->''"This is the Round Table. Dead men's words hold no meaning."''

In this, the seventh game in the ''AceCombat'' series (released in 2006) , a journalist from the Osean Federation, in the world of Strangereal, named Brett Thompson films a documentary on the history of the Belkan War, which was alluded to in [[AceCombat5TheUnsungWar the previous game]]. In 1995, the Belkan Federation began an invasion of the autonomous Republic of Ustio, hoping to reclaim the resource-rich territory that had once been theirs. 90% of Ustio's air force was destroyed in the opening days of the war and as they were overrun, Belka turned its attention towards the Osean Federation, the Union of Yuktobanian Republics and their allies. Unamused, the allied nations sided with Ustio and delivered a smackdown of national proportions and everyone lived happily ever after, right? Well...

In its final days, Ustio took desperate measures and recruited a number of mercenary pilots in a last ditch effort to fend off the encroaching Belkans. One of these pilots is the true interest of Thompson, a legendary ace known as the Demon Lord of the Round Table. In his time, he was known by the callsign, Cipher, and was number one of the Galm Squadron alongside Larry "Pixy" Foulke, aka Solo Wing. As Cipher, you play through the most famous battles of the Belkan War and deal with its bloody and tragic aftermath.

In terms of the ''Ace Combat'' series, ''The Belkan War'' differs mainly in its presentation of the story. It takes the form of a retrospective using live action actors to play the parts and invests a significant amount of effort in demonstrating the extent to which the Demon Lord affected the lives of everyone who fought him.

The events that take place in this game are not to be confused with the other [[Anime/MagicalGirlLyricalNanohaAs Belkan War]] that brought about the downfall of an ancient empire, though the similarities are strong and {{Shout Out}}s to this game abound.

Now has a '''[[Characters/AceCombatZeroTheBelkanWar character sheet]]'''. Please put all character-relevant tropes there.

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!!Tropes found in the game:

* AchievementsSystem: The game (on the PlayStation2) included a number of [[http://acecombat.wikia.com/wiki/List_of_medals_in_Ace_Combat_Zero:_The_Belkan_War medals]] that could be earned by completing story missions and beating certain challenges across multiple playthroughs; the medals can be viewed from the main menu.
* AirJousting: [[spoiler:The final mission has you do the closest equivalent fighter jets can get to knightly jousting. Considering the Arthurian motifs present, it was most likely deliberate.]]
* TheAlliance: The Osean-led Alliance against [[TheEmpire Belka]].
* AlwaysSomeoneBetter: Larry "Solo Wing Pixy" Foulke starts the game more notorious than the player character Cipher, and mentions at the end of the first mission that "he (Cipher) had potential." He goes on to have a friendly relationship with Cipher and refers to him as "Buddy" whenever possible [[spoiler:even after turning on you and becoming the final boss.]]
* ArcWords: "Yo, Buddy, you still alive?"
* BadassArmy: The Belkan Air Force.
* BadassBack: Gelb Squadron's Su-37's can fire missiles backwards, as can [[spoiler:[[BonusBoss Mobius One]]'s F-22A Raptor]]. TruthInTelevision: Some of the latest [=AAMs=], like the Python 4/5 or AA-11/R-73, have a 360-degree targetting capability.
* BadassBoast:''"This is our turf and we'll fly how we please!"'' - Schnee One
** For a WellIntentionedExtremist organization, A World With No Boundaries gets a pretty one.
* BaitAndSwitchBoss: Happens in the Gauntlet on the highest difficulty. [[spoiler: The final squad is wiped out by the real boss... Mobius 1 in his signature Raptor. If you manage to shoot him down, that's ''30,000'' points for you. Yes: Mobius 1 is considered so badass that shooting him down is equivalent to shooting down ''six'' Pixy+[[SuperPrototype ADFX-02]], or rougly ''twenty'' "normal" Aces!]]
* BigLippedAlligatorMoment: InUniverse, the FALKEN is just given to you when you unlock it. It really has no mention anywhere in the storylines of ''The Unsung War'' or ''Zero''. This is GameplayAndStorySegregation, as the Morgan is very clearly an early version of the FALKEN, with standard jet engines, a normal cockpit and a less efficient laser weapon. The FALKEN doesn't exist when ''Zero'' takes place, it's just a bonus.
