Code Geass and Gurren Lagann in the same game? Madness!
The first Super Robot Wars title to be created under Namco Bandai, Super Robot Wars Z broke certain precedents and traditions: for example, the number of new series is more than any previous SRW. Released in 2008, you play as either Rand Travis, a wandering repairman/mechanic, who's partnered with the young Mel Beater, or Setsuko Ohara, a member of "Glory Star", a small military squadron in the Earth Federation, alongside teammates Denzel Hammer and Toby Watson, as they are pulled through many conflicts.The primary plot of Z kicks off with a "Space-Time Oscillation Bomb", which fuses an array of parallel worlds ("Plural Worlds") into one called "UCW". This kickstarts the "Plural Wars", which is confronted by many individuals forming the special squad "ZEUTH".
A PlayStation Portable sequel entitled The Second Super Robot Wars Z: Hakai-hen ("World Breaking Chapter") is the first of a two-part release, with Hakai-hen launched in April 2011, and the second called The Second Super Robot Wars Z: Saisei-hen ("World Rebirth Chapter") released one year later in April 2012. The sequel features another merged world called "ADW", caused by a seemingly natural phenomena known as "Space-Time Quakes". Here, old members of ZEUTH from the UCW encounter new allies after arriving in the ADW, forming the group "ZEXIS" to combat the "Broken Worlds Incident" (Hakai-hen) and the "War of the Revived Worlds" (Saisei-hen).Hakai-hen returns every franchise from Z, but Mazinger Z and Getter Robo have their 1970s-vintage entries (including Great Mazinger and Grendizer) tossed for the more modern Shin Mazinger and Getter Robo Armageddon, while Eureka Seven is now represented by its movie adaptation. Zeta Gundam replaces its own movie compilation with the TV series, despite using the same movie character designsnote It's still the same Kamille Bidan from Z, however, backround music, and a never-before used movie-exclusive attack.For some reason, Gravion and The Big O only have one season each listed in the credits for Hakai-hen: Gravion Zwei and season one of The Big Onote The Big O still has some of its season two-only attacks in Hakai-hen, thus one can assume the second season was simply grouped with the first for simplicity's sake, only for the first season of Gravion to reappear in the credits of Saisei-hen.
Series added in Hakai-hen (Bold indicates debuting entries):
The Third Super Robot Wars Z will be the final part of the series, in a simultaneous release for the Playstation 3 and Playstation Vita. Like Hakai-hen and Saisei-hen, it will also be a two-parter, with the first half Jigoku-hen ("Time Prison Chapter"note Jigoku also means "Hell", thus "Hell Chapter" could work) scheduled for a 2014 release. Notably, this game drops most of the cast from Z (who were just hanging around by that point), withonlyafewexceptions, in favor of new series.With peace returning to the world of ADW, members of ZEUTH travel through the "Abyss", the hole left between dimensions, to return to their world of UCW. Little do they know that a new battle awaits them when both worlds and other Alternate Universes are merged into one.
Series added in Jigoku-hen (Bold indicates debuting entries):
Note that Z is designed around breaking the old tropes previous SRW installments had, so expect a lot of aversions, inversions, and subversions.Tropes pertaining to multiple characters and the entirety of the Super Robot Wars Z saga are:
A Day in the Limelight: Z is this to Zambot 3, which had previously been frequently overshadowed by its sibling series Daitarn 3, as well losing a good deal of its plot to lessen the copius deaths and child abuse. However, Daitarn 3 in Z is reduced to a supporting role, while the Zambot 3 plot has a larger presence in the route for Setsuko Ohara, with a lot more of the plot retained.
Amnesiac Dissonance: In Jigoku-hen, multiple characters do not recall certain members from absent series in this game. For example, when the eponymous Aquarion EVOL makes it debut, ZEUTH and ZEXIS feel a stinging sensation, forgetting about the original Aquarion cast.
Badass Crew: ZEUTH and the "Chimera" in Z, ZEXIS and any returning ZEUTH members in the Second Z
The Chimera takes the cake: they play everyone and take control of the world while being consisted only of five members.
"Noir 7" in Z: Special Disk, a group of mercenaries from various factions (most of the major villainous human factions in Z) with Mook-level units, yet are very skilled, and spend their protecting the peace. You get them for one scenario with Roger Smith, and they're pretty useful.
Bag of Spilling: Every major series character in ZEUTH loses something when they appear in Hakai-hen, either a Combination Attack (provided they have one) or their unit's strongest attack. Only Amuro Ray and Banjou Haran avert this, the latter actually gaining a new Combination Attack; however, they appear much later in Hakai-hen than the others. A smaller case occurs in Saisei-hen, notably Dai-Guard and the Nirvash Spec3 mysteriously devolving into the Spec2.
Bigger Bad: The "inevitable crisis" known as "Ba'al" that all villains in the ADW are worried about, which was Gaiou's previous mission to fight against. Who or what it is has yet to be revealed.
Big Brother Mentor: In Z, Gainer invokes this towards Renton, but is set back since Renton is an outdoor-type of boy, being more interested in sports such as weightlifting than video games. Double subverted when Renton address Gainer as "niisan" after seeing his prowess in combat.
Crowe Broust: Once the Sphere of the "Swaying Scales" activates, Crowe is locked onto a single thought and cannot break out of it, entering a near-berserker state. Subverted when ZEXIS discovers a way to circumvent this through the sound of a coin drop.
Uther: The Sphere of the "Inexhaustible Gourd" slowly drains Uther's life force the more he uses it.
