The Let's Play Archive

Zone of the Enders: The Fist of Mars

by Scintilla

Part 33: Episode 20 - Island of Destiny

Chapter Twenty: Island of Destiny

Music: Intermission

Hello again. Last time we discovered that Bolozof has Nadia on a tight leash via the Self-Binder and has allied himself with BAHRAM in order to slake his thirst for battle. Now it’s time to cross into the Oxygen Plant itself and hopefully drag Ares out from wherever he’s hiding.

Music: Every Day

: That’s where Ares is…

: But after all those threats, why isn’t the army out here? They could easily bomb this place into the stone age.

: They would surely want to avoid running the risk of damaging the Oxygen Plant, although I do not imagine it would be out of concern for the wellbeing of the Martians.

: They’re probably waiting for something to happen so they can swoop in and assume control of the situation. That also gives them a reason to send in a large military force.

:…Mars side…

: I’m sure those over in West Hellas are busy trying to escape themselves rather than working on trying to stop them.

: If they can get away in time that’s fine…but I don’t think all of them are going to make it.

: We can only do one thing at a time. First, let’s stop Ares and make sure that they don’t give Earth a reason to send the military in. That will end up saving West Hellas.

:…Yes. I will trust Ares. If he is the real Ares, I am sure he will understand.

: But…if this really is Ares’ true wish…I will stop him. As his friend.

: Good. Phil! How do things look right now?

: It’s strange. There is no sign of any kind of attack. It’s so quiet that it’s almost spooky…

: The sensors have detected an energy field with high levels of heat. Judging from the heat waves of this field, I think it may be the same as the Marlblanke beam.

: I was concerned about the level of Oxygen around the area, but it seems that they have limited the output so as not to cause a fire hazard. It must be in preparation for the beam.

: They’ve got all their bases covered.

: The numbers on the energy gauge are only barely on the chart…I bet it could reach West Hellas even from here. Even if they don’t get a bulls-eye, all they gotta do is pop the outer sphere and everyone inside is toast!

: Yes…Bolozof is there also.

: And probably…Ms. Nadia too.


: Deckson…?

: Yes sir!

: OK! Shall we get going?

: (Frazer…Are you worried about Nadia? Don’t worry. I’ll find out how she really feels…)

This should read ‘Island of Destiny’.

Music: Counterattack

A chime sounds.

: (Huh?)

: Hey, this place is empty. Phil, where’s the energy from that whatchamacallit comin’ from?

: The Marleblanke? Unfortunately the reaction is too powerful. I cannot tell what direction it is coming from.

: Warren! Feel that?

: Yeah. They’re coming.

: It’s them again…

: Heh, but this time they won’t be able to escape out to sea. They’ll regret this one…

The same chime sounds again – it sounds like the same one that plays whenever the Self-Binder is activated.

:…ringing. What is that noise?)

: Cage, the Frame is emitting sound waves. Could it have something to do with the Marleblanke beam?

: Oh…The energy levels in the area are so high that the Metatron is resonating with it…

: Let’s go get them! Ares should be close by!

The game gives us control here.

Mission Map:

Player Phase Music: Counterattack
Enemy Phase Music: Impact

You’ll recognise this map as being identical to the area we fought in during the first half of Mission 23 of the original route, and similarly this is also a two-part battle. This time things are a little different though – for one, Ned isn’t here to harass us. The enemy are also arranged differently, and there are four more of them, though their overall levels are lower. But the biggest difference will come when we defeat these enemies and move on. Since this battle is mostly filler I’ll be skipping over the vast majority of it.

The first three turns are spent getting everyone up to the north where the local server is.

The enemy starts out moving as an enormous blob but due to different movement limits and AI quirks they wind up elongating into a huge spear/tentacle formation thinger. The top Raptor gets taken out by Deckson, Mebius, Razma and Yukito working together.

The turn after that the AI does something I’ve never seen it do before – it splits its forces. Is it trying to flank me? Because that would probably work better with Raptors and/or Cyclopses rather than Security LEV cannon fodder. There is a brief exchange of fire, resulting in a dead Security LEV and a destroyed Raptor.

The next turn is more even, with Warren and Deckson taking Energy Swords to the face whilst Cage is slammed by a Cyclops. The enemy also re-blobs, making my life both slightly easier and slightly harder at the same time. One Mummy Head, one Security LEV and two Raptors go down to our combined firepower.

