Square Enix's flagship Humongous Mecha franchise, Front Mission throws players into various gritty Real Robot stories as conglomerate nations from Twenty Minutes into the Future fight for supremacy with Wanzers (short for "Wanderung Panzers" - loosely translated from German, "walking tanks"). So what makes it different from other mecha games? For starters, the action comes as Turn-Based Strategy (almost unheard of in mecha fandom upon the game's first release in 1995, save for Super Robot Wars) and applies real-world tactics as much as possible within the genre. Easy Logistics and Critical Existence Failure are subverted more heavily than in any other mecha game - for every ten turns you spend pumping bullets into the enemy, you'll spend two running back to your supply truck (or Cool Ship, if you're lucky) to restock ammo and/or repair broken limbs. Failure to equip your Wanzers to pander to your pilots' strengths or at least keep a well-leveled Five-Man Band handy will result in incurring higher repair costs after each battle - or even worse, Unwinnable scenarios due to the (mostly) limited opportunity for grinding.Eleven games in the Front Mission franchise have been released:
Two on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (the original Front Mission 1 translated for Emulation and later remade for the Nintendo DS as Front Mission 1st; Front Mission: Gun Hazard also was fan-translated)
Three for the Sony Playstation (Front Mission 2 and Front Mission Alternative; Front Mission 3 got released in Japan, North America, and Europe)
Three for the Playstation 2 (Front Mission 4 got released in the United States, Front Mission Online, and Front Mission 5: Scars of the War is Japan-only but has a fan translation)
Two on mobile phones (with a remake for the Nintendo DS called Front Mission 2089: Border of Madness)
Two on the PC (Front Mission Online and Front Mission Evolved)
One on the PC, Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 (Front Mission Evolved)
The franchise is also well-known for experimenting and venturing into other genres. Front Mission: Gun Hazard, an SNES title with a Fan Translation that plays out like a side-scrolling shooter obviously sharing a game designer with Assault Suits Valken. Front Mission Alternative, a Playstation title that ventures into real-time strategy (RTS). Front Mission: Online, the first massively multiplayer online (MMO) game and the first third-person shooter (TPS) for the PlayStation 2 and PC. Lastly, the second TPS title through Front Mission Evolved on the PlayStation 3, Xbox360, and PC. The genre spin-offs are easy to identify because they don't have a number attached to them, unlike these titles: Front Mission 2089, 2089-II, 1st, 2, 3, 4, and 5. Sadly, only a handful of titles made it outside of Japan - a whopping SEVEN video games from the franchise still remain Japan-only.These aren't the only things Front Mission is known for. Largely unknown to the Western world (thanks to Square's HORRIBLE handling of Front Mission overseas), the franchise has a large media presence that includes comics, novels, radio dramas, and even live-action films! In fact, these other Front Mission works are linked to the video games so closely that buying them is practically a necessity to completely understand the Front Mission storyline! Japanese fans also liken Front Mission to the famous TV serial 24 as if you take out the mecha, all you get is essentially a slower-paced, more politically-charged 24! And the franchise outside of video games focuses way less on mecha and more on 24-styled action and political drama anyways. The most successful of these lines are their comics and novels, which are perennial top-sellers in the mature/adult age bracket in Japan. In fact, with the recent news that no more Front Mission video games will come out, it seems likely that the franchise will live on through these mediums.Now has a character page in desperate need of work.This franchise provides examples of:
2089 and 1st: The maximum Job Level is 48, requiring 9,999 EXP in one of the four Job classes: Melee, Short, Long, and Dodge. Any EXP gained in these Job classes affects Pilot Level. Pilot Level maxes out at Level 50, requiring 37,500 EXP to reach.
2: The maximum Job Level is 30. 14,815 EXP is needed to max out the Fight, Short, or Long Job classes.
3: There are 25 levels for Weapon Rank, going from "A" to "A+" to "A++" and so on. Going from a Weapon Rank of "A" to "S", the highest level, requires 13,199 EXP.
Ace Custom: 5 allows you to upgrade your wanzer parts, which allows them to change to other types if you reach a certain level. Also, since you can mix-and-match any wanzer part as long as they fulfill energy and weight requirements, it's easy to make plenty of these. Bosses tend to show up in souped-up wanzers too.
5 also allows players to recreate some of the Ace Customs of previous games, such as the Raven and Gepard (albeit not perfectly), through mix-and-matching and Survival Simulator grinding.
USN/UCS for United States of the New Continent/Unified Continental States, which has the FAI: Federal Agency of Intelligence. There's also SOCOM, for Special Operations Command, though this was from real life.
OCU for the Oceania Cooperative Union, which has the CIU for Central Intelligence Unit.
DHZ for the People's Republic of Da Han Zhong.
EC for the European Community.
OAC for the Organization of African Consolidation.
Other sorts of acronyms show up too, namely for several technologies shown in the franchise.
ATLAS being the Astro Tribune Laser Accumulate System.
BD being the Bioneural Device.
MIDAS being one of two things: Mass Interparticle Dissociation Antiproton Synthesizer for the original anti-matter version, and Matter Irradiation Dissociative Acceleration System for the portable radiation derivative.
Adam Smith Hates Your Guts - Front Mission 1st on the SNES allows you to sell items for 75% of their actual value, whereas the DS rerelease has you selling them for only 25%. This makes for a miserly scenario where you simply cannot afford new equipment for every single unit you have, since the parts salvaged in missions are inferior to what you may already be using, the only other ways to earn money are winning missions or competing in arena battles.
Amazon Brigade - Three of the four members of Apollo's Chariot in Evolved are women. Which makes you think Marcus probably does use the girls for "bedroom duty"
With the exception of Walter Feng, 5's pilot management system allows players to assemble all-girl squads.
Anachronic Order - you have to read every game manual (in case of 2 and 3, the in-game Network too) to understand the history.
Armored Coffins - The Vampires in the 2089 games — a black ops branch of the B-Organization - have their wanzers set up for complete destruction to cover any trace of their relations to their employer.
Attack Drone - Gun Hazard's "Wireless Gunpod" weapons. The "Save the Queen" laser drones in Dog Life & Dog Style also count.
Awesome, but Impractical - Whenever a "Large Unit" with a sweet-looking arsenal is debuted, chances are that sprite/polygon limitations will make all weapons fire that would be divvied up among multiple cannons come out of only one. Case in point: the T.C.K. Assault from 1st - packs four gigantic cannons, only ever fires one. Also, an entire wanzer can become this if it's using anything but conventional legs on a map where all the action takes place in an area separated from the starting point by more than one level of altitude at a time.
5 also gives us weapons that allow you to attack three times in one round. Sounds great until you realize how horrendous their accuracy are. About the only one worth using were the melee weapons since they're actually stronger in terms of raw power as well.
Ax-Crazy: Evolved takes the cake with this, with four out of five main villains being completely batshit insane; Cornelius Werner is an E.D.G.E-addicted lunatic who seeks to dissolve all borders and who frequently torments Adela Seawell, Gloria Leguizamo lives for battle and appears to be aroused by the thought of fighting, Pia Simpson likes to gesticulate inside her cockpit as if she's conducting symphonies while blowing stuff up a la V for Vendetta, and Megan Chamberlain worships Valkyries. Not the most stable bunch.
Other worthy contenders of the title include Colonel Ark Hellbrand and Bishop the Berserker from Gun Hazard, Serov Warren from 3 (where he attacks his own allies in a fit of insanity), and Shin Tsuneki from the Dog Life & Dog Style manga.
Actually most of the Big Bads are considered to be too. Except for Royce Felder from Gun Hazard, Gustav Zelman from Alternative, Lich/Greg from 2089, Patrick S. Winger from 1st Aleksandr Leonov from Online, Rolf Wagner from 4, Ven Mackarge from 2, and Well-Intentioned Extremist Morgan Bernard.
Badass Crew: Each team that the game revolves around, like the IMAC (Alternative), Chasm Owls (Online), Proud Eagles (Online), Storm Unit (2089), Chariots (2089-II), the legendary Canyon Crows (1st), Black Hounds (1st), Silver Lynxes (1st), the unified Burg Transportation force (2 - consists of the Muddy Otters, Dull Stags, and OCU GDFIA 2nd Division), Kazuki's True Companions (3), Durandal (4), La Alianza de Libertad Venezolana (4), Strike Wyverns (5) and especially Barghest (5).
