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 Interactive and ORiGO Games. 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.

An updated version of the first game published by Aksys Games, the same company that worked on the ports of the BlazBlue series and Deathsmiles, was released for the Xbox 360 through Xbox LIVE Arcade as A.R.E.S. Extinction Agenda EX on October 2, 2013 and roughly a year later on Steam, featuring updated graphics, redesigned levels, new animated cut-scenes, and promotes Tarus to playable status. With a $1,500 contribution made by ORiGO Games for the Kickstarter-funded indie arena fighter, Combat Core, Ares is set is appear a Guest Fighter in the game along with Zetto and Kizuna of TOME.

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

  • Achievement System: The original game comes with 25 obtainable achievements that adds up to a total of 330 achievement points similar Xbox LIVE Achievements and Gamerscore. Each achievement requires the player to perform certain feats such as never using a repair kit across all levels, getting the combo counter to 99, and no damage running a boss battle.
  • 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. She was holding out mostly on her own for at least a few days, and she hasn't been captured or killed, which is quite an achievement.
  • Advancing Boss of Doom: The Leviathan mini-boss chases the player from a bottomless shaft.
  • Art Shift: Valkyl's design got a more Western look in Extinction Agenda EX, while Dr. Carson became even more of an action girl.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Dr. Carson wears a tube top underneath her lab coat in the original game.
  • 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.
  • Charged Attack: The hold type for the Power and Gravity Boost ability Ares unlock after defeating Carrion. By using the grenade's energy, he can propel himself forward, upwards, or downwards while damaging anything in his path.
  • Combos: Akin to Axel's and X's gameplay in Mega Man X8, you can rack up combos as you destroy enemies.
  • Combo Breaker: Taking damage from an enemy will reset your combo counter to zero.
  • Curtains Match the Window: Dr. Carson's brown hair matches with her eyes in the original.
  • Dash Attack: Ares gets an upgrade along with the Prototype Suit that allows him to perform dash attacks that harms enemies and gives him invincibility frames while dashing.
  • 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.
  • Emergency Energy Tank: In the original game, Ares can craft a repair kit with the materials he picks up laying around the level or dropped from enemies and use them at a later time to recover a portion of his HP.
  • Future Spandex: Valkyl's outfit certainly fits the description.
  • Gameplay Grading: You are rewarded based on how quickly you clear the level, how little damage you've taken during boss battles, how high you can get your combo counter, how many materials you picked up, and secrets you've uncovered.
  • 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.
  • Guest Fighter: Ares became a playable character the indie game Combat Core after a $1,500 contribution from ORiGO Games for the game's Kickstarter campaign.
  • 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.
  • Heart Container: Some of the datacubes in the game can raise Ares' maximum HP.
  • Hot Scientist: Dr. Julia Carson in the original, by far. Hell, she wears a tube top under that lab coat and rockin' a mini-skirt!
  • 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.
  • 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!"
  • 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: Lots of enemies, hazards, traps, and difficult boss battles. Even on Normal difficulty and no Easy difficulty to speak of in the original game, the game will punish you hard. EX added an "Easy" difficulty, but it comes with some gameplay restrictions.
  • 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. From lowest to highest: D, C, B, A, S, and SS. 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: 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 specializes 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 features higher quality visuals, Tarus becomes playable 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.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Valkyl has purple hair.
  • Zettai Ryouiki: Dr. Carson wears grade-A thigh-highs with her mini-skirt in the original game.