The Let's Play Archive

Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War

by nine-gear crow

Part 7: Mission 7 - Operation Hell Bound, May 17th, 1995


Mission 7: Operation Hell Bound – May 17th, 1995

Overview: The Allied Forces push into Belkan Territory for the first time since the war’s outset. Though Belka has lost all of the territory it occupied since it launched its invasion, the Belkan government refuses to surrender and has vowed to halt the allied advance at the Hydrian Line, the centuries-old defense line Belka has maintained against both Osea and Sapin. With their air and ground facilities in Ustio back under allied control, Osea now has a proverbial knife to Belka’s throat.

With rumors that Belka may be preparing to unleash its nuclear arsenal against the allies, the Osean-led forces move against the mountain fortress of Glatistant atop Mt. Ivrea to disarm Belka’s main perimeter defense installation and open the way for AN IAEA nuclear inspectors to enter the country and secure any loose ballistic weaponry the Belkans may be hiding from the international community.

Cipher and Pixy have been assigned to the taskforce charged with bringing down Glatistant.


Also called the Questing Beast, or the Beast Glatistant. Glatistant was said to be a chimeric monster with the head of a snake, body of a leopard, legs of a lion, and feet of a deer. The arrival of Glatistant prefigures the death of Arthur and the fall of Camelot. Arthur glimpses it drinking from a lake shortly after he has sex with the sorceress Morgause, a union that later not only sires his bastard son and eventual murderer Mordred, but also proves to be incestuous as well, as Arthur later learns that Morgause is his half-sister (and the sister of Morgan le Fay to boot).

When Arthur describes the beast to Merlin, the old wizard recounts its history to him. Glatistant was born to a human princess who lusted after her brother and slept with a demon on the promise that the demon would then brainwash her brother into loving her back. Instead, the demon led her to accuse her brother of raping her, so their father sentenced the prince to be torn apart by his pack of war dogs. As he was being ripped apart by the hounds, the prince prophecies that his sister would bear a monstrous child that would howl with the sound of 30 hounds barking at once, the same hounds which dismembered him and ate him whole. And since then, Beast Glatistant was known as a creature born of lust, incest, lies, and chaos—just like Mordred would be.

Glatistant in the Aruthrian legends bears a striking resemblance to the Serpopard, a creature from mythological and cryptozoological studies originating from ancient Egyptian and Mesopotamian artwork, which depicted a being with the long neck of a serpent and the body of a leopard, hence the name Serpopard. It is believed by modern scholars that these were actually contemporary misinterpretations of descriptions of giraffes, which existed far beyond frontiers of the Egyptian empire even at its height.

And so with Glatistant representing the impending fall of a kingdom, and Belka now steeped in Arthurian iconography and semiotics, it should be easy to foretell the direction things are going to take from here on out in Ace Combat Zero. …As if calling the mission “Hell Bound” wasn’t enough of a hammer to the forehead.

For more information on Glatistant, DivineCoffeeBinge has graciously let me share his own write up on its deeper connections to the Arthurian mythos and even its more positive symbolic connotations within the legend vis-a-vis what's also happening in Zero itself:

DivineCoffeeBinge posted:

Glatisant, for the record, is really cool in the Arthurian stories. King Pellinore of The Isles basically says one day "Welp, gonna go hunt Glatisant" and then fucks off to do that for the rest of his life, basically leaving his Kingdom entirely ungoverned; along the way he meets Arthur and becomes the most prominent Knight of the Round Table of early Camelot.

(Incidentally, by some interpretations, there are three main 'stages' of Arthur's reign that you can delineate by answering 'who is the most powerful and glorious of the Round Table Knights;' Pellinore is the first of these, followed by Gawaine and then Lancelot. Not entirely coincidentally, these phases also fairly clearly delineate 'what cultural source material are these stories being inspired by;' the early part of Arthur's reign is characterized by drawing heavily on Welsh folklore, while the Gawaine-centric 'middle years' derive from Anglo-Saxon folklore, and the Lancelot-heavy 'later years and decline' tales draw on French influence most heavily of all. Naturally it's actually way, way more complicated than that but it's a handy shorthand)

Anyways, in the post-Vulgate Suite du Merlin Glatisant is depicted as Crow describes, as a symbol of the Really Bad Shit coming Camelot's way; this is the context in which it appears in Mallory's La Morte d'Arthur.