Badass Normal - Walter Feng in 5. While the Grimnir are filled with pilots using BD S-Type devices to control their wanzers like their own bodies (and thereby making them super soldiers), Walter is able to beat them through experience and hard work...after he trains with the Barghest's S-Type pilots for years. Your squad as a whole can count if you have no S-Type pilots in it... except for Hector Reynolds.
Actually, most of the main heroes of any of the games. Examples: Royd Clive from 1st(taking on Driscoll in nothing but his Zenith V? Check.). Ash Faruk, Thomas Norland, and Lisa Stanley from 2 are also a few more, even after Lisa gets the final Raven, considering this version doesn't rely on BD technology for maximum combat performance. Kazuki Takemura from 3, able to keep up with the Real AND Imaginary Numbers by training the hell out of himself during combat and in simulators. And that is BEFORE he manages to get the Hoshun Mark 112. Darril Traubel and Elsa Eliane from 4. And in the case of Darril who also is playable in 1st and 5, he's actually an even better pilot than most of the augmented humans. Of course, Walter definitely personifies this trope in-universe.
Ernest J. Salinger aka Storm and Albert Masel aka Tornado from 2089 and 2089-II respectively also stand out. These guys and their crew take on The Vampires very frequently, manages to fight them to a stalemate and while they barely survive most times, they actually manage to win in the end.
Band of Brothers: The various military teams in the series, but especially Durandal (despite technically not being military).
BFG - Intermittently played straight in Gun Hazard. Your most likely candidates in the core games are missile sites, aerial bombardments, and other called-from-offscreen or cutscene-restricted displays of conventional military firepower.
Played quite straight with Evolved's bazooka weaponry. It resembles nothing so much as an enormous length of sewer pipe with a grip, and has the ability to decimate anyone unfortunate enough to be on the open end. Naturally, certain boss-level enemies carry these.
Big Damn Heroes: In the penultimate stages of 5, the Barghest team are outnumbered, and fighting a losing battle against Grimnir's superior numbers. Things are looking bleak... and then Lynn leads the Strike Wyverns in a airdrop, bringing Death from Above and turning the tide of the battle.
Lynn does it again for Walter after the final mission. With his wanzer badly damaged, he's said his last goodbye to Glen, and is resigned to dying...and then Lynn busts her way into the reactor with the original MIDAS to rescue him via Outrun the Fireball.
1st loves these. Sure, the Canyon Crows on the OCU scenario expose a plot to make computer devices from soldiers' brains, called the B-Type device. Trouble is, no one will believe them because they're wanted terrorists and shadowy factions from the OCU and USN, as well as Zaftra's PMO, all control Huffman Island. Further compounded by the USN scenario, in which the deaths of Driscoll and the Sakata Industries bigwigs in the original OCU scenario throw a wrench into the court-martial of Kevin Greenfield's former commander, Patrick S. Winger.
Emma's story in 3. Kazuki Takemura manages to stop Lukav Minaev's plan, but has his father Isao Takemura killed and Alisa makes one last heroic sacrifice to destroy MIDAS.
5, the last entry where Morgan Bernard is killed for good, but Walter loses two of his childhood best friends in the process... though he was happily married to Lynn before she died from S-Type device complications. Also, the miniaturized MIDAS is stolen, which kickstarts 3.
Evolved's ending suggests it's trying to be optimistic, but looks more like it's forgotten it is supposed to be one of these, with the deaths of Russell Hamilton, Godwin Mosley, and Alan Ramsey.
Edward Collins in 5 attempts to invoke this. It doesn't quite take, though Walter still likes his old friend and Lynn finds him completely annoying.
Bottomless Magazines - While the shoulder weapons all have limited ammo, handheld rifles, machine guns, and bazookas do not. Possibly Lampshade Hanging in that the ammo listing for these weapons is a permanent 99/99.
Subverted in 2 (and later, 4, Online, and Evolved) however, when all hand-mounted ranged weapons have limited ammo. Very limited, in the case of some end-game items.
Boring, but Practical: Throughout the series, wanzer shotguns are this, due to a combination of dealing decent damage, decent range (though less than machine guns and sniper rifles) and low AP cost, making them quite cost-effective, if a bit boring.
Shields, especially in 3. Provide no offensive capability, unless one has an appropriate skill, have limited uses before breaking, and when used, means your mech will be suffering damage to that arm while blocking with it, and they certainly won't be putting out the sheer damage of a mech equipped with double weapon attack skills. They are also fairly light, greatly reduce damage taken, and will ensure your much more vital legs,body, and weapon arm survive for as long as possible, especially when combined with a light weight, high HP arm.
They are so effective in 3, that on gaming message boards, the oft suggested build for most pilots, is their weapon they are the best skilled at, and a shield (and for a Missile or Grenade launching pilot, in tandem with a light weight, back up weapon, such as a lower tier/weight shotgun, Knuckle weapon or Machine gun.) The sole exception to this is Kazuki, given his Hybrid Assault focus on Shotgun and Melee weapons, and even then, a shield and Shotgun/Melee weapon build isn't out of the question for him.
From 3 two of the best skills in the entire game, are earned on low end wanzer, ROFUP(Rate Of Fire UP) I, and Zoom I. The boring part is the fact that alone, they don't do too much, ROFUP giving an extra shot or two from a machine gun or shotgun burst, and Zoom giving about a 5 to 10% Accuracy Bonus. The practical part? They have incredibly high Activation, and Combo rates, meaning if they do activate, your pilots will most likely be getting in multiple free attacks against a single enemy. Best part? The pilot who's default mech has these weapons? Your second party member, the machine gun using Ryogo.
Brain/Computer Interface: BD technology like S-Type, Puppet Soldier, and Doll Eye are all part of this. S-Type devices allow users to control any machine as if they were controlling their own bodies. However, this makes S-Type users more susceptible to EMP attacks, increases their organ sensitivity to a point minor damage can seem fatal, and can result in massive amounts of memory loss (turns them into "vegetables"). Puppet Soldier acts similar to an S-Type device in that it offers the user more precise control (but not "human like") over their machine's movements. Their main use, however, is remote control of the pilots who are synced up to their machines using it. Doll Eye grants its user a perfect 360 degree vision of their surroundings, making them nigh impossible to ambush. It also allows them to remotely control any nearby electronic systems; this is best demonstrated through the "Save the Queen" laser drone system.
Broken Hero: Generally speaking, this isn't shown in the games and is only hinted at. But, outside of the games...that's a whole different story. A lot of major characters in the storyline fit into this category, and suffer from PTSD and an addiction of some sort. A rare few go beyond these. Examples include:
Royd Clive. In the original OCU scenario for 1st (the English version is censored but the fan translation isn't), he gives off hints that he's not exactly right in the head. The Front Mission manga and Front Line Report novel show that Royd is a real headcase since he was discharged by the OCU for the Larcus Incident. Not only does he have PTSD, but he suffers from outbursts of rage, alcohol and drug abuse, and at one point is even suicidal. Even though he does put on a happier face in the aftermath of 1st, this doesn't last long as the Grimnir play into his grievances and turn him into a globalist-hating mass murderer by the time of 2, where you can fight him and some Canyon Crows in a secret mission.
Elsa Eliane. In the original EC scenario for 4 (the English version, too, is censored), she progressively shows signs of this in the game. The aftermath of 4 as shown in the 4 ~Elsa~ novels clearly depicts that Elsa mentally cracked and couldn't stay on with the Durandal. She ends up being addicted to antidepressants to numb the pain she feels. Thankfully, her meeting with Darril in-person acts as the start of her recovery.
Darril Traubel. While he doesn't quite give off a lot of hints in the original USN scenario for 4 (English version censored), that's not the case in the 4 ~Elsa~ novels. After fixing the whole mess with him going AWOL in the USN Army, Darril has a hard time readjusting back to civilian life. He ends up blowing most of his cash on alcohol and struggles to find a reason to keep going. It's only when Elsa requests to meet him in-person that his life starts to change for the better.
Black Dude Dies First: Either played straight or averted in 3. If you take the wrong route, Joe dies. If not, he becomes a PC.
Call Back: Glen disables Lynn's wanzer in Cambodia with a specialized EMP grenade designed to combat S-Type users. Walter returns the favor, years later, in Alaska.
Royd's response to being asked about joining the Canyon Crows is always "Do what you want".
