In some parts of the world, there are those with a job unlike any other. They are owners of special aircraft and guns and are commonly known as "Gunners." The setting is the town of Rive, where an exhibition is to take place in two months time. What adventures await these Gunners?
is a PlayStation 2
shooter with Flight Simulation elements, released by Atlus
, taking place in a Steam Punk
-like world where everyone, oddly enough, has ponytail... er, tails.
The game stars three "Gunners" (pilot mercenaries for hire), Ciel (a happy-go-lucky Gunner), Copain (Ciel's best friend, a very "Let's get 'em!" kind of guy), and Femme (a hired pilot from out of town, come to guard the Expo). They are stationed in the island town of Rive, where an exhibition is about to take place. The exhibition is for the "Eternal Engine," an engine of infinite power. Of course, someone just has to screw up the whole thing and that someone is the criminal genius, Ventre. He's plotting to steal the Eternal Engine for himself, and Hardi, the chief of police, dispatches the Gunners to stop him.
Each character is armed with a pair of machine guns (that shoot... money??)
and also have his or her own aircraft, special ability, attributes, and even difficulty
(Ciel is Normal Mode, Copain is Difficult/Hard Mode, and Femme is Easy Mode). Selecting a Gunner takes you through his/her side of the story, often teaming up with all three characters is some stages in races to see who gets the most cash from taking down everything from small ships to big hulking mecha and battleships. Cue many, many explosions. And it's entirely done in anime-style.
Something not many people know: EasyGameStation
made a game called Gunner's Heart
that acts as a slightly downgraded PC port of the game, with more rudimentary cutscenes, but with the plot and characters completely unaltered from the PS2 original.
- Ace Pilot: Ciel and the other Gunners.
- Airborne Aircraft Carrier
- All There in the Manual: There exists a Japanese-only guidebook that provides detailed background information for both the characters and setting. It doesn't do much to affect the player's understanding of the story, but it does help flesh out the game's universe quite substantially.
- Anime Hair: Why hello there, Ciel.
- Artistic License – Physics: The Eternal Engine is a perpetual motion device capable of generating energy infinitely. This is very much disproven by the laws of physics.
- Femme should've been launched from her plane every time she used Active Maneuver. Also, Copain's plane shouldn't be able to even get off the ground. Not that it matters too much.
- Awesome Yet Practical: The Fireworks and Cross missiles.
- Arguably, all of the planes' special maneuvers count as well. The only drawback is that Heavy Fire and Vortex do quite a number on the temperature gauge, leading to the planes overheating if you're not careful.
- Badass Adorable: Most of the main cast.
- Badass Baritone: Hardi, as well as Rival (in the dub).
- Badass Mustache: Hardi and, debatably, Ventre.
- Bigger Bad: Rival's not hanging around for nothing. Someone hired Rival to steal a vital piece of the Eternal Engine. He was just using Ventre's conflict with the heroes to do the heavy work. And to fight Ciel for kicks.
- That being said, Rival's employer and their intentions for the Eternal Engine are never revealed, so this remains an ambiguous situation.
- Blond Guys Are Evil: Ventre.
- Braids of Action: Not Femme herself, but her tail.
- Charged Attack: The Lock-On feature for all of the optional weapons works this way, allowing the player to send off more of their ammo at once for more spectacular results at the cost of filling up the heat meter at a brisker pace. Special mention goes to the Cross, which goes from 1-3 smaller cross missiles fired simultaneously to a huge honking singular missile with a lot more boom for the buck at Max Lock.
- The Charmer: Copain, being a bit of a hotheaded and debonair thrill seeker, has shades of this.
- Chekhov's Gunman: In Femme's campaign, Hardi mentions that a machine soldier was recently stolen. Copain has to take care of that very same machine soldier (the Vainqueur "Fidele") in Scene 1. After being knocked off of the deck of the Merveilleux, it is repaired off-screen and refitted as the Vainqueur "Sage" and used in Scene 3 of Femme's campaign in an attempt to steal a telescope from Rive. Hardi gives some additional exposition note and he, his men, and Femme team up to take out the machine soldier, causing Ventre to order for its retreat. It is later upgraded behind the scenes and returns in Scene 5 as the Vainqueur "Garde." In turn, it is shot out of the skies yet again (this time by Ciel), but is apparently repaired soon after to serve as the final boss.
