The Let's Play Archive

Zone of the Enders: The Fist of Mars

by Scintilla

Part 7: Episode 07 - Opposing Tracks

Chapter Seven: Opposing Tracks

Music: Intermission

It’s upgrade time again, and thanks to last mission we have a lot of money to throw around.

I boost everyone’s HP by one level apart from the Justeen, which gets two levels since it’s the frailest. Once again the Blade gets nothing.

I also replace the Booster Semyl used last mission. We’ll be fighting in built up areas for a while yet, so it’ll come in handy when she starts lagging behind.

Let’s get a move on.

Music: Day In, Day Out


: OK. See ya, Pharsti.

: Yes. Good-bye, Cage.

A door opens and Myona walks in.

: Good work. Here.

: What's this?

: Oh. Thanks! I'll have some now... *Gulp*...*Choke*...Eeegheghe!

: Are you okay?

: (Gross! How could anything possibly taste so bad?)

: Oh... You didn't like it?

: N-no! It's really good!

: Uh…great?

There’s a very similar scene to this that happens in the Super Robot Wars games. It’s a running gag where one female character’s health drink is hideously unpalatable to nearly everybody.

: Cage.

: Oh, Robin. How's it going? Have you had any new discoveries?

: Yes, thank to you. But there are still a number of unresolved issues... We're so close.

: If there's anything at all that I can do, please tell me.

:…we still don't know... This is an incredible specimen.

: You're very knowledgeable about machines. And skilled.

: Well, I've been around them for a while. Thank you for your help today.

: Not at all. Let's go, Myona. Good-bye.

Cage and Myona leave as the screen fades out. But it seems the scene isn’t done with Robin just yet…

Music: Tension

: I don't think it is a good idea to become too close with them.

: Don't worry. Work is work, and I'm getting what I have to get done, done. Or are you going to report this? Well, report me if you like; I know you could.

: It's fine if you understand. I agree, the rate of progress is on schedule....if we can continue at this pace.

It looks like Robin and Twede also have their own agendas regarding BIS. There are plots within plots going on here, and neither the heroes nor the villains are exempt from nefarious machinations. Part of the beauty of this game is playing through it a second time knowing the plot and realising that everything that happens later on was foreshadowed earlier in the story.

The screen fades out for real this time. When it comes back, it’s inside BIS HQ.

Music: Black Ops

: Ah, perfect timing. The other day there was an anti-tax increase demonstration, and there was a skirmish between civilians and the UNSF. There were a few casualties.

: Casualties at a protest?

: Yeah. Apparently some civilians fired at UNSF troops. Well, that's according to a report from Earth. They say that it started out as a fight between the parties involving LEVs.

: That's just the dumbest thing I've ever heard. What kind of protester starts shooting? It'd just give Earthlings a reason to wipe out everyone opposing the taxes. This has to be some kind of propaganda!

: It's unnatural that they have all this evidence, isn't it? And take a close look at this picture; there's the UNSF LEV that was acting as riot control...

: That looks like the LEV that we fought at the orphanage...!

: Bolozof's frame...He's Earth's worst export, a military man. It's highly possible... He doesn't think of Martians as being human, so he would do something like that.

: Regardless of the instigator, this cannot happen ever again. There is another demonstration scheduled today, so we will stand by at the scene.

: Of course. We'll wait in ambush. If nothing happens, we will do nothing... But if by chance something does happen, we are the only ones who can stop it.

: Where's John's team? Aren't they supported by Ms. O'Connell also?

: Er... We have more friends?

: Yes. There are a few groups like ours, but not too many. Recently, a number of them lost the resources to remain active.

:...They're gone. It happened two days ago. It wasn't picked up by the media.

: Oh...

: Let's go, Boss. If nothing happens we just come home. If something does, we try to stop it. Right?

: That's right.

: Well, in that case I'll make a picnic basket! Can't fight when you're hungry! Oh, but don't expect anything too fancy, we only have ingredients for sandwiches...

: I think it's a good idea. You should eat when you can; it's very important.

: Why...

Food also has a relaxing effect, which is a good thing. Especially when everyone is really nervous, like we are now.

: Oh...Phil, you...

: Er... This is the least I can do for everyone.

: No cucumbers in my sandwich.

