The Let's Play Archive

Zone of the Enders: The Fist of Mars

by Scintilla

Part 2: Episode 02 - Perpetual Motion

Chapter Two – Perpetual Motion

Welcome back. Last time our protagonist rescued a mysterious girl and escaped a stricken transport ship in an LEV. After doing battle with the one who shot the ship down, he was pulled down into Mars’s gravity well.

Music: Intermission

Before we continue, we’re hit with the intermission screen. This always appears between chapters. There are a number of things we can do here – Save, Load, Status and Options are all things we’ve come across before. Next Stage will naturally advance the game to the next level. The only really interesting option here right now is “Balance”.

Selecting it brings up a list of mechs. Since we only have Cage here he’s the only one we can choose.

Selecting Cage’s LEV lets us fiddle around with the two balancers at the bottom. The balancers adjust priority – in the case of attack, you can boost the power of your strikes in exchange for lowering their accuracy and vice versa. The same goes for the escape balancer – you can choose to increase your chance of successfully evading an attack in exchange for taking more damage if you get hit and vice versa. This has varying effects depending on whether you’re using the IAS system or not. If you are, the speed and size of your cursor is affected. If not, it’s just a flat percentage change.

I don’t have a strong preference, so I leave the balancers where they are. All that’s left to do is to proceed to the next stage.

Music: Every Day

: Uh…Uhhhh…

: Are you okay?

: Wh…where am I?

: I’ve been better.

: Hm? Where’s the lev?

: The lev? Oh, the LEV?

: Quick! We have to get moving!

: What’s going on?! You’re the one who told me to get on this thing – wait…you don’t remember, do you?

: No…I don’t even know my name, or even what I’m doing here.

: So…what’s that? I guess it’s…

Yep, it’s that old chestnut again. Not having a ~mysterious amnesiac girl~ would be against regulations.

: What am I going to do?

: Well, I do know one thing. Your name is Myona Alderan.

: Myona…that’s my name?

: Uh-huh. That’s all I know too, ‘cause we just met.

: Did you always talk like that? I had a completely different impression of you before.

:…I’d be able to tell you if I remembered “before”…

: Sorry To Interrupt…

: Is that an interface program?

: H-hello.

: Nice to meet you, Pharsti.

: Likewise.

: This system is more advanced than usual.

: I know, technology these days…wait. Does that mean you remember something?

: Ah, you’re right. This is an LEV, Pharsti is a program, the knife goes on the right and the fork goes on the left…

: OK, this is good, I haven’t forgotten the basics. Let’s see, maybe I can remember some stuff about myself too…Ummm…Uh…

: Hey, there’s no need to rush. Just take your time, and I’m sure the problem will take care of itself. I’ll help out in whatever way I can as well.

: Brain Activity Levels Recorded At Normal. Would You Like A Full Analysis? Analysis On Cellular Level Also Available, Genetic Testing…

: No thanks, I’m fine for now.

: We need to figure out where we are now.

: Where we are?


: *Gasp* What was that?!

Three LEV’s appear around Cage.

: That LEV…

: Oh good. Help is on the way. Now all we have to do…

: This is a warning to the pilot in the unregistered LEV. You have destroyed public property and have endangered the safety and well-being of the community!

Music: Enemy Mine

: Therefore, you will be arrested in accordance with our statute on vandalism and destruction of property!

: (I wonder if I was a bad person…)

The screen fades out, but don’t worry. It’s time for a ~cryptic scene~.

Music: Black Ops

:…entertaining people anyway…

: At any rate, I am hardly the type to be accommodating toward the practices found in other countries. If you are not willing to help out, there will be problems.

: *Snicker* Then I guess there’s no choice. I’m not so desperate that I would steal from others.

: Fear not. That special someone of yours is safe – one must be careful with such precious collateral. Those in the immediate surroundings are not so lucky, of course…

: I see. So it’s been done.

: Plan 261 has been executed.

: Maintain confidentiality, eh? Nonsense.

: A bigger web catches more prey. It’s their own fault for being so stupid as to get caught.