Morgan Bernard's "Globalist dogs", which he says in every appearance he makes in the video games, you guessed it, the globalists. Means everyone that isn't working for him and the Grimnir like Dr. Aisha Romariov (Republic of Zaftra) in 2089, Lisa Stanley (OCU) in 2, or Walter (USN) in 5.
Childhood Friend Romance: Walter and Lynn are childhood friends, and the epilogue of 5 reveals they got married and had a daughter.
Chekhov's Gunman: Strictly from the video games only (counting the other media would disqualify many of these), there's a number of these.
From a chronological release standpoint (ie. foreshadowed in 2, formally introduced in 5 released years later):
Lycov in 2. Lisa Stanley meets with Lycov during the coup several times to set up a meeting, where she ends up receiving the final Raven model. He is formally introduced in 2089.
Masao Sasaki in 2. One of the news updates in the in-game Network mention violent pro-nationalist demonstrations in OCU Japan, and that a Masao Sasaki had been arrested for starting them. He is formally introduced in 3.
Morgan Bernard in 2 and 4. In 2, he shows up by a proxy and acts as the game's final villain. In 4, he is referenced by Zead Elger as a terrorist who was behind a major hostage crisis in EC Germany during his British Army days. He is formally introduced in 5.
Walter Feng and Hector Reynolds in 2. A soldier clad in black piloting gear and inside a black USN wanzer with the call sign "Black 6" radios the commander, "Black 1", about being attacked by Burg Transportation forces and ceasing covert operations. They are formally introduced in 5.
Glen Duval in 2. During the battle against the Canyon Crows, Royd Clive references Glen as a contact who can help them out against the Dull Stags. He is formally introduced in 5.
Darril Traubel and Billy Renges in the PS1 remake, Front Mission 1st. The two USN soldiers are seen about to depart on a USN peacekeeping mission led by Kevin Greenfield. They are formally introduced in 4.
Now using other examples from a story chronological standpoint (ie. foreshadowed in 2089, appears in 2089-II):
Albert Masel and Serena Sana from 2089. They are formally introduced in 2089-II.
Ellen Taylor and Yuji Kinoshita from 2089. They are formally introduced in Online.
Thomas Norland from 2089. He is formally introduced in 2.
Karen Meure from 2089-II. He is formally introduced in 1st.
Lynn Wenright from 1st. She is formally introduced in 5.
Marcus Allen from Online. He is formally introduced in 3.
Lastly, if counting both the video games and the other media, from a release (and by default, story since it was all planned in advance) chronological standpoint...
Sayuri Mitsuzuka. She first appears in the Front Line Report novel, which foreshadows that she will show up later in the Front Mission storyline. Then, two years after the novel's release, Sayuri is revealed to be part of the main cast in 2.
Combination Attack: Introduced in 2, where a certain pilot's best skill allows them to assist other pilots in combat, so long as they're within range. 3 adds on to this with skills that allow your pilots to attack one enemy en masse. 4 refines it into the Links system. 5 requires you to be proficient in it if you want to survive. Links are also incorporated into 2089, albeit without the complex mechanics of the system. Individually, your pilots also has skills that allow them to use the weapons in your hands simultaneously. In the older titles, you do it one after the other. Newer ones has them doing it Guns Akimbo except for Double Assault, which lets you attack using one melee and one ranged weapon one after the other.
Continuity Nod - Every video game other than Gun Hazard has some of these, even 1st retroactively through the PS1 remake and DS port. 5 is loaded with hundreds of them everywhere in the game, referencing even real world events! note As an example, prior to the oil rig recapture mission, several pilots discuss Operation Eagle Claw, and the airdrop is conducted using the same thruster frames seen in 3.
Cool Old Guy: The original game has Alder, the no-nonsense and yet slightly full-of-himself mercenary.
Cool Ship - Moreso in Gun Hazard than the core games, though some military helicopters and planes in the core games could count.
The Eclipse, hull number CVN-112, in 5. While it's designated as an aircraft carrier and is seen launching fighters, the Eclipse functions closer to a larger cousin of the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship.
Colonel Badass: In the expanded universe, Zead Elger was a Lieutenant Colonel in the British Army prior to joining Durandal.
Lynn Wenwright in 5 is promoted to this. Also, Hector Reynolds, though in a bit of a twist, he's a Combat Medic. Walter eventually becomes one as well, years after the events of 5.
Combat Medic: First seen in the remake of Front Mission, Front Mission 1st, and officially introduced in 4, this is a possible wanzer build. Repair-type wanzers have higher armor and power output to allow them to mount repair backpacks; the tradeoffs are less movement range and weapons that can be carried.
Examples include Halle Fiennes from 1st, Hermes Sturges and Phillip Chaeffer from 4, and Randy O'Neill, Edward Collins, and Hector Reynolds in 5.
Crippling Overspecialization: Every character and wanzer model is dedicated to a certain battlefield role which helps to simplify matters when it comes to strategy and equipment. In the video games, there are generally five classes of wanzers:
Striker Wanzer: A Lightning Bruiser or Mighty Glacier that is dedicated to melee combat, normally equipped with Knuckles, Pile Bunkers, and Rods. Can dish out and take a lot of damage but is terrible with ranged weaponry.
Assault Wanzer: A balanced wanzer that has good armor and is usually equipped with short range weapons like Machine Guns, Shotguns, Flamethrowers, and Assault Rifles. Hybrid Assaults armed with both a melee and a short range weapon also exist.
Gunner Wanzer: A wanzer that has below average armor and is usually equipped with long range weapons like Sniper Rifles, Bazookas, and Gatling Guns.
Launcher Wanzer: A Glass Cannon with high accuracy that specializes in long range combat and uses highly damaging, support fire weapons like Missile Launchers, Grenade Launchers, and Rocket Launchers.
Commander Wanzer: A Jack of All Stats that is usually equipped with a melee, a short range, and a long range weapon.
In addition to these five classes of wanzers, four special classes exist that appear in several of the video games.
Mechanic Wanzer: A wanzer made for the sole purpose of repairing damaged wanzers. Comes equipped with a repair backpack and a Shield, but it can also equip melee or short range weapons to protect itself. Seen in 2089, 2089-II, the USN scenario of 1st, Online, 4, 2, 5, and Evolved.
Recon Wanzer: A wanzer that scouts out and target enemy units for Launcher wanzers so they can rain down missile hell on them. Comes equipped with a sensor backpack and short range weapons for defense. Seen in Online, 4, and 5.
Jammer Wanzer: A wanzer that disables a machine's electronics, making them helpless against any kind of attack. Comes equipped with an EMP backpack and for offense, either melee or short range weapons. Seen in Online, 4, 5, and Evolved.
Comms Wanzer: A wanzer that calls in air support from a nearby transport. Air support can come in one of three varieties: carpet bombing, armor coating, or calling in a new wanzer (to replace a destroyed one). Comes equipped with a radio backpack and while it's not meant for combat, they're usually armed with Missile Launchers. Seen in Online and 4.
Of course, employing all these specialists effectively is Truth in Television: modern militaries practice the doctrine of combined arms, where different units with different specialities work together to cover each others' weaknesses.
This is lampshaded by a person that you can speak to in Royd's story during 1 who says "It's easy to specialize in using one type of weapon than using all of them."
Critical Annoyance - The one in Gun Hazard is notorious for being one of the few you can turn off.
Midway through the Strike Wyverns arc of 5, Walter's team are retreating and are being pursued by two Garsade mobile weapons. Lynn covers their retreat from the Eclipse, and one-shots each Garsade with a sniper rifle that's never seen again.
Evolved has a bunch of these, but it's most evident during one of the Antarctica missions when Cornelius uses the power of EDGE on some destroyed wanzers and resurrecting them (yes, resurrect). These "zombie" wanzers are completely shot up, with the skeletal frames of the body, arm, and leg parts showing. You would think they go down after a few hits but in the battle, they're surprisingly as strong as if their armor was fully intact.
Damn You, Muscle Memory - Can happen in the same game in Evolved because in wanzer, if you use two-handed weapon, you use left click (or z) to zoom and right click to shoot, while on foot you use right click to zoom and left click to shoot.
Dark Is Not Evil: Dark in sense of appearance in that case. 1st portrays USN soldiers in the OCU scenario in a grim light like the Hell's Wall unit being full of scarred freaks, but once you play their scenario you'll find out that some are not bad once you get to know them.
The Soul/Spirit of Huffman members all wear the typical black masks and helmets that terrorists wear, though all their targets are Sakata villains, not civilians.