It's depicted differently in the Old French Perlesvaus, where its physical description is different and it's basically a Christ-symbol; it does bear noting that Perlesvaus is sometimes called "the least canonical Arthurian tale," since it's really different from a lot of the core canon, but hell, "canonicity" when it comes to Arthuriana is an even more elusive beast than Glatisant.

In the post-Vulgate's later sections and in the Prose Tristan Pellinore's quest to hunt Glatisant is taken up by the Saracen knight Sir Palomides; Palomides is also hopelessly in love with Tristran's love, Iseult. The quest for Glatisant and his love for Iseult are equally fruitless for poor Sir Palomides, but his conversion to Christianity allows him relief from his worldly concerns, and he is finally able to kill Glatisant during the Grail Quest, with the aid of Perceval and Galahad (two of the four knights who can be said, in various sources, to have achieved the Grail).

So, taken as a whole, the symbolism of Glatisant is traditionally read two ways - as a symbol of impending doom, or as a symbol of Christ and the quest for inner faith. The appearance of Glatisant Fortress in the game seems more consistent with the former, as pointed out by Crow, but there's something interesting, I think, about the idea of playing with the latter interpretation - that just as Pellinore was finally able to slay Glatisant upon his conversion, Cipher's attack on Glatisant occurs after his own fame begins to be on par with Pixy's; having ascended to the ranks of the figurative Knights of the Round Table, Cipher demonstrates his puissance by slaying the mighty Questing Beast. Given what's to occur, there's probably some really cynical inferences that could be made vis a vis Christ-allegories, but that's a question for another time...


A twist of sorts on Hadrian’s Wall. Also known by names like “The Roman Wall”, Hadrian’s Wall was constructed after 122 AD across the narrowest point across the neck of the island of Brittan by the Roman Empire as a defensive barrier to keep the tribes of what is now Scotland out of the then Roman province of Britannia, and was later christened with the name of the emperor under whose watch the wall was built: Hadrian. When completed, the wall became, effectively, the northernmost boundary of the Roman Empire. Since then, the wall has fallen into disrepair, and many of the forts along it have since crumbled to their foundations, and what’s left of the wall now is kind of unimpressive. I mean, you can literally hop over certain sections of it now. Contrary to popular belief, the wall does not officially demark the England-Scotland border; it is actually 1 mile south of the official border and resides entirely in English territory, though it does effectively run parallel to the border.

So, how does this square with King Arthur? Weeeeell, this is Project Aces straying into pseudohistory once again. The Roman connection enters the picture through the 2004 movie King Arthur, starring mah boi Clive Owen, Kiera Knightly, and Ioan Gruffudd (as Arthur, Guinevere, and Lancelot, respectively) and directed by Antoine Fuqua. The film follows certain scholarly theories that suggest the 2nd / 3rd Century Roman military commander Lucius Artorius Castus served as the basis for the mythological King Arthur. The film cuts out the middleman and just straight up makes him King Arthur, and a large portion of the film takes place at or near Hadrian’s Wall and its various outposts.

I’m not going to go down that rabbit hole (personally I though the film was okay when I watched it, but that was like 10 years ago), but the key takeaway here is that someone at PA also watched it (it came out 2 years before Zero did, after all) and saw Arthur at Hadrian’s Wall and went “…sure, why not?”

As a piece of trivia of interest to practically no one, the game contains a slight booboo in Intel’s description of the Hydrian Line. In the briefing he says it stretches from Osea’s southern border to the border of Sapin, when it’s supposed to say that it stretches across Belka’s southern border with Osea. Having both Sapin and Ustio back under friendly control is a big boon for Osea tactically, as Belka’s southern frontier is now effectively fenced in, and Osea can use Ustio as a springboard to attack the Hydrian line from behind rather than face it head-on if they were to come at it from Osean territory itself.