:…mistakes, covering it up with yet another fiasco…

: That’s just the way things work. More importantly, you haven’t had so much as a bite of the Natural Beef. You didn’t like it? It’s better while it’s still warm…

:…I guess it would make sense that, as a Martian, I don’t care for Earthling food. We’ve been conditioned to become this way for so many years, to not be human…

:…Well, that sounds a little bitter. But isn’t the one most precious to you an Earthling also? Didn’t you ever learn that hypocrisy is something to be ashamed of?

: OK, that’s enough. We’re not getting any more done by being here. Go home and get some rest.

: Yes sir!

: Well, you just watch your step there. You can never be too careful. See you later…

:…should enjoy it while it lasts. Once the system is completed…heh heh, they’ll be sorry they ever disrespected me.

And so the scene ends. It’s one of those things that may or may not make sense much further down the line. But what about our lovable hero, Cage? Let’s find out what’s happening to him.

Music: Tension

: So I’ve been telling you, if you’ll just listen to my side of the story…

: Ah yes, about how you were attacked by the devil and made an emergency landing on Mars?

: Not the devil, an LEV that LOOKED LIKE the devil. I was working on the Bonaparte III as a…

: Silence, you terrorist!!

: Terrorist?!

: I know! I can prove it – just look at the security satellite record, and you’ll see that we landed in that LEV – we came in through the atmosphere, and…

: If you’re going to lie anyway, make it more believable! Besides, there’s no such record – which means you were on the surface to begin with. There’s no doubt that you attacked the UNSF facilities a few hours ago. I don’t know yet where you hid the new LEV, but finding it is just a matter of time. Because of you, countless civilians have suffered…

The security officer slams his fists down on the table, rattling the screen.

:…you do!

: Why?! I didn’t do anything wrong!!

: I escaped only to find myself in the middle of a battle, and I’ve only been trying to save myself…

Gotta say, Cage has a point. This security guy seems to have no real evidence to back up his claims. He can’t possibly claim with certainty that Cage is lying to him…can he?

: OK, now you’re trying to earn my sympathy. You’ll be feeling real sorry for yourself once I catch you out. Bonaparte III went down, and so did everyone on it. You really thought you could fool me like that, son?

: Wh…what do you mean?

: THIS is what I mean.

:…Lieutenant Noachim, who surveyed the crash site, the tragedy looks to be associated with engine trouble or some sort of misjudgement by the pilot; there are no survivors. Among those listed as passengers are Earth inhabitants Adam Twize, Alman Ov…

: Understand? Everyone is dead. The investigation is closed.

Oh dear. This can’t be good.

: No…


: You’ll have time to repent in your cell. Interrogation begins tomorrow…Arrest them!


The screen fades out while Cage is taken to the cell block.

: Calm down.

: Calm down? How am I supposed to calm down? I didn’t do anything!

: I don’t know what’s going on either, but I know you’re no criminal. Besides, the Cage Midwell who was on the news as a deceased passenger wasn’t you.

: What?

: Tell me everything that happened up until now.

: OK…

Cage explains how he came to be in the situation he is in now. Myona then tries to come up with an explanation for the apparent discrepancies in his story.

:…up directly to the upper strata where the Bonaparte is…then he approaches and attacks.

: Wait a minute! How did he get up to the upper strata? And how in the world is it my fault now?

: Well…I’d say there are two different ways of looking at it. First, perhaps it was someone high-profile, who wanted to avoid a scandal – like a politician, or a relative of a politician. Or it’s also possible that there was nobody on board – an unmanned fighter.

: But…it was talking.

:…possible. Even the LEV that we were on could talk.

For someone who’s lost her memory, Myona seems to have rather intimate knowledge about how this scheme could have been pulled off.

: That’s true…you remember that?

: Strange…I wonder why? Hmm…no, I can’t remember anything else. Anyway, that black LEV that you fought against is a new model, and they’re probably trying to cover up its activity.


: They’re going to say that there were no witnesses, and that the LEV that attacked Bonaparte was the LEV we were on. What do you think?

: Wh…what are we going to do? If we don’t do something, they’ll…

A beeping noise interrupts Cage’s babbling.

Music: Promise of Reunion

: Oh…yeah…

: It’s very pretty…and very…familiar…

: That’s Ares playing.

