Video Game: Strike Suit Zero
Indie Space Combat Sim funded on Kickstarter. You are the pilot of an experimental "Strike Suit", essentially one of the fighters from Robo Tech
or Macross. In the war between Earth and the Colonies, Earth's fleet has been decimated by a Colonial super-weapon with the ability to destroy planets with a single shot. Arriving too late to see the destruction, you are however in time to defend the couple of surviving capital ships from the Earth fleet. The weapon is now headed for Earth, and it is up to you to prevent Earth's destruction.
Watch the trailer here
Has an arcadeified sequel called Strike Suit Infinity
, focusing on survival mode and racking up points from killing endless waves of enemies.
Released on Steam. An updated version titled Strike Suit Zero: The Director's Cut
was re-released with loyalty pricing on Steam in 2014, as well as on the PlayStation 4
and Xbox One
. The Director's Cut has a redone campaign with restructured missions; one of the most notable differences is the player acquiring the Strike Suit earlier.
This videogame provides examples of:
- Ace Custom: The Black Fleet's Frigates replace one of their Missile Turrets for aBeam Cannon, without losing their default Torpedo capability. You will want to take out the Beam Cannons asap to minimize damage to your capital ships.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Control may not even qualify due to her true nature, but if she does, she's an aversion. Control 2.0, on the other hand, is driven to murderous lunacy because of a trainee's excellent performance on a simulator.
- Animesque: Clear but a little downplayed. While they certainly drew from a lot of anime sources for inspiration, they drew from a lot of western sources as well. The mechanical designs were done by a well-known Japanese mecha designer, but they choose him because they felt his designs would mesh well with the rest of the art style they were going for.
- Anti-Frustration Features: If you die in the mission but get to a checkpoint, when the game restarts the checkpoint your hull and missiles have been reset back to full, making some of the more frustrating parts of some levels a little more bearable.
- Averted in the last level. If you die, you have to fly through the entire tunnel again, and listen to Control's long story.
- Arbitrary Maximum Range: Played very straight, and used to force the Old-School Dogfight to be the primary form of combat.
- Although averted with torpedoes and rockets for some reason (shooting the moon)
- Attack! Attack! Attack!:
- This is what you'll be doing in general. While there are Escort Missions, in general unless a specific ship you're supposed to protect is getting hammered, you're better off flying to where the enemy forces are and knocking them out as fast as possible to avoid too much collateral damage.
- Commander Bowman orders you to do this when some Black Fleet ships show up in mission 7. Unfortunately it'd be difficult to win, and he ignores the recommendation to withdraw.
- Big Bulky Bomb: Anti-capital ship torpedoes, which move slowly but do a lot of damage when they hit. They are too big to be mounted on most fighters, so are typically fired by corvettes, frigates, and bombers. Larger ships, like cruisers, are capable of mounting even more effective anti-capital ship weaponry like beam cannons, so generally do not need torpedoes. Shooting these down before they can do too much damage to friendly targets is often part of defensive objectives in many missions.
- Bitter Sweet Ending: Happens if you don't get enough good medals during the missions. Control says you win, but due to lack of resources/planning, lots of ships break up in Earth's atmosphere, causing a lot of destruction on the ground and forcing humanity to abandon it.
- Blue and Orange Morality: Control.
- The Chess Master: Control. It can predict events with an astounding accuracy and organize its plan accordingly.
- Curb-Stomp Battle:
- Earth has been on the receiving end of one from the Colonial forces. They don't hesitate to tell you how badly they're losing in the game as you head out on your missions. And in mission 2 things look pretty grim as you arrive at a rendezvous point, only to find the destroyed remains of the fleet you were supposed to link up with.
- In most of the missions you're on the giving end, and the better you do, the better Earth's chances are (based on what medal you earn at the end of the mission).
- Difficult but Awesome:
- The Blade Bomber is slow, has poor maneuverability, with only 1 Plasma cannon (as opposed to 2, and no Machine Guns). However, it is the only spacecraft with Torpedoes, which absolutely rips apart capital ships, and one-shots anything else. If your objective is to take out capital ships in a limited amount of time, the Blade Bomber is your best bet.
- Using the Strike Suit's mech mode takes a little getting used to, but if you can master its controls, you can make short work of many ships and turrets on capital ships.
- The Dreaded:
- The Black Fleet. Commander Bowman really wants to take them on, and orders you to do various things in an attempt to goad them into a fight. Unfortunately you're forced to run away from them most of the time, though mission 10 has you take them on directly.