Saisei-hen introduces the "Stigma of the Cursed Wanderer": those exposed to the power of dimensional travel repeatedly are marked by the stigma and find themselves drawn to any world where another is manipulating dimensional power, unless that world has a version of themselves already present; this explains why ZEUTH members appear in the world of ADWnote And why the original Mazinger Z, Getter Robo and Eureka Seven characters don't. It also renders one immortal, and is the reason Asaskim Down cannot die. As of the end of Saisei-hen, all of ZEXIS is marked.
Cerebus Syndrome: Rand's route in Z is generally a silly, lighthearted romp until the point where he gets his Gunleon's Mid-Season Upgrade, where everything becomes serious from that point on (not to say the silliness is completely gone, of course).
In Hakai-hen, the death of Kamina is a turning point where things start getting more serious, especially if the player has been sticking to the Japan Route. However, this trope comes into play when Gaiou appears, but once Kamina dies, the mood is a lot less light-hearted.
Character Exaggeration: Lunamaria Hawke and her accuracy. Thanks to an incident in Gundam SEED Destiny where she cleanly misses hitting a battleship with a beam rifle, she has the "honor" of having the Spirit Command "Strike"note For one turn, increase accuracy to 100% at the unusually high cost of 30 Spirit Points (normally, it costs about half or a third of that) - a figure only matched by Mr. No Sense of DirectionMasaki Andoh.
Her act bonuses in the Z2 games subvert it with the first game's reducing it to 15 SP and in the second, it's lower by default and at 130+ Will, has it autocast every turn.
Roger Smith talks much more in Z than in his home series, especially when piloting the Big O and also by exaggerating the frequency of his failures in negotiations and making it something of a Running Gag. To be fair, this is a mostly text-based game, so Roger is made more verbose to some extent, and his negotiations are sometimes plain impossible. For example, one of the first negotiations we see him do is between a disguised Hyakki and the Saotome Research Lab.
Chekhov's Gun: Near the beginning of Hakai-hen, Lelouch places a Geass command to force Carlos Axion Jr., the richest man in the world and president of the Axion Foundation that created Crowe's Brasta, to answer any questions Lelouch has for him so he can steal his financial information to fund the creation of The Order of the Black Knights. However, Carlos is working against ZEXIS, and when they get their hands on him, ZEXIS interrogates him as to Gaiou's whereabouts. When he doesn't comply, Lelouch-as-Zero recalls the Geass command and asks him personally; Carlos instantly reveals Gaiou's location. Everyone else is confused by Carlos' sudden change of heart, since they don't know that Zero is Lelouch or what Geass is.
Early on in Saisei-hen, Lockon Stratos flips a coin and notes how Crowe suddenly reacts to it. Later on, they try it again with something else to see if Crowe would react in a similar fashion; he doesn't. Crowe explains he can tell how a coin really sounds like, and only that will garner him a reaction. Cue the "Coin Drop System" in his Li-Brasta Mid-Season Upgrade.
In the same game, Zero accidentally places a Geass on Esther, after she turns into a Dimensional Beast, commanding her to stop when she attacks the Shinkirou. A few scenarios later, Crowe believes Esther cannot be turned back into a human; when he is attacked, Zero reissues the same command he placed, proving to Crowe Esther isn't completely a Dimensional Beast, and still retains her humanity.
In Saisei-hen, the Nu Gundam gets a new attack that involves Good Old Fisticuffs, with its "Dynamic Kill" closing with a barrage of vulcan firepowernote Traditionally, vulcans on a Gundam in SRW are its weakest weapons.
Any originals and series not returning in the Second Z are directly referenced, although the only series that don't come back are Mazinger Z, Grendizer, Getter Robo G and Eureka Seven TV series. One example includes Kamille asking the current Kouji Kabuto how Duke Fleed and Tetsuya Tsurugi are doing, before realizing this Kouji has never met them. In regards to Eureka Seven, its ADW-counterpart being different becomes a Plot Point. Still, it helps prevent the problem that was present in the Super Robot Wars Alpha games, where a series appearing in one game and didn't appear in subsequent ones (Giant Robo and Brain Powerd) aren't mentioned at all, as if they were Exiled from Continuity.
In an interesting nod, during the "Seikan Hikou" event, Apollo gets into the song so much he almost wants to do the memetic "KIRA ☆!" bit from it. In Another Century's Episode: R, where Genesis of Aquarion and Macross Frontier are in the game, Apollo repeats this line near-verbatim during the same event.
The Shin Mazinger plot in Jigoku-hen takes ideas from Shin Mazinger Zero, such as speculation regarding what would happen if Kouji loses control of the Mazinger or if the Photon Power keeps leaking. There's also a mention about Tetsuya, while Professor Yumi states there's another Mazinger existing in the world.
If the player unlocks the Byarlant Custom, Four Murasame is its pilot. This is ironic because a Bylarant piloted by Jerid was the very thing that killed her in the Zeta Gundam TV series.
If the player makes Shinji an ACE, the AG reenacts the "Congratulations Shinji!" scene from the original TV series.
Cruel Twist Ending: Hakai-Hen averts the Downer Ending of the first season of Gundam 00 and the second episode of Getter Robo Armageddon, and the end sequence plays out with it looking like everything's fine. The credits roll, until all the bad stuff starts to happen.
To elaborate, he has extremely high stats for a Super Robot pilot, gains the Spirit Command "Valor"note Deal twice the amount of damage for the next successful attack the earliest out of any character in the game, and his Ace Bonus raises maximum Will by 30, which, combined with the "Will Limit Break" pilot skillnote Raise maximum Will to 170 instead of 150, would set his maximum Will to 200. Should players decide to Level Grind, he'll learn the Spirit Command "Soul"note Deal 2.5 times the damage for the next successful attack, making it likely he can outdamage even Ryouma.