: Ares?

: What’s wrong?

: Actually this song marks the beginning of our friendship. It was a very important moment in my life.


: I have to live through this. For Ares, and for everyone else.

: You’re right, you can’t give up now.

If it wasn’t already clear, Cage has something of a dependency complex where Ares is concerned. But before he can elaborate further…

Music: Conversation with Friends

Aw, that’s cruel. Are you saying you don’t want me around anymore?


: Cage. Come over here and let me see your face. I’m opening up the peephole now.

: A…res? It’s got to…be a dream…but…

: OK. Just another step forward…

: OWWW!!

: Ares!! It’s you!! Ares! It really is you!!

: Alright, let’s save the touching reunion for later, and figure out how to undo this lock and get you out of here.

: Here’s the combination.

: Huh?!

: Don’t be scared – I’m on your side. I’ve been listening to what you’ve been saying, so I understand the situation. Now punch in the combination I’m about to give you. First number is…

A series of beeps follows, then the sound of a door opening.

: OK. Let’s go!

: OK!

: Wait! Aren’t you going to let me out?

This screen should say “Scene 02: Perpetual Motion”.

Player Phase Music: Sortie
Enemy Phase Music: Sudden Assault

:…how did you know where to find us?

: I actually escaped in a pod. I was watching the local news, and it said that all the people who escaped had died in the accident. And then I found out that you were under arrest as the culprit…so I came to your rescue.

This would seem to prove Myona’s coverup theory. Remember how Pharsti detected forty two life-signs after the Bonaparte was destroyed? Ares must have been one of those. On the other hand, this jars with the news reports that there were no survivors. Something very strange is going on here.


: Well, I’m…I guess I’m glad too.

: Oops, almost forgot. This here is Myona. We escaped together.

: Pleased to meet you, Mr. Ares. My name is Myona.

: Huh?


: She can’t remember? Hmm. No, I don’t think we know each other.

:…Here we are…

: That’s the LEV we came in on…

: And you are…?

Before Deckson can continue, two hostile LEV’s appear to the south west.

: On second thought, it’s too early for that. Never mind. You arrived in that LEV, did you say? If you could just hold on for a little while…my friend has no concept of time.

: Certainly.

: It Has Been Exactly 8 Hours And 37 Minutes. Passenger Check…All Systems Go.

: Thank God everything’s up and running.

: I’m Sorry, Last Command Not Recognised. Please Repeat.

: Oh, don’t worry about it…we need to buy time.

: Yeah, I suppose you could look at it like that. Oh, and don’t aim at the cockpit…and even if I do, don’t let me, OK?

: Disable But Do Not Destroy…Acknowledged.

Just a side note – this has no practical gameplay effects whatsoever. You can still nail critical hits and whatnot.

Mission Map:

The game now gives you control of the battlefield. The first thing we need to do is check out the enemy LEV’s to the west.

Security LEV Model A isn’t nearly as tough as the Black Frame. Lower defence and HP means we can actually kill it fairly easily.

It has a close range attack with a small blade and a ranged handgun attack. Neither are particularly threatening.

The pilot is a generic. Again, nothing too special. How about the other one?

At first glance, Security LEV Model B appears to be the same. However…

Instead of a handgun it’s toting the heavier and more powerful but more range-restricted machinegun. It’s still not too much to worry about, but it’s two on one and it doesn’t pay to be careless.

Since I don’t have any attacks that can hit the enemy from my starting position I decide to move towards them. Notice how there’s a movement penalty for travelling over mountains and buildings? That doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t go there.

This is because they give you bonuses to defence and/or evasion. Different terrain provides different bonuses, and you can check them by moving the cursor over an empty square and pressing “B”.

I move Cage’s LEV to just outside the enemy LEV’s ranged attack range. He’ll be forced to attack with his Laser Blade, which I can easily avoid. I end the turn and await his attack

As expected, Security LEV A moves to attack at close range. His targeting cursors will be tiny and only bother me for three seconds. He gamely tries to hit me, but to no avail.

He misses, the other Security LEV moves up and the enemy’s turn ends.