Okay, so it seems very likely that Bolozof is involved in a false flag operation, riling up the people of Mars so that the UNSF has an excuse to stomp all over them. Boy, I sure hope we don’t have to protect any worthless civilians this time around…

This glitchy mess should read ‘Scene 07: Opposing Tracks’.

Music: Tragedy

: Stop whining. Work is work...and besides, we have to make sure that it's not a replay of last time.

: I know. If we let the Earthling UNSF in on this, they'll do whatever they want and call it 'riot control'. Oh, here come the protest groups.

: Earth exploits its position and forces its tyranny upon us. Are we going to allow this to continue? No, we cannot! All we ask for are basic rights that we deserve! What is wrong with that? Are they trying to tell us that we are not worth our human rights?

:…not have enough power to make a difference. That is why we want you to lend a hand, and support the cause. Please don't let our sad history repeat itself. Justice on Mars!! Let us fight for a bright future for our children!

: Yeahhhh!!

: The government doesn't care about us! We have to look out for ourselves!!

:...They're really riled up. They could start a war right here.

: Is it safe to be away from the frames?

: No worries. There are things you don't see unless you're on the ground...probably.

: Probably?!

Cage breaks off as the sound of a commotion draws near.

: Hmm. Wonder what happened...?

: Hey, Cage! Wait!

: *Pant* *Pant*

: Huh? What happened?

: Oh, er, I was walking and this child collapsed suddenly.



: Nothing. It looks like a slight case of anemia to me. Some rest in the shade should fix it…

: How did you know my name?!

: It was engraved on the backside of that pendant. I have great eyesight. You got that from your boyfriend. I right?

:...Heh heh. It was a gift, but it was a long time ago.

: Ah... So, you've been very careful with it. Which means I have no chance? You can bring your little sister along too....

Dammit, Razma.

: Ha, ha.... You're quite amusing. I make it a point not to associate with little boys. And also, we're not sisters. I was just passing through.

:…eyes when you brought her here.

: Wha... That's.... Anyway, take this child to a safe place soon! Good day!

Nadia runs off, no doubt to help Bolozof murder her fellow Martians.

: Aw...there she goes. You got dumped.


: Razma?

:...Er...excuse me?

: Hm? Yes?

:…soon. Thanks!

: What?!? He...hey!

: Come on, Cage!

: Huh? Oh, OK…

: (Heh heh heh... Here we go...)

: (It's time, I guess we'll begin.)

The music fades out, then a loud gunshot is heard.

Music: Danger

: Whah?!?

: Gunshots!

: Stop overreacting. It's just a gun. Handle it calmly.

: Task completed...we will now join the main group.

: (Heh heh ...perfect...)

Alpha LEV’s appear in a cordon around the entire area.

: An UNSF LEV? We are conducting an investigation now....

: If you get in our way we'll have to control you too. If you don't want anything bad to happen to you, stay out of it.

: What?! This is under the jurisdiction of the UCM Security Keeping Force! Besides...

: Aaaarrgh.... Why?!

: You...dirtbags!! This is clearly a breach of protocol...

: What protocol? Acemos has no obligation to act in accordance with any protocol.

: Acemos?! Special Task Force Acemos? I get it... So the whole thing was a setup!

: Precisely.

: Aaaaaarrrggghhhh!

: (Even if they are Martians...It's unbelievable that they would act against the Security Officers, who are on their side... They're acting as though they've gone insane.)

: Lieutenant. The obstacle has been removed.

: OK. Now rub out those dangerous rioters. Completely.

: Yes sir! You are all under arrest! Don't move! You don't want to move another step!

The construction LEV takes a step forwards.

: Don't do it! Stop!

The Acemos LEV naturally slaughters him.

: Eeeeeeeeek!!

: I instructed you specifically not to move, but you displayed blatant rebellious spirit. We will have to end this riot by force!

So basically, the civilians = the 99%, Earth = the 1% and Acemos = the US Police Force. The Mars Security Forces = the Tea Party and BIS = Adbusters. There are even false flag operations and media manipulation. My ham-handed analogy makes this game politically relevant.

:…as an excuse to act against them, while offering them no protection! Prepare yourselves! We're going to protect the demonstrators!

All the BIS units spawn around the protestors.

: What a dirty plan... We can't let it happen!