Warren evades two Cyclopses only to take a hit from a prowling Mummy Head. The damage is getting severe so I have Phil fix him up. Three Cyclopses and a Security LEV bite the dust. Cyclopses are dangerously accurate and do far too much damage for my liking, so I made a deliberate effort to take them out.

Phil takes a hit from a Mummy Head’s Grenade, but manages to avoid the Halberd of a second. Deckson gets a thumping from the remaining Cyclops, then somehow fails to dodge a Beam Cannon from the final Security LEV. I make sure to repair him as soon as possible before retaliating, whereupon the last Cyclops, Security LEV and one Mummy Head bite the dust, leaving only two Mummy Heads as our last foes.

The Mummy Heads attack Warren and Deckson, but both get their acts together and evade.

The Mummy Heads are then punished for their foolishness, bringing this stage of the mission to a close.

: If that OF was a defensive OF, we could safely assume that Ares is behind it somewhere.

: Behind it…alright! Keep going!

The screen fades out, and when it comes back we’re in the second part of the map.

: Cage! Look!

Music: Uncontrollable Fear

: Ares! Why are you doing this?! What are you trying to achieve? What did Zephyrs do to you?! I though…I thought I was your friend. But instead…This has to be a lie! There’s some reason you’re doing this, right? I’ll believe what you have to say! So just tell me the truth!

: ‘Friend’? Heh heh heh! Good one!

: Ares?

:…trust? You are way too naïve for your own good. I feel bad for all of your ‘friends’ who you dragged into this mess. It’s a huge inconvenience for them, I’m sure.

: Is…is this what the real Ares is like? I…I’ve been tricked all this time? Without…knowing anything?

: The truth is a cruel thing, but everyone always finds it eventually…You can’t escape…either your destiny or your memories. So, shall we get started? You came to rescue her, right?

:...Ares is thinking!

: Then I suggest you defeat this ‘Black Angel’, Nerokerubina! Heh heh…if you can!

Music: Wetworks

Mission Map:

The second stage of the mission begins thusly, with all of our units facing down Ares and his Nerokerubina. Last time he showed up in Iblis and had a bunch of reinforcements, but since he’s on his lonesome this time the fight will be much easier. Of course, there’s more to it than that, but we’ll get to that in just a moment.

After two turns Ares is within sniping range, so Razma takes a potshot with Calamity Kiss.

Ares has a ton of HP but those huge critical hit spots go a long way towards cancelling out that advantage.

Another turn and he’s now within dogpile range.

Once Ares loses around half his health you get some dialogue.

: Ares…let’s stop fighting. It’s pointless!

: Cage…I wouldn’t say that if I were you. Don’t you care about Myona?

: Of course I do! Do you know about her? Where is she right now?

:…subject, we’ll not be hearing it anymore…It really is a tragedy.

: Experimental subject?! What have you done to her?!

: If you want to know the answer…you’ll have to earn that right.

:…just to see this?! Is friendship just an illusion I chose to blindfold myself with? Maybe it doesn’t even exist! Everything I’ve seen or thought so far, everything I’ve touched, has it all been a figment of my imagination?)

With that exchange over with it’s time to return to your regularly scheduled boss beatdown.

Thankfully Warren doesn’t quite manage to take Ares down. Why am I thankful for that? You’ll see the reason shortly.

Ares goes after Phil, who evades.

So when the next turn rolls around I have Phil attack the 130 HP Ares to get some revenge.

:…finally completed my years of research…

: ‘Research’? Ares…? No…you’re not Ares! You…who are you?!

Music: Promise of Reunion

: Ugh! This song…damn! The hyperalignment…

: Ares?

: Cage, perhaps he was exposed to intensive brainwashing? His actions up until now must have been…

: Ares! Ares!! Can you hear my voice?!

: Ca…ge…? Is it…really…you? Gghhh…you stopped me…

: Ares!

Once again the song recorded in the button breaks the Self-Binder’s control over Ares.

: Ares, you’re wrong! You are my…

: Cage…there’s something I have to apologize to you for. The day of the accident…If I had met you sooner, I might have…If I had thought a little differently, Pharsti…could have led a happier life…

: Pharsti? What are you talking about?

Having already completed the game we know about the twist that ‘Pharsti’ is actually Myona, so we know Ares is really referring to his sister rather than Testament’s AI (Though technically the latter is a copy of the former). Unfortunately Ares doesn’t get to explain this little detail.