- By around mission 10, your own fleet turns into one. Control notices that the Black Fleet only seems to be attacking you in small waves, and is hesitant to commit to a full assault. So your allies take advantage of this by bringing the fight to them, and you end up wiping them out by the end of the mission. And because of all the Hit-and-Run Tactics you've been using on them, the Colonials are forced to deal with your fleet, which delays their invasion of Earth as a result.
- Earth-Shattering Kaboom: Well, it's not quite Earth, but a planet suffers from the relic weapon the Colonial forces test out on it, and as you enter mission 2, it's pretty obvious how destructive that new weapon is when you look at the planet in the background.
- Elite Fleet: The Black Fleet, who recruit the most talented pilots, officers, and crew from the rest of the Colonial forces, and given equipment to match. Hunting them down is Captain Bowman's obsession, and they appear in several missions to menace the player as Elite Mooks and eventually, a difficult target.
- Escort Mission: Frequently a component in most missions, though some missions make it more important than others. For example, upon meeting the carrier Arcadia early in the game, its hull is damaged and its weapons systems are disabled so the player must fly escort and protect it. Later in the game it gets its repaired and its weapons systems come online, allowing it to defend itself better, though it still needs support. In most missions in which there are fleet engagements, this trope is more downplayed: the Earth fleet and Colonial fleets duke it out with anti-ship weapons, and the player must fly support to shoot down torpedeos heading for their own ships and strafe the big turrets off enemy ships in order to protect their own fleet and shift the scales in their favor.
- Everybody's Dead, Dave: See the second mission. And there wasn't even a battle - all the debris is from the destroyed Earth Fleet.
- Exact Words: Control is very fond of this trope. When "Control" introduces herself, she very carefully does not say that she is an artificial intelligence, just that files classify her as one. She also does not say that control is her name, just that she is called that by U.N.E. scientists. In the Director's Cut, this dialog is much more explicit.
- Another example from Control; Commander Bowman ordered her to create a plan during a battle that would result in the least possible U.N.E. casualties. So she had Bowman use a civilian encampment as cover, which wound up being obliterated, starting the war. U.N.E. losses were negligible.
- Foreshadowing: In the Director's Cut, to the fact that the new version of the campaign isn't just the original with tweaked mission scripting and dialog.
- The tutorial mission has a lot of extra dialog explaining that Adams has been sent to disciplinary detail to be evaluated after being found dazed and confused near a space station with no memory of how he got there. Control later explains this; as the one to destroy the Relic and reset the "Groundhog Day" Loop, Adams is returned to the wrong place, with no memory of events and thus, no memory of how he came to be somewhere he shouldn't have been.
- Control is much more straightforward and impatient when Adams and Reynolds meet her than in the original version of the campaign. It turns out she remembers the loops, and is trying to alter the progression of events. This is why Adams and Reynolds go right to Thule from Earth instead of meeting Control in the more roundabout way of the original version.
- Before each mission in the "Heroes of the Fleet" DLC, during the simulation's boot screen, some letters flash red for a split second. These letters read CONTROL LIVES YOU WILL DIE, which gives an inkling that Control 2.0 isn't quite ready for prime time yet.
- Final Battle: The second to last stage is actually the last stage you fight in. As such, the Colonials throw everything they have at you, and hopefully you can destroy them before they wipe your fleet out.
- General Ripper: Commander Bowman, whose obsession with taking on the Black Fleet causes him to order Attack! Attack! Attack! when several large Black Fleet ships show up in one mission, instead of logically running away due to being outgunned.
- Glass Cannon: The Strike Suit, compared to other craft. It has good performance, and moderate weaponry, but relatively poor shielding. However, when engaging Strike Mode, its offensive power is multiplied several-fold, but it moves very slowly making it even more vulnerable than usual. This makes it suited to high risk, high reward combat.
- "Groundhog Day" Loop: Should you choose to destroy the core of the Relic, the resulting explosion will warp space-time and cause the events of the game to repeat itself over and over, until you choose to destroy the Limiters instead. The Director's Cut reveals that the loop has repeated many times.
- Guide Dang It:
- Unlocking the upgrade in Mission 11. You're required to complete the mission in 15 minutes, but only the first part of the mission actually requires the player to trigger the event flags to continue. Making things worse is that the very first one isn't particularly obvious; the player is given the objective to destroy around 20 enemy fighters, but this has nothing to do with clearing the mission. Instead, you have to ignore the fighters and help your capitol ships take out the frigate as quickly as possible.