Cutscene Power to the Max: When a unit gains a new attack (such as Crowe's Brasta and its "SPIGOT VX"), it may debut with an animation showcasing it dealing heavy damage to, if not, destroying a five-digit-HP boss in one hit. It rarely works that way when the player actually uses it.
In the Second Z, the original Dancouga, Destroy Gundam, Face Metal Beast, Beast Gore and Burai, and Branch Robot 5
Demoted to Extra: Despite being one of the most powerful leaders and newtypes in Universal Century, Haman Khan gets shafted into playing second-fiddle to Paptimus Scirocco and Gilbert Durandal. When it seems she's about to make her move, she's suddenly Put on a Bus, unless the player takes the secret ZEUTH route split, allowing her to be recruited (or more accurately, lets her force her way into ZEUTH).
Difficulty Spike: Scenario 15 of Saisei-hen; until this point, the game's a cakewalk, especially if it's imported a save data from Hakai-hen. However, this stage pits the player against Marilyn and her Firebug Squad. Not only are they powerful, accurate, and mobile, Marilyn has a high level of the "Command" pilot skillnote Pilot emits an aura boosting accuracy/evasion rates to allies; the higher the level, the greater the aura, and the closer to the pilot allies are, the greater the accuracy/evasion rates, granting adjacent enemies immense accuracy/evasion boosts. Several other scenarios also qualify, particularly ones where Geraud Garce Bantail appears.
Disc One Final Boss: The Mariemaia Army serves as this for the all the Gundam characters prior to fighting Neo Zeon which had been secretly backing their revolution.
Dissimile: According to Kamina, the Dimensional Beast "Moby Dick" looks like a bigger pig-mole with horns, able to shoot fireballs, tends to charge for an attack and is white in color.
Eldritch Abomination: According to Asakim, the Spheres are the creation of the Taichi (太極, alternatively taiji), an entity that controls the fate of all universes by manipulating the "Origin Law".
Elite Mooks: Mechanical Beasts in most of the games serves as mere Mooks; in the Second Z, thanks to the stone statues from the first episode of Shin Mazinger taking this role, they gets promoted to this.
Marilyn's Firebug Squad is made up of customized Axios, and are much, much tougher than the Axios fought throughout Hakai-hen.
The first game has the Battle of Berlin where the Renegade ZEUTH members appear with the Archangel battleship to assist the ZAFT-aligned ZEUTH forces (who had a falling out thanks to certain events). Unfortunately, poor communication results with them being unable to rescue Stella Loussier.
Variation in Jigoku-hen: if Char and his Neo Zeon forces assists ZEUXIS, they'll have a mirrored version of their enemy spritesnote They will use their weapons left-handed; these units typically wield weapons on the right-hand, shields on the left. If Char permamently joins, the Sazabi will have a corrected sprite to indicate it as an ally.
Epic Fail: Played with - poor Lelouch is the only protagonist of a series in SRW history to miss his target and get shot down in the Attract Mode of Hakai-hen. In his own series, his piloting skills are mediocre, relying on ambushes, misdirection and squad tactics. In the demo roll, however, he's using a customized, obsolete Knightmare Frame against one of the two best pilots from Code Geass in an advanced Knightmare Frame.
Flame War: Have an urgent need for supernova-grade heat? Go on a forum (preferably GameFAQs) and ask the dreaded question "Who's better: Rand or Setsuko?" or just mention them both in the same sentence and hide in a nuclear shelter.
When Hakai-hen was released, complaining about the inability to save Kamina, Lockon and Euphemia was enough to release A LOT of heat. For a while, fans of old school Mazinger, who has appeared in every SRW, were upset Shin Mazinger is the one appearing in the Second Z.
Foreshadowing: Loads of it; try playing the game after beating it once. You'll be stunned at the amount of hints done between the lines or in plain sight.
At the epilogue of Hakai-hen, Aoi Hidaka starts getting headaches and feeling pain. That's the calling card of Muge Zorbados.
In the teaser for Tengoku-hen, Noriko says that protecting Earth is her duty and she doesn't care if it takes her away from the planet for 12,000 years — which teases that DieBuster will be in the sequel.
Fragile Speedster: Orguss units, all the way, although nowhere near the Garland on the "fragile" end of the scale. The Orguss is a weakly-defended unit in Z, but is extremely powerful due to its high attack power and mobility, coupled with Kei's amazing skill stat and default pilot skill set, which is designed to make use of it. It even comes with a very strong Combination Attack later in the game.
Friendly Fire Proof: Played with - one scenario's "SR Point" requirement is to destroy Kira in the Freedom, despite the fact he's a "neutral" unit and you can't attack neutrals. However, most "MAP" attacks don't discriminate friend or foe...
Fun with Acronyms: In Jigoku-hen, your default faction name is Z-BLUE which stands for ZBusters Link Universe & Earth.
Gameplay and Story Segregation: Since Saisei-hen doesn't inherit your pilots' kill counts from Hakai-hen (for obviousreasons), it invariably makes a player feel weird when Takeru Myojin isn't a Super-A Class psychic, or Gainer ceases to become a Game Champion and others, despite Saisei-hen occuring one year after Hakai-hen. The same can be said about former ZEUTH members from Z.