Music: Tension

: Bolozof!

: Heh heh…there!

Bolozof fires at Cage, but Ares jumps in front and takes the hit!

: Tsk. You can still move? Then get out of my way!

: Ares! Are you okay!?

: Ares? Ares!!!

: Heh heh…

: Ares…

: He is?!

: Dammit! Tenacious little brat!

Suddenly, Zephyrs appears. This can’t be good.

: You…you’re Zephyrs!

: Welcome! I’ve been waiting for you. Unfortunately, I can’t give you your friend back just yet. He failed this time, but there may still be something else he can do for me. Although I still plan on ending all of this right now…

: Then you’d better stay alive. You may just meet him again.

: I can’t forgive you…Why are you doing this to Ares?!

: Now you know. Those who are weak exist only to be used and abused by the strong.

: You’re…you’re wrong!!

: Then prove it! Fight against it! And spend the rest of your life wrestling with what I already know is inevitable! Come, Nadia!

Music: Uncontrollable Fear

Nadia arrives in her Scarmiglione, some Raptors, and…wait. Are those red Testaments?!

: Nadia! And…what are those? They look just like Testament!

: A red Testament?

The strange chime sounds again.

: Heh heh! Surprised? Yes! Physically it is identical to what you call ‘Testament’. But internally, it is very different. This version has Mindflow Ver. γ, and the latest in OF technology. It’s completely new. And that battle was the last test…Therein lies the benefit of getting you to come out here. Heh heh…they have all proven very helpful!

: ‘They’? You mean the Armed Civilians? And that first OF…Are you backed by BAHRAM?

: Hmph, I have no interest in lofty ideals like independence for Mars. But I do like their greed, endless and unyielding. Thanks to them, the once-cancelled Animus series has finally been completed!

:…Martians. Once these are done, everything will be mine!)

And so we see Zephyrs’ plan; play nice with BAHRAM in exchange for their resources, then stab them in the back once enough of his new frames are made. It’s not particularly surprising given what Zephyrs is like.

: Absolutely. Behold the Ifrit, born into the world to fulfil my every desire. The ‘Demon with Angel’s Wings’!

: If…rit?

: I had thought of this name specifically for the frame you now ride. But I no longer care about it. Regardless of their occupants, these new Frames are never confused as to whose commands to follow. Therefore, the old Animus is of no use to me.

Zephyrs’s naming is consistent with his previous religious-centric theme. Both the newly introduced ‘Ifrits’ and the ‘Iblis’ Black Frame borrow their names from Islamic / Arabic religious lore. ‘Iblis’ is effectively the Islamic devil who was cast down for refusing to bow before Adam, whereas ‘Ifrits’ are a subtype of Jinn made of fire who live underground.


: Precisely…In various locations around this plant are devices using the same flowpulse reactor, a neuron circuit, as the one in the Animus series. All we need are the pulse scans from what you call Testament, which will be done by Nerokerubina, and all the data will be collected throughout the course of the battle…That was the plan from the very beginning.

: (Oh…that was why my ears were ringing!)

: Yes…Bolozof.

: Are you still angry that I abandoned you after that?

: No, I would expect nothing less after I failed you so miserably.

:…out my wishes exactly as you have been told.

: Yes. I shall keep the enemy from escaping until the plant explodes, and their remains will clear my good name.

: What?! Ms. Nadia, wake up!! You’re going to die too! Why would you do that for a guy like him?!

: Heh heh, what do you think? It’s quite perfect, isn’t it?

: (Is she…being controlled also?)

: Within her heart lies a craving for love – a longing to assert her own existence. Charming, isn’t it? A girl abandoned by her family, enlisting in the ranks of the army under false pretenses, and finally finding refuge in my arms…Even if she was physically capable of hurting me, her heart would never allow her to do so. Through the use the Self-Binder and my own personal instruction, what was once fragile glass has become diamond-hard. Her next test will be dealing with that traitor – just a prop in this elaborate stage I have set. Heh.

: No more chit-chat. Here I go.

: Phew. Time for some hunting. Heh heh, I’ve grown tired of waiting for this moment. I’m leaving this up to you.


Bolozof and Zephyrs withdraw.

: Shoot, he’s going to escape now?! Go after him!