- If you don't replay levels and get good medals, then the ending will reflect that. The after action reports will also give you a hint as to how well you're doing. If you get gold/platinum medals (due to destroy a lot of enemy forces), Earth in general gets minor damage and good upgrades, and the Colonials suffer irreplaceable losses. On the other hand, if you don't get those medals, they tell you that your actions were largely trivial to the Colonials and it doesn't do much to slow them down, and at the end you earn a Bitter Sweet Ending.
- Hero Killer: Torpedoes and Beam Cannons are the only weapons that can deal respectable damage on capital ships; Torpedoes can be intercepted, Beam Cannons can't. It is in your best interest to quickly take down enemy Beam Cannons and intercept as much Torpedoes as you can, as capital ship-vs-capital ship combat will quickly devolve into which side is packing more Torpedoes and Beam Cannons. Plus, it's awesome to watch enemy capital ships getting ripped apart by your side's Beam Cannons.
- High-Speed Missile Dodge: Can be done in Pursuit Mode (which is the only mode for most craft) if the player can turn tightly enough at the right time. This is helped by an EMP device used to scramble the targeting and detonators of incoming missiles, but it only works at very close range, draws power from the extra thrust capacitors, and must be manually activated by the pilot. It is functionally like chaff or flares contemporary planes use to evade missiles. Played a bit straighter in Strike Mode (only available to the Strike Suit) which disables the EMP and limits motion, but enables various attitude thrusters which allow the Suit to "sidestep" (at almost Flash Step speeds) incoming missiles with the right timing.
- Hit-and-Run Tactics: One mission is specifically this, where you attack an enemy supply depot and attempt to leave before they can respond. Also played straight in that this is usually the best way to attack capital ships, knocking out a turret or two, then flying away since a moving target is harder to hit.
- Hyperspace Arsenal: Generally averted, ships have hard points for a few weapons and their associated ammunition magazines, and can only hold a limited amount. However there are exceptions:
- Played straight with the Strike Suits Circus missiles, which have a limited magazine size, but that magazine completely restocks every time the Strike Suit enters Strike Mode. The only limit on how many it can fire in one mission is by how fast it builds up flux energy. Considering that the weaponry in the Strike Mode is tied into the fold drive, this may be a literal Hyperspace Arsenal.
- More subtly, the Strike Suit only has hardpoints for one pair of guns and one pair of missile launchers, but can equip three pairs of each (counting the unique guns/missiles used in Strike mode). When you switch weapons in combat, the new weapon instantly replaces the old in a swirl of blue energy. As above, this may be a literal Hyperspace Arsenal.
- Played straight with the torpedoes launched by the Blade bomber, which has a slow cycle time on their launch but never runs out.
- It's Up to You: Played straight for the most part. While your allies are generally competent enough to help you, when it comes time to taking on an enemy capital ship, or destroying x amount of enemy ships, you'll more or less have to do it on your own, unless they specifically mention their ships taking on enemy capital ships.
- Just Following Orders: Control is banking on Adams not believing in this. Subverted; it takes him awhile to come around, and in the Director's Cut's final mission, Control admits to essentially manipulating him into the proper frame of mind.
- Limit Break: The Strike Suit's "Strike Mode" feature, in which it changes form, diverts power from the engines, and uses the fold-drive to enhance all weapon systems, consumes Flux energy from its internal capacitor when firing. The Flux energy is built up slowly over time, but destroying targets builds it up faster. This energy is only expended when firing in Strike Mode, and every further target destroyed adds a little, rewarding a player for using it efficiently.
- Loophole Abuse: In mission 5, Control tells you that one of the other teams won't finish their mission within the allotted timeframe given to you by Commander Bowman. Grace says that they can't deviate from their own mission to help out due to the nature of the hit and run mission. Control says that you shouldn't directly disobey your orders, but mentions after you finish your mission, you should take an alternate route back, preferably one that would allow you to pass by your teammates and give them a hand.
- Macross Missile Massacre: Possible with swarm missiles, turned Up to Eleven when the Strike Suit switches into humanoid form and can fire up to forty missiles simultaneously and at multiple targets. Can also be played straight with the Titan missiles which fire straight ahead. While that's not a good tactic on smaller fighters, it can work wonders if you're strafing an enemy capital ship or structure.