Genre Savvy: Xabungle characters, of course, along with the Siberian Railroad soldiers. Gainer, being the gamer he is, also throws in a few Lampshade Hanging. For the originals, Rand shows impressive levels of this by deciding to not bother with a Running Gag, among others (despite having one major Genre Blind moment when he trusts Asakim, though he is his partner's savior at the time, thus it's a bit justified). The all-time champion, however, is The Edel Bernal, whose first action in the final battle is calling another two versions of himself, averting Mook Chivalryby a mile.
Glass Cannon: Several super robot pilots, notably Touga Tenkuuji, come with few or no natural ranks of the pilot skill "Prevail"note The lower the HP, the greater the increase to accuracy/evasion/critical/armor stats, crucial to keep super robots from being this. However, there is no such way to keep the Dai-Guard from falling into this category; in fact, the unit is probably the best example for the entire franchise to datenote In its debut, it has an armor rating of 200, less than a quarter of the second most frail unit in Hakai-hen. Even after the scenario, it reaches a rating of 1200, lower than the Aphrodite A. While the Dai-Guard has multiple attacks that can pierce barriers (especially in a game where enemies with damage-reducing barriers are astoundingly common) and can take out Dimensional Beasts better than nearly any other unit, it always remains one of the most fragile units in the partynote The 200 armor rating is Justified, as the Dai-Guard wasn't used in-universe for several years and didn't have time to swap out of its paper-thin armor when it is thrown into battle.
To a lesser extent, Rand and Setsuko in Saisei-hen, since they spend a short story arc getting to know Crowe before getting sealed in a Zone. However, they return for the last few scenarios.
Guide Dang It: Mixed with Lying Creator - infamously, series director Takanobu Terada stated there's "only one secret" in Z, and boy was he lying. The game's known for having a very large number of secret units, a route split depending on an "invisible" point system, and another point system determining the Multiple Endings, also invisible to the player. Woe befall any attempting to get the G-Bits and Tifa Adill without a guide, though worse is trying to keep Rey Za Barrel and Talia Gladys alive. Managing to do the latter requires you to take the secret ZEUTH route split, accessible only by amassing a certain amount of the invisible points obtained by performing certain actions over a number of scenarios, some of those even going against what happens in the actual series (e.g. Shinn and Rey fighting Athrun Zala, but NOT destroying his unit; instead, waiting it out until the fourth turn) or might seem flat out nonsensical (such as ignoring specific enemy units). To make it worse, the ZEUTH route's much, much better than the ZAFT route (where most first-time players will get to without aid) and gives access to a number of secrets (Haman, for one).
Averted in New Game+, where the point system is dropped, making it a player's choice.
This is repeated in Saisei-hen, where the only way to prevent the Black Knights from betraying Lelouch is to go to the ZEXIS route split. Like Z, it's accessible only by amassing a certain amount of the invisible points such as preventing the death of Shirley Fenette, a mystery in itself.
Harder Than Hard: "EX-Hard Mode" of Z lives up to its name by banning unit and weapon upgrades, unlike previous incarnations that only prohibited the latter. Moreover, Combination Attacks aren't as abundant or potent as they were in other games in the series and damage is generally lower.
Heel-Face Revolving Door: Char still has the unfortunate habit of switching sides in the Z series and coming back if the conditions are right. He sides with one half of ZEUTH in Z, aligns with A-LAWS in Saisei-hen and returns to the Neo Zeon for Jigoku-hen.
Laser-Guided Amnesia: In Jigoku-hen, for reasons not entirely made clear, the characters from series not in the game have been forgotten about. Every time someone tries to think of them (usually going "Wait...wasn't there other people we used to travel with") they immediately get a headache and then forget what triggered that thought. This includes the original Aquarion characters, and even extends to characters in the game. When Kei from Orguss first shows up having come from a dimensional rift nobody can remember him, but after a headache they suddenly can, while Kei himself initially remember the original Aquarion people, but after another headache suddenly can't remember who he was thinking about. Interestingly this includes all previous original protagonists, but not the villains so Aim Liard is the only Sphere holder they can remember, causing everyone to associate Sphere's with villains.
Lethal Joke Character: Like his Another Century's Episode counterpart, Gain and his trusty Gotchko. While not as overpowered as it was in that game, it's infinitely more useful than it seems in Z and can make the first half of a playthrough an utter joke if correctly set up.
This can be accurately said about Gain himself, who is Weak, but Skilled. Although not much of an Oversense person like Gainer, he makes up for it with Improbable Aiming Skills. The fact the Gatchko will turn become the Emperanza, a very powerful Overman early in the game, doesn't hurt Gain's cause (though by that point, he's gone beyond a "joke").
The Jenice Kai Enil Custom in Z has weak attacks (no "ALL" attack, in fact), can't fly, and has the lowest stats of all available Gundam X units; on top of that, the player must purchase it from the bazaar. Its saving grace is in its post-movement "TRI" attack, the only one in its series among allied units.
Renton in Z starts out a lousy pilot, until the Nirvash becomes the Spec2 and gains the "Seven Swell" MAP attack. If used correctly and at the right time, the player will start bringing in enough "Pilot Points" to raise his stats well above everyone else's.
Let's Play: Saint-ism has one for Hakai-hen and Saisei-hen, the latter featuring "arranged battles" where attack animations are edited into into extended battle sequences.
Counts as a Deconstruction of the usual trope scenario, since a Real Life group formed of military types and civilians will probably end up in the same way ZEUTH's factions did. Just look at Holland Novak and his musings during the first half of Z: even when ZEUTH is together, not everything is smooth-sailing, making it a rare deconstruction of the True Companionship inherent in SRW.