Since the enemy has been kind enough to get in my face I give him a good slashing with Rusty Lancer.

He won’t survive another hit like that.

Once again he tries to cut me once his turn rolls around, and this time he succeeds in nicking me. This isn’t really too much of an issue…

Until the other enemy LEV decides to attack me with his Machinegun.

Luckily he also misses and my turn rolls around again.

I immediately obliterate the damaged LEV.

I gain 100 Cash for doing so. Destroying enemy units is the only way of getting money in this game, which can then be used at the Garage to upgrade your LEV’s.

Also note that Cage’s Spirit level has gone up by 6. Spirit goes up whenever you shoot down an enemy. Once you have enough spirit you can access powerful Burst Attacks like the Soulshooter Cage used in the scripted event last update.

My next attack against the remaining LEV scores a critical and almost kills it in one attack.

The next strike finishes the job.


Four more LEV’s suddenly activate in the detention centre.

: Well, Tim…oops, I guess I’m supposed to call you Frazer now…I haven’t done anything, as a matter of fact. Earth has been antagonizing Mars for a while now, and as they say, what goes around comes around. I’m just helping out a little with the natural progression of things.

: You haven’t changed a bit, Deckson. Unfortunately for you, this is the last chance you’ll have to spout off your self-serving speeches. You will all be charged the heaviest penalty available for escaping incarceration. Capital punishment for you all!

As if that wasn’t bad enough, five more enemy LEV’s emerge from ambush around Cage’s LEV, surrounding him.

: Now cut it out and take responsibility for your own actions!

: Well…no thanks.

Without warning, one of the LEV’s explodes violently!

Music: Onward to Victory

It seems the ambushers have themselves been ambushed by a new LEV!

: WHAT?!

: That’s not possible…you’re saying they hit it at that distance?!

Uh, it’s actually not that hard. Cage’s Tear Bullet has a similar range, y’know.

Yet another LEV appears below the other one.

: Boy, who you callin’ Planet Airhead Girl?! You wanna take this outside?

: Stoppp, you’re s-scaring me!

(He’s gonna get it later on…)

: Phil…we’ve grown roots waiting for you. Come on all, climb aboard. Don’t worry, they’re all trustworthy.

: Um…But…

: Uhh…

: Come on, we don’t have a choice. If we don’t go with them, we’ll be executed for sure.

: Hmm? Okay…

: OK…Cage, do you copy?

: Yes, I hear you.

: We’re going to have to separate. Visibility on this end is bad, and it’s dangerous. You’ll have to navigate.

: Where should I go?

: Guide us to that point. Good luck. Semyl! Razma! He’s my guest, and he’s coming with me.

: Got it, boss. We’ll take good care of him. Let’s go!

: What’s with the new lingo?

: OK, let’s get going! Nice to meet you, new guy!

: Uh-huh…uh…

The game gives us back control at this point. We now have three new units to play around with, so let’s check them out starting with the first one that appeared.

Razma is the team’s sniper, and his LEV, the Dreizehn, is well-suited for the task. His standard Long Rifle attack has a range of seven squares, which is huge at this point. For shorter ranges he has the standard Laser Blade as well as a stock of six Grenades to throw. On the other hand, every one of the Dreizehn’s attacks costs either Energy or Ammo to use, and Razma’s melee skills are sorely lacking. You want to keep him off the frontlines so that he can snipe enemies from far away whilst your other LEV’s take the brunt of the fighting.

Speaking of which, let’s check out the second LEV nearby.

Semyl’s Caliburnus is the heavy hitter of the team. It’s a bucket full of HP, armour and weapons that can and will ruin any enemy that comes too close. It’s powerful over medium range and packs a mean punch with both missile and energy weapons, but it suffers from low movement range. Unfortunately this can often result in Semyl getting left behind in some of the later missions, but once she gets back in range things will start exploding.

Finally, there’s the transport that picked up Deckson and the others.

In terms of combat, the Blade is worthless. It has terrible armour and whilst its Beam Cannon might look strong it will quickly end up being outclassed by every other unit in the game. It doesn’t help that Phil is a pretty poor pilot with fairly low stats all around. The real use of the Blade is as a utility unit – note the Repair System it’s equipped with, which lets it restore HP to any unit that needs it.