** The X-02 Wyvern is the same. It's a bonus given to you when you unlock it. It's description still says it's the latest in Erusian technology, even though it wouldn't be developed until the Erusian War many years later.
** Mostly averted with the Morgan itself, which comes out of nowhere to fight you, but its defenses are addressed when you encounter it.
* BilingualBonus: Knowing some German (and to a lesser degree, Russian and Spanish) helps you recognize references.
* BookEnds: It is snowing during both the first and last missions of the game.
* BossOnlyLevel: The final mission is just one long fight against the final boss.
* BossRemix: "Zero".
* BossRush: The bonus stage 'Gauntlet' allowed the player to face four randomly chosen enemy ace squadrons in a row.
** BonusBoss: But only on the [[HarderThanHard Ace difficulty]]. Eliminate Espada Squadron in under a minute, and you get to fight [[spoiler:Mobius One, the Player Character from ''[=AC04=]'']]. Regular missions also often have optional aces you can down, but these aren't really harder than the compulsory ones.
* CallBack: Among the aces duking it out at the Round Table are [[AceCombat5TheUnsungWar Heartbreak One and Huckebein the Raven]].
* ChasingYourTail: {{Inverted}} for the final mission, as noted in the King Arthur trope entry below, you ''have'' to attack [[spoiler:the ADFX-02 Morgan's front air intakes]] head on... essentially "a missile-enhanced game of chicken."
* CherryTapping: Beating [[spoiler: Pixy]] with the [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oc3ogQhJPqw A-10 Thunderbolt/Warthog]] (close air support ground attack), [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eKBCwpEXpss F-117A Nighthawk]] (stealth ground attack) or [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dxakpc07Lko EA-6B Prowler]] (electronic warfare, and due to how its ECMP works possibly even more useless in most missions), none of which are meant to be an air superiority fighter... or try [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7a4WDHKxkO0 a gunkill]]. [[HarderThanHard On Ace.]] Then SerialEscalation kicks in with the Gauntlet, ending with Mobius One and his Raptor [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WcNUc0s3zFk using an Ace Nighthawk Gunkill]]. Or [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-bY30hTGuA take a ride in a J35J Draken]] and [[HoistByHisOwnPetard Hoist]] [[ThatOneBoss That One]] DashingHispanic [[WeakButSkilled Alberto "Espada One" Lopez]] [[HoistByHisOwnPetard By His Own Starting Plane]].
* CombatCommentator: Pretty much any radio chatter that doesn't pertain to your mission objectives.
* ContinuityCameo: Somewhat [[InvertedTrope Inverted]] as it is a prequel, but pilots from nearly all the other Strangereal Ace Combat games show up in one form or another (and most can be shot down). To whit:
** VideoGame/AceCombat04ShatteredSkies
*** Yellow 13 - Mobius 1's [[TheRival rival]].
*** And also the game's Secret Boss on a BonusStage: [[spoiler: it's Mobius 1 himself.]]
** VideoGame/AceCombat5TheUnsungWar
*** The Kestrel shows up as an [[EscortMission escort objective]] in the "Operation Costner" variation of Mission 4.
*** Mission 10 is full of ''[=AC5=]'' characters: [[TheMentor Captain Bartlett]] is one of your allies in the Knight version, the leader of Ofnir squad can be shot down in the Soldier route, and in the Mercenary version you can also meet Huckebein the Raven [[spoiler:aka Pops]] and either rescue him from the leader of Grabacr squad or shoot him down.
* DashingHispanic: On a musical level, the hispanic instruments in "Zero" are part of what makes it one of the most badass, if not ''the'' most badass, tune in the series.
* DevelopingDoomedCharacters: A weird example: Almost every single one of the 169 named aces you shoot down has a unique brief biography written for them -- but it is only unlocked after you defeat them, and being defeated by you is also their single purpose in the game.
* DiscOneNuke: The F-5E, one of your three starting planes, is equipped with [=QAAMs=]. It's balanced by only carrying four, but still, that's effectively four free air kills.
* DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything: Belka nuked themselves on June 6, 1995. Might crossover with RuleOfSymbolism since this is the earliest time in the story's canon nukes being used are mentioned.
