Part 18: EX Chapter FINAL: All the Other ThingsEditor's note: this applies to Chapter 12
This bonus part I figured would serve as a sort of grab bag for various AC concepts that I didn't find a relevant place for in the main LP. These mainly include trivia and small cheats the player the can use during the game, but there's also some details about the gameplay that weren't covered in detail. Thankfully, ACES CURE PLANES offered to provide some effort posts explaining these concepts. The first of which is a tactic that you may have seen constantly throughout the game, boost hopping.
While a huge Armored Core fan, my preference for the PS1 and PS2 games stems primarily from the boosting model used for most of the series, and boost hopping is a major reason for why I prefer it. As mentioned, boost hopping saves energy from your meter while still maintaining just as much mobility. More importantly, the challenge of managing your energy meter consumption from both boosting and energy weapon usage makes gameplay difficult but rewarding. Kind of similar to a game like Viewtiful Joe, where the meter management is crucial to efficient play.
Thankfully Arc has covered the basics for me, so I'll just jump into Boost Hopping, which he's shown off a bith in the videos but I haven't seen him detailing it. Essentially it's just engaging a normal ground boost, letting go for a split second, and pressing it again to transfer seamlessly into a flying state. From there you let off the boost for most of your arc, but reengage when near the ground to reduce your falling speed enough that you don't need to recover. That lets you transition into a ground boost again, allowing you to stay in the upper range of your max boosting speed while using less than half the energy, which kind of speaks for itself really. Boost hopping is ubiquitous across the entire series, and is the core concept behind a lot of AC techniques in the PSX-PS2 games.
And while not a mechanic itself, ACES explains an interesting quirk in the movement of an AC that is just important to the use of boost hopping.
If you recall from the missions Destroy Floating Mines or Kill "Struggle" Leader, those missions had sections where you're tasked with ascending or descending very tall shafts with small footing at various points. The extra maneuverability while airborne can make landing extremely difficult (especially so if your AC is as lightweight as can be) as digital controls mean you have only two speeds: 0 and Max. Obviously with the introduction of dual analog controls in Nexus, maneuvering vertical spaces without overshooting your landing point was made much more manageable.
And with that said, boost hopping has more uses than just going pretty fast on the cheap, it also gives you added maneuverability in general thanks to the perverse logic behind AC's physics. When entering the air off a boost hop, you can cancel your forward momentum and start moving in any direction you want by just maneuvering with your boosters off. Since your normal ground and air turning is relatively slow by comparison, this lets you make (blind) hairpin turns while you wait for your AC to swing its eyes around to the front. Obviously, it's also useful for general purpose evasion but also for PVE and PVP FCS manipulation, which I don't know if I'll get to out of fear of breaking my keyboard.
tl;dr: 1. Bunny hop like it's counter strike. 2. Momentum is selective in the AC universe so long as you're in the air.
The Origin of the KARASAWA
I briefly explained the origin of the Moonlight laser blade and it being a carry over from the King's Field series' Moonlight Greatsword. While it is a common name that's carried across many of From Software's titles, the KARASAWA is a similar type of item though it is only exclusive to Armored Core itself.
The KARASAWA is named after the game's producer, Yasuyoshi Karasawa. While it is not a carry over from a previous series, this weapon does set a precedence for the rest of the series that each generational step in Armored Cores necessitates there be a new version of the KARASAWA, and that it must be powerful as all hell. The KARASAWA mk II in Armored Core 2 and Another Age serves this perfect to a tee, being just like the original KARASAWA with additional accuracy and powerful stun capabilities. The WMG-KARASAWA in Armored Core 3 and Silent Line would increase the bulk of the weapon along with it's power, making it the strongest iteration of the weapon.
However, with Armored Core Nexus through Last Raven, the WH04HL-KRSW would be the latest iteration and also the weakest of the KARASAWA line, a change not necessarily exclusive to this but a lot of weapons and parts across the board. The KARASAWA name is dropped in favor of the CANOPUS for Armored Core 4. Today, Armored Core V and Verdict Day feature not one, but THREE variations of the KARASAWA line. The Karasawa (no caps lock) is based on the original KARASAWA weapons pre Nexus that are big, have lots of power, but compared to the 50 shots of the old games only holds 4. The second one, the KRSW, is based on the Nexus iteration of the weapon, being light, holding 40 shots, and not as powerful as its predecessor. Then there is the L-K37 to serve as a middle ground between the two versions.