Happens again at the end of Hakai-hen: Zero orders ZEXIS to disperse and go their seperate ways, as their mission to destroy Gaiou is complete. However, Lelouch is doing this because his crusade against Britannia isn't over. Again, this becomes another bad idea because the "Black Rebellion" fails without ZEXIS's support; the Black Knights are captured (aside from Kallen Kozuki and C.C.), while Zero is apprehended and Brainwashed. Celestial Being and the colony Gundams are promptly targeted with their protection from the United Nations revoked, rendering the former nearly wiped out, with the Ptolemaios battleship and most of its Gundams destroyed, and scattering the colony Gundams. The ZEXIS forces on the Dark Continent are understaffed and unable to stop Professor Saotome. ZEUTH Gundam pilots are forced to turn to the Organization of Zodiac for protection and shelter, and the rest of the ADW is helpless to stop the rise of the A-LAWS and the hegemony by Ribbons Almark.
Let's You and Him Fight: Aside from the trope listed above, one scenario starts with you fighting against the main character, either Rand or Setsuko!
Lightning Bruiser: Baldios throughout the games is an LL-sized mecha with the unique "Subspace Rush" unit abilitynote At 130 Will, the unit disregards all terrain when moving and has a 25% chance of evading any enemy attack; do the math. There's nothing more fun than putting Baldios some distance away from an enemy and just start slinging around "Thunder Flashes".
Kallen and the Guren in the Second Z: fast movement and good mobility, with abilities letting it tank if it needs to.
Chirico in the Second Z, if his low-HP pilot skills are triggered correctly, can tear through any enemy in what is basically a 3-meter-tall grunt unit'' (with customization).
Nirvash Spec3 in Z, provided the player builds Renton correctly.
If the player builds the Aquarion pilots by taking advantage of the "Element System"note When the Aquarion's primary pilot reaches 130 Will, align the stats of all three pilots based on the highest values of each stat correctly, they can turn the different Aquarion configurations into these.
Loads and Loads of Characters: Z contains over 20 different series, each bringing in numerous characters. The sheer amount of characters by itself is more then enough, but the Second Z takes it Up to Eleven by bringing the series count to over 30, resulting in one of the largest series headcounts in the franchise.
Magikarp Power: Turn A in Z is a not-very-useful unit with limited weapons and bad anti-air stats, with Loran Cehack being its so-so default pilot, until in-game events lead to it gradually getting upgraded, culminating in its "Moonlight Butterfly" attack (including a MAP variant) among others, making it one of the best units in the game. In another example, Renton's (and Loran's) stats grow at a much faster rate after they pass level 40-45s.
King Gainer is fragile, small and really hard for Gainer to use, particularly increasing his Will to use the machine's "Overskill" ability. Doing some investment in choice pilot skills like "Attack Again"note If the enemy's skill stat is 20 points lower than the pilot's skill stat, the pilot may initiate a second attack in the same combat phase (by taking advantage of his "Gamer"/"Game Champ"note At 130 Will, +10 to skill stat; +30 to skill stat for Game Champ pilot skill), "Ignore Size Modifier"note No accuracy or damage penalties incurred when attacking a unit of a different size and some Will-boosting techniques, he becomes quite good. It helps the King Gainer constantly upgrades like the Turn A and Nirvash through event-driven scenarios.
Dai-Guard in Hakai-hen due to Shunsuke's "Salaryman" pilot skillnote Upon level up, for every 10 enemy units destroyed or completing the map, pilot earns +3 Pilot Points.
Although Chirico is far from a bad pilot, early on in Hakai-hen, the Scopedog is an unimpressive unit with only three attacks, each with extremely limited ammo and cannot be used post-movement. After a while, he acquires the "Red Shoulder Custom", providing more attacks (even if a few still lack ammunition) with a downside in mobility and movement. During the end of the Woodo Arc, Chirico gains the "Turbo Custom", which sacrifices its ammo-scarce weaponry for better stats. Finally, when the Turbo Custom earns weapons put back on it for The Last Red Shoulder, if the player fulfills the requirements, the "Scopedog Turbo Custom ISS" is unlocked.
Marathon Level: Quite a few, but especially Scenario 50 in Z, which is rather long on its own, but after it's finished, there's a long exposition sequence, which thrusts the player back into combat against the Frost Brothers and Gym. The final scenario also counts since it's a three-parter and ends with you fighting the Big Bad doubling as That One Bossnote A breakdown of the latter is part 1) Fight Edel Bernal with an army of Mooks; part 2) Get Renton to a certain square while fending off 50 squads of Coralians; part 3) Fight the Big Bad.
In Hakai-hen, one scenario recreates the Gundam 00 finale (along with some Gundam Wing and Code Geass thrown in): ZEXIS faces off against an army of GN-Xs, Tauruses, and the commanders of every major faction in the ADW. At a certain point, the Ptolemaios gets dragged off to a second map along with the Celestial Being Gundams facing off against another army of grunts, with Ali-Al-Saachez and Alejandro Corner along for the ride (the rest of ZEXIS shows up later). Finally, a third map comprises of Setsuna in the Exia against Alejandro in the Alvatorre.
Scenario 54 in the "Don't trust Zero" route of Saisei-hen opens with a fleet of Anti-Spiral units. Once those are taken care of, enemy reinforcements arrive in the form of the Anti-Spiral Gurren Lagann, Muge Zorbados with some of his own units and Zeravire. The final portion involves Team Dai-Gurren leading a small strike team inside the Cathedral Terra Lazengann to destroy the Anti-Spiral Gurren Lagann and its Mooks.
Midseason Upgrade: One of the very few SRWs averting this for the originals. Rand and Setsuko gain this halfway through Z, but Rand's Gunleon earn two new attacks and a new unit ability, while Setsuko's Virgora gets a new gun and a set of wings, capping off a chain of gradual upgrades that began midway through the game's first act.