Barghest's camouflage scheme is pitch black with dark gray trimming, their flightsuits are black, and they're named after a black demon dog of British mythology, but they are unquestionably decent soldiers.
Deep Cover Agent: Glaser, Wagner, and a majority of the Blauer Nebel are Zaftran.
Defeat Means Friendship - No less than six of the Canyon Crows in 1st can be recruited via Royd or another team member beating the stuffing out of them in arena or other solo combat, or just simply talking to them (like in Paul C. Greiber's case). Of course, these are all optional recruits so you can ignore them altogether.
In 2, you can recruit up to three teams of mercenaries as hired help for a certain mission if you can beat them in a team match at the Bornea arena. This, too, is entirely optional.
Defrosting Ice Queen: Lynn starts 5 as a cold, no nonsense military officer, but slowly defrosts towards Walter. The epilogue shows that they got married, and have a daughter.
Dirty Communists: The Republic of Zaftra, having fallen on hard times, seems to want nothing but power and profit at the expense of everyone else.
Dude, Where's My Respect?: In the 1st game, after the hospital raid in Grey Rock, Olson — who's usually interested in results more than anything else — makes no mention of a raid unit being blitzed by the heroic Crows. The unit was probably thinking "Uhh, Colonel, you're welcome!" Much, much later on the game unveils why all Olson could say was...
Olson: Under normal circumstances, you would all be facing a court-martial right now, but General Blakewood, the Supreme Commander of this unit, has ordered me to be lenient with you.
Trope Averted in Walter's story in 5; he starts as a nobody, and by the third arc of the game, he's famed in-story as the hero of the Cambodian campaign, and well-known in certain circles for being a veteran platoon commander of the Strike Wyverns and a Barghest operator.
Earn Your Happy Ending - Most of the video games' endings have protagonists suffering heavy losses but ultimately managing to stop antagonists' plans...though subverted in a big way in 5. Morgan Bernard and the Grimnir win when the protagonists win because the latter, intentionally or unintentionally, helps the nationalist parties succeed and humiliate the globalist parties. Huffman Island in 1st, 2089 and 2089-II, Alordesh in 2, Venezuela in 4, etc. 3 and 5 are the exception since Morgan dies for good in 5 and 3 takes place after Morgan's death.
Easy Logistics - Subverted and averted to various degrees in both the video games and Gun Hazard.
IMAC in Alternative, as they are one of the few armed forces in the world with access to cutting-edge WAWs (and later on, prototype WAPs/wanzers).
In 2089, the Storm Unit is eventually recruited by the CIU.
The Chariots are also recruited by the CIU in 2089-II.
Kevin, Johnny Sanders, and Matthew D. Lorenzo in 1st start off with the elite Black Hounds, before being posted to the equally prized Nirvana Institute. The three are "demoted" to regular grunts in the USN Army during the 2nd Huffman Conflict, but end the game under the employ of the top-class USN Military Intelligence.
In 3, Kazuki's companions end up either working with a DHZ intelligence agent, or the FAI.
Walter begins 5's prologue as a grunt infantryman, trains as a normal Army wanzer pilot, joins the Strike Wyverns after the 2nd Huffman Conflict, and is eventually invited to join Barghestnote essentially Delta Force with wanzers.
Enemy Chatter - Enemies in the games occasionally speak when fought for the first time, or defeated, especially bosses.
In a bit of a twist, one of the first hints that Guri B. Olson isn't all he seems to be (aside from the Anvilicious cutscene a few missions earlier) is the chatter from a random person at a bar that the OCU wasn't entirely a hopeless cause and that their tank squadrons were competent enough to win battles against the USN.
Ensemble Cast - Most evident in 2 with the focus of the story revolving around either Ash Faruk, Thomas Norland, or Lisa Stanley at any given time in the video game. All three of them even have their own unique final bosses to deal with.
I see your exploding trucks and raise you exploding human combatants in 3.
All of the above are being shot with large-caliber shells on par with tank rounds. To not explode would be quite difficult.
Presumably lampshaded in 5, where cargo trucks packed with explosives are used as traps in several missions.
Expy: Barghest in 5 is explicitly tailored as an obvious Expy to Delta Force, from the counter-terrorism focus, to their designation (Special Forces Armored Detachment-Barghest vs Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta), to both teams belonging to SOCOM.
Failsafe Failure - The ejection seats in 3 are rather faulty. Not in the usual sense of "they don't work when you're about to experience fiery death," but are in fact too prone to ejecting pilots spontaneously from their wanzer after their machine gets shaken a bit too much by enemy fire. The chances of being flung out of your wanzer armed with nothing but a worthless handgun seem completely random at times.
This happens to Randy after Mission 7 of 5. His ejection system is jammed, rendering him helpless to Glen's point blank shotgun barrage.
Forgotten Childhood Friend: Lynn was friends with Walter, Randy and Edward as a child, though not really close to them. Walter is thrown for a loop when he learns that the cold, hardass CO of his new unit used to be a quiet girl who had a major crush on him.
For SCIENCE - Gun Hazard's Dr. Akihito Sakata uses this as his motive for joining the good guys. Mostly because he wants to find weapons to test his shield against, though in the Gun Hazard radio drama, the scientist says he was moved by Albert Grabner's plea for help.
For Want of a Nail - The fates of a lot of people in 3 are effectively determined by a rather simple choice made very early in the game.
Phlegmatic/leukine: Peewie, Ralph, and General Blakewood (moral support only).
Freaky Friday Fault Finding: Everyone accuses Soul of Huffman of terrorism when the truth is that many of the accusers agree with Driscoll's nefarious plans which are terroristic by nature. After all, it's Driscoll's unit that blows up civilian installations for his twisted cause!
In Gun Hazard, you can use laser rifles that fire a thin or medium-length beam, depending on what you buy. The Spark Shot special weapon fires a homing-type laser, too. Enemy units have a wider variety of laser weapons to play with. There is also the ATLAS orbital elevator's main beam cannon which is powerful enough to erase towns from existence.
In Alternative, there are three instances of laser beams showing up. In Mission 24, IMAC has to escort a trio of Yagisawa WAWs who are testing out a giant railgun. Though instead of it shooting a shell, it spits out a big blue laser. Towards the end of the game when IMAC infiltrates a secret underground factory run by the EC, they come across a shoulder laser cannon oddly nicknamed "Blassty". And in the final mission of the true ending, IMAC is given a demonstration of the Saryshagan Rifle by Gustav Zelman and the EC's remaining forces at Timgad. The Saryshagan Rifle is a laser weapon that, at full power, can destroy small settlements with a massive beam of death. And it is quite the beam of death - a full power blast instantly kills any WAW regardless of their health. Also, because it is a wide beam with an equally wide explosion that causes even more damage, if your three platoons are grouped together when it's fired...
In the USN scenario of 1st, laser beams appear when the USN Army calls in a laser strike on the Star of Freedom's HQ.
In 3, a new weapon class called "Beam" exists for energy-based weapons which happen to be the strongest since there's no defense against them. There are only a few Beam class weapons, but the player only has access to one and only weapon. Though it is possible to use an enemy unit's Beam weapon if you can hijack it...
In Evolved, the laser beams sadly are either A) in the hands of enemy units or B) only shows up in the cutscenes.
Friendly Enemy - Handled more realistically than most examples; the USN and the OCU are sworn enemies since the 1st Huffman Conflict, but the USN often ends up helping the OCU with their domestic conflicts. Foreign intervention or salvation, these two world powers become quite friendly by 2112 in 3.
There's also Walter and Glen in 5. They were best friends before being forcefully repatriated by both the OCU and the USN during the 1st Huffman Conflict, and remain friends even if they won't hesitate to shoot each other's wanzers down. Not even Glen killing Randy can break that bond. Justifiable in that Glen was Brainwashed and Crazy at the time.
Friendly Fireproof: Present in 4; squad members can shoot very close to each other at no risk.
Averted in 5: Friendly fire is present and can kill your team as well as your target, so careful positioning is a must. Players must learn to position their units to minimize friendly fire risk to themselves, while maximizing friendly fire on the part of enemies.
Geo Effects - Or rather, terrain and elevation effects. Bipeds excel in tarmac with good jumping ability (swamps and marshes bog them down), quads are more versatile in terms of terrain, but can't really jump, and hovers ignore terrain effects altogether but can only go shallow inclines (not steps).
