Video Game: Ares

There is going to be a lot of scrap metal when he's done.
A.R.E.S. is a series of episodic games (with only the first episode currently released, Extinction Agenda) developed by indie developer Extend Studio. The first episode is available on PC (the Steam version has two exclusive suits) and Xbox 360.

The plot of Extinction Agenda is as follows: In the late 21st century, humanity has contaminated the Earth to such a dire state that an organization of scientists, United Earth (UE) had formed in an effort to save it. Governments from around the world collectively contributed trillions to UE, funding its expensive and highly experimental research. They managed to hit success, with Dr. Julia Carson's innovative concept, known as Deep Space Reprocessing (DSR), which allowed humans to recycle waste into organic materials through abiogenesis, a process that would essentially recycle the planet and transform it into a more habitable state. It turns out to be a success, Earth's state is improving, and things are beginning to look up for humanity.

Then disaster strikes. The only DSR space station, Junk Sector, is hit by an unidentified crystalline object, which emits a mysterious green gas, and all contact with the crew is lost. Dr. Carson herself leads a team onto the station to investigate, and discover that the robots on board are being controlled by the gas. Their first actions are to 1) head to the armory, and 2) send samples of the gas back to HQ. Using the samples, UE manages to figure out how to make robots immune to the gas, now called "zytron". The answer was to create a zytron-immune robot more technically advanced than any robot UE had ever created. The robot would need to excel at combat and have a name akin to its strength and brutal efficiency — Ares.

The first episode, at least, is a side-scrolling shooter. Ares has a array of weaponry to use, as well as two types of grenades. He also has back-up from Valkyl, a military-support satellite, who can rain down laser death once her bar is full. The game uses a "combo" system with a maximum of 99 hits, and each stage you complete has a letter rank, with a maximum rank in Normal mode being A while Hard mode has SS. These ranks are determined by factors such as how quickly you completed the stage, your highest combo, how much damage you take during boss fights, and how much materials you collected. The materials from destroyed enemies and scattered throughout levels allows you to upgrade your arsenal, create more grenades, and use repair-kits. Though the first episode is a fairly short game, its replayability comes from the hidden secrets, unlocking achievements, and getting higher ranks.

Aksys Games, the same guys that worked on the ports of the BlazBlue series and Deathsmiles, has brought first game to Xbox Live Arcade as A.R.E.S. Extinction Agenda EX on October 2, 2013 with updated graphics, redesigned levels, new animated cut-scenes, and introduces a new playable character Tarus. This version was ported back to Steam a year later.

A.R.E.S. provides trope examples of:

  • Action Girl: Surprisingly, Dr. Carson, and she doubles a Badass Bookworm. Despite being a scientist, it's heavily implied that she is quite capable with a weapon. When Ares actually rescues her, the first thing she does is point her gun at him and threatens to shoot. Considering she's been holding out mostly on her own for at least a few days, the fact that she hasn't been captured or killed is quite an achievement.
  • Art Shift: Valkyl's design got a more Western look in Extinction Agenda EX, while Dr. Carson become much of an action girl.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Dr. Carson. See Hot Scientist below.
  • Bittersweet Ending: While the Minos Cannon has been destroyed and humanity is safe, Junk Sector, humanity's only hope for bringing Earth back to its former glory, has been destroyed along with it. On the other hand, humanity can rebuild, and there's still more episodes...
  • Boobs of Steel: There are exactly two women in Extinction Agenda: Dr. Carson, and Valkyl. The former has a decent bust, and is an Action Girl. Valkyl, on the other hand, is quite well-endowed, and carries a BFG which she can use to rain down death when Ares needs it.
  • Bragging Rights Reward: The Genesis Suit, which requires an SS Rank. However, in order to get SS Rank, you need SS ranks on all stages except Stage 5, which requires an S rank, which averts the trope. There is a good reason for this, however — the Minos Cannon is that hard to perfect.
  • Combos: Akin to Axel's and X's gameplay in Mega Man X8, you can rack up combos as you destroy enemies.
    • Idiosyncratic Combo Levels: As you shoot stuff up, you get a phrase associated with your chain of destruction like "Superb!" and "Bursted!" In EX, exceeding 99-Hits earns you "Wicked!"
  • Curtains Match the Window: Dr. Carson in the original.
  • Denial of Diagonal Attack: Averted. Ares and Tarus can aim their shots in any direction.
  • Double Jump: Ares and Tarus in can perform one.
  • Dub Name Change: In EX, the Junk Sector has been renamed to Minos Station.
  • Future Spandex: Valkyl's outfit certainly fits the description.
  • Gameplay Grading
  • Glass Cannon: The Steam-exclusive Berzerker Suit DLC is this through and through. Its weapon kills things with fire, but as long as you are equipped with it, you take more damage than usual.
  • Hard Mode Perks: Playing on the harder difficulties allows you to S and SS ranks for clearing a level, and, in the case of EX, go past the 99-hit combo limit.
  • Hot Scientist: Dr. Julia Carson in the original, by far. Hell, she wears a tube top under that lab coat!
  • Humans Are Flawed: Though humans have been trying to clean up their act as a whole, it seems, Zytron thinks humanity are a mistake, and one that must be corrected.
  • Kill Sat: Valkyl, our Spaceship Girl.
    • And there is the Minos Cannon, UE's secret weapon, speculated by Dr. Carson to have been created for a political agenda. Ares is forced to destroy it in order to prevent Zytron from using it to destroy humanity.
  • Mid-Season Upgrade: Ares gets an upgrade to his suit literally halfway through the first episode. Halfway through Stage 3, to be precise. And it is awesome.
  • Nintendo Hard: And how. Even on Normal difficulty and no Easy difficulty to speak of in the original game, the game will punish you hard.
  • Peninsula of Power Leveling: Each stage has at least one ideal area to rack up a 99-Hit combo.
  • Precursors: Zytron, who claims to have created humanity, and believes that doing this was ultimately a mistake, which leads it to attempting to use the Minos Cannon to wipe them out. It's not abusive or neglectful, it's just simply doing what it thinks is right.
  • Rank Inflation: You get a letter rank based on your performance. As mentioned above, Normal gives you a cap of A while Hard gives you SS.
  • Red Shirt Army: Averted. Tarus Group knows how to hold their own, even if they're not as good as Ares — their leader saves Ares from the Stage 3 boss in its death throes with one shot.
  • RPG Elements: In EX, as you clear stages, you earn experience points to level up your character. However, to prevent players from Level Grinding by repeatedly clearing one stage multiple times, the experience points you earn is based on the rank you cleared the stage with. For example, if you cleared the first stage with an S, you'll get more than enough experience to level-up once; clearing it again with a lesser rank yields nothing.
  • Shock and Awe: The Prime Guardian specialises in this. Then there's the Photon Launcher, which is basically, when fully upgraded, the most powerful weapon in the game aside from Valkyl's Zypher Cannon.
  • Spaceship Girl: However, unlike other examples, Valkyl is satellite in a humanoid form. Her laser cannon attack? It's from the BFG she carries.
  • Updated Re-release: A.R.E.S. Extinction Agenda EX on Xbox LIVE Arcade and Steam features higher quality visuals, new playable character Tarus along with his own story and soundtrack, new animated cutscenes, an Easy difficulty, redesigned levels and streamlined gameplay.
  • Video Game Dashing: Ares can air-dash sideways or straight up. He also gets a Mega Man X-styled dash maneuver in EX in place of his dodge roll.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Valkyl, she has purple hair.