: Whew... It was pretty boring just sitting there...

(Where is Bolozof?.... I don't see that machine of his anywhere...)


: Demonstrators on your LEVs, I am on your side! We will act as your shield! Flee to the south!

: What? What is going on?

: Let's get out of here!!

: OK, everyone, we are going to protect them as they head down south. Good luck!

: Got it.

: Yes sir!

: (The person who fired the first shot looked an awful lot like Nadia... Nah, it can't be...)

Player Phase Music: Sortie
Enemy Phase Music: Sudden Assault

Mission Map:

The game gives you control at this point. And joy of joys, we have an escort mission on our hands.

There are five of these Construction LEV’s right in the middle of the city, and it’s our job to cover for them while they escape to the south. BIS has strategically positioned themselves between the Acemos forces and the protestors, so the enemies to the west, east and north won’t be too much trouble…

No, it’s these assholes who are going to screw everything up for us. The AI is going to shepherd all the Construction LEV’s over that bridge, whereupon those missile and beam gun-toting LEV’s will tear them apart. Now, the Construction LEV’s are tough enough to take maybe one hit from an enemy without dying…but that’s it.

To be fair, we don’t have to save all the Construction LEV’s. The only victory condition here is to destroy every enemy on the map. But every civilian LEV you save gives you a bonus 1,000 cash, and an extra 5,000 for saving everyone is a very nice reward.

Also of note is this little building off to the side – the L. Server. This will be important in just a moment.

The first thing to do is to move Warren down and begin taking down the asshole LEV’s down south. The enemy to the northwest isn’t a threat yet since its missiles have a range of five squares.

Nice, but not enough to get rid of it.

Someone has to deal with the surrounding LEV’s – they aren’t a threat now but they soon will be. Semyl is a good choice due to her low mobility.

She scores a lucky critical. You may also have noticed that I moved Cage down a bit – he’s going to be vital in destroying the enemies to the south.

Hmm…the Edge’s cannon could do with an upgrade.

Razma takes a shot and hits. That’s it for our western units.

In the east, the first thing to do is to move both Ares and Yukito as far south as they can go.

Mebius also moves south and attacks an enemy with her Split Blade.

The key in this mission is to inflict as much damage as possible in the shortest amount of time whilst scrambling to take out the southern enemies.

Phil deals some scratch damage before I end my turn. Since there are a lot of enemies I’ll give you guys the condensed version of events.

The enemy who got roughed up by Phil and Mebius attacks Phil and hits him.

The foe who got Absoluted last turn attacks Warren, but Warren eats bears and shits fur coats so he misses.

The south-western LEV moves up and attacks Semyl. This is worrying since it brings him close to the column of protestors.

More futile attacks on Warren.

Deckson also gets shot at.

Mebius evades another enemy. The enemy turn ends and the civilian LEV’s all move three spaces south.

At the start of our second turn a scene plays out.

: What?

: The Local Server is over there.

: Local…Server?

: I believe it is affiliated with NUT. If it is possible, please transport an OF to that point and stand by. It may be possible to procure additional weapons and other specialised modules by doing so.

: What do you mean?

:…the server. From now on, if you see a server and the situation allows it, please move an OF to the server and wait until the data is transferred…Once the data is obtained, it is possible to build new features into the OF.

: That’s a bit complicated for me…but you’re saying that if the OF is placed on top of that thing, you can get new functions?

: Precisely.

: I understand, but at times like this I need to help people instead. I’ll keep it in mind, though.

: Yes, the decision is entirely up to you.

Here it is – the building I pointed out earlier. Also Cage is full of shit, we want that server and we want it now. If we finish the mission without getting the upgrade from the server it’s gone forever.

Mebius is the closest, so I move her down towards the server and engage an enemy with her Split Sword at the same time. The yellow targeting cursor makes the selected units blink so sometimes they don’t show up in screencaps.

Meanwhile Phil stays put and just repairs himself. His job is to bait the foes around him so that they ignore the civilian LEV’s.

Down south things are looking good – we should be able to destroy the two southern missile LEV’s in one turn. The ones wielding beam guns won’t have enough range to engage the civilian LEV’s.

Warren finishes off one…

And Ares/Yukito take down the other one.