Played with in Hakai-hen: Crowe's Brasta earns the SPIGOT-VX with no physical changes. Played straight in Saisei-hen regarding the Li-Brasta. The catch is the player decides whether it's a melee-Super Robot or a long-ranged Real Robot.
More Dakka: The new "Tri-Battle System" in Z allows an entire squad to unleash a volley that makes the "Squad System" from the Alpha games look dated and underwhelming. More traditionally, various units such as the Orguss have an Alpha Strike-based attack that pulls this off.
Multiple Endings: One of the more deviously-hidden Guide Dang It elements that manages through its own hidden point system in Z. Should certain conditions be fufilled, the player can choose to give up the protagonist's memories and live in Paradigm City until the Black History takes place, ending all of civilization) Additionally, depending on the chosen protagonist, around half of the game is unique to that person.
Nerf: The "Invincible" Spirit Command in Jigoku-hen; unlike previous SRWs, damage is automatically reduced to one-eighth of total damage taken instead of the minimum ten units of damage.
Never the Selves Shall Meet: Zigzagged - in a non-Time Travel variation, Z explains that multiple counterparts of the same person cannot exist in the same universe, in order to justify why the original Mazinger Z, Getter Robo, and Eureka Seven don't show up in the Second Z, yet subverted with The Edel Bernal back in the first game via Rand's final scenario. The Second Z implies it can happen between the same person, provided the individual can jump between dimensions by themselves; the Stigma of the Cursed Wanderer merely pulls them in.
In the case of Grendizer, some fans believe it's not in Hakai-hen due to Battle of the Flying Saucers potentially being part of the line-up Saisei-hen (both shows are created by Go Nagai, with the latter considered a prototype for the former). Once Saisei-hen was revealed, Banpresto stated they apparently forgot about Grendizer.
No Indoor Voice: In the Second Z, Harry Ord, with his infamous "UNIVEEEEEEEEEEEEEERSE!!!" scream in his voice clips, with the last of them being "Did you say Princess Dianna's butt? CURSE YOU!!!"
Only Sane Man: Crowe, Lockon Stratos, Keiichirou Aoyama and Duo. Being the jokers of ZEXIS who can find time to crack a laugh during free-time unlike the rest who are either The Stoic, way too serious or apparently busy doing something else.
Oh Crap: So Rand and the Gunleon are upgraded and it's making life easy by tanking everything thrown its way and walking (or, "wrenching") over legions of Mooks? Let's see how it feels when he becomes an enemy unit, with the same skill, stats, and upgrades given to him, using only you gave him, no less) using only Roybea, Witz, Carris Nautilus and the Freeden un-upgraded and under an instant Game Over condition if one of them dies. Although it lasts a few turns, this doesn't make it any less horrifying.
Better still: if doing this on New Game+, and the player pimped the hell out of the protagonist's stats and mecha (such as putting on multiple "Haro" equippable partsnote Increase movement +2, mobility +25, weapon accuracy +25, weapon range +1), it's entirely possible to make this Unwinnable.
For the Humongous Mecha, the Gunleon, Virgora, Shurouga, Eliphas, the Chaos machines, Brasta, the Arksaber machines, Arietis. Z: Special Disk contains an original Overman called the "XAN".
Overrated And Underleveled: A variation, though not exactly a straight example, either - Quattro Bagina is, statistically, one of the best pilots in Z but never gets his own top-of-the-line mobile suit, relegating him to the so-so Hyaku Shiki, which has nothing on the more powerful units later in the game (unless he's placed in the Turn A as most players do).
Kira and the Strike Freedom in Z: unless the player has been deliberately saving credits in Rand's route to upgrade the Freedom in the two or three scenarios he's with ZEUTH, by the time the Strike Freedom is available, it will have a paltry three bars of upgrades and Kira will have bonus Pilot Points to use, yet the player's squads are likely filled up with specifically designated leaders.
Obviously Evil: Just take a look at Asakim and tell us he isn't evil. For starters, the man's completely clad in black, the Shurouga looks evil, and its attacks are sadistic, with Asakim commenting similarly so. Makes one wonder how anyone can trust him in the first place, even though he only acts so for the sake of gaining freedom from being a Cursed Wanderer and seeking death.
Plucky Comic Relief: Crowe, Lockon, Duo, and Keiichirou. When they group up, they start telling bad jokes, even when they're alone (such as in the Scenario 7 intermission before battle, while at the Ashford Academy, Duo laughs at Kallen for acting like a weak little lady). For example, whenever the Dai-Guard gets hit, Keiichirou asks Ibuki Momoi if she'd like to gamble whether the next attack will hit or miss. In another instance, Lockon hangs out with Crowe and laughs at one another's dry humor.
In Scenario 48 of Hakai-hen, during the intermission, Setsuna is using the long-distance communication device when Crowe wonders if he is going to send a message to his "girlfriend" Marina Ismail. Setsuna responds with the usual stare; Crowe jokingly asks if it's to his boyfriend and Setsuna's answer remains the same, this time with a glare. Lockon notes how Crowe's bad jokes don't work on Setsuna, to which Crowe states "They don't work on Chirico, Zero, Heero, Trowa, Wufei and Toudou, either."
Post Script Season: Mazinger Z, Great Mazinger and Xabungle in Z. All series returning from the Z in Hakai-hen are this as well, along with Dancougar and Trider G7. Noriko basically tells everyone that she is from 12,000 years ago and she has no idea how Kazumi disappeared (at first) after the Black Hole bomb.