- Notably, the strike suit's main missile is called the "Circus." note
- The Raptor DLC suit makes this much more blatantly obvious, using the "MTAM Itano" as its primary missile system.
- Missile Lock On: Most missile weapons require a lock on to fire, and when fired at the player will play the standard missile alert bleep. When the missile gets close, a little counter showing distance will appear and the alert beeping will increase in frequency, helping the player time their EMP countermeasures or do a High-Speed Missile Dodge.
- Mission Control Is Off Its Meds: In the final "Heroes of the Fleet" mission, Control 2.0 goes crazypants nanners.
- More Dakka: The machine guns work this way. They're usually best for whittling away enemy shields, as they don't do a lot of hull damage and also have a limited (albeit large, around 8000 rounds) supply of ammo.
- Mundane Utility: One of the most useful ability of the Strike Suit is.... instantly turning around 180 degree, getting a lock on the enemy and keeping them in sight. Given this is a space combat game and this defies the Old-School Dogfight, this ability is incredibly powerful.
- No Endor Holocaust: Ruthlessly averted if you don't have enough medals to secure the good endgame. The earth is devastated by the fallout and debris of the final battle and humanity has to leave the homeworld entirely to avoid extinction.
- Non-Standard Game Over: Some missions require you to protect a ship. Interestingly though, it only applies to some ships. For others, if you lose them, you can continue the mission, though generally to get the power up for that level you have to save that specific ship.
- Obvious Beta:
- Broken objectives, performance issues on even extremely high-end computers and serious camera issues while in humanoid mode suggest that this game should have spent a lot more time in QA. A patch was released very quickly, which also fixed some of the big complaints about difficulty, namely a horrendously unforgiving checkpoint system.
- The Director's Cut had an even worse release, with broken graphics options resulting in the game looking worse than the original, as well as several outright missing features. The options menu even had a greyed-out setting for shadows. The developers copped to rushing the PC version out the door too fast to match the PS 4 version's release date. Like with the original, patches were quickly forthcoming.
- One-Hit Kill: Torpedoes will one-shot anything up to enemy Corvettes. As well, if you're unlucky enough to get hit by one, it's an instant kill.
- Unless you're flying the Marauder. On easier difficulties it can shrug off torpedoes with only minor armour damage.
- One-Man Army: You will generally decimate the Colonial forces almost entirely on your own. While your allies are competent and will help out as much as possible, for the most part they're just there to distract the bad guys so you can take them out.
- Point Defenseless: While all large ships do have flak turrets, they do very little damage. In fact, they seem barely able to shoot down incoming torpedoes. However, they do tend to shake-up enemy ships that they hit even with shields, making precise targeting by those ships difficult. In this way, they are the space equivalent of Annoying Arrows.
- Reasonable Authority Figure:
- Grace Reynolds, the pilot who flies with you throughout the game and also teaches you the controls. By the end of the first mission, she tells her superiors that you're ready to be reinstated back into active service.
- Captain McCallum, who takes over command of Earth's fleet after Commander Bowman orders an attack on the Black Fleet reinforcing the Colonials in mission 7. He sensibly orders a withdrawal to prevent Earth from losing her entire fleet in this battle.
- Regenerating Shield, Static Health: And by "health" we mean "hull armor".
- Robot Girl: Doctor Isabella Abram, who merged her brain with an another intelligence, combining their personalities and capabilities and multiplying their collective intelligence several-fold. The resulting entity is classified as a unique A.I. and dubbed "Control". Her predictive abilities are so accurate that she is a major strategic asset to the Earth fleet. However, her advice is not always headed due to the amount of ships and lives she is prepared to sacrifice for victory, though she assures that doing otherwise will result in even greater future losses.
- Shout-Out: Contains a number of references to various mecha shows:
- Fold is likely a Super Dimension Fortress Macross reference.
- The general conflict is very similar to the One Year war in Mobile Suit Gundam.
- The Flux energy used in Strike Mode is held in a capacitor.
- Strike Mode seems to be a reference to the Strike Gundam.
- The fighter craft trails were inspired by TRON. Although this can be said that it draws from fighter trails in Homeworld.
- The final level is obviously very much inspired by Star Fox 64, namely the tunnels before you fly through (also has aspects of moving through small gaps like in Venom). Shooting down torpedoes also evokes memories of Sector Z from the same game.