Also, units on higher elevations firing down have greater accuracy, while units firing up receive accuracy penalties.
Prior to 5, wanzers hugging walls that blocked line of sight from Launcher wanzers were immune to missiles, as the missiles would hit the walls instead of the wanzers. Either that or you just couldn't target said units in the earlier entries. 5 removed this; Launcher wanzers firing at targets behind obstructions would fire their missiles into the air, which would then arc down and hit the targets, exactly how man-portable antitank missiles like the Javelin behave. Of course, for that to happen you need Jammer wanzers with their sensor backpacks to help guide the missiles there in the first place.
And as another twist on Geo Effects, in 5, sensor backpacks are unusable in indoor maps, because the missile flight paths (as per above) would cause them to hit the ceiling, relegating Missilier units to line of sight.
Gondor Calls for Aid - The finale to Gun Hazard, during the assault on ATLAS. Almost all of the supporting cast you've worked with before in the other areas. Richard Millman from the Kernelight Association seems to head things up, with a posse of mercs who take out the AA defenses so you can make your assault. Pretty much every one of Albert Grabner's former contractors (except Josť Abavu and Johansen, who are members of "The Society") also makes an appearance.
Storywise, the Alaska arc of 5 has Lynn bringing Strike Wyverns reinforcements to relieve the Barghest operators besieged by a full-scale Grimmnir attack.
The Good, the Bad, and the Evil: In the 1st game — OCU and, later, the PMO are the "good"; the USN and, later, the Soul of Huffman are the "bad" until the Perspective Flip switches PMO and Soul of Huffman; and the Nirvana units ruling Zaftra Republic are the evil, as are some particulars of the PMO, namely that ole mole Olson.
The Grim Reaper: The Preatorian's motif in Gun Hazard and he plays it rather well making use of Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe to communicate, piloting the reaper-like Edel Ritter wanzer and killing "The Society" superiors like Jose who havefailed the organization. His only mistake is not wielding a scythe as a weapon but a giant rod with a iron ball on the top.
Guide Dang It - In 3, most guides include how to get the Hoshun Mk. 112. Not so much on That One Level in Alisa's scenario where, like all missions, you have 4 people, but you have to have Ryogo on foot (which makes him squishier than Twinkies), and three wanzers against a full complement of squads (and Ryogo *has* to go ahead, activate a panel, and go back; if he bites it, game over). The secret is actually simple: go to the Network and download a map of the Sewer area beforehand. Also, in both scenarios, you can buy an image-enhancing software. Use it on the map, and you can go through the map normally with 4 wanzers.
In the PSN version of 3, simply downloading the map will let you use 4 wanzers, and the location and password of the map is given in an e-mail a few missions beforehand.
This is required to recruit Darril in 5.
In 4 there are missions that have a secondary objective which will reward you with nice stuff when they're completed. The problem is that some of them are hard and chances are that you'll miss most of them on the first time through the game. Speaking to certain people during the intermissions can also get you some additional gear.
Guns Akimbo: Assault Wanzers are usually armed with two guns (2 Shotguns, 2 Machine Guns, or 1 Shotgun and Machine Gun) so that they can keep fighting when one arm is destroyed. There's even a battle skill that allows both weapons to be fired at the same time.
Hair-Trigger Temper: Kazuki in 3 defines this trope. Despite being the main character, he angers over a myriad of issues, especially if it involves his sister Alisa. He snaps quite often at Ryogo whenever he says something stupid. Emma's storyline itself can be considered a game-wide Roaring Rampage of Rescue for him, as finding Alisa is his sole motivation for fighting. During Alisa's storyline, since she's on your team, his Big Brother Instinct kicks in over anyone who even looks at her funny, much less threatens her, jokes about their relationship, or just mentions her name. It only gets worse once he gets further involved with the storyline.
Hard Work Hardly Works - Averted in 5, where Walter, Darril, and Barghest's "normal" pilots are able to hold their own against pilots with S-Type devices due to experience and hard work. In fact, the only reward for being an S-Type in the game is access to some powerful but expensive skills, which is counterbalanced with their increased susceptibility to EMP attacks.
Hello, Insert Name Here - There is a default name and call sign for the main character (in case of 2, every playable character), but...
You can invoke this in the game as well if your wanzer's not set up right. Launcher (in some games) and Striker type arm parts tend to have penalties to accuracy. Pair them with an already inaccurate weapon and, well...
Infinity+1 Sword - A couple every game. Largely different from other endgame equipment in their range, ammo capacity, or the amount of experience doled out per shot. Evolved has an achievement named "Infinity Plus One" as well.
In Medias Res - You begin 1st as the commander of a small unit in both scenarios.
It's Up to You - It's probably no surprise that not a lot will get done in Evolved if you spend your time on all those 100% Completion scavenger hunts for sensor pods, emblems, and various pickups/item destruction bonuses. All allies will sit there waiting on you instead of taking most any part of the mission (save basic self defense) into their own hands.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold - Darril Traubel, and Billy Renges in 4. They're both bitter about their demotions and claim they're helping the guerrillas only to hang on to 25 million dollars of stolen gold... but when the chips are down they come through anyway, gold be damned. Examples include stopping a Venezuelan Army attack on a village and helping the guerrillas make their push into Caracas, knowing well they'll be lucky to survive. They also work with the Durandal squad, giving them some seriously vital information. At the end of 4, they leave half of the gold behind to help Luis Perez and his la Alianza rebuild Venezuela.
In 1st, the USN scenario will introduce you as a friend to Hell's Walls unit commander Grieg Demetrius and the rest of the unit, if you played the OCU scenario you know that they are "famous" for a very goodreason. But in here, they're portrayed as tough-but-loyal to each other and concerned with keeping allied casualties to a minimum. Ghetta even joins you later in the game to avenge his fallen comrades.
"Join the Army," They Said: If Darril Traubel and Billy Renges are any indication, it's that regular service in the USN Army is a dead-end career. Darril's case is interesting since he's a veteran of the 2nd Huffman Conflict. It's revealed in the secret mission in the DS version of 1st and in 5 that he became disillusioned with the USN Army after they willingly allowed civilians (and soldiers) to die during the war. Darril does eventually regain his rank of Captain later in 5, but he does not progress beyond this...even after he joins the "elite of the elite" Barghest.
Joke Character: Linny Barilar forces himself onto your team fairly late into Emma's story in 3. He's trying to make a name for himself and his family with a methane-powered wanzer. It makes sense since he comes from an agricultural background, but using animal waste to power a wanzer does not go unnoticed by the other characters in the story (in fact, it completely grosses Yun out.) In terms of gameplay, he only has a C rank for missile launchers and no skill or ability for any other weapon.
Kick the Dog - Olson in 1st pulls back and aims when he threatens to have Keith Carabell "expended". Where the wind-up ends and the kick begins is rather subjective.
Glen killing a helpless Randy by repeatedly shooting his cockpit block at point blank range. This spurs Walter's personal story in 5.
Genoce Felder in Gun Hazarddestroying Rook's wanzer at a request from Josť so he could finally join the society definitively his Moral Event Horizon crossing, since Rook was loyal to him to the core.
There are also more general examples which don't necessarily involve a character, such as the Canyon Crows and Black Hounds themes in 1st. 5 also has a few, such as the Scars of the War leitmotif, the Strike Wyverns theme, and Barghest's leitmotif.
Latex Space Suit: For the most part, it's averted: most pilots either wear fatigues, street clothes, or flightsuits similar to those worn by helicopter crews. Exceptions are the Durandal team in Front Mission 4 and the cast from Front Mission Evolved, though these suits, while form-fitting, are still thickish, resembling racing coveralls.
Let Them Die Happy: Walter does this for Glen at the close of 5, after he's shaken off his Brainwashed and Crazy, assuring him that Randy is alive and well. Though Glen already knows this and simply accepts his death.
Mind Rape: In Alisa's storyline in 3, neither Emma or Alisa are willing to tell Lukav how to build MIDAS, so he forcibly extracts the information from Emma, and leaves her as little more than an Empty Shell by the time that Kazuki and Alisa finally find and rescue her.
Mini-Mecha - Most wanzers are barely larger than MBTs or IFVs, a civilian cargo truck could carry three of them easily, it's spacious cockpit took most of the torso section (judging from cut-scenes). Also, they can easily jump onto and stand on top of buildings without damaging them, which actually provide noticable terrain effects. In comparison with Human Combatant/ pilots in 3, wanzers are only 2-3 times taller. Think Arm Slaves. Subverted in Evolved, where the wanzers are at least 8 meters tall instead of being 5-6 meters tall.