: No. If we make an unplanned move it’ll leave us open to attack! Besides…if the factory really is going to explode, we need to try and stop it. At the very least, there will be some effect on the Oxygen production wing…

: Yeah…yeah, you’re right. Right now…Ares is still alive. I can meet him again, right…Right?

We regain control here. First let’s check out the shiny new Ifrits that have been sent out to fight us.

Oh boy, Ifrits. The secondary route has been pretty much easy mode so far, but this is where the difficulty ratchets right back up again. As you can see, Ifrits have Testament’s three basic moves, and those moves hit hard. Two Rusty Cutters will kill any of our units that aren’t Testament, Justeen or Caliburnus. Ifrits only need 5 Spirit to unlock Soulsection, so losing a unit to them will only make things worse. At 6,000 HP they’re also pretty damn tough if you haven’t unlocked any Burst Attacks of your own. Oh, and they’re very hard to outrun since they have a movement of six spaces. The one saving grace is that they’re all piloted by terrible Armed Civilian losers. They aren’t impossible to deal with, but they’re probably the toughest regular enemies in the game.

I move everyone into position. This is why I was glad Warren didn’t finish Ares off earlier – it would have meant allowing Nadia to have a free turn to move her own units forward.

I wind up having to pull a few back after misjudging her movement speed. This is one of the times you really want to get a sucker punch in.

Okay, first off I’m going to focus on bringing down the Raptors since they’re easier to kill and having more Spirit will make taking out the Ifrits easier.

The first Raptor falls to Semyl and Cage.

The second goes down thanks to Phil and Razma.

Mebius scores a lucky critical and takes out the third by herself.

The last one falls to Yukito and Warren.

Lastly, Deckson takes a shot at one of the Ifrits.

The enemy phase begins with Nadia landing a nasty hit on Warren, and I quickly begin to wonder if focusing on the Raptors was a mistake.

Warren narrowly avoids getting cut in half. The Ifrits attack animations are all recolours of Testament’s.

Sadly Warren’s luck doesn’t hold and a second Ifrit takes him out.

Razma shares his misfortune and also takes a hit.

Semyl follows suit. It’s been said before, but even though she’s meant to be the group’s tank her mech really can’t stand up to an OF’s attacks.

Okay, so Nadia is an enemy now, unlike the last route. However, there is still a way to recruit her even in this route. Unfortunately it’s rather obscure. You need to lower her HP to less than 25%, then move Deckson next to her without attacking. This will initiate a conversation that will end with Nadia joining BIS at the end of the mission. However, you won’t get the conversation if you blew up Nadia’s unit wayyy back at the Bizac factory in the first half of the game.

Since we’ve already seen what Nadia can do on our side in the previous run, I will not be recruiting her here. Sorry, Nadia fans.

The Ifrit Deckson damaged last turn goes under when Razma and Phil fill it full of holes. Ifrits give out 2,000 cash when they die, so it’s worth the risk of killing them.

Yukito and Cage deal with a second knockoff.

Deckson and Mebius show their stuff.

Semyl does her best, but the last Ifrit sustains only minor damage.

Razma evades Nadia, but the Ifrit strikes through his guard and knocks him out of the game.

Of course, with only two enemies left the next turn will be the last.

Yukito and Semyl double-team the final Ifrit, leaving only Nadia and her Scarmiglione behind.

There’s no way she can stand up to our Burst-enabled units, and Mebius and Cage quickly take her down.

Music: Tension

:…self-destruct code!

: So…the plans to blow up the factory were based on the explosives being in her Frame to begin with?

: Once it comes into contact with the chemicals here in the plant, the explosion will cause a chain reaction big enough to destroy all of us!

: There isn’t time! Everything within a 2.4 mile radius will be destroyed! We must evacuate immediately…

: But…the Oxygen Plant! This is where all the oxygen in the city comes from, isn’t it? What should we do?!

Deckson moves the Vjaya over to Nadia’s Scarmiglione.

: Eek! Wha-what are you doing?!

: (There’s not that much difference in the controls…yeah, I should be able to handle it.)

: Mr. Deckson?!

: What are you…

: You all need to brace for impact. I’m taking this thing and flying it away from here.

: You can’t do that! Let Pharsti and me handle this! We’ll autopilot it!

:…sphere, and there are still plenty of people around. I can’t let that happen. I have no choice!

: You can’t! You’ll die!

