The Let's Play Archive

Zone of the Enders: The Fist of Mars

by Scintilla

Part 14: Episode 14 - The Card Turned Down

Chapter Fourteen: The Card Turned Down

Music: Intermission

Since our units are in the field the ‘Garage’ option isn’t available, so the only thing to do is to proceed with the next mission.

Music: Tension

:…stopping. All things considered, a Metatron-fuelled riot control LEV such as this…

:…BAHRAM and other such meddlesome groups, so I suppose we do need these kinds of weapons.

Meet General Jaeger, the overall commander of the Earth forces stationed on Mars.

: Heh heh. A prototype has already been completed. Would you like to take a look at the real thing?

:…A prototype? But you were only just given permission to pursue this project.

: I did it for the benefit of our homeland. I would like to be recognized for my patriotism also.

:…truth of the matter is, Zephyrs, that I commend your administrative abilities as pertains to this project. However, it has also come to my attention that you are abusing your status to do as you like.

: But…but who would say such a thing?

: Speaking personally, I do not find it necessary to doubt you on those grounds; you are highly talented, and I would like to keep you around. A watchdog should guard its territory and do nothing more, and its collar should never be removed. A dog without a collar is nothing but a stray. And a stray that is wilful? It becomes a beast. One would never want that to happen.


A knock at the door interrupts this tense conversation.

:…there now, sir!

: Bolozof…what is he doing?

: Occupation? Isn’t that a bit archaic? But it can be very effective…Let’s see what they have to say. Show that broadcast on the main screen.

: General! That is not worth watching! It is only a matter of time until we…

I like Jaeger. He clearly knows something’s up with Zephyrs and is only willing to tolerate him up to a point. As his not-so-veiled threat earlier implies, he’ll happily hang Zephyrs out to dry if it looks like he’s about to go off the rails, which makes this a prime opportunity for BIS to do their thing.

Music: Tragedy

:…procedures, but because there are people who want to conceal the truth, we had no choice but to do it in this way. We apologize. The validity of my words is up to you, the viewers, to decide; however, I would like you to know that we have no intention of presenting lies. I hope that you will believe us.

: Firstly, I would like to say that the person who is concealing everything is the UNSF Internal Inspection Chief, Dezeele Zephyrs…he is the origin of the lies. The ship that I was on was destroyed by him…the Bonaparte III. I am sure you all remember the accident, since it took place recently, but the official announcement declared all passengers dead.

: That is a lie, and I am sure of it because I myself am a survivor.

The screen fades out with Myona’s final words.

The title should read ‘Scene 14: The Card Turned Down’.

Music: Tension

:…have become unhappy…Even that day…If I hadn’t asked him to go out and find a stuffed animal for our child, who hadn’t even been born yet…

A door slams open in the background.

: Mebius, it’s me! Do you know who I am?

: Deck…son?

:…met. You think too much. You’re totally different from someone like me, who escapes from reality by convincing himself that what he’s doing now is destiny…

: No…stay away!

: I suppose I can understand if you dislike me. I am, after all, a coward. Because of me, you had to go through all of this alone…But we’ve come a long way together. I still need your help, particularly from now on! Mebius! Come here!

: Deckson…I can’t. The truth is that you…

: Deckson!

: What?!

A gunshot rings out across the rooftop!

: Aaagghhhhh!!

Deckson gets shot, but the screen fades out before we can see anything else.

Music: Tragedy

: Ms. O'Connell told me everything. I saw all of the evidence that you and your friends have been putting together to incriminate Zephyrs.... If it's all true, it's unforgivable! Tadamichi...I was wrong about you.

: Dad...

: Regardless, I couldn't broadcast it so irresponsibly. After all, there is no guarantee that Zephyrs will not retaliate somehow. I have my employees' safety to worry about, so it was impossible for me to give permission to broadcast that information...My meeting with that young girl was a true godsend.

: She was carrying Tadamichi's ID. She deserves all the credit; she's the one who understood what I was saying immediately.

Yukito’s dad is really underselling himself here. He came up with a plan to screw over Zephyrs in the most magnificent way ever, guaranteed the safety of his own employees whilst doing so and freed Yukito and co. from their handcuffs all at once. And he did it all on the fly.

: Myona...

:...I would never have taken part in something like this before. I guess I have grown old.

: Dad...

: Yes...I will. Thank you.

: All I did was make a few arrangements to air the segment. If you want to thank anyone, thank Ms. O'Connell and the girl.

A communicator beeps in the background.

: Mebius!

: Sis!

: Ms. Mebius! It's Semyl! Are you okay?

: I'm fine, and sane. But Deckson's hurt...I'm coming down now!