This doesn't stop enemies from building various Giant Mooks, 3 especially went overboard with at least THREE types of Giant Mooks, most of them has the advantage of Geo Effects being much taller, and tends to be Mighty Glacier of some sort.
Ivanova, a vindictive, merciless, blood-thirsty Zaftran Colonel, delights at slaughtering her enemies.
New Game+: First seen in 3, where battle skills were retained. 4 allows levels, cash, and wanzer parts to be carried over. 5 has a similar mode, as well as Hard Mode, which resets cash and levels, and significantly ramps up the difficulty, in exchange for the chance to get the best wanzers in the game. Also seen in the DS version of 1st and 2089, albeit without a true Hard Mode (only damage and HP modifiers exist).
Also applies to the original Front Mission, Gun Hazard, 2, Alternative, 1st for the PlayStation, 2089, Online, 5, 2089-II, and 2089: Border of Madness. And the rest of the expanded universe media too.
Ironically, the series creator strongly believed Front Mission could be successful overseas, and tailored each Front Mission game to be as easy to adapt to English as possible... but finally gave up with 5.
Private Military Contractors: A number of these show up throughout the series. The OCU and USN make use of PMCs before and during the 2nd Huffman Conflict, among which are the Storm Unit (2089), Chariots (2089-II), and the Canyon Crows (1st). They also appear in Alternative through Bamia and Sinsemilla, 2 through the Canyon Crows and the Dark Geese, 3 through Centipede aka Wulong, Evolved through Apollo's Chariot, and Gun Hazard through Crimson Blow and the Kernelight Association.
For a more personal example, Elsa helps Darril find work at a PMC after the events of 4 in the 4 ~Elsa~ novels, before Darril rejoins the Strike Wyverns in 5.
In the true ending of Alternative, IMAC halts the Cerberus Garde's final attempt to prolong the war by killing the OAC regional state leaders at a peace treaty signing. Also, with help from outside sources, IMAC reveals loads of evidence of the EC's machinations in the African Conflict to the OAC. In light of these revelations, the OAC demands that the EC withdraw all of its influences from Africa. While it is now truly independent, the OAC fortunes don't get any better. References in 5 reveal that the OAC was still swamped with civil conflicts, terrorism, and economic recession many decades later. One soldier even muses that they were better off when the EC was aiding them.
By the end of 2089-II, the CIU manages to destroy the B-Organization and the remains of the Vampires, preventing another war from happening on Huffman Island. Unfortunately, as the B-Organization's headquarters just happened to be in the Larcus District (the operation happens almost around the same time as Royd's investigation in 1st), they did not foresee what would happen next. The OCU and USN traded verbal jabs before finally going forward the war march...thus began the 2nd Huffman Conflict. And with the 2nd Huffman Conflict came countless atrocities and some disturbing conspiracies....
In the ending of 2, Burg Transportation stops the FENRIR and secures enough evidence of the OCU military conspiracy, with some indirect help from the Grimnir, to guarantee Alordesh's freedom. However, Alordesh being independent from the OCU isn't exactly a win by any means. As referenced in the in-game Network in 3 and 5, economic and social problems actually worsen since the country achieved its independence years later. Not to mention, there were also cases of terrorism and violent infighting going on in the country. Alordesh wasn't that much better off with the OCU, but at least the OCU kept a lid on the violence.
The Cambodia arcs in 5 also has similarities with 2. While the USN succeeded in their goal of keeping the peace between the country and the OCU, their victory also unintentionally ensured the independence of Cambodia (which they did not intend for it to happen). The independent Cambodia was no improvement over the OCU Cambodia as social and economic problems persisted. And like in Alordesh, there were cases of heavy terrorist and black market activities controlled by the Grimnir. And since the first Cambodia arc chronologically takes place before 2, it starts off a chain reaction of events which leads to 2 coming into being.
Also, while 5 ends with most of Grimnir destroyed and Morgan Bernard truly dead, he succeeds in his goal to destroy the original MIDAS (luckily, Emir drops its power output to its lowest levels so Alaska isn't vaporized by the anti-matter). Also, the JDF steals MIDAS (the portable one powered by radiation) in the midst of the chaos, which sets up the events of 3 to come months later. The events from 3 eventually result in the OCU breaking apart, which was also one of Morgan's goals.
Rage Breaking Point: In the first game, one must ask: Is it really that wise for soldiers to wander out of towns against orders, constantly trying the patience of their colonel and his loyal followers?
Rank Up: Happens to Walter in 5, which is only reasonable, given that his story spans a 20-odd career in the armed forces. He starts as a buck Private, later promoted to Sergeant when he completes Wanzer training. He's later promoted several times to Captain during the Strike Wyverns timeskips, and later, after he joins Barghest, he's promoted to Major. By the end of the story, he's a full bird Colonel.
Lynn is also promoted from Major to Lieutenant Colonel.
Real Robot - Wanzers are nice and fragile. It's not unusual to have one destroyed with a single lucky shot.
In This video of the 5 intro, a few wanzers get nicely butchered by the chain gun of an attack helicopter.
Reasonable Authority Figure: Throughout 4 and in the 4 ~Elsa~ novels, British Prime Minister Lionel Noland and Vice Minister Cecil Allison fill this role towards Durandal.
Reassigned to Antarctica: An unnamed USN General express his intent on assigning Kevin Greenfield to Alaska "to push up papers until he was dead" as punishment for botching an important mission to eliminate the "Star of Freedom" terrorist group. Luckily for Kevin, he is sent to Huffman Island instead at the request of the Special Weapons Research Division known as the Nirvana Institute. Upon arrival, however, Driscoll threatens Kevin with reassignment to Alaska if he doesn't follow through on his orders without question.
Red Shirt Army - In Olson's words from 1st, the OCU "couldn't fight its way out of a paper bag", so they need mercenaries (read: you) to do all the heavy fighting. Turns out to be subverted in the end. The OCU supposedly won the war because of its tank squadrons, not the Canyon Crows.
The Reveal: In the first game, Guri B. Olson's lack of gratitude for the Crows' rescue attempts is explained far later in the game. Driscoll's nefarious scheme in the 1st game, the Grey Rock hospital raid as part of it, has been a big secret agenda that Olson has been trying to protect from the "nosy but innocent" Crows' investigations.
He even took more special care that the Nirvana Institute not bump into the Canyon Crows from then onward, especially after what nearly happened.
Save Scumming - In the Arena (at least in 2089: Border of Madness, 1st, and 5) your return on your bet depends on the difficulty of the fight, and thus you need lopsided (against you) fights in order to make a profit, but your whole bet amount is forfeited if you lose. For example in 1st, if you bet 500 Huffman dollars against an opponent with difficulty 1.50 then you lose 500 Huffman dollars if you lose, but you only gain 250 Huffman dollars if you win. When a single high-risk loss can wipe out a grinding streak's worth of revenue, you need this.
As with turn-based tactics games that allow saves during combat, this is a good idea, especially when the loss of both arms (and thus all weapons) combined with lack of ready access to a supply truck or anyone with a repair backpack can cause a wanzer pilot to miss out on EXP.
This seems to be a recurring issue if Evolved is any indication. Vritra is of impractical dimensions and construction for what amounts to a Kill Sat.
Scrappy Weapon: The Raptor MG, which has appeared in two games, stands out as being a fairly poor beginner-tier weapon that suffers from bad accuracy and low damage output.
Self-Imposed Challenge - Considering you can choose what weapons you equip, what parts you use, and how many units you deploy (up to a scenario's max), it's rather like they're just asking you to take one.
Sequence Breaking: A minor yet comedic example in 3. If you happen to download the Nagoya Sewers map before you discover the password to download it, Kazuki questions it.
Kazuki: Ryogo, how do you know the password?
Ryogo: Wouldn't you like to know?
Sequential Boss - Sinsemilla in Alternative, The Vampires in the 2089 games, Driscoll in 1st, Ven Mackarge in 2, Lukav in 3, and Rolf Wagner in 4. From the whole series, Morgan in the 2089 games, Online, 2, and 5!
Ship Tease: Between Elsa and Darril in 4. It's hinted in 5 that they may have gotten together... but if you read the 4 ~Elsa~ novels, you'd know it's true.