Mirage 2000D
Manufacturer: Dassault Aviation
Role: Tactical bomber
Manufactured: 1978-2007
Status: In Service
Primary Operators: France, UAE, China, India
Quick Facts:

Appropriately named “Mirage,” this aircraft was developed for low altitude intrusion. Digital control of its large delta wing gives this fighter superb acceleration and immediate response during manuvers.

Missiles: 64
UGB: 14
GPB: 10
XAGM: 14

EA-6B Prowler
Manufacturer: Northrop Grumman
Role: Electronic warfare / attack bomber
Manufactured: 1966-91
Status: In Service (Scheduled for complete retirement in 2019)
Primary Operators: United States
Quick Facts:

This electronic warfare aircraft known as the “Prowler,” not only provides active radar jamming to protect its allies from enemy fire, but is also a formidable air-to-ground fighter.

Missiles: 66

AV-8B Harrier Jumpjet
Manufacturer: Hawker Siddeley, Boeing, McDonnel Douglas, British Aerospace, BAE Systems
Role: VTOL strike aircraft
Manufactured: 1967-2003
Status: In Service
Primary Operators: United States, United Kingdom, India
Quick Facts:

AH-64 Apache
Manufacturer: Boeing (formerly McDonnel Douglas, and Hughes Helicopters before them)
Role: Attack helicopter
Manufactured: 1983-Present
Status: In Service
Primary Operators: United States, Israel, Egypt, Netherlands
Quick Facts:

Bernd Linke
30, Male, Belka
05.17.95 Operation Hell Bound - Killed In Action
F-117A Nighthawk
Difficulty: Any
Ace Style: Mercenary (Appears after all enemy units in Sector C are destroyed and the player scores 5000+ points)

As Captain of Spuk Squadron, he was assigned the duty of protecting the Hydrian Line. As experts at night fighting, his squadron formed an iron curtain that boasted protection for the front all through the night. He was shot down and killed at the battle of Glatisant.

Carsten Nowotny
"Vampir 1"
30, Male, Belka
05.17.95 Operation Hell Bound - Shot Down
F-20A Tigershark
Difficulty: Any
Ace Style: Soldier (Appears after all enemy units in Sector C are destroyed and the player scores 5000+ points)

The name Carsten Nowotny does not appear in the Belkan Air Force's official registry. Considering statements taken from members of his former squadron, it is highly probable that the official records have been altered. Regarded as an extremely dangerous element, his whereabouts are being investigated.

Rudolph Seifert
"Vampir 2"
29, Male, Belka
05.17.95 Operation Hell Bound - Shot Down
F-20A Tigershark
Difficulty: Any
Ace Style: Knight (Appears after all enemy units in Sector C are destroyed and the player scores 5000+ points)

After being shot down by Galm Flight, he received severe injuries and was inactive the rest of the war. However, shortly after the cease-fire, he stole an aircraft from the Belkan Air Base Schayne and escaped only to be shot down by the Allied Air Force. It is speculated that he may be trying to defect to another country.

Lola Sommer
28, Female, Belka
05.17.95 Operation Hell Bound - Shot Down
MiG-29A Fulcrum
Difficulty: Any
Ace Style: Knight (Appears after all enemy units in Sector D are destroyed and the player scores 5000+ points)

A descendant of the Albrecht Imperial Knights. She was assigned to protect the Area Garden of the ruined fortress, Glatisant. She is currently married to a civilian in Dinsmark, and is now the mother of two children.

Bert Esser
28, Male, Belka
05.17.95 Operation Hell Bound - Shot Down
Su-32 Strike Flanker* Special Paint Colour Unlocked
Difficulty: Ace
Ace Style: Any (Appears after all enemy units in Sector B are destroyed and the player scores 5000+ points)

The Commander of the 7th Air Division 65th Tactical Fighter Squadron. He is accredited with the destruction of Sapin 3rd Naval Fleet. His skill became the cornerstone of the anti-ship forces in the Belkan War. He was shot down during Operation Hell Bound.

Tracks featured in Mission 7.