Here’s where we run into a problem. The missile LEV next to Semyl is in range of the civilian procession. Semyl and Cage are nearby but the enemy is inside the minimum range of Semyl’s big guns. It’s unlikely that we can take him out this turn.

Yeah, that tiny laser blade isn’t going to do much good…

Now if Cage scored a critical hit…

No such luck, of course.

This foe looks like he’s trying to break away and attack the procession, but luckily Deckson is still in range. The phantom unit cursor strikes again, but rest assured, there’s a machinegun LEV there.

Since he was already pretty badly damaged the hit puts him down for good.

Razma finishes off another injured enemy, ending my turn. We’re in a pretty good position right now and should be able to save everyone barring some kind of disaster.

As expected, the missile LEV immediately takes a shot at a civilian LEV.

The Acemos forces have high enough stats compared to the civilians that they will never miss.

One more hit and he’s done.

Phil successfully baits two enemy LEV’s into ignoring the convoy, though he does take a hit in the process.

One of the northern LEV’s I’ve been ignoring so far decides to take a shot at Razma.

It doesn’t work.

OF’s are fairly resistant to ballistic attacks, but energy attacks can still put the hurt on them.

If all goes well both southern foes should be dead by the end of my next turn.

More baiting by Phil.

Agh no Phil why are you such an awful pilot

Ugh. At least that’s the final enemy action this turn.

Alright then. The three enemy LEV’s in this screenshot are the ones we really have to kill this very turn in order to ensure the safety of the procession.

So let’s take care of that.

Huh. It strikes me that I have yet to show off the Durandal II’s ranged attack. It has terrible range and is far less powerful than its melee attacks, but I’ll get around to showing it sooner or later.

That’s one down.

Two down.

And that’s the last of them. The civilian LEV’s are pretty much completely safe now.

In the north I move Mebius over the server and grab the delicious data. We’ll find out exactly what we’re getting out of it after the end of the mission.

Phil’s job is done, so I have him run away and heal up.

I then move Deckson over to give him some fire support.

That just leaves Razma and this guy near the top.

That’s it for my turn.

The LEV Razma targeted last turn hits back.

He manages to score a hit.

The game of ‘Let’s kick Phil’ continues. He just barely survives.

The civilian LEV’s continue to retreat, and one manages to cross the invisible line allowing him to vanish off the map.

Now it’s time to start moving everyone back up. Someone needs to save Phil, too.

The Vjaya is in the running as the best Orbital Frame in the game. It’s fast, hits hard and later gains some abilities that let it truly ruin an enemy’s shit.

Critical hit, bitch.

Run, Phil, run!

Razma finishes off his opponent.

Now it’s just Deckson left.

Every little helps, I guess. With only two enemies left, I’d say this part of the mission is all but over.

Of course they both attack Phil.

Another two civilians escape.

I start my next turn by having Mebius kill the missile LEV.

Phil moves north and repairs himself.

Just one more hit…

Acemos forces – dispatched.

The destruction of all enemies prompts the remaining civilians to get the hell out of dodge.

…Of course, it’s not over yet. Bolozof appears ready to do battle, right…next…to Phil.

Oh god.

: It’s that frame!

: Come back!

: If you want to live out the rest of your years in peace, don’t order me around. You’ve got your own problems to take care of.

: You…

: Relax. I’ve got ‘proof’ that the demonstrators fired the first shot here. You want to get the Animus back too, right?


: Sir! I’m in my Bizac. Do I have permission to leave?

: Ah. This is how you differ from the average Martian trash. My expectations of you are high.

: Thank you, sir. Oh, and this pendant…

: Yes, what about it?

Huh. I guess by ‘departing’ she really means ‘join in and wreck Phil’s shit too’.

: A-aren’t you…

: That voice…Aren’t you the young boy from earlier? I see…you’re the frame runner of the Animus.

: Why are you doing this? Aren’t you a Martian yourself?!

:…weaklings! I am Nadia Candido, Special Task Force Acemos! If you do not return that machine then I will take it from you by force!

A bunch of reinforcements appear to make Phil’s day even worse.

: Now, shall we take care of the unfinished business from our last meeting?

Ugh. Okay, the Vjaya is our only unit that hasn’t moved yet. At the very least we can damage one of Bolozof’s pals before the slaughter begins.