- Clap Your Hands If You Believe: The game lampshades your recovery from a free fall as an act only achievable from your faith. In reality, it's because you mashed all of the buttons fast enough.
- Actually it's a subversion. The sentence in question is spoken as if someone else is stating their faith in you, not your faith in yourself.
Because it was you, I believed it could be done...
- Combination Attack: In a sense. The first phase of the final boss involves Copain stunning it with Max Lock Pumpkin Bombs, Ciel and Femme riddling its body with six Max Lock Cross Missiles, and then detonating them.
- Combos: Hits and Chains generally earn your pilot more money/score.
- Cool Airship: Most of which you shoot down.
- Cool Plane: Practically all of them.
- Curtains Match the Window: Ciel (orange), Femme (green), and Copain (blue).
- Cut Lex Luthor a Check: Ventre has several airships, an air fortress, and a massive ship that's bigger than a city. It's heavily implied he himself built that ship with his minions. He obviously has several millions, if not billions, of whatever currency the world of the heroes use, and a lot of spare time. He doesn't have to steal the entire museum the Expo is being held in, he just wants to.
- Da Chief: Hardi, chief of police.
- Dark-Skinned Blond: Rival.
- Deadpan Snarker: Ciel.
- Death from Above: Pumpkin Bombs, yeah!
- Diabolical Mastermind: Ventre, who has committed numerous thefts of priceless items for years before the events of the game. And he gets away at the end of the story.
- Disappeared Dad: While none of the characters mention their family save Hardi (who has a daughter, as evidenced by the epilogue), a photo in the opening movie shows a young Ciel and his father (whose features are hidden beneath his helmet) outside of the Avenir.
- Do a Barrel Roll: As an evasive maneuver. An aileron roll, actually, but close enough.
- Duality Motif: The color scheme of Rival's attire (half white, half black) really plays up some dualistic symbolism, intentional or not.
- Everything's Better with Spinning: Copain's Vortex special maneuver.
- Evil Laugh: Rival's specialty, although it's more of a crazed snicker. Ventre belts out a glorious one on occasion (during a few cutscenes and should the player fail at stopping his plans, such as allowing Ventre to tow away the Merveilleux or failing to protect the cargo planes in Scene 2). He gets the "laughter turns into crying" subversion if the player manages to capture him in Scene 5.
- Famed in Story/Living Legend: Ciel and Copain are famous Gunners in Rive and the surrounding areas. In fact, Rival almost exclusively refers to Ciel as "Gunner of Rive."
- Fat Bastard: Ventre.
- Feather Motif: Despite its use of standard airplane wings, using Femme's Active Turn will cause Branché to molt feathers.
- The final shot of the OP shows the three hero Gunners flying up into the sky/space, a hail of white feathers descending from the air as they do so.
- Flight Shooter
- Foil: Rival to Ciel, right down to having planes designed by Artisan that share special abilities and the same overall frame.
- Gameplay Grading: Done at the very end of the game. The ranks normally go from E to S, although you need to essentially have a (near-)flawless run to attain SS. Ranking is determined by various factors: number of enemies shot down, fulfilling certain criteria in each chapter, the amount of times you crashed, and total prize money.
- Gentleman Thief: Ventre and Rival give off an air of this, fitting in with the setting.
- Gratuitous French: The game's chock full of it, not in the dialog but in the setting, as nearly every aspect of the game has a French name, including the pilots themselves.
- Glass Cannon: Rival's weapon power (ranked S) and speed are very high, but his aircraft's defense is the lowest of all the characters (ranked D).
- Also, Copain, arguably. His plane has average firepower (ranked B), but his Vortex and Pumpkin Bombs more than make up for it; unfortunately, his durability rating is a slightly subpar C.
- Have a Nice Death/It's a Wonderful Failure: Being shot down in combat, being unable to prevent your teammates (in specific scenarios) from being shot down, or failing to neutralize Ventre's heists in the first two Scenes will result in a display of photos taken by Ventre in commemoration of his victory. There are ten variations in all, although one of them (Rival's) has nothing to actually do with Ventre's involvement and seems to have just been taken for the sake of good relations.