* DownerEnding: Some of the pilots that you (have to) shoot down do not have happy endings, or at least must have taken quite the hit to the ego in their postwar lives: Anthony "Lucan" Palmer works for an insurance company, Dominic "Vulture" Zubov is a fugitive war criminal, Franz Breitner (Indigo 4) was killed after the Belkan War in a crossfire with guerrillas while visiting a village on behalf of a children's charity, and Marcela "Macarena" Vasquez's beloved flight lead Alberto Lopez does not long survive being shot down by Galm 1: in the Mercenary story path he's killed when his [=J35J=] Draken fighter is destroyed, in Soldier he eventually passed away from his injuries suffered that day, and in Knight he eventually returned to the sky only to die there. Possibly the most visible would be former Belkan Air Force poster boy turned history professor Detlef "Red Swallow" Fleisher who wouldn't even look directly at the camera, still unable to swallow his pride and accept his defeat by mercenaries.
** Named enemy pilots whose defeat is not required include: Hariman Reinhardt, who had to retire due to vision problems; Dietmar Wolf was dubiously tried as a war criminal (though the charges were dismissed); Yuri Dashkov's own wingman testified against him after their capture; and there's Daniel Bierofka the car salesman...
** On the other hand, the narrator later says that "They always had a slight smile on their faces" whenever they talked about the Demon Lord. Perhaps the point of the interviews is to say that the only glory in war is to live long enough to see its end. In fact, the final line in the trailer of ''Zero'' is "There is only one rule in war: Survive".
* DudeWheresMyRespect: As always for ''Ace Combat, beautifully'' averted. ''Zero'' is the king of all AC heroes in the respect department: some of the cutscenes between missions are full-motion video interviews with ace pilots ''about you, the Demon Lord of the Round Table'', ten years later.
* DuelingPlayerCharacters: In the (non-canon) BrutalBonusLevel you, as Cipher, must fight the TrueFinalBoss Mobius One, the protagonist of ''VideoGame/AceCombat04ShatteredSkies''. This has since become a staple in the ''Ace Combat'' series to include protagonists of previous games as bosses in the non-canon bonus levels.
* TheEmpire: Belka.
* EpisodeZeroTheBeginning
* EvenEvilHasStandards - In Mission 12, when you learn about the [[spoiler: bombers carrying nuclear weaponry]], a large squadron of [[spoiler: neutral Belkan aircraft show up and tell the target aircraft that if they do not ''immediately'' turn around and return to base, the neutral squadron will destroy them themselves.]]
* EvilIsEasy: Not so much. You get better planes, yes, but you have to defeat ace squadrons flying them against you first, and you have to take time to destroy yellow targets to stay evil. It definitely [[EvilPaysBetter pays better]], though. That's not to say the ace squadrons specific to that path are much more difficult than the others, but they do tend to outnumber you more severely than other squads.
* FaceHeelTurn: [[spoiler:Pixy]]. Even though he's obviously reconciled with the player character by the time of his video interview, [[spoiler:he still killed the replacement wingman PJ]].
* FantasyConflictCounterpart: The Belkan War is an odd blending of elements of both World Wars.
* FatalFamilyPhoto: Though [[spoiler:Patrick "PJ" James Beckett]] was never considered the sharpest tool in the shed, his sense of GenreBlindness reaches a head when the last words out of his mouth are "I'm gonna ask her to marry me when I get back, I even bought flowers!" Boom.
* ForegoneConclusion: If you've played ''5'', you already know that the Belkans lose, and [[spoiler:that they drop nukes on their own territory]]. But despite knowing that, [[spoiler: the major twist is that's not the end of the game.]]
* {{Foreshadowing}}: Pixy's dialogue with [[spoiler:Wizard in an early mission foreshadows their creation of A World With No Boundaries]].
* ForMassiveDamage: "[[spoiler: Morgan's]] only weak point is in the front air intake. You'll have to attack it head on."
* GameplayAllyImmortality: {{Averted|Trope}} with the mission-critical carrier ''OFS Kestrel'', and only if you choose Operation Costner for your fourth mission.
* GenreBlindness: A particularly cruel example with PJ: "Now the war is finally over. I got a girlfriend back at the base. I'm gonna propose to her when I get back. I even bought flowers." Three seconds later, [[spoiler: he's blown out of the sky.]]