:...They've done it.

: The truth about Zephyrs is finally out! It's over!

:...I don't care what happens to Zephyrs. I will not let you move your frame. I'll stay out of sight for a while until things boil over.

: Rrrgh...

A communicator beeps again.

:…will be cut off temporarily.

: What?

:...I have undone the restraints. You should be able to move now.

Ninja Tweed strikes again!

: Mr. Twede?! How...

: Pharsti, can you move?

: Yes, there is no problem.

:...That is all.

: Thank you so much, Mr. Twede! Let's go, Pharsti!

And so the mission begins.

Player Phase Music: Offense and Defence
Enemy Phase Music: Wetworks

Mission Map:

Here’s the lowdown – as with previous two-parter missions, the status of our units at the end of the previous stage carry over into this one. Unfortunately this means that since the Durandal II was destroyed last mission Warren is unavailable, as evidenced by the big gap in the formation.

We start off surrounded by enemies, so let’s do the decent thing and start blasting away.

Cage didn’t kill anyone last mission so I’m going to feed him a kill or two here to unlock his extra weaponry.

He also gains a level from this. The pilots in the enemy LEV’s are all Level 17, and since most of our pilots are around the same they’re getting some nice experience from kills.

I love being able to use Burst Attacks right off the bat.

Phil gets a massive 220 experience from finishing off a grunt. I rather suspect it won’t make him a better pilot, though.

Lastly we finish up with the classic Semyl-Razma combo.

So at the end of our first turn we’ve destroyed three enemy units. If we keep it up we’ll have destroyed every enemy three turns from now. It’s a shame Warren isn’t here to make it go faster. At the start of the enemy’s turn a scene plays.

Music: Wetworks

: I’m here. What do you need?

: I’m taking the Bizac! As long as it moves, I don’t care!

: I got it all fixed up. What do you think? I’m good, aren’t I?

: Yes, good job. Well, in that case, there’s no need to choose. Come!

: Okayyy, let’s go!

Bolozof will be joining the fray shortly…and by shortly, I mean after we murder all of his lackeys here. But first they have to take a crack at us.

If you’re getting tired of these Beam Gun LEV’s (I know I am) then fear not; other enemy types will be appearing within the next few missions.

What did I say? None of those extra levels mattered.

Still, he manages to dodge three further shots.

Unlike Phil, the huge amount of levels Semyl gained last mission are shown with a significant dodge boost.

The enemy turn ends after the final two dodges.

Might as well start with the enemies to the east so Phil doesn’t get shot at so much.

Phil gets 50 experience from this kill. Still fairly impressive.

Razma gains a level from this. He is now Level 19 and has 25 accumulated Spirit.

Cage has unlocked his Nail Laser, allowing him to kill enemies in one hit.

Yukito kicks a dude and levels up, ending our turn.

The enemy phase begins with Razma and Cage dodging shots before moving on to the inevitable.

I really don’t want to lose Phil here since we’re going to need his repair ability for the upcoming battles.

Luckily he evades the next two attacks sent his way.

Semyl takes some minor damage before it’s our turn again. It’s time to begin Operation: Save Phil’s Ass.

One down…

Two down…

That’s three.

Move the Blade to a defensible position, heal up and wait out the enemy. There’s not much they can do now, so Phil should be pretty safe…

Semyl dodges…

So, thankfully, does Phil. The third and final enemy isn’t in range. It’s our turn now, so first thing’s first…

Get Phil back up to full health, because I just know Bolozof will go straight for him once he arrives.

Cage’s Burst attacks are hilariously overpowered.

That takes care of him.

Ares and Yukito take down the penultimate enemy.

Once you destroy all of the enemies a scene plays.

Bolozof appears and gains 10 Spirit.

: Finally!

:…Amante? Where are you? Amante, what are you doing?

:…from now on…

: What?! What does that mean?

: You still don’t get it? I’m done with you people!

: *Giggle* Not telling. At the very least, though, I’m not supporting Earth.

: No…

: Besides, I really don’t like guys who are mean to girls. So, later!

You sure didn’t have a problem joining in, Amante. Either way she quits the field, leaving Bolozof to fend for himself.

Since all our units have already acted we have no choice but to let Bolozof have the first attack.

He charges into melee range with Razma and unleashes Lunatic Sin, his hitherto unseen Burst Attack.

Holy crap that was hair-raising. Bolozof shoots out about a million huge crosshairs every second and it would have been an instant kill if he had hit.

Since it missed, though, we can take our sweet time tearing Bolozof apart.