- Helping Would Be Kill Stealing: Inverted. While the other Gunners are usually off doing their own thing (which means that the brunt of the work—at least when it comes to dealing with enemy fighters—falls to the player), they can and will jump in to help out if the player is lagging behind in their duties. However, this can impede upon any potential monetary gains (i.e. a fellow Gunner breaking up a group of enemies you locked onto with your Firework Missiles for a chain).
- Heroes Gone Fishing: Femme's third mission has her and Hardi attempting to enjoy a fine candlelight dinner (Ciel and Copain couldn't make it because this Scene respectively occurs after and before their own third chapter). Then Ventre shows up, planning to pilfer the Astronomical Telescope out of Rive's harbor.
- Hidden Eyes: Hardi's men have theirs obscured by their hats.
- Hired Gun: Rival, although his employer is an unknown, unaffiliated third party.
- Homing Projectile: The Dog and Bat Missiles. Several enemies possess similar armaments, particularly the Dog Missiles.
- Improbable Weapon User: Fireworks missiles and pumpkin bombs, anyone? And Rival (yes, he can be unlocked) can use bat missiles. Cross Missiles drill into the hull of the enemy ship and must be set off by shooting it point-blank.
- Jack of All Stats: Ciel's craft is ranked B in all stats. Even his difficulty is Normal mode.
- Same goes for Femme, although all of her stats are ranked A. To balance out her superior stats, she possesses the only special maneuver in the game that can't be directly used for combat (although it's still pretty darned effective).
- Just a Kid: How Ventre refers to the Gunners on many an occasion.
- Kicking Ass in All Her Finery: Femme, very much an Action Girl and Lady of War, takes to skies donning elegant dresses in Scenes 1 and 3.
- The Lancer: Copain is this for Ciel. Bonus points for his ship sorta looking like a lance on the front, and his name being French for partner/friend.
- Even driving the "lancer" point home more is that his aircraft's name means "knight" in French: the original lancers.
- Leitmotif: During certain segments of each scene (particularly when things are going your way), the heroes get a bit of a Theme Music Power-Up, although the piece used varies depending on which character's campaign it is. Rival also has his own boss theme, "Jet Black Gunner."
- Little Bit Beastly: A hyper-minor case in that everyone has a horse-like tail. Given everyone is sitting down, the only one seen with any regularity is Femme's, who braids it.
- MacGuffin: The Eternal Engine.
- Making a Spectacle of Yourself: Rival's brass goggles.
- Mascot Mook: Ventre's minions, the mischievous, yet insanely cute, Poulets.
- Meaningful Name: Pretty much everyone, courtesy of some Gratuitous French.
- Ciel's name mean's "sky," appropriate for a fighter-pilot hero. His loyal best pal Copain's name means "companion." Sole female cast member Femme's name means "woman." Did you expect a guy named "Rival" to be on your side?
- Mighty Glacier/Stone Wall: Hardi's Courage has average firepower (tied with Ciel's Avenir and Copain's Chevalier at B), the worst bank efficiency in the game (a C rating), and lacks traditional special weapons, but compensates by having the highest durability rating out of all the planes (S ranked) and can issue commands to his men to have them flank the opponent at the cost of temporarily overheating the plane.
- Money for Nothing: Any money you acquire acts as your score. You don't buy anything with it.
- Although one stage awards you a better engine for your plane if you end up with more money than your comrades.
- More Dakka: Machine guns, most notably Ciel's (and Rival's) unique skill Heavy Fire. Rival's machine gun has only one turret but is the most powerful of all the Gunners.
- Nintendo Hard: Atlus Hard!
- Not Quite Dead: The final boss turns out completely functional and unharmed at the end of the game, floating on top of a piece of Grand Magasin. It's only revealed in Rival's playthrough, whereupon he destroys it a second time and steals a vital piece of the Eternal Engine from it.
- Ominous Pipe Organ: Accompanies Rival's campaign cutscene stills.
- Opera Gloves: A standard part of Femme's look.
- Overheating: Using optional weapons and special maneuvers causes the heat meter (your plane's temperature gauge) to rise. Use too many at once without spacing between your actions and your aircraft will overheat, preventing you from firing any weapons besides your main guns, using special maneuvers, or boosting as you wait to cool down.
- Phlebotinum Overdose: The machine soldier in the final mission goes on a rampage, even turning on Ventre's forces, due to being unable to properly control the power of the Eternal Engine and turning berserk.
- Plot-Driven Breakdown: Happens to Ciel during his first duel with Rival. If you lose this duel, Ciel actually modifies his plane in response to this.