* GratuitousGerman: Subverted, all of the Belkan Air Force ace pilots are named with German words such as Schnee (Snow), Rot (Red) and Schwann (Swan), sometimes however, they do get the translations wrong (Grun for example is supposed to have an umlaut over the U).
* GreyAndGrayMorality: ''Ace Combat Zero'' has this in spades, though it is possible by attaining Supreme Knight to make Cipher almost totally "white".
* HufflepuffHouse: Ustio and Sapin are this to Osea and Yuktobania despite the fact that the player character is from (or at least working for) one of these Third-Party Countries.
* HundredPercentCompletion: Gives you a few cosmetic bonuses.
* InsultBackfire: An amusing conversation between Pixy and PJ:
---> '''Pixy''': Galm 2 to Crow 3, if you get shot down, crash where I can't see.\\
'''PJ''': Uh, Roger, leave it to me.
** Even funnier if you're playing Knight: PJ ''cheerfully agrees'' with Pixy's "order."
* InterfaceScrew: The briefing interface is screwed with by the Hresvelgr bombing the base. And then there's mission twelve where not only does the screen shake, everything goes all fuzzy and stays that way until the mission ends, due to the [[spoiler: EMP from the Belkan nukes going off scrambling your jet's electronics.]]
* ItsRainingMen: Mission 5 is mostly about this.
* ItWasADarkAndStormyNight: The opening of Zero: "It was a cold and snowy day..."
* KarmaMeter: Knight/Soldier/Mercenary. Mercenary is as much evil as the game gets, as pilots see you as a despicable bastard who's only concerned with money. Soldiers are more neutral, as you're only following orders and doing whatever it takes to turn the tide of battle, and knight is not-quite-Good but at least honorable in battle.
* KickTheDog: One mission has you assisting Allied bombers destroying a Belkan munitions facility, but they make it known right from the start that they're prioritizing destruction over accuracy.
** The bombers' radio chatter is borderline AxeCrazy as well:
---> '''Bomber pilot:''' Turn it to ashes! (pause) That's ''not enough!'' DROP MORE BOMBS!!
** It's not just a munitions facility - it's an ''entire city.'' And the Allied forces aren't the only ones kicking the dog - Belkan forces are ''committing arson'' to many buildings - some of them privately owned - on their way out.
** If you slightly graze one of the factory targets with bullets, there is a chance they will tell you over the radio that they are not a weapons factory. And yet, it is still listed as a target. Ouch.
* KingArthur: ''Ace Combat Zero'' is so positively rich with Arthurian motifs. Notable ones included names like the "Hydrian Line"[[note]]A mistranslation of "Hadrian's Wall"[[/note]] as a defended area and "The Round Table" as a nickname for a famous battlefield. Also present are the Excalibur laser tower (complete with a comment from a soldier after its destruction that "the sword has been pulled from the stone") and fighter pilots with names like Joshua "Lucan" Bristow and Anthony "Bedivere" Palmer. Furthermore, members of A World With No Boundaries begin to refer to [[spoiler:Pixy]] as their "King" and note that he has departed for "Avalon", actually a code name for a weapons lab hidden under an artificial lake, and at the end of the game the last boss fights you in a plane called the ADFX-02 "Morgan" and the mastermind behind A World With No Boundaries delivers his final speech from prison where he is serving his life sentence for war crimes, much like Merlin locked in his stone tower (appropriate for the leader of a squadron named "Wizard").
** Don't forget that the only way for you to finish off said last boss is [[spoiler:[[AirJousting pretty much as close as jet fighters can get to knightly jousting]]]]. When combined with the epic, EPIC musical score playing, it was also the game's CrowningMomentOfAwesome.
* LampshadeHanging: In the final mission, just before the last phase of the fight, [[spoiler:Pixy]], who has become disillusioned with the nature of war, remarks that "[[LeaningOnTheFourthWall this twisted game needs to be reset!]]" For bonus points, it's then followed up with the TitleDrop mentioned further down in the article. While it's unlikely the character [[MediumAwareness knows he's in a game]], it's still a great moment, especially if you've been playing the game as a [[VideoGameCrueltyPotential Mercenary Ace]], reminding you of just how much of a ''bastard'' you've been for blowing up defenseless targets just for extra cash.