Now, I realise that Deckson said we should get the hell out of dodge ASAP, but we’re not going to do that. Running away means leaving the enemy LEV’s behind, and that means less exp and cash for us. It’s always a good idea to destroy as many enemies as possible during any given mission.

So let’s start by testing out the Caliburnus’s missles.


With less than 400 HP left, the hapless LEV can now be finished off with Razma’s Long Rifle. Just look at that delicious hit rating.

Needless to say, the enemy does not survive.

My final act on this turn is to move the Blade away from Frazer and his goons. The plan is to consolidate our forces here by crushing the remaining LEV’s and then returning to take the fight to Frazer.

Nothing interesting happens on the enemy phase – the three LEV’s on the left side of the map attack Cage and Semyl with their Laser Blades, but none manage to score a hit. Frazer’s group also starts moving west to intercept us.

Cage retaliates by stabbing his attacker with Rusty Lancer…

…and Phil finishes him off, netting two consecutive level-ups.

Up north the situation is more complicated. Semyl’s Caliburnus is mostly boxed in by the two enemy LEV’s, and whilst she could move away she wouldn’t be able to use her weapons until next turn. The only choice is to attack with her Laser Blade. The designated victim this time is the LEV directly below her.

A lucky critical hit brings the opponent down to low HP. Once again Razma is now free to go for the kill…but wait a minute…

Razma’s kill last turn was enough to give him the necessary Spirit to use his Burst Attack, Calamity Kiss. We could use this to take down the damaged LEV…

…or we could use it to one-shot the other LEV from full health.

The enemy takes its turn, but again, nothing interesting happens.

The remaining LEV over here is a non-threat, so I use my next turn to group all of my forces together to meet Frazer’s push.

The enemy tries to attack Semyl with a machinegun, but misses.

I decide to Grenade him for his impudence.

The rest of the turn is spent getting everyone into position just outside Frazer’s movement range.

Now we can go to town. Frazer is piloting the LEV at the very back of the column. He’s the only real threat on this map – everyone else is more or less a scrub.

The Caliburnus fires the opening shot, targeting the nearest LEV.

Razma then finishes him with his Long Rifle.

Cage targets the next in line with a Tear Bullet, bringing it down to half HP.

Phil then finishes it with the Blade. This map is now essentially won – only one of the remaining LEV’s can get close enough to hit us, and Frazer won’t be able to hit us at all.

The enemy chooses to attack Phil. I don’t even bother dodging, with damage that low.

Our turn rolls around again. Phil and Razma put an end to the final generic LEV, leaving Frazer to face us alone.

Frazer is a pretty good pilot, but he’s crippled by being in the same weak Security LEV his subordinates were using.

Cage manages to nail him with Tear Bullet. Not sure what happened with the screenshot, it should be showing the damage he did.

Then Semyl cripples him completely, gaining a titanic amount of experience in the process. Bosses give out a lot of exp, so it’s always useful to try and hit one if you can, even if it’s just a cherry-tap.

:…you! You remember that!!

Frazer ejects as his LEV goes up in flames.

: Goody! Now we can escape!

: Hmm. Good job, Cage.

: Wow! You didn’t strike me as being that reliable…I’m so impressed!

: Er…yeah, thanks.


Everyone retreats and the screen fades to black.

Music: Black Ops

: Who the hell are you? Where is your identification?

: UNSF Special Task Force Acemos. Nadia Candido. Satisfied?

: *Gulp* Acemos…? The army’s elite force…?

: Who the hell are YOU, and where the hell is YOUR identification?

: I’m very sorry. As his superior, I am ready to take responsibility for his wrongdoing.

:…security supervisor.

: I aim only to fulfil my post as I am instructed.

: Anyway, I will let the heads know about this. You take it from there.

: Yes, ma’am.

Nadia walks away.

: Is she an acquaintance of yours?


: I see…

The screen and music fade out.

We receive a report about all the spoils we received from the last battle.

Music: Intermission

And that’s this chapter over with. Next time I’ll go into the upgrade system and explain how the Garage works. Until then…