Ares scores a critical hit, unfortunately ending the possibility of further grinding. All that’s left is to finish him off, and it just so happens that Cage has a new Burst Attack he hasn’t shown off yet…

If you engage Bolozof with Cage you get some special dialogue.

: Get this over with…

: That’s right! You and me, to the death!

: Fine. I will take you down!

: Heh heh heh…that’s what I like to hear.

Bye bye, Bolozof.

:…dirt! I live free and I die free! After I die no one will even touch my body! Look at me! I am Bolozof! You’ll be hearing it in the next world! Ha, ha, ha! HAA HA HA HA HAH!!!

: I never understood Bolozof, even at the very end…

The BIS units retreat as the screen fades out. When it comes back, Myona is broadcasting to the people of Mars.

Music: Tragedy

:…technology, and that lies at the heart of the accident of the Bonaparte III, which I mentioned earlier. This concerns not only Mars, but also Earth…

:…Zephyrs. Is there anything you would like to tell me now?

: Th-that’s clearly a plot to frame me! A bunch of falsehoods! If it were true, they would have shown some sort of evidence!

:…log of the Bonaparte III…


A telephone rings in the background, and Jaeger picks it up.

: It is I. What? I don’t care, put him on.

: Dezeele, it’s too…


: Sorry? Of course. Zephyrs! It’s for you.

Jaeger hands Zephyrs the phone.

:…Yes…Zephyrs speaking.

: You…

: This is troublesome for us as well – having them storm our studios like this, I mean. Luckily I have an idea – the only thing not under their control right now is the direct emergency phone line to the studio. I can connect you now, and you will have a chance to prove your innocence to the people of Mars directly. What do you say?

: Heh, how insipid…

: That might be interesting. Do it.

: But…!!


: Thank you.

: So we meet again, Myona. Or what name do you go by now?

: It’s nice to meet you, Mr. Zephyrs. I don’t know who you are confusing me with, but I am Myona Alderan. No one else.

:…Well excuse me. And what kind of evidence are you going to show us all today? Did you find something inside those records you stole?

:…unscheduled crash-landing on Mars. There were survivors from this accident. But you got rid of them and hid the cause of the crash…because the Black Frame was the result of your demented experimentation, and you didn’t want that information public. Am I right?

: You have a very vivid imagination, young lady. It is not such a simple affair to experiment and invent weapons in secret…Surely you have evidence of some kind to support such a serious accusation.

: Unfortunately, the data taken during the span of the accident has been deleted with the use of a special technology.

: And what would that be? This is ridiculous. A special technology? Ha, it’s all in the presentation, isn’t it? Why don’t you just admit that there is no such evidence, and that you are making all of this up?

A low, throbbing rumble sound effect begins to play in the background.

: This noise…?

:…I’d say an anti-proton reactor…

: This is the sound that the Black Frame was emitting before the incident. It has been recorded under 52 separate headings in the Bonaparte’s element log…this is our evidence.

: Ah, now that is interesting. But it goes without saying that an Orbital Frame is equipped with an anti-proton reactor. Even if the cause of the accident was a collision with an OF, there’s really no evidence to link it directly with me, is there?

:…Why would I be involved in something like that?

: Okay, then perhaps you were researching the topic on your own, then?

: This is getting tedious! I didn’t sanction the OF! And that is the general consensus within the UNSF!!

: If you weren’t involved and have never done any research, how would you be able to recognize it the way you did?

: It’s…it’s common knowledge!

: In addition, I said ‘Black Frame’. But I never said anything about it being an Orbital Frame. I never said anti-proton reactor, either. It could easily have been an LEV, or a fighter…in fact, that would have been more probable. I played the sound for you, but that’s all. I know nothing else.

:…viewers, as well as to myself?

: W…we…ll…

: How about admitting the truth? And by that I mean ‘Yes, I made the Orbital Frame and caused an accident. I murdered the survivors and blamed it on the terrorists.’

Zephyrs status: Fucking nailed.

: We’ve cut the circuit. You’ve shown enough disgraceful behaviour today. Zephyrs, you are dismissed from your post.

: But, General! You can’t possibly take what that child said at face value! That ‘proof’ was…

: Speaking of proof, this was handed to me just now.

: A…a Handy PC?

Frazer, you magnificent bastard.

: It’s a hoax! That footage cannot possibly be permissible as evidence!

: Wrong on both counts, Zephyrs. It’s real and is Grade-A Quality evidence.

: How…no! No!!

: The clip inside was made by putting together two sources of footage with special digital standards. It’s easier to fake a flight recorder than to retouch this material. Would you like to ask the court-martial if this can be used against you as evidence? I don’t think it’s necessary.