* LateArrivalSpoiler: [[spoiler:The Belkans' detonation of seven nuclear weapons on their own soil]] is one of these, as it was given away at the start of the previous game as part of the backstory.
* LawOfChromaticSuperiority: Used with Pixy's colour scheme, though only on the right wing. Averted with Cipher, who is most associated with the same F-15C as Pixy, but with a blue-themed paint scheme.
* LostInTranslation: In the original Japanese, the title "Demon Lord of the Round Table" is a pun on "Knights of the Round Table", since the pronunciation of "Knight" and "Demon Lord" is almost the same (''kishi'' and ''kishin'', respectively), even though written with different kanji.
* LouisCypher: Cipher... sort of.
* MergingTheBranches: Cipher fights five out of eleven elite Belkan squadrons in any given playthrough (which ones depends on your KarmaMeter). However, the in-game Assault Records and later lore implies that at the branching points, Cipher faced all three respective bosses ''at the same time''.
* MyCountryRightOrWrong: Despite attempting to invade half a dozen countries at once to expand its borders and avoid an economic crisis, Belka had corps of extremely loyal pilots proud of their own nation. In an interesting game concept, there are cutscenes of interviews of the Belkan pilots the player fought, depicting them as obviously likable men ten years after the war. Mainly since Belka [[spoiler:detonated 7 nuclear weapons on their own country late in the war.]] The pilots explicitly state that they hold no animosity towards their enemies, during and after the war. It was just war, and it was just what they were trained to do. In fact, many of them revere Cipher, the player character; in a decidedly odd twist, one character even states that Cipher is comparable to the old orders of Belkan Knights, an honor that he doesn't even give himself.
* MyNaymeIs: It's the case with Galm, which is supposed to be Garm. Likewise, the briefing text for one of the missions in Zero refers to "Operation Broom", whereas the spoken briefing clearly calls it "Operation Bloom".
* NGOSuperpower: In [[spoiler: the second part of ''Zero'']] they are a mishmash of disgruntled former soldiers, but all have some mix of WeaponsOfMassDestruction, {{Airborne Aircraft Carrier}}s/supermassive bombers and entire units of conventional forces.
* NotSoDifferent:
--> [[spoiler:Pixy]]: "You and I are both sides of the same coin."
* NothingIsScarier: ''Zero'' masterfully uses a Type 2 situation in the [[spoiler: Stage of Apocalypse]] mission.
* NumberOfTheBeast: Galm Team is the Ustio 6th Air Division, 66th Squadron. Demon Lord indeed.
* OhCrap: Happens in the mission briefing for the Hresvelgr mission:
---> '''Base commander:''' Your mission is to pursue the XB-0 and... [[InterfaceScrew (radar screen flickers and a warning message appears)]] Wait... we've just received an emergency transmission from the control tower. Unidentified aircraft are approaching our base! Scramble all planes! Quick, there's no time! ''Get into the air immediately!!'' [[NothingIsScarier (radar screen goes completely black)]]
* OldSaveBonus: You can unlock the X-02 Wyvern and ADF-01 FALKEN superfighters more easily if you have save data from ''Shattered Skies'' and/or ''Unsung War'', respectively. Players with save data from both games need only complete Mission 1 to unlock ''both'' superfighters for purchase. ''Affording'' them, on the other hand...
* OminousLatinChanting: ''"Zero"''.
* [[OneManArmy One Man Airforce]]:
--> ''"Head Operations has recognized you as '''an indispensable component in this war.'''"''
* OneWorldOrder: Joshua Bristow and [[spoiler:Pixy]] want to see this happen.
* PeaceConference: According to the Narrator in ''Zero'', a peace conference was held in Lumen, a city on the border between Belka and Osea, to end the Belkan War.
* PixelHunt: A few ace squadrons have at least one of their pilots flying electronic-warfare planes to hide their radar presence.
* PrivateMilitaryContractors: Ustio hires mercenaries to bolster its forces.
* ProtagonistPowerUpPrivileges: Only Cipher can purchase better planes (including superfighters) for himself, while his two wingmen are stuck with their starting planes for the entire game. This is in contrast to ''Ace Combat 5'' and the later ''VideoGame/{{Ace Combat 6|FiresOfLiberation}}'', where you could equip wingmen with the same planes as yourself.
* RemixedLevel: ''Zero'' reuses a few locations from ''5''.