Power Limiter: Hakai-hen features an odd case - as long as Kamina is in the party, Simon is unable to learn his "Valor" or "Bravery"note Gain the effects of "Accelerate" (+3 to movement), "Valor", "Invincible" (The next enemy attack will deal only 10 damage), "Strike", "Spirit" (+10 to Will) and "Fury" (The next successful attack ignores enemy barriers, defensive skills and size modifiers) Spirit Commands for one turn Spirit Commands. This never comes up in normal play since Kamina will be absent later and is around ten levels before Simon should learn either Commands, but it plays up his status as a Crutch Character.
Power-Up Letdown: So the player has waited forever and toughed through the early scenarios using the Gundam X Divider, wondering when they'll get to use the "Satellite Cannon" again, and when it's finally available, reality strikes hard - the weapon's Awesome, but Impractical, since it requires a full 3-4 turns before it's able to fire once until the next 3-4 turn recharge like Destiny. However, Z ensures the BFG only functions in scenarios where the moon is visible through a line-of-sight, meaning the Gundam X cannot use it indoors or in many other stages where there's no moon. Justified Trope, because the Gundam Double X carries the "Twin Satellite Cannon", the strongest attack in Z bar-none, and will deal a lot of damage to most bosses. While it might be a single-use in most scenarios, it's enough to be a boss-killer.
Deathscythe Hell's Hyper Jammer ECM Suite attack loses its built-in "accuracy down" status effect of the original Deathscythe's Hyper Jammer attack, making it stronger but less useful, overall.
The Psycho Rangers: Z: Special Disk gives us "Death Squad 13", Edel Bernal's attempt at forming a ZEUTH-style Ragtag Bunch of Misfits. It begins as a unit composed of Phantom Pain and Titans members under the orders of Neo Roanoke, then gains more members from mercenaries like Timp or Jason Beck, and others like the Frost Brothers and Gym tagging along for fun. It doesn't work nearly as well (most members are nuts, after all) and the squad ends up disbanded without ever meeting ZEUTH in combat once.
Retraux: Mixed with Doing It for the Art - older Super Robots such as Baldios, God Sigma and Getter Robo get some retro-looking animations in their strongest attacks, complete with choppy animation and trippy retro "laser backgrounds" and pastel-frame explosions. This is a first for the franchise and a great moment for fans who weren't excited about Z initially, which also demonstrates the degree of love the designers have for the older shows, preserving them in their glory.
Retcon: Z completely writes out Char's Counterattack in favor of keeping Char in line with his Zeta Gundampersona. Still, it's odd since Char's Counterattack is only in Z to give Amuro the Re-GZ and eventual Nu Gundam, while Char gets stuck with his Hyaku Shiki and doesn't get the Sazabi. Nevertheless, the moment where he and Amuro learn about the possible future and Char wholeheartedly declaring to stop it from happening is a heartwarming.
Subverted with Jigoku-hen, as a wide-scale retcon has been placed into effect regarding returning characters, causing Amnesiac Dissonance about the exact details of their past adventures. This explains why the events of Char's Counterattack are underway in the game.
One of the things Z is known for is its handling of the Gundam SEED Destiny plot in a way that is believable and more enjoyable.
Also, whenever Rand does his "Heat Smile", everyone will make the same comment towards it, including R. Dorothy Wayneright, Alan Gabriel and Alex Rosewater (!), Princess Dianna Soreil and Harry Ord, Cynthia Lane (!), various Universal Century and Gundam SEED Destiny pilots, enemy generals, even the Shadow Angels, the Hyakki and alien forces. For the unfamiliar, Rand's a large Cool Old Guy with an intimidating "special service smile" called the "Heat Smile". Those who see it always, always comment on it being "stuffy" (or "atsukurushii" in Japanese), either loudly or to themselves, even in the middle of dire, life-or-death situations.
Kamina's tendency to come into conflict with everyone he meets is his way of making friends. He does this to Ryouma, Zero and Sheryl.
Sequel Hook: Plenty all over the place, from throwaway comments along the lines of "our battle has just begun" to unresolved plot threads (e.g. the Holy War, since the remaining Sphere holders have yet to appear or the Eldritch Abomination)
Some of the explicit hooks include Kouji watching the Black History recording and talking about seeing a "Mazinger-like" machine he doesn't recognize, Ryouma getting shocked after watching the same recording and asking "Is that machine with the fearsome movements a Getter?!" (really, the Shin Getter), with his remarks in the final scenario about sensing the presence of another version of himself that flat-out scares him (none other than fan-favorite "BatshitRyouma" from Getter Robo Armageddon and the Getter Robo manga) and Banjou deciding to leave for Mars and talk about "his true battle just beginning".
Unfortunately, when it comes to a follow-up on Shin Mazinger, the storywriters may or may not have written themselves into a corner...note The show ends with Dr. Hell's defeat, but it only gives rise to the Mycenae Empire on Earth.
In Saisei-hen, the Anti-Spiral says it will return one day.
At the end of Jigoku-hen, a second Earth appears, as numerous enemies swarm ZEUXIS. This is followed with a snippet montage of:
In Hakai-hen, Kamina references the "Super Inazuma Kick" with one of the Gurren Lagann's attacks. Even after he dies, Simon does the same when using the same attack.
There is a chance Sandman in Z when using the God Sigma Gravion will say "I have no name to give to the likes of you!", just like a certain character from Machine Robo as he beats up PMC soldiers who tries to take Eida Rossa and her manager in.