Once again, Jaeger is great. He has clearly known that Zephyrs was up to something immoral from the moment he greeted him, and ever since then has been giving him just enough rope to hang himself in the hopes that he can use it to get rid of him.

: But even that’s not the end of it. Mr. Irving received this in the mail earlier. It’s data that contains the real location of the Bonaparte at the time of the accident, as recorded by a military base on Mars. The interior visuals match its external location at the time. The only incongruous thing here is your side of the story. I’m disappointed, Zephyrs. Frankly I hoped for better from you. It’s unfortunate.


: Dezeele…let’s stop now. I, too, must be judged for my part in this. At this point…

Zephyrs pulls a gun and shoots Irving!

: Aaaaaagggghhhh!!!

: Irving!

A second shot rings out!

Farewell, Jaeger. You were a cool minor character.

: Heh heh…those damn terrorists! Heh heh heh!! I’ll show them! They’ll cower at the extent of my strength!

:…your time.

: Woo hoo! That was great! You really pulled it off!

: (Myona…good job!)

: Yeah. Leave it to me!

Music: Enemy Mine

:…re-regular LEV!

: It’s Zephyrs.

: First off, let’s get out of here!

: Are we really going into battle? Don’t you think we should get Myona out first?

: I’ll go get Myona. Vjaya is the fastest one, so please leave it to me.

: Yeah, okay, please be careful!

Music: Uncontrollable Fear

Zephyrs immediately gains 10 Spirit.

: This is the end! Can’t you see you’re finished?!

: I’ll erase you from existence…heh heh! Then…then, my life can be good again…

: Words are lost on him.

:…others then! I’ll destroy you so utterly that you’ll never have the hope of living again!

: What is this guy saying?

: Beyond comprehension. He is in a state of excitement, and has lost all ability to follow logic.

: Oh no, he’s going for the TV Station! We have to stop him!!

We’re thrust into the thick of things once again, but this time we’re missing both Warren and Ares. This is going to make the next part harder than it would otherwise be.

Zephyrs starts off in the top right-hand corner of the map surrounded by a new variant of the Unmanned series we fought a few missions ago. The only difference is that these new models are equipped with Missiles in addition to their Beam Cannons. Firstly though let’s take a look at Zephyrs himself, since he’s clearly riding something new.

…Hmm. I can’t help but think that I’ve seen this thing somewhere before. Where was it again?

Oh yeah, that’s where!

So, in addition to being Space Mengele and a colossal jackass in general, it turns out Zephyrs is a plagiarising piece of shit who wholesale stole the design of his newest creation from BAHRAM’s Tempest, the first boss of the first Zone of the Enders for PS2. It also makes him a hypocrite for using a Martian design despite being an Earth supremacist, but that’s just icing on the shit cake. And yes, this plagiarism is directly acknowledged in the Mech files, so it’s not simply coincidence or a simple re-using of assets. Oh right, I should probably mention what the NotTempest can do.

As you can see, the HarutMarut has a ton of health, more than any other enemy we’ve faced, thanks to the enormous armoured shell covering its head. It can fly over buildings and has the unique ability to use ranged attacks after it’s moved. Luckily its movement range is terrible – over flat ground even Semyl can outpace him. This is good because on every enemy turn Zephyrs is going to charge down towards the TV Station and if he manages to get there it’s an instant Game Over for us.

All we can do for now is move up and try to intercept Zephyrs with the units we have.

Zephyrs and his lackeys move forwards. His Unmanned drones will engage us long before he does.

We can thin the crowd out a bit and give us some room to surround Zephyrs and prevent him from moving.

All right, time to get to work.

Despite their additional tricks these guys still aren’t too tough to deal with.

Even Phil can take off half their HP in one attack.

Don’t worry, though, there are some tougher unmanned enemies that have yet to be introduced. Like the Tempest, they’re rather familiar…

Hot knife, meet butter.

Same old, same old. At least use your new attack so I can .gif it.

Oh, thanks.

You know what? Three turns of this happening is pretty boring, so I’ll do a bit of a timewarp and just jump to the moment when all the drones are dead.

Okay, now it’s just Zephyrs. The first thing we want to do is surround him so he can’t just blow past us and reach the TV Station, so let’s get in close with our melee attackers.

Now, the HarutMarut may have a lot of health, but it’s also so huge it’s impossible to miss and has three massive critical hit spots.

Despite its intimidating health it also has pretty low defence. The one thing in Zephyrs’s favour is that our units are swiftly running through their stocks of Energy and Ammo and without the Edge or the Vjaya we can’t replenish ourselves at will.

Anyway, that’s the end of our turn.

Dimension Wave is a fairly strong attack, but luckily it only has two units of ammunition so Zephyrs can’t use it repeatedly.