* RuleOfSymbolism: ''Zero'' easily beats the rest of the series combined in the sheer number of symbolic allusions, ranging from Literature/TheBible, through the NorseMythology, to the ArthurianLegend.
* TheRepublic: Ustio.
* SchizoTech: ''Zero'' takes place in 1995 and features squadrons of both the Su-47 and F-35C, years before the only RealLife prototypes for each were ever flown. You can also own a ''fully operational'' and in fact [[SuperPrototype has-more-options-than-a-later-version]] ADF-01 FALKEN at a time when its series' immediate predecessor is the most amazing plane in the world and a treasure trove of otherwise one-of-a-kind technology.
** In the FALKEN's case, its inclusion, along with the inclusion of the Wyvern, is most likely non-canon. Since this is an alternate world, the inclusion of the Su-47 and such fits in with this world's more advanced technology.
* SceneryGorn: The Hresvelgr mission opens with your airbase being bombed to flaming ruins by what is basically a flying aircraft carrier/battleship. And you see it happen ''in first person, from the cockpit of your plane still on the ground.''
* SequelDifficultySpike: ''Zero'' in relation to the other PS2 games in the series. Even on "Very Easy", you're likely to be shot down once or twice.
* SequentialBoss: Morgan.
* ShoutOut: Solo Wing Pixy is a shout out to a real life situation where [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-_EXtBEaBbs an accident caused an F-15 to continue flying after losing its ENTIRE RIGHT WING]]. This is actually not a fluke, the way the F-15 is designed, it can stay in the air if it loses one wing and half of the other one, albeit precariously.
** The default [[CoolPlane F-14]], as in ''Unsung War'', is done up in white with black tails and yellow ribbons. Many may think this is a ShoutOut to Anime/SuperDimensionFortressMacross, but with the exception of the skull and crossbones it is in fact a replica of the real life VF-84, the famous squadron Roy's Veritech fighter honored. And, in a shout-out to itself, the Mercenary paint scheme for the F-14 in this game is the same as the Razgriz paint scheme in the previous game.
** The Knight paint scheme for the F-20 Tigershark is [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jrQLzXJY7q0 a reference to]] ''Manga/{{Area 88}}''.
** Grun Squadron all fly F/A-18C Hornets. [[StealthPun In other words]], they're all [[Franchise/TheGreenHornet Green Hornets]]. (As an added bonus, they all actually use [[http://images.wikia.com/acecombat/images/9/9f/Grun.jpg a green paint scheme]].)
* SlidingScaleOfIdealismVsCynicism: Probably the most cynical Ace Combat game to date, with it being more or less cynical based on your Ace Style.
* SphereOfDestruction: [[spoiler:The V2 weapon at the end]]. Random little beamlets of light even shoot out as well. The Multi-Purpose Burst Missile the Morgan fires also results in a spherical blast.
* SpreadingDisasterMapGraphic: The story tells how Belka's poor economy allowed the eastern portion of the country to secede and become independent nations, including Ustio. Belka's economic problems didn't end, and their borders continued to shrink, allowing those new nations to further expand, and allowing Osea to claim some of the country's western borders. Belka went to war started expanding outwards to reclaim their lost borders and acquire more resources. They even invaded the southern country of Sapin, who wasn't even involved.
* SuperToughness: [[spoiler: Pixy's]] Morgan can take at least six missile hits. Almost every other enemy plane goes down after two.
** Somewhat Justified in-universe as it being a SuperPrototype (his is marked as an ADFX-02, where the model you get is an ADFX-01). Granted, that makes it a SuperPrototype OF a SuperPrototype, but for gameplay balance reasons, it still makes sense. Wouldn't be much of a final bossfight if he went down with two shots, so instead he goes down in three shots if you use the [=TLS=].
* ThemeMusicPowerUp: ''Zero'' likes doing this. Cue the Spanish Guitar and prepare to wet your pants.
* TitleDrop: "We'll start over from 'zero' with this V2..." (complete with quotations in the subtitles).
** The speaker even emphasizes "zero" a bit.
* TrueFinalBoss: [[spoiler: Mobius One and his Raptor]] in the Gauntlet.
* TruthInTelevision: Though the times and planes are different, Belkan enemy pilots seem to show some signs of the code of Chivalry. In real life early World War One pilots displayed such acts.