Here goes nothing…


That was tremendously close. Sometimes even the ‘move the reticule round and round in circles’ method doesn’t work when the enemy is firing off so many huge crosshairs.

Phil dodges two other enemies before Bolozof finally decides to put him down.

Aaaand there’s my first friendly unit KO of the campaign. This isn’t like Fire Emblem where defeated units are dead forever, but it is irritating not to have a healbot for the rest of the mission.

The Blade’s destruction is the only interesting thing to happen on the enemy’s turn. The rest is spent ineffectually trying to land hits on the Dreizehn or Vjaya.

This is going to get messy very quickly.

Half of my units aren’t in range so I have to move them up.

Razma grenades one of the enemies surrounding him.

Then Cage finishes him off.

Warren attacks another western enemy.

Finally, Ares takes out the enemy he wounded last turn.

On the enemy turn nothing of note happens – the enemies all go after our extremely agile OF’s and miss their shots, apart from Bolozof who attacks Razma with his beam gun and misses. Nadia, though…

Nadia gets a hit on Semyl. Because Phil is dead this would normally be quite bad, but since I slapped a repair kit on her a while back she should be fine.

Before that, it’s time to bust some heads.

That takes care of the middle and western enemies. Now Semyl can heal up.

Now there’s just one generic enemy left, and he’s stuck between Ares and Mebius. Guess how this works out for him.

The answer - as poorly as one might expect.

Tired of messing around, Bolozof decides to attack Razma with his laser saber.


At least Nadia isn’t as dangerous.

This mission has dragged on for a ridiculous amount of time, but this should be the final turn.

Nadia’s first on the kill list.

: I’ve lost?! And made a fool of myself in front of Lieutenant Bolozof?!

: Nadia, you’re tired. Retreat now. You understand?

: I’m sorry…I’m leaving now.

Nadia retreats, and we’re left with Bolozof. Once again Bolozof has a thing where he retreats at low health, so yet again we’re going to have to knock him down with a powerful attack.

First we have to weaken him.

After that we simply need an attack powerful enough to take him down in one shot. Luckily, we have just such an attack ready now.

The Durandal II’s burst attack, Avelcaine.

: Hah! What’s wrong? I’m still alive.

: What’s wrong with this guy?!

: Cage! Any further engagement with them is pointless. Retreat! Close your eyes!

: Uh? Yes sir!

:…? What are they doing?

Deckson sets off the world’s biggest flashbang and BIS retreats.

: Heh heh heh…Haaahahahahah!!! They think that…think that they’ve spared me? Ha ha ha ha…

Music: Every Day who fired and posed as a demonstrator?

: Yes, I'm sure of it.

UNSF Special Task Force Acemos... I've heard of them. They're an elitist group of Earth supremacists... This could be trouble.

: The lieutenant guy that we fought before... He seems dangerous.

:...You mean Bolozof Velasgo. He probably joined the armed forces so he could be violent legally. He's the most dangerous man on Earth. I had no idea he'd joined Acemos...

…careless actions today...He must be quite confident in his information manipulation.

: It may be time for us to take action before they act against us.

: But how? Do you have any ideas as to what we can do?

: Well, I've been speaking with Ms. O'Connell about this...

: Boss. I may be on to something. Let me pursue it.

: Of course, look into it.

Razma leaves.

: Today was tough, wasn't it, Myona?

: Yes... How can those Earthlings do such terrible things to the Martians?

:...I don't understand it either.

: Humankind succeeded in colonizing the vast territory of space... But like the vacancy they've claimed as territory, their hearts have become empty too.

: But Ares... That's just so...

:…Jupiter are called 'Enders' and are looked down upon....You'll understand eventually.

: Ares...

: Well, I'm really tired today...I'm going back to my room. See you later, Cage.

Ares leaves.

:...The fact of the matter...Hmm...

: (.......)

: Cage, we should get back too.

: Yeah... You're right.

: Er.....

Cage and Myona walk out of the room.

: (Miss Myona...)

The scene ends and we get to see the spoils for our longest mission yet. We got a great haul of money and 5,000 bonus cash for saving every civilian. The server also contained new attacks for the Durandal II and Testament, which we’ll be trying out pretty soon.

And that’s this mission finished. If any future missions turn out to be longer than this I might have to consider splitting them in half.