins from the primordial soup of ideas that was Heavy Metal, most notably the comic Arzach by Mœbius, which was serialized in Heavy Metal. WATCH PANZER DRAGOON YOU FUC—

Also noted in the video, the “skeleton pilot” segment of Do The Evolution was also featured in the Internet Famous “What the Fuck—BOOM!” meme video.

Now you know.