- Historical reference: the Battle of Taranto (torpedo bombers damaging or sinking docked battleships).
- Sincerest Form of Flattery: Born Ready has cited Homeworld (hiring its music composer Paul Ruskay), Freelancer, Colony Wars, Gundam, Macross, and Freespace for inspiration. They hired Junji Okubo for mechanical design based primarily on his work in Infinite Space and Steel Battalion, praising it for having a very "functional" look.
- Space Clouds: Played straight with the nebula in the game. In addition to concealing ships, it also interferes with Missile Lock On, restricting ships to direct-fire weapons (including dumb-fire rockets) only.
- Space Is Air: As per usual for space fighter games SSZ follows the Star Wars constant thrust = constant speed model of spaceflight.
- Standard Sci-Fi Fleet: Hits a lot of them:
- Space Ships:
- Corvette: Fires torpedoes, vulnerable to concentrated fire from fighters
- Frigate: Fires torpedoes and sometimes beam weapons, has lots of turrets, vulnerable to anti-capital ship weapons
- Cruisers: Equipped with beam cannons and lots of turrets, threatens capital ships
- Troopship: Transports, which bear cargo but are also often used as boarding craft by infantry platoons
- Capital Ships:
- Carrier: Has some turrets for point-defense, launchers fighters for offense, may or may not have anti-capital ship beams
- Big Dumb Object: The Relic
- Stealth Sequel: The "restructured" campaign in the Director's Cut is actually a new iteration of the "Groundhog Day" Loop after Adams destroyed the Relic instead of giving it back to Control.
- Subsystem Damage: On larger ships and stations, turrets and the other occasional system are targetable independently from the ship itself, and have their own set of damage distinct from the hull that they are mounted on. The player will rarely be able to effectively destroy larger ships with their own weapons, but will frequently be pressed into doing strafing runs to disable the enemy ship's guns to protect other friendly ships who will strike the killing blows.
- Suicide Mission: The last mission. The intro even says that you're not expected to survive it.
- Super Prototype: The titular Strike Suit is a unique craft, only having recently been designed by a similarly unique A.I. / human hybrid.
- Take Your Time:
- Played straight for the most part. For example, in mission 5, you're told to destroy the enemy supply base, and ignore their fighters. But if you want you can totally destroy the fighters along with the supplies, which probably isn't a bad idea as they follow you around and continue shooting at you. And there are times you may want to deviate from fulfilling the mission goal to destroy some other stuff which gets you more points at the end of the level (which pays off later in the form a better medal, which equates to you destroying more Colonial ships/resources, and they have to divert their forces away from Earth to focus on you, which also gives you a better ending).
- Averted in Escort Mission sections. If you have to protect something, you'll want to knock out whatever's attacking them as fast as possible. While some missions let you continue if you fail to protect the ship (though you won't get the bonus upgrade for that level), some will lead to a Non-Standard Game Over and force you to redo it.
- Theme Music Power-Up: In the third mission, just after Adams gets into the cockpit of the titular Strike Suit. Happens in a few other missions as well to encourage the player when they need to be aggressive.
- Transforming Mecha: Pretty much the point of the game - the titular Strike Suit can transform into a humanoid shape, which gives it vastly increased maneuverability and firepower. Can only be done once the player has built up enough "flux", by destroying enemies.
- We Do the Impossible: Earth's remaining forces essentially do this, weakening the Colonial forces enough to prevent them from taking over or destroying Earth. And in some missions, such as mission 5, Grace Reynolds says it's not likely that the Auster is going to survive when you arrive near it. However, if you act quickly enough, you can save it.
- Wham Line: "My name is not Control."
- What Happened to the Mouse?: After being relieved of command in mission 7, Commander Bowman is no longer seen, though it's presumable that he ended up dying in his quest for vengeance against the Black Fleet ships that show up and force your allies to withdraw.
- Why You Should Destroy the Planet Earth: Because the war is too expensive to keep fighting long but giving up is unacceptable. Thus the Colonial forces are willing to go to desperate lengths to achieve victory and ensure their independence.
- You Are in Command Now: Captain McCallum of the Arcadia takes over after Commander Bowman orders you to Attack! Attack! Attack! several Black Fleet capital ships that fold into the area in mission 7.
- Your Mind Makes It Real: Due to the Heroes of the Fleet simulator being sabotaged; the boot-up screen itself warns the trainee that failing the final mission will result in death. The next line warns that chance of success is 0%.