That right there is the history of the KARASAWA line in a nutshell.
Repurposing Chrome and Murakumo
The details of the two corporations in universe have been explored already, but their names would not stay only with this series (even if they ultimately have nothing to do with Armored Core specifically). From Software created two games on the Xbox platforms that borrowed these two megacorps' names. The first was Murakumo: Renegade Mech Pursuit for the original Xbox, and the main idea behind it is that you are pursuing other robots with your own personal mecha called the Cloud Breaker in high speed chase missions. It...didn't review so well. But the Cloud Breaker itself did find itself a brief second life as one of the mechs in another From Soft series, Another Century's Episode. It was only featured in the first game, however.
Chrome, however, had it's name used for the fairly popular Xbox 360 multiplayer mecha game, Chromehounds. It's obviously more well remembered due to its in depth mecha customization and the persistent online multiplayer that it supported for years. But alas, the servers have been shut down for a while now, and the multiplayer concept made something of a return with Armored Core V and Verdict Day. So yeah, both names survived for a few years and were re purposed for non-AC mech games. Obviously there's no real connection to Armored Core in any of these games, however tenuous they could be, but it shows the From Software has a habit of recycling and reusing certain items and names because they feel like it.
Some Cheat Codes
There aren't too many of them, and none of them will give you any real advantage while playing, but there's some things you can mess around with.
Pressing Triangle, Square, and Start at the same time during a mission will change the viewpoint to a first person perspective, making it resemble more something like a first person shooter. You won't deal with the camera issues that come with pressing an AC's back against a wall, but it still controls exactly the same. And it's not a representation of what it looks like piloting an AC inside, as Silent Line would be the first and only game to feature a proper cockpit view.
Pressing Circle, X, and Start at the same time during a mission will actually look the camera in place, and will track your AC while staying in place. If you remember Super Mario 64, one of the camera modes you could mess around with had this exact function. Of course, none of it is practical in anyway for serious play, and this being Armored Core it is always serious.
At the start of the game you are asked to enter your pilot name, and after that there's seemingly no way to change it after the fact. But there is! When in the garage, highlight "Change AC Name" and hold L2, R2, Square, and then tap X to select it. Now you can change your pilot name to something else. Eventually future games would have this as a default feature than some code you have to use.
Lastly, if you go to the Edit Emblem section of the main menu, highlight an emblem, hold L1 + R1, and press select and that emblem will now appear in the background. Not gameplay related, but again like the rest of these codes, they're just for messing around.
Why is that AC Dual Wielding?
You may have noticed it already, but if not, take a close look at the AC on the cover of the game.
That AC is holding rifles in each hand. That is not possible. At least until Armored Core 3.
As established in AC 1, the only left arm weapons available in the game are laser blades used for off hand melee. Armored Core 2 expanded left arm weapons somewhat by introducing shields, letting players choose to add some extra attack or defensive capabilities to their ACs. Armored Core 3 would be the first to allow for proper ranged weapons that can be assigned to the left arm of the AC, including howitzers, mini rockets, laser rifles, and so on. This would obviously continue to expand to the point that in more recent games you can effectively duel wield the exact same weapon in each hand. Technology comes quite a ways.
Like many games back in the day, there were discs that contained multiple demos for upcoming games that people could receive, and Armored Core was one of them. The Armored Core demo for those that remember featured two early game missions: "Eliminate Squatters" and "Remove Gun Emplacement."
One Final Reward
When you complete the game 100%, you are given permission to build absolutely whatever AC you want. Including ones that go against the rules of what you can build. On a 100% complete file, the Overweight or Low Energy requirements do not prevent you from going on a mission and do not affect gameplay. This would eventually change in later PS2 Armored Core games where you are given the option to go into battle overweight, but at the expense of mobility until you purge whatever parts are weighing you down. Similar to how more modern games with encumbrance don't prevent you from moving at all, just letting you move at a snail's pace instead.