** Also [[MeaningfulName Solo Wing]] Pixy keeping his plane in the air after losing a wing.
* UpgradeVsPrototypeFight: Can be {{invoked}} by the player. After [[NewGamePlus beating the game once]], the [[CoolPlane ADFX-01 superplane]] is unlocked, and able to field either a [[WaveMotionGun Tactical Laser System]], [[SlapOnTheWristNuke Multi-Purpose Burst Missile]], or an Electronic Warfare Pod. Then they can take that plane into battle against the final boss, who flies an ADFX-''02''[[note]] Despite being 02 in the series, it is the prototype to the ADFX-01[[/note]] that has ''all'' the aforementioned weapon systems. However, if you're fielding the laser, [[ZeroEffortBoss he goes down in three hits]] when it took dozens of normal missiles to do the same. Alternatively, the player can also take the ADF-01 FALKEN, which was developed from the ADFX-02.
* VestigialEmpire: Belka. The Belkan War was an attempt to reverse that.
* VideogameCaringPotential: Among all the carnage in mission 11, you have the option of sparing an enemy C-130 carrying wounded soldiers. This and other missions also occasionally feature friendly ground forces who ask for your help in defeating a squad of enemy A-10s. The Knight Ace path in general encourages taking this approach to the game.
** Mission 2 has a couple AA guns hidden among a clutter of yellow targets (civilian farms and houses); Pixy, unless you're playing on the Mercenary path, will note this and claim that he's not sure Cipher wants to go through with the mission. It takes some effort, but you can pick out those AA guns for a missile without harming the houses.
* VideoGameCrueltyPotential: Taking the Mercenary Ace path revolves around intentionally gunning down retreating planes, destroying civilian/unarmed ground targets, and refusing to spare enemy pilots whose weapons have been taken out of commission. On the plus side, you get more money; on the downside, you face harder enemy ace squadrons.
* VideoGameCrueltyPunishment: Aforementioned facing of harder enemy ace squadrons.
** A better example: If you're going for Supreme Mercenary, you would try to destroy all "yellow" targets (meaning that it's either civilian or otherwise unimportant military infrastructure). Come mission 13, there is one lone yellow dot in the map, let's destroy it--wait, [[OhCrap WHERE DID ALL THESE ENEMIES COME FROM?]]
*** For added bonus points, as the enemy ambushes you, they even scream [[YouBastard "Those damn mercenaries, haven't you earned enough?!"]]
** This doesn't ''always'' work exactly that way, however. Take for example the second fight over the Round Table, each squad has their own advantage over you: the Mercenary squad has 8 planes, which is nearly twice as many as the other possible bosses, but the Knight-path squad's leader is much better trained than his wingmen (who are already pretty good, [[OhCrap unless you take said leader out first]]), and the Soldier squad can fire at you from much farther than you can at them.
* WarIsHell: Most evident during the bombing of Hoffnung; see KickTheDog above. Both sides do their best to level the city -- the Allies for revenge, the Belkans as part of a scorched-earth policy.
* WhamEpisode: Missions 11 and 12 deliver a series of back-to-back {{Player Punch}}es in very short order. The first comes when your allies indiscriminately flatten a Belkan city with bombs and cruise missiles, while the Belkans themselves start burning whatever escapes the attacks to deny the enemy anything useful before they retreat. In the very next mission, you're sent to intercept Belkan bombers carrying nuclear bombs. [[spoiler:Except it turns out that the planes you're sent out after aren't the ones carrying the bombs after all -- as you learn when one detonates nearby, [[InterfaceScrew nearly frying your plane's electronics]]]]. While you're still reeling from that, [[spoiler:your wingmate, who has obviously been rattled since the bombing mission, opens fire on you and deserts]].
* WhatTheHellHero: Both Belkan radio chatter and the interviewees' comments show disdain towards Cipher should he go the Mercenary route and destroy neutralized enemy vehicles or "innocent" buildings. Inverted however with Pixy and the ace pilots, who try to rationalize some of these.
** Though even he has his limits - he's appalled by the Allies' indiscriminate bombing of Hoffnung. [[spoiler:Unsurprisingly, he defects to A World With No Boundaries in the next mission.]]
-->'''Pixy:''' A Tomahawk just hit the city! Are those guys serious?!

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