Ultimately and shockingly subverted in the final battle, where various members of ZEUTH try to do this to The Edel Bernal, only to have him reply with lines such as "Why is it wrong?", shocking ZEUTH to no end and makes them realize he's too far gone to listen to reason.
Hakai-hen is also rather cynical, since all the storylines occur during the first season of a two-part series where good people died for nothing and the situation is pretty bad throughout the ADW. However, like Crowe being powered by fortune and misfortune, Saisei-hen is much more optimistic.
Spiritual Successor: To the Super Robot Wars Alpha series, particularly Alpha Gaiden, due to similar series used (Gundam X, Turn A Gundam, Xabungle), overall difficulty and the use of a "bazaar" to purchase playable units.
Superdickery: Char never had plans of dropping Axis on Earth in Jigoku-hen, as he reaffirms his loyalties with ZEUXIS. Unfortunately, the Colony Drop goes as planned, as Full Frontal and his allies intend to see the asteroid hit Earth.
Stealth Pun: The titles of the Second Z two-parter plays around the themes of death and rebirth. Since Jigoku-hen is a pun regarding Hell, there's a likely chance the second-part of the Third Z will have a theme of Heaven.
The subtitles for these games use common Japanese words, but with one kanji altered to change the meaning: Hakai goes from "destruction" (破壊) to "ruined world" (破界), Saisei from "rebirth" (再生) to "returned world" (再世), and Jigoku goes from "Hell" (地獄) to "time prison" (時獄). Crosses with Bilingual Bonus for non-Japanese fans.
The Strategist: In order to represent his tactical prowess, Lelouch gets the unique pilot skill "Tactical Command", allowing him to give up his turn in order to grant the commands "Offense"note +15 to melee and ranged, +20 to accuracy, "Defense"note +20 to defense and evasion and "All-Out Attack"note +30 to melee and ranged, -40 to defense and evasion to allied units for one turn. This makes up for him not being that great of a pilot, statistically speaking.
Stylistic Suck: Beck the Great RX-3 is a horrible machine, but the sheer camp of using its one and only attack makes up for it.
Time Skip: One year between Hakai-hen and Saisei-hen, three months after the UCW and ACW merge in Jigoku-hen
Theme Music Power-Up: In Scenario 18-A of the third route split in Hakai-hen, which takes place during a concert in the Macross Frontier storyline, Sheryl's song "Iteza Go Go Kuji Don't Be Late" pumps up ZEXIS so much they instantly shoot to 130 Will. After defeating the initial enemies, Baron Ashura arrives with some Mechanical Beasts; this causes Ranka to take the stage and sing her song "What 'Bout My Star?", which increase Kamina and Simon's Will further, to the point that Kamina debuts the Gurren Lagann's famous "Giga Drill Break(er)", nearly obliterating Mechanical Beast Taros D-7 with it.
Took a Level in Badass: Mazinger Z's "Koushiryoku Beam" is usually the weakest attack it has. However, in the Second Z, it surpasses its "Breast Fire" in damage potential, making it one of Mazinger's most powerful attacks. Why? Because that's what Shin Mazinger strongly suggests.
Sandrock/Sandrock Custom, while a decently armored Real Robot with sufficient attacks in past appearances, earns a "Full Upgrade Bonus" of +300 to armor rating (including the "Resupply"note Restore EN and ammo to maximum to any adjacent allied unit unit ability for the Sandrock Custom). Its armor rating becomes higher than any other mecha (barring those choosing to boost their armor rating as their Full Upgrade Bonus) and when combined with Quatre Rabareba Winner and his high level of "Prevail" and the Sandrock carrying a shield to reduce damage, the unit effectively becomes a Stone Wall.
Emperor Zul is pro-active in this regard: he spends a lot of the game trying to gather allies from the other villains, including Lordgenome, Moon Will and Professor Saotome. When the player fights Zul, he even brings along a few bosses previously defeated.
Whatever Ba'al is, it includes the Invaders, STMC and the Anti-Spirals.
Wham Episode/The Reveal: Many from the various franchises, such as the nature of the Elda, but the biggest one is the revelation the Black History is not just the past, but the possible end of the multiverse, brought about by ZEUTH.
Shinn gets two or three himself in the same game: from Amuro, for letting his anger drive him in battle and for being a little too happy to hate and kill the enemy (while Amuro knows it's necessary, he also believes killing isn't something that should be done lightly, and restraint is important), from Holland for being more sympathetic to Stella than his allies in ZEUTH, even though Stella was an enemy and burning Berlin, and from everyone in ZEUTH if he sides with Durandal.
Another example is what each side of ZEUTH believed they were doing in the ZEUTH vs ZEUTH battle.
Western Zodiac: The Spheres all correspond with the twelve constellations in the Western Zodiac.
We Will Not Use Photoshop in the Future: The Chimera in Z splits ZEUTH against each other by altering video footage to make it look like Rand's party has joined The Federation while Setsuko's group works with ZAFT. Neither side suspects these are fake until Olson and Banjo show each group their own video.
Although there were other factors, such as natural personality conflicts, the actions of the Archangel in antagonising Setsuko's team, but siding with Rand's causes one group to detest the crew of the battleship and the other to defend their new friends. In addition, Duke Freed appears at a poor time to witness the cast of Zambot 3 taking out their anger on an alien enemy, and mentions to the other team the report of ZAFT's side being violently anti-extraterrestrial seems to be true. The faked reports are only the tip of the iceberg.
What If?: Done in Z with the plot of Gundam SEED Destiny and in Saise-hen with Code Geass. In both cases, the alternate storylines are accessible via an invisible points system related to the respective series, resulting in the last fifth of each game being an entirely different set of scenarios.