There's Ship Tease between Lynn and Walter in 5. Their relationship gets upgraded before Walter joins Barghest, and the epilogue states they got married and have a daughter, who was most likely conceived at the time of the upgrade.
Shout-Out: Wanzers, being roughly 5 to 6 meters tall in most cases (excepting unique boss machines), armed with realistic weaponry based on modern technology (large scale shotguns, 20mm autocannons, etc) and frequently having wheels built into their feet in later installments is very similar to the realism-emphasized mecha that anime Director Ryosuke Takahashi frequently used, such as in Armored Trooper VOTOMS and Blue Gender.
By this same shout-out it makes them similar to Gears.
In the DS remake of 1st, one of the OCU missions has you detonating a trio of charges under a number of bridges to destroy a supply train. The codenames for each are those of the female protagonists of Bubblegum Crisis.
There's a USN Fighter by the code-name "Red 5" in 3.
Shut Up, Hannibal! - Kazuki's response to villains' attempts to justify their actions in 3.
The Smurfette Principle - The 'exclusive' members in 3, aside of the heroines (Emir/Alisa) are either 'All male, one female' or 'One male, all female'. Emir's the first and your only exclusive female is hacker Yun Lai Fa. Alisa's the second and your only exclusive male is The Mole Liu Hei Fong
Sorting Algorithm of Evil - Glaringly obvious in 1st when you realize that the USN has had some of the best parts in the game just sitting in stores in their capital city while you're stuck with your oh-so-impressive Zenith.
Space-Filling Empire - There are six supranational unions in Front Mission that are made from and based off of real life multi-national organizations, alliances, and/or trade organizations. Most modern day countries still exist as member states within the super-states - several actually rebel against them. (Bangladesh/"Alordesh", Cambodia, Japan, Venezuela, etc.)
The United States of the New Continent/Unified Continental States (USN/UCS) is formed from the North American Free Trade Agreement (USA, Canada, and Mexico) and later gobbled up the rest of the Central and South America. The only parts of the "New Continent" not under their control are some of the Caribbean Islands and probably the Falkland Islands.
Oceania Cooperative Union (OCU) is formed from the evolution of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) plus Japan, Australia, South Korea, and most of the islands of Oceania that the USN doesn't own.
The European Community (EC) is just a more centralized version of the European Union, but with every country in the European bloc. When Front Mission was first created, it was based on the real life European Union.
The Republic of Zaftra is formed from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), which consists of most of the former Soviet Union (minus Belarus, which separated and became known as the Republic of Ruvnui).
Organization of African Consolidation (OAC) is an alliance between all nations of Africa created with the help of the EC and OCU, but is subdivided into five regional states. After the African Conflict, the OAC becomes fully independent of EC and OCU influences.
The People's Republic of Da Han Zhong (DHZ) is the post-unification of China and Taiwan.
Gun Hazard manages it to make things more confusing, not always stating exactly where some of the missions take place country-wise. Bergen is in Norway, Cenktrich is in Switzerland, Esporte is in Brazil, Sivilska is in Russia, Vorkuta is former Russian territory now clearly separated, Al-Hari is around Saudi Arabia and the others? Beats me..
Stop or I Will Shoot! - Variation. Natalie F. Blakewood in 1st threatens (if she's deployed) to shoot Royd when he prepares to engage Driscoll against orders. If she's not deployed, then it's Olson threatening to execute the whole unit by firing squad.
Straight Gay - Arguably implied in the original Front Mission with the names of Keith and Paul's wanzers, Ms. Jerry and Rainbow. Though in the DS port of 1st, Keith's wanzer is named Jerrycan.
Rocky in Front Mission 2.
Subsystem Damage - The individually breakable parts of the wanzers and other kinds of war machines in the video games.
Super Prototype: Considering the entire series, there's a lot. Though it's the enemy that get all the cool toys, you do get to unlock some of their stuff too by grinding through simulators and/or meeting special conditions in missions.
Mary-Jane Delschaft in Alternative pilots the Belladonna Atropa, an experimental WAW armed with an assault rifle and capable of some flight through its verniers. Those verniers can also be used for extremely fast ground-based movement, which Mary-Jane uses with devastating effect when you fight her for the last time in the true ending.
Lynn gets the Gracilis in 5, the spiritual successor to the Belladonna Atropa. It packs a powerful sniper rifle and is designed for aerial combat, with its landing boosters and verniers. It's also exclusively designed for BD S-Type pilots. Sadly, Lynn is not a playable character when she's piloting it, and the wanzer's flight mode is only seen in a cutscene.
The original Raven unit in 1st and Online also has flight capabilities (its vernier add-ons and flying are only in Online), albeit it's limited. It's also the best wanzer you can get in 2089-II and 2, albeit you use the initial prototype model in 2089-II. Though you need to dive into the Survival Simulator in 2089-II at least six times to get the full set.
You also get to use an Alucard unit in 2089 when Dark Knight/Roy is revealed to actually be working for your side.
Style 7 in Dog Life & Dog Style pits an OCU special forces unit codenamed "Smile Dog" piloting prototype stealth wanzers codenamed ''Loki'' against a USN elite special forces unit called the "Strike Eagles", which possesses 3 prototype wanzers designed exclusively for BD Doll Eye. Each of them comes with a "Save the Queen" laser drone defense system, which is controlled by Doll Eye. The strongest one, the "Queen of Madness", has destroyed entire OCU companies with its fuel-air rifle (makes explosions similar to a nuke's) that it was known as a dreaded One-Man Army. As of the recent chapters, the Strike Eagles have a fourth prototype wanzer - a new version of the "Queen of Madness" that uses both Doll Eye AND S-Type. It also has "Save the Queen" equipped directly onto its armor, making it nearly impossible to hit when you throw in the fact S-Type units have crazy dodging abilities!
The Zephyr and Caballus from Evolved considering they are prototype units equipped with the E.D.G.E. system. Adela's Frost is also installed with it, but in her case it's more because of her wanzer being a Ace Custom custom build.
The Syndicate - "The Society" led by Henry Sherwood in Gun Hazard. A cabal of powerful and influential Europeans dedicated towards bringing about a "New World Order", starting conflicts to weaken national governments and make them ripe for control. After bringing them to control, "The Society" would then bring about "peace" in the war-torn region. In the expanded universe media, it's revealed that the organization was formed by the architects of the "ATLAS" orbital elevator, after countries involved with the project had abandoned it. Dismayed at how humanity chose to throw away a chance for real peace and progress, Henry vowed revenge against the very nations that once supported "ATLAS".
The Grimnir led by Morgan Bernard. Essentially the series antagonists, this terrorist organization has enlisted support from everywhere in the name of nationalism. Politicians, military brass, scientists, weapons developers...you name it, they've got it! Even "good" and "bad" guys are on their side: Royd/Dr. Mizette Brown/Dr. Gilmore in 1st, Ash Faruk/Ven Mackarge/Domingo Kyatt in 2, the Vampires in the 2089 games, Glen Duval in 5...they've got everyone too! Also the main instigators, directly or indirectly, of nearly every major conflict in the series from 2080 to 2112.
Taking the Bullet: Walter does this for Lynn during the first Cambodia arc of 5. Glen has disabled Lynn's wanzer with EMP and is about to fire; Walter shoves her out of the way and gets hit, and is injured badly.
Also seen in Alternative with Dal Furphy when he jumps in front of Liebert Dwyer's machine gun fire to shield Earl McCoy, 2089 with Dragoon/Lancer when he rushes in front of Rei Amamiya to shield her from Demon's charging attack, and 2 with Lila Labra when she runs to protect Ven from missiles fired from a VTOL aircraft.
Taking You with Me: Survival Simulator enemies in 5 have a tendency to do this by shooting cargo boxes next to the player. The resulting explosion is large enough to kill attacker and player.
"Aren't you grateful to me? I could have shot you two or three times by now! Do continue talking after you die."
A Taste of Power - Variation. You can get some parts/weapons earlier than you could normally buy them. The Egret from Mission 3 in 1st is the most obvious. (Unfortunately, these parts are usually outclassed within a few short missions.)
Kazuki and Ryogo start off 3 testing out the Shunyo Mk. 111, a top-tier Gunner wanzer that you can't get until late game.
Just before the Cambodia arc in 5, Walter participates in a joint counter terror op with Barghest; players get a taste of what high leveled parts and S-Type pilots await them.
Technicolor Wanzers - Green, blue, red, pink, it's possible to paint your wanzers just about whatever color you want.