Ideally you want to completely surround Zephyrs like this to stop his movement. Once that happens it’s simply a matter of wearing him down to nothing.

Of course, it doesn’t stop Phil from getting killed.

Zephyrs’s other attack is Flame Shooter, and it’s far less powerful and less accurate.

I should mention that the Harut Marut’s attacks are accompanied by some pretty cool basso canon sound effects that make them sound much more deadly than they really are. Also – remember that this is supposed to be a riot control vehicle, yet its only weapons are a set of enormous flamethrowers. Because nothing disperses rowdy crowds like the threat of mass immolation.

Anyway, now that we have him trapped it’s time to farm Zephyrs for experience.

Cage’s level is pretty high, so he doesn’t get a slice.

On his turn Zephyrs tries to attack Razma with Flame Shooter again, but misses.

Finally the time comes to put Zephyrs down for good.

This gives Yukito a chance to show off his new attack, R-Blade Kick.

Boom! No more Zephyrs.

We get a pretty nice prize for beating him. I can’t wait to spend it at-

Oh crud. Ugh, fine, let’s see what he looks like this time…

Whaaaat? Why does he have 10,000 -more- HP without his armour than he did with it? His attacks are all new, too. Admittedly the Tempest also gets a second wind after you destroy his shell in the original ZOE, but I genuinely forgot that this happens with the HarutMarut as well.

…This is going to suck, particularly since Zephyrs gains 20 Spirit when he reappears.

One good thing is that I still have a few big guns with some ammo left in them.

In terms of targeting him, the HarutMarut’s second form isn’t really so different from his first one. It’s a slightly smaller target, but still pretty damn huge, and he keeps the three glaring critical spots as well. The one difference is that he moves around far more quickly and erratically than before.

With only four units left, one more fatality on our side will let Zephyrs make a break for the TV Station.

Oh yeah, and he also starts shooting out about a million more crosshairs in his second stage.

Thank god for that. Unfortunately surrounding Zephyrs is now working against us since he’s inside the minimum range of most of our more powerful weapons. Razma and Semyl can only hack at him with Laser Blades.

Doing less than 1/20th of his HP per attack really sucks.

Yukito is still good…mostly. His Laser Sword is still doing nice damage, but he’s out of Energy and ammo for all his other attacks apart from the Handgun.

At this point Cage is the only one of our team in anything resembling peak condition. His Energy levels are still at maximum so he can throw out powerful attacks pretty much at will.

Now it’s Zephyrs’s turn…


Come on, come on, come on…

Come on, come on, come on! It’s all up to you now, Semyl!

Critical hit!

…next turn, baby!

Zephyrs is kind enough to show us his other attack after escaping the net.

That was horrible. Semyl’s the toughest character we have and it still took off more than half her HP.

But that’s alright, because she’s about to get her revenge.

Zephyrs goes down, for real this time.

:…right, Vale?

: Vale? Who is that?

: There is nobody that fits the criterion.

: You took his place? Never mind, it’s all going to be over very soon. But you! I will never forgive you. NEVER!!!

Zephyrs charges over to the TV Station!

: There is abnormal energy building in the interior generator! It is running on its own!

: He’s going to self-destruct?! Oh no, Myona!!


Suddenly Ares out of goddamn nowhere!

Music: Tragedy

: The TV Station is safe. All organic matter within the building is regular. But…

: Ares saved them! Ares!

Cage moves over to the TV Station.

: Cage, is that you? Is it over? It’s all over now, isn’t it?

: Yeah, we made it! We got through it all somehow!

: Yes.

: It’s still dangerous here, though. Let’s get out of here.

: Thank you, Ares!

: For what?

:…you so much…

: I’m just living my life the way I want to live it. I don’t deserve any gratitude.

:…Yeah. I hope we’re friends forever…

Music: Uncontrollable Fear

Out of nowhere, the Black Frame arrives to ruin the celebrations.

: Ares!!

: Cage! Take Myona and run! Hurry!

: Okay!

: (This feeling…damn, they planned to do this from the very beginning!)

: Ares!!

: Ares!!

: Pharsti…you, at the very least…

The Black Frame retreats, its hit and run attack complete.

The screen fades out at this point.

…Well. That certainly was a mission and a half. Tons of stuff happened – Bolozof is dead, Zephyrs is dead. The truth behind everything that happened so far has finally been revealed to the public. Deckson has been shot and is presumably in critical condition. Ares was ganked by the Black Frame right at BIS’s moment of triumph. The question is, where do we go from here? What major power bloc has yet to show its hand despite being the main antagonist in the other two games? We’ll be finding out over the course of the next few missions…