: Cage…what is a human life, anyway? In the scope of the universe, a single life is nothing but the tiniest glimmer of light, a split second. But within us lies the anger, the despair, that can set the entire universe ablaze…I could never quite figure it out. If you have it figured out when we meet next, you’ll have to share your findings with me.

: Everyone, it looks like I’ll be leaving a little early. I’ll be watching from far away, to see if what I’ve been doing has been right or wrong…

:…Goodbye, everyone.

Deckson flies the Scarmiglione offscreen.

: (Phil, Warren, Yukito, Razma, Semyl, and of course Mebius…thank you all for sticking with me throughout all of this.)

A tremendous explosion whites the screen out. Unlike Phil, Deckson dies in both routes no matter what you do.

: Mr…Deckson?

: Mr. Decksonnnn!!!

Music: Sadness



: Mr. Deckson…please, say something!! How…how can?! Nooooooo!!!

: *Sob* Mr. Deckson…

: (Cage…)

: Cage, we are done here. Would you like to leave now? May I…pilot the Frame home?


BIS retreat.



: Deckson is…no! That…that can’t be! If we just search a little harder…!


: What did you say, you little punk?! You could never understand! Boss saved all of us from our miserable states! Boss was more than a parent to us! In a way, he’s closer to us than our parents and siblings ever were, or ever could be! Can’t you be a little more sensitive to Phil!?

:…Facts are facts. And I am not the only one who feels this way.

: He’s right, Razma. We don’t have time to mourn right now. I don’t know what they’re planning next, but we have to be ready for whatever they do. We have to start preparing now.

: Sis…you’re not serious! You should be the one hit hardest by this! You and Mr. Deckson…

:…Say any more, Razma, and I’ll never forgive you for it.

: Of course Mr. Deckson was an important person to all of us, someone who meant more to a lot of you than your own parents. But…Why do you think he gathered all of us here to begin with? You must have been prepared for something like this to happen. Besides, Deckson didn’t save us so we could sit around arguing like this.

: How could…why…


: That’s disrespectful to a fellow soldier.

: I understand that…on…a mental level…but…I still can’t get over it…Damn!!

: Idiot!

Semyl whacks Razma.

: Everyone’s sad! Of course they are! Even if they ain’t screamin’ and cryin’, you should be able to figure that out!

: Who’s the one being insensitive?!


:…there’s also the matter with Ares and Myona.

: Oh!

: BAHRAM are suspicious too. They have no qualms about going out and harming innocent Martians. It’s a large group, including Zephyrs no less. What do you think that Boss would have done?

: I should be the one apologising. I was the one who said I was going to stop Ares, and in the end I wasn’t able to do anything. It was my decision to come here too. I need to apologise to you all…This is all…my fault…

: This is not something that can be undone with an apology.


:…men are so weak?!

: Cage, it’s not a matter of whose fault this is or isn’t. We don’t have time for that right now, and it helps nothing. BAHRAM, is starting to act, and although they’re starting off on a small scale it’s nothing to scoff at. Sharpen up! We’re going back!

: Ms. Robin…

:…you are entitled to after the fact, which means you can’t regret anything yet. His body may be gone, but Deckson’s spirit is still alive and well! Isn’t it? Or are you going to kill even that?!

: Thanks to…Mr. Deckson…

: Cage, what are you going to do? Because I’ve always had only one answer for this.

: Ares had his life taken over by them, and it’s being ruined. I have to save Myona too. I have tons of things to do…I don’t have time to be doing this either!

: Very good. It’s not time to say our goodbyes just yet. Once everything is done, we’ll have our chance to mourn. Until then, we have to let him live in our hearts.

: I agree. Okay, we’re going back, Twede.

: Ms. Robin, I have to say that I really respect you…I feel like I’m going crazy…

: I know. I’m actually a lot tougher than you might expect. Come on, we’ve gotta get going!

: (Dana…you really are a strong person. How anyone could not cry in this situation…)

Our spoils for the mission.

Well, Deckson died again.

There’s no time to mourn though, because Ned will be getting up to his old tricks next mission. With Zephyrs now producing Testament knockoffs for BAHRAM the situation is going to get worse before it can get better; one can only hope that his planned betrayal will throw BIS’s enemies into disarray. Ares and Marleblanke are still in BAHRAM’s control, so we still have everything to play for as we enter the final four missions of this scenario.