Can be taken to some ludicrous extremes in Evolved, where one may pick a pattern, a primary and secondary color, two colors of armor trim, and a decal on each part of your wanzer. Given the degree of customization, this can result in Rainbow Pimp Gear in no time flat.
Time Skip: Shows up in most of the Front Mission games.
Six years pass from the end of Gun Hazard to its epilogue.
In Alternative, roughly four months pass whenever the player completes one of the game's chapters.
In the remake Front Mission 2089: Border of Madness, several months pass as the 2089 story ends and shifts into the 2089-II part of the game. There is also one final time skip that occurs in the epilogue, which occurs in 2093.
Happens a few times on both scenarios in 1st; what happens in the time skip of one scenario is explored in the other. When Royd and Ryuji are excommunicated by the OCU GDF after the Larcus Incident, the OCU story jumps from 2090 to 2091. The USN story after the Larcus Incident covers up the events that occur afterwards up until it catches up to the OCU story. Later on, there is a time skip in the USN side which occurs when Kevin is arrested towards the final stages of the 2nd Huffman Conflict. The events which occur afterwards are explained in the OCU side, up until it catches up to the USN story a few months later.
In Emir's story in 3, there are two noticeable time skips towards the end. One happens right after the MIDAS destroys Ocean City, when Emir and co. head to the White House to expose the truth about the device. The other one happens in the epilogue, which takes place a year after the game ends in 2113.
5 covers 51 years worth of story. Most of the time skips happen right when other Front Mission titles are taking place. ie. 2095 to 2097 (4 takes place in 2096), 2098 to 2109 (2 takes place in 2102).
Token Minority - Joynas Jeriaska (J.J.) in 1st: Token Black Guy. (Which makes him Keith's Black Best Friend.) Porunga is an Aboriginal. Gentz, well, who knows?
Also, Hermes Sturges in 4.
And Russell Hamilton in Evolved. Yun Tae-Hwang is the Token Asian. Jed Gordon may count, as he's the game's Token Australian.
Training Montage: Walter goes through one in 5 during Strike Wyverns selection training.
Tranquil Fury: Interestingly, the hotheaded Kazuki pulls this at the end of Emma's scenario in 3. Right before the final battle, Lukav kills his father right in front of him. After a few moments of enraged silence, Kazuki says (without yelling like he normally would) simply: "..........NO MERCY."
Tsundere: Lynn Wenwright, Walter's superior officer and love interest from 5. Her dere side is very rarely seen.
Twenty Minutes into the Future - Gun Hazard takes place around 2064 (though this game isn't canon). The series storyline starts action in 2034 with about a century of backstory - and neither has progressed far enough for wanzers to completely displace conventional military force.
Tragic Keepsake: Glen's grenade-shaped lighter, which Walter holds onto for 22 years.
In 5, the final missions taking place inside the reactor holding the original MIDAS in Alaska.
Video Game Remake - Two of them for the first. First, there's Front Mission 1st for the Playstation, which added the Nintendo Hard USN scenario and unlocked a couple of originally unusable Infinity Plus One Swords and marked the introduction of recurring characters Darril Traubel and Billy Renges (who would later be seen in 4). Then, Front Mission 1st DS (simply "Front Mission" for US release) is an enhanced port of the remake, featuring even more new recurring characters from the later games. Front Mission 2089: Border of Madness is also a remake of the mobile phone-only Front Mission 2089. It fuses an abridged version of Front Mission 2089-II in the plot, and a bunch of added game mechanics that makes it play closer to 4 and 5.
Video Game Time: The story does not progress unless you make the decision to do so. This can become very ridiculous when you play a hundred colosseum/simulator battles and a second hasn't passed by without you.
War Is Hell - Very much so in Dog Life & Dog Style in its first few Styles. Style 1 for example shows journalist Kenichi Inuzuka completely willing to take pictures/videos in the wartorn Huffman Island, exposing a lot of dehumanising moments similar to Berserk. Also can be seen in the other expanded universe media.
Weaksauce Weakness - The massive Mir Orlen mobile weapon in 1st cannot move and can only target units directly adjacent to it.
We Cannot Go On Without You - Anybody can be repaired after getting shot down, except for the commander units in 2089, 1st, and Alternative. ie. Ernest J. Salinger aka Storm (2089), Royd and Kevin (1st), Earl McCoy (Alternative)
Well-Intentioned Extremist - Royce Felder, Genoce's sister in Gun Hazard, attempts to end the never-ending conflicts around the world by joining "The Society". As seen in the expanded universe, she was seduced (figuratively and literally) by "The Society" and its seemingly compassionate solutions (in actuality, very violent) to bring about long-lasting peace to the world by creating a "New World Order". It doesn't succeed, and it is not because of Albert and co.'s doing!
Morgan Bernard, who desired a return to a nationalist-minded world and to destroy globalization, which he saw as the cause of many world problems. Since 2080 and for decades, he was very successful and took down the Republic of Zaftra (economically), OAC (regionally), and even the OCU was on the brink of destabilization. The USN and EC were also targeted, but fared better because of functional and working governments. Morgan's death in 2112 was widely celebrated by the world powers (though the OCU didn't celebrate much as it did destabilize for a few years after his death), but it took 9 more years before the Grimnir were finally eradicated.
Cornelius Werner tries to paint himself as one of these in Evolved, but it's just an excuse for him to threaten to blow up the world with Vritra's laser cannon.
We Will Not Use Photoshop in the Future - Averted in 3 with the downloadable Picaresque and Kaleidoscope software, who's functions are to reveal hidden layers of picture files and magnify them with perfect quality.
Played straight in Evolved.
4: The Zaftran conspiracy to destroy the Resource Base in Poland and start a war between the EC and UCS would've been busted a long time ago if someone had the bright idea of using Video Cameras to record footage of the "mysterious" attackers.
All In The Manual - Supplementary materials like 5's game guides and the expanded universe media state that the S-Type devices used by the USN Special Forces like Strike Wyverns and Barghest are advanced prototypes designed by Morgan Bernard. Unlike the early prototype used by Driscoll (made by Bernard) in 1st and the advanced prototypes used by the Vampires (also designed by Bernard) in the 2089 games, the USN version has some tweaks that allow its users to maintain sanity after augmentation. The complete S-Type device used by the Grimnir has an override feature that destroys the user's memory functions and replaces it with a copy of Morgan's persona). Glen Duval and Hector Reynolds were implanted with this model. There is also the original S-Type device only seen in the expanded universe which was designed specifically for Morgan Bernard himself.
5 references this with the Neural Integrity rating for BD test subjects: A is best, and indicates the user retains almost all of their sense of self with no major side effects; G is worst, with the user having over 80% memory degradation and loss of basic living functionality (eating, walking, etc.). Patients with a Neural Integrity rating of G require a special biochip in order to regain some semblance of basic life. Glen is rated G, because at the time Walter checks this information, his personality and memories have been overwritten by Morgan Bernard's persona AI. Lynn is rated A-, and suffers from 20% memory degradation, resulting in her keeping photos of her troops on a wall in her quarters so she would never forget them. Hector is rated A, and does not appear to suffer from any overt side effects...but he is still subject to memory override from the Bernard persona.
World Tour: In Gun Hazard, you'll travel to Bergen (Sweden), Vorkuta and Sivilska (Russia), Cenktrich (Switzerland), Al-Hari (Saudi Arabia), Zambola (Zambia), Machu Picchu (Peru), Esporte (Brazil) and the shop-only United States and Australia.
In Alternative, you'll travel to Algeria, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Morocco, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Zambia.
In 3, you'll travel to Japan, Australia, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Philippines, Taiwan, and China (Da Han Zhong).
In 4, Durandal travels through the UK, Germany, Denmark, Poland, Zaftra (Russia), Ukraine, Portugal, and France.
In 5, Walter's story takes him all over the place - from Huffman Island to Kiribati, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Brazil, Peru, and Alaska.
Rook the Detonator tries it too in Gun Hazard, his words are almost those.
During through the first Cambodia arc of 5, the Strike Wyverns have to recapture and defend an OCU border defense base against Cambodian insurgents who overwhelm the OCU forces, thanks to support from the Grimnir by the Cambodia-Vietnam border. After defeating several waves of wanzers and a giant tank-helicopter hybrid (the ridiculousness of which is lampshaded by Edward), Morgan and Glen show up, leading to WalterTaking the Bullet.