- Power Trio: Our heroes, natch.
- Princely Young Man: Rival. He lives in a mansion, complete with his own butler and at least three maids. He also presents himself a very dignified manner, even when facing Ciel in battle.
- Rank Inflation: E to SS rank.
- The Rival: The snooty and mysterious Gunner, Rival.
- Rule of Cool: Aircraft that use guns for ignition and have oversized guns for cannons that shoot money as ammo. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.
- Rule of Three: In Rival's campaign, his duels with Ciel require that Rival shoot down Ciel thrice in order to win. Like in Ciel's side of the story, Ciel only needs to make Rival lose balance once to triumph.
- Samus is a Girl: When Femme calls Ciel and Copain asking for their help in dealing with the aircraft holding the Merveilleux hostage so she can launch, Ciel doesn't seem to notice that the new Gunner is a woman until they meet in the air. (Copain, on the other hand, does and refers to Femme as "miss.")
- Scarf of Asskicking: Copain.
- Serial Escalation: The enemy airships. Two tugships? Believable. A mobile air fortress? Still believable, but pushing it. A final airship that's bigger than the entire town of Rive? Not so much.
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Rival dabbles in it.
(during his duel with Ciel) "I seem to have accrued an excess of thermal energy. I'd best let my engine cool."
- Shonen Hair
- Silk Hiding Steel: Femme is easily the most soft-spoken of the trio, but by no means is she a pushover.
- Slasher Smile: Rival's default expression. During aerial dogfights, at least.
- Smashing Survival: Played straight with Dog Missiles or Poulets that latch onto you.
- Additionally, you're required to mash buttons if you want your ship to recover from stalling out. This costs more money the longer it goes on and the amount of mashing needed increases each time your ship goes critical.
- The Smurfette Principle: Femme is the only playable female Gunner, and in fact, the only female character in the entire game. Her name is, of course, French for "woman."
- If the Expo ball on the Mervellieux is any indication, there are other females in Rive (Femme hails from a neighboring town, Neju). They're just not important.
- Spider Tank: In the assault on Ventre's fortress stage.
- A Spot Of Tea: Nearly everyone. Ventre, however, sometimes prefers wine.
- Statuesque Stunner: Although modest in character design, Femme isn't just the tallest of the main trio by a noticeable margin; she appears to be the tallest member of the main cast, period.
- Stuff Blowing Up: Oh yeah.
- Theme Naming: Everything, from the characters to the airships, are named after French terms.
- Timed Mission: Happens in almost every Scene. Of note are Ciel's duels with Rival, where Rival's portraits depict him pulling out a pocket watch to keep the time.
- Too Many Belts: For reasons unknown, Copain features a giant belt buckle on his shirt, while Femme's Branché sports buckles on its chassis. Comparatively, Ciel wears a giant zipper on his shirt, while his Avenir has giant zippers on its guns.
- Urban Legends: Copain's third mission has him investigating stories of a serpentine monster that haunts Rive's canals at night, stealing streetlights. Turns out it's the Exocet, one of Ventre's creations.
- The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: The Grand Magasin.
- Villain Exit Stage Left: Played straight if you take too long defeating Vainqueur in Scene 5. If not, this is subverted, as the heroes spot Ventre's overcrowded battleship attempting to escape and pursue it... which then leads to a double subversion where Ciel says that Ventre should have learned his lesson by now and lets Ventre off the hook. Ventre agrees that it's time for him to take a vacation after his final defeat.
- Weird Moon
- "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: In which, after Rive settles down a bit in the aftermath of Ventre's attempted heists, Femme decides to stay at Rive a little bit longer instead of departing back to Neju, drawn in by the locale's allure and feeling she could use a vacation after the game's events.
- White Hair, Black Heart: Subverted with Rival, who is largely a well-mannered neutral entry, if not antagonistic to Ciel.
- Worthy Opponent: Rival takes a shine to Ciel's merits as a pilot... which leads to him challenging Ciel at the most inopportune moments.
- X Meets Y: Star Fox (or alternatively, Panzer Dragoon) meets anime in general. The Needs More Love page here alternatively describes it as "a game akin to something like a Steam Punk-styled Ace Combat." All are apt descriptors.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Copain (blue) and Femme (green).
